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8 Traits Of A Vulnerable Narcissist

Author: Florida Women's Law Group
Date: Jan 17 2022

8 Traits of a Vulnerable Narcissist

The grandiose narcissist is what most people think of when they think of a narcissism.  Someone that is confident, needs to be the center of attention, lacks empathy and projects an image of perfection is what most people think of when it comes to narcissism.  There is a harder to spot, covert version referred to as the vulnerable narcissist.

A vulnerable narcissist has the same underlying traits as the grandiose, need for admiration, lacks empathy and never accepts blame, however, they are more under the radar with how they project themselves.  They are the wolf in sheep’s clothing.  A covert narcissist is usually shy, introverted, insecure, self-conscious, and sensitive.  Nothing like a grandiose narcissist yet motivated by the same things.  Here we list 8 traits of a vulnerable narcissist.

Introverted Personality

The vulnerable narcissist comes across as introverted and shy.  They tend to avoid social situations and large groups.  They are self-absorbed and have a fear of not meeting people’s expectations, so they just avoid socializing to avoid the risk.  If there is no benefit to a situation, they see no reason to engage.

Always the Victim

They wallow in victimhood.  They love for people to feel sorry for them and give them pity which is completely opposite from the grandiose.  Their struggle is always worse than anyone else’s.  You may be initially drawn to them because you feel sorry for them, and you want to save them from all their problems.  It quickly begins to lose its charm though when they are constantly the victim and never take any responsibility for their own actions.  Their pain is always someone else’s fault, and they often blame their victimhood as the reason they are not more successful or didn’t get what they deserved.

Hypersensitive to Criticism

No one likes to be criticized but a vulnerable narcissist takes it to a whole different level.  They are extremely self-absorbed and sensitive and if they are criticized in anyway, they take it hard.  They will turn in on themselves, feel humiliated and become angry.  They feel rejected and full of shame at any slight. Their fragile ego makes it so you are constantly reassuring them and building them up.

Low Self-Esteem

The vulnerable narcissist is not like their grandiose counterpart and boasts of their accomplishments and successes.  They are the opposite and will put themselves down and not seek the limelight but still thrive on praise and acknowledgement.  They put themselves down so that others will reassure and compliment them.  They will usually only perform a task or take a job that will be noticed by others.  If they are not receiving the praise and attention they seek they will subtly hint at what they have done to get acknowledgement and accolades.  They are self-promoters but in a subtle fashion.

Envious of Others

A vulnerable narcissist is extremely envious of what other people have, especially if they feel that they are the ones that truly deserve it.  They may not be as open with their envious feelings, but they will be bitter and angry towards someone they think has more.

Worried About Self-Image

Vulnerable narcissists tend to be highly neurotic and worry incessantly about what other’s think of them and how they are perceived.  Whatever they deem as important from looks, to money, relationships, job or social status, they worry about how they look in the eyes of others.  They are very self-centered and focus solely on themselves with little regard for anyone else, unless of course they make them look better.


Because of their fragile egos and low self-esteem, a vulnerable narcissist will rarely confront you directly.  They are much more passive-aggressive in dealing their critical blows.  They are more likely to give a backhanded compliment or offer friendly advice that is insulting or critical of you.  At work they will not take on tasks that they feel are beneath them.  They are masters of blaming and shaming others to boost their own importance.  They will ignore the feelings and needs of others and often use guilt as a form of manipulation.

Fantasies of Grandeur

Like all narcissists, the vulnerable think they are smarter, better looking and just overall superior to everyone else.  They have an inner narrative and fantasy where everyone sees them as the superior person they are and acknowledges their specialness, intelligence and attractiveness.

A vulnerable narcissist is more subtle than the grandiose narcissist and that’s what makes them more dangerous.  They are harder to spot but still carry the traditional narcissist traits of being self-centered, lacking empathy and showing little regard for anyone else or their emotions.  Everyone is a tool for them and if they feel they don’t receive a benefit from the relationship they will cut it off.  Due to their extreme emotionally sensitivity they are easily angered and show bouts of rage and hostility.  They will hold a grudge and slowly seek revenge on those they feel have wronged them.

There is a way to successfully get out of a marriage to a narcissist.  The most important step is to have a plan.  It is not easy to divorce a narcissist but with proper planning it can be done.  At Florida Women’s Law Group, we have experience dealing with narcissists and know how to beat them at their own game.  We can help you successfully get out of this relationship and start a healthier and happier life.

Florida Women’s Law Group