10 Signs Of Vulnerable Narcissists And How To Deal With One?

Here are some signs of vulnerable narcissists and ways to deal with them, to efficiently cope up with a vulnerable narcissist.

Narcissism is widespread nowadays, with feelings like stress, anxiety, and depression being a common part of people’s lifestyles. Mental health disorders are on the rise as people are becoming more connected to the social media world rather than each other.

What is Vulnerable Narcissism?

Vulnerable narcissism is a type or form of narcissistic personality disorder(NPD). It is often recognized as a subtype of covert narcissism. It is characterized by emotional fragility, over-dependency on others for validation and approval, high sensitivity to criticism, and low self-esteem.

A grandiose sense of self remains the top trait for all types of narcissism. Though vulnerable narcissists are people who are reserved, shy and like to stay behind the curtains, they overly protect their grandiosity as they think highly of themselves.

Vulnerable narcissists constantly seek attention, admiration, and validation from others. They have an intense fear of rejection, criticism, and abandonment. They become anxious, distressed, and vulnerable when they do not gain enough attention, praise, and validation.

Vulnerable narcissists generally present themselves as being introverted, anxious, and insecure. They also share the same core insecurities as other narcissists. Some traits of vulnerable narcissists include,

Traits of Vulnerable Narcissists

  • High sensitivity to criticism
  • Appearing Shy
  • Self-serving Empathy
  • Holding Grudges
  • Inflated sense of self-importance
  • High levels of Anxiety

11 Signs Of Vulnerable Narcissists And How To Deal With One?

Once you are aware a person may be suffering from a mental health disorder, you may wish to know the signs to get that assurance and ensure your well-being. Thus here are some signs and ways to cope with vulnerable narcissists.

11 Signs Of Vulnerable Narcissists

Knowing the signs of vulnerable narcissists can make it easy to spot them and even help them. Some signs include,

They are controlling

All narcissists are controlling. They wish to drive relationships according to their wishes and desires. To protect themselves from experiencing intense and troublesome emotions, they get defensive and control their relationships and thus drive the relationship that does not affect them emotionally.

Vulnerable narcissists may not openly control their partners, rather they would be manipulating them by using gaslighting, triangulating, launching smear campaigns, and projecting their uncomfortable emotions onto their partners.

They are passive-aggressive

People with vulnerable narcissism in particular do not display any symptoms openly or with a loud reaction or action in general. Still, they are closely associated with mental health issues in terms of anxiety and depression. It is the complete opposite of overt narcissism. It is also referred to in context as covert narcissism or closet narcissism.

A passive-aggressive person might act overtly but express their anger covertly. This means they might not display directly that they are angry. Still, their aggression might take an indirect form, including giving you a cold shoulder, obstructing your work or what you want, treating you with a silent treatment, being a prick whenever you badly need their help, and making you furious by acting indifferently indirectly.

Thus a vulnerable narcissist is passive-aggressive in their approach. They may have the same core personality traits and characteristics of a covert narcissist; which include disregarding others, indulging only in something that relates to them, and much more. Yet they present them in different ways. Feelings or negative emotions are common, but with a vulnerable narcissist, the display of the emotions is different.

They blame others for their problems

Vulnerable narcissism is often associated with low self-esteem. Thus to settle up with the facts and avoid the pain that comes with emotional turmoil, they may run away from their problems thus avoiding being accountable and responsible for their mistakes and shortcomings.

Deflecting blame, blame-shifting, projecting their mistakes on others, manipulating them into believing the half-truth, or gaslighting them will help them protect themselves from being responsible and accountable.

Rage is their typical reaction when they do not succeed

Now there will be no anger bursts out or volatile reactions from a vulnerable narcissist, but you may face their anger in the form of passive aggression. In general, they may not get angry and seek passive aggression or silent treatment, but when the matter is about them and their insecurities, their rage will be unstoppable.

When they are confronted, when they fail, or when their imperfections and shortcomings are targeted, this may cause them a narcissistic injury, which ultimately leads to narcissistic rage.

They thrive on exploiting others

Vulnerable narcissists exploit their family members, friends, partners, or anyone who can help them gain whatever they wish. They often use people for personal gains. Thus when they are no longer able to benefit from a relationship and the person, they may find a replacement.

