A vulnerable narcissist might seem like a very confident, and self-assured person with an extremely inflated self-image, but the truth is anything but that. Underneath all the bravado, there is a lot of insecurity that they try very hard to mask.
Narcissists relate to others in some highly problematic ways. The very manner in which they perceive themselves and look upon others impairs true intimacy and depth in relationships. Narcissists come in two main varieties. (See: Ways Vulnerable Narcissists Relate.) And relationships with vulnerable narcissists can be particularly challenging when it comes to intimacy.
What Vulnerable Narcissists Crave
Some call vulnerable narcissists the “compensatory” type. That’s because the inflated image they project masks an underlying insecurity.
In their insecurity,
- they seek to be admired.
- they frequently fish for recognition and praise.
- they seem to need constant reassurance.
- and they constantly compare themselves to others.
- it matters to them how you think they stack up against the competition.
- and they’re not happy unless they think they’re at the top of the heap.
Relationships with any narcissist suffer because it’s always about them. They’re so wrapped up in themselves and their desires that there’s no room to consider others. And because they can’t really concern themselves with you or your needs, intimacy suffers.
What Vulnerable Narcissists’ Relationship Partners Crave
From our earliest days, we humans crave intimacy. Infants can’t even thrive without close physical and emotional contact. And this need for human “connection” never goes away. In fact, our need intimacy needs only appear to grow over our lifetimes. The biggest single complaint hurting relationship partners have, is a loss of closeness.
Pay attention to them or give them positive strokes, and vulnerable narcissists can act like they really value you.
But ask something of them – especially caring concern for your wants and needs, and it’s another matter entirely. They don’t know how to be close. That’s because they don’t know how to care. They can’t step outside themselves and their own wants and needs. And that means they can’t concern themselves with the needs of another. This leaves their relationship partners starving for affection.
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Written by Dr. George Simon Originally appeared on Dr. George Simon