Written by:
Amina Javed

People having narcissistic personality have need to look good and it is considered to be main feature of their profile. However, looking good is by different ways, one is physically looking good and other is being prominent in everything they are working on. One of the key strategy of the narcissistic patients is to appear assertive as much possible. Recent study published by the University of Alabama’s William Hart and colleagues (2017) explicitly showed that people with narcissistic personality tend to promote themselves as being assertive.  It is helpful to keep in mind that there are two types of narcissism. One is vulnerable narcissism, in which person feel highly insufficient oh himself and try to get attention and approval to authenticate and increase their feeble self-image.


Amina Javed is working as Clinical Psychologist at Willing Ways, Lahore. In 2015, she completed her MS in clinical psychology, from Centre Clinical Psychology, University of the Punjab, Lahore. In 2013, she did her BS in Clinical Psychology, University of the Punjab, Lahore.

Editor: Haroon Christy


The other one is grandiose narcissism, individuals have an inflated sense of self and believe that they can do anything either right or wrong. They have this feeling that they are specially designed to have certain esteemed favors and react aggressively and tried to be punitive to others, who deprive them off their desires and take off the attention that they think they deserve from others. It is being discussed that both kind of narcissism originate from childhood experiences especially early childhood. It is theorized that they are being treated harshly or being punished by their parents and it ultimately affect their later personality.

According to this theory or argument, when to try to peel off this grandiose narcissist personality from the surface, you will see a weak inner, threatened and asking for approval from others, as their feeling were being invalidated many times and they were disapproved many times at younger age. Understanding the difference between two types of narcissism helps to distinct that how people try to seek attention from others. A study showed that these two forms of personality used 12 different tactics to present themselves.

Hart and his team proposed that when our self-image is under threat, at that time we try to defend ourselves. People with grandiose narcissism feels threatened when someone makes them feel that they are looking bad, they will avoid the situation or will become overly anxious to overcome that threatened situation. Such people respond more than others to provided opportunities and take the advantage of the given chance than anyone else. They outshine and show their powers on others and tend to plant the image of themselves what is usually called as “assertive”, they use such tactics which are like privileged, bullying, criticizing, and being flattering” such people don’t say sorry even when they are proved wrong but they will justify their behavior Infact they will justify their response as their strength and positive quality.

While vulnerable narcissists are quite different from grandiose narcissist. They have love self-esteem, they need someone around them, vulnerable to toxic shame, easily get anxious, stick to other people and are afraid of rejection from others. Such individuals when feel threatened they become defensive rather than being assertive. They will try to rationalize their behaviors, show denial and handicap themselves by saying that they were actually not trying hard that’s why they lost the game.  They also avoid saying sorry because that makes them feel weaker. Instead they try to be in victim role and seek attention and sympathy from others to gain the approval from others.