For them, relationships and people are easily replaceable as their bonds are not deeply emotional. They form shallow bonds which do not include attachment. Thus they can easily manipulate and exploit others.

They envy others

Vulnerable narcissists have low self-esteem, which leads them to feel inferior and thus when they find someone who is better, and more successful in life in any aspect, it is sure that will be envious.

As they have low self-confidence, they get easily intimidated by others. They compare themselves to others and find out where they lack. Thus their envy becomes insatiable because there is always going to be someone more successful than them.

They avoid social situations

Social gatherings often include fun, happy moments along with gossip, criticism, and fault-finding. Though social situations like gatherings, often bring them attention, admiration, and validation, through which a narcissist thrives, it may also bring them criticism by making them a topic of gossip for others.

A vulnerable narcissist may avoid such type of attention, and thus they may avoid going to such social situations. They may also steer clear of a group gathering, which may include friends debating about success, relatives criticizing, or people who may set boundaries and avoid interaction with them.

They lack long-term relationship commitments

A vulnerable narcissist is afraid to commit to someone for a long time as they do not like to be caged emotionally, physically, and mentally. Maintaining a strong relationship requires commitment and continuous efforts, which a narcissist lacks and thus they cannot maintain healthy relationships.

They may look like they have tonnes of friends, a big happy family, or are acquainted with many people, but in reality, they are so self-absorbed that they are unable to maintain good bonds with people.

Thus introverted, vulnerable narcissists often have small intimate circles of friends or even nuclear families.

They are prone to intense emotions

Unstable or low self-esteem, often makes them prone to intense emotions like anger, shame, resentment, envy, and hate. They fear that once they open up emotionally to someone they may become vulnerable and others may view them as an easy target to criticise and assess their character.

Thus out of insecurities and fears, vulnerable narcissists may perceive emotional display as a threat to avoid any mishap from damaging their perfect image.

They are introverted

Overt narcissism often shields their insecurities by making grand gestures that include attention-seeking and being rowdy, while on the same note, a vulnerable may use introversion and shyness to mask their insecurities.

How to deal with a Vulnerable Narcissists?

Dealing with vulnerable narcissists can be challenging, as they are tough to predict. You may never know what their next move can be. Thus finding ways to deal with them and cope with their manipulative behavior is your way out of the problem.

Here are some ways to deal with a vulnerable narcissist,

Disengage from them emotionally

When someone or something no longer affects you, you may not be attached and swayed by it. Detachment helps you make rational decisions. Once you disengage from your own emotions, feelings, insecurities, and beliefs, it allows you to look beyond the fear and insecurity someone might be triggering.

Once you are strong-willed and disengage from someone emotionally, you may be able to easily walk away from their toxicity, maintain boundaries, and also leave the relationship if needed.

Talk to a Therapist

While dealing with narcissists, you may need your vent out and that escape can be a therapist who may have assisted such clients in their career. Seeking advice and insights to cope with a toxic person can make your life easier and better.

As narcissistic relationships can be draining emotionally and mentally, you may need a therapist to rebuild your self-confidence and self-esteem.

Establish boundaries

Establishing boundaries and also applying consequences when they break can make the whole dealing with narcissists scene easier. It is crucial to develop and maintain clear boundaries with vulnerable narcissists. This ensures their and your well-being. Establishing boundaries includes limiting your communication, not getting trapped in their manipulative actions, limiting your emotional responses, and re-establishing boundaries when required.

Getting an unbiased perspective on the situation

When you get an unbiased opinion of the relationship from someone else you may be able to equate your bond with the vulnerable narcissists. Do not be manipulated by the coaxing appearance of the relationship, and try to work out the relationship if you firmly believe that you love the narcissist.

Do not fall fo their drama

Not engaging in any kind of drama, heated arguments, or disagreements to just prove your truth may help you to maintain your cool.

Final Thoughts

Dealing with vulnerable narcissists can be challenging, as they are tough to predict. You may never know what their next move can be. Thus finding ways to deal with them and cope with their manipulative behavior is your way out of the problem.

Ella Carrillo

Ella Carrillo

Hey Reader, I am Ella, an Online and Offline Therapist holding an experience of 6 years in this field. From Relationship, Depression, and Personality Disorder to Narcissistic problems, I have helped a lot of people find their solutions. Upon gathering a number of common problems that people face, I decided to put the information on this blog so that anyone can get their answers easily.

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