Psychology Narcissistic types - and how to cope with them

In every narcissist, hidden deep inside, there is an insecure person.

An illustrative picture of narcissists (photo credit: TNS)
An illustrative picture of narcissists
(photo credit: TNS)
 We have all known people who are narcissistic; you know – the people who always like to take center stage and put their voice and opinion before yours. The narcissist may be a friend, a work colleague, a professor or teacher, a relative or even a spouse. They monopolize conversations and often talk loudly; and when you are telling them something about yourself, they listen halfheartedly, only to look for an opportunity to continue talking about themselves.
Narcissists like to brag. They brag about their vacations, accomplishments, material possessions, or they may opt to brag about someone they know.
Because of an underlying need to be heard, narcissists often work their way to the center of their “circle,” or the top of their organization or community. They may strive to become part of the inner circle of friends, making sure that they do so at any cost.
When listening to narcissists, it feels as if they want you to envy them. In fact, this is exactly what they want you to do. In every narcissist, hidden deep inside, there is an insecure person. So the narcissistic person compensates by being narcissistic, working overtime in a behavioral way to make sure that you will believe how great he/she is.
Narcissists, however, are not all the same. Like everyone else, each person has unique personality traits and varying styles in the way he/she expresses his/her narcissistic needs. Psychologist Joseph Burgo PhD (Psychology Today website, September 22, 2015) identifies five types of narcissists and offers advice on how to cope with these individuals.
The know-it-all narcissist
This person always gives his/her opinion, even when the listener does not ask for it, and believes that he/ she knows more than anyone else does on any given subject.
Coping response: Do not take these people too seriously. It is important to keep in mind that they do not know as much as they believe they know, in spite of the fact that they try to give you the impression that they do. You can listen and then say politely, “I got to run.” If it is your boss or a professor and you really have no choice but to listen, do so, but remember, just play along but do not take this character seriously. 
The grandiose narcissist
This person flaunts his/her accomplishments and exaggerates their significance. People of this type may in fact achieve amazing things in their lives, but what drives them includes the powerful need for others to admire their achievements. Very often, they attract insecure types of individuals to be part of their fan club.
Coping response: Do not compete with these kinds of people, because they can be relentless in their need to display their superiority. If you work with or for someone like this, do not expect them to appreciate your accomplishments, unless they perceive them as their own. They rarely appreciate the accomplishments of others and will easily discard you.
The seductive narcissist
Seductive narcissists use the art of manipulation through flattery and admiration. They may shower you with compliments and try at all costs to make you feel good about yourself. However, this individual’s primary purpose is to get your admiration in return, and therefore his/ her admiration to you always comes with a price tag. It is a game to get you to admire back. Often this plays out in student-professor interactions or worker-supervisor relationships or in other social circles where the admirer is searching for admiration.
Coping response: If you come across this type of behavior, remember that even though the admiration feels good, it may be nothing more than manipulation. The simple answer is to be humble. Do not take yourself so seriously. When someone has authority over others, seductive narcissism appears.
The bullying narcissist
This person builds him/herself up by humiliating other people. These individuals often rely on contempt to make others feel like failures, proving themselves a winner in the process. They will denigrate and mock you. Moreover, when they need something from you, they may become threatening. These people derive their narcissistic gratification by making you feel like a loser.
Coping response: You need a strong ego and belief in yourself to deal with these individuals. Recognize them for what they are, manipulating bullies, and do not depend on them for acknowledgment in any role you perform.
The vindictive narcissist
A vindictive narcissist will not tolerate a challenge to his/her superior status. These people will go out of their way to hurt you, your reputation, bad-mouth you, get you demoted, and you name it. They are indeed very angry people, and it does not take much to scratch the surface of this internal rage.
Coping response: Distance yourself from this type of person, and if he/she tries to hurt your reputation in damaging ways, you may have to take this individual to court and sue him/her. It may require hiring a lawyer. 
Remember, there is no avoiding being around narcissists. They are a part of the composite of people in our lives. However, knowing how to cope with these individuals helps to protect your emotional well-being and can save you a lot of aggravation. 
The writer is a marital, child and adult cognitive-behavioral psychotherapist with offices in Jerusalem and Ra’anana.;