Chances are high you’ve met a narcissist. Somebody who thinks they’re higher than everybody else, dominates the dialog and loves the limelight. However scientists are more and more realising that not all narcissists are the identical – some are, the truth is, extraordinarily insecure.
In our new paper, printed in Persona and Social Psychology Bulletin, we describe the distinct sorts – and what motivates them.
In classical Greek mythology, the hunter Narcissus was the son of the river god Cephissus and the nymph Liriope. He was identified for his distinctive magnificence and physique. At some point when Narcissus was strolling within the forest, the attractive nymph Echo noticed him and fell in love with him. Nonetheless, he rejected her affections, leaving her heartbroken.
As a punishment, Nemesis, the goddess of revenge, lured him to a pool of water the place he encountered his personal reflection for the primary time. Narcissus fell in love together with his reflection, and, finally realising that his love couldn’t be reciprocated, pined away to his demise.
The parable of Narcissus warns us of the risks of extreme self-love, self-absorption and lack of empathy for others. It has had a profound affect on western tradition, artwork and literature.
Narcissism can also be a well-liked subject in psychology. The English doctor Havelock Ellis first recognized narcissism as a psychological dysfunction within the late nineteenth century. Sigmund Freud thought of narcissism to be a traditional half of a kid’s growth, however argued that it might turn out to be a dysfunction if it persevered after puberty into maturity.
In fashionable psychology, narcissism is normally conceptualised as a character trait, which lies on a spectrum. Some persons are extra narcissistic, others much less so. Narcissism sometimes includes an inflated view of oneself, a way of superiority and entitlement and a scarcity of concern for others. The above portrait of a narcissist is a well-recognized one. But it surely isn’t the one one.
Grandiose versus weak
In our analysis, we investigated two sorts of beforehand recognized narcissism: grandiose and weak. Grandiose narcissists are conceited, dominant and extroverted. They have a tendency to have excessive shallowness, be daring and assertive and really feel pleased and assured about their lives.
Weak narcissists, then again, are withdrawn, neurotic and insecure. They have a tendency to have low shallowness, be hypersensitive and really feel anxious and depressed. Nonetheless, these two sorts of narcissists even have one thing in frequent. Each are egocentric, really feel entitled to particular remedy and privileges and relate to others in antagonistic methods.
You may have the ability to recognise the 2 sorts of narcissists by how they behave in social conditions. Grandiose narcissists are socially competent. They’re prone to be dominant and charming. Weak narcissists, then again, are much less socially expert. They’re prone to be shy and anxious in social conditions. What’s extra, whereas grandiose narcissists are forthright and assertive in pursuing of their objectives, in search of to maximise success, weak narcissists are timid and defensive, in search of to minimise failure.
In our analysis, we examined the social motives and perceptions of each grandiose and weak narcissists. Specifically, we investigated their wishes to achieve social standing and social inclusion. We additionally checked out whether or not they felt they’d been profitable in achieving social standing and social inclusion.
Social standing refers to being revered and admired by others. It includes standing out and being seen as an necessary particular person within the social hierarchy. In distinction, social inclusion refers to being appreciated and accepted by others. It includes becoming in effectively with others as a part of the social neighborhood.
Any given particular person might have or want each standing and inclusion, solely one of many two, or neither. For instance, within the TV present The Simpsons, the character of Mr Burns has excessive standing however just isn’t significantly appreciated and accepted, whereas the character of Homer Simpson is effectively appreciated and accepted however doesn’t have excessive standing.
We performed two research, recruiting 676 adults primarily based in the USA. We assessed their ranges of each grandiose and weak narcissism. We additionally assessed the extent to which they desired standing and inclusion in addition to the extent to which they felt they’d attained their objectives.
We discovered that each grandiose and weak narcissists strongly desired social standing. Apparently, whereas grandiose narcissists felt they have been profitable in achieving this standing, weak narcissists felt they didn’t get the standing they deserved.
What’s extra, grandiose narcissists didn’t really feel they’d attained social inclusion however didn’t significantly want it both. In distinction, weak narcissists additionally didn’t really feel they’d attained social inclusion however strongly desired it. Grandiose narcissists subsequently felt they’d met their social objectives, however weak narcissists didn’t.
Each sorts of narcissists crave the respect and admiration of others. However whereas grandiose narcissists could also be stars on the interpersonal stage, triumphantly capturing the highlight, their weak counterpart could also be a bit participant lurking on the sidelines, resentfully in search of, however failing to acquire, the applause they crave.