Types of Narcissism

If people become too obsessed with themselves, they can develop narcissistic personality disorder.
If people become too obsessed with themselves, they can develop narcissistic personality disorder. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

There are several different types of narcissism, but the generic term was introduced by physician and neurologist Sigmund Freud when referring to a person who is pathologically self-absorbed. The word comes from the Greek story of Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection. If people become too obsessed with themselves, they can develop what is called narcissistic personality disorder.

Acquired Situational Narcissism

Acquired situational narcissism is typically developed in late adolescence or adulthood and influenced by wealth, fame or celebrity status. The term was introduced by Robert B. Millman, a professor of psychiatry at the Weill Cornell Medical College.


Aggressive narcissism includes traits such as a grandiose sense of self-worth, pathological lying, lack of remorse and lack of empathy. People with this type of disorder are typically cunning and manipulative.


Codependency or inverted narcissism refers to a person who is drawn to a narcissist and is codependent on that person. Codependency refers to behavior that is overly passive and excessively care-giving.


Sociologist Charles Derber introduced conversational narcissism in his book "The Pursuit of Attention: Power and Ego in Everyday Life." These people enjoy the attention that they get from others and will often shift the conversation onto themselves.


Corporate narcissism refers to the high-profile, corporate type of personality. This type of narcissism is driven by profit, and the person's attention is narrowly focused on business goals. This type of personality begins to alienate the person from the general population.

General Narcissistic Personality Disorder

The most common symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder are excessive feelings of self-importance, the need for constant attention and validation, lack of empathy for others, manipulation of others, grandiose attitude and constantly striving to obtain purely selfish goals. People with this disorder often alienate themselves from the people around them.


Malignant narcissism is a cross between narcissistic personality disorder and the antisocial personality disorder. The person normally shows signs of paranoia. These people will seek higher and higher levels of psychological gratification from their accomplishments, which in turn worsens the symptoms of the disorder.


Sexual narcissism is heavily egocentric and involves an inflated sense of sexual ability and sexual worth. People with this type of narcissism believe they are masters of the sexual world and may be overcompensating for low self-esteem. These people are likely to seek extramarital affairs. This disorder is more commonly found in men.

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