An Altruistic Narcissist is a type of narcissist who gets their ego stroked from appearing kind, good and caring, but they only do so to get the praise and validation that comes from being seen as a good and caring person. Everything they do is for show. They often give money they don't have and gifts they can't afford. If their charitable acts are denied, they often become angry and enraged. Altruistic narcissists may volunteer a lot, be leaders of a spiritual group, or work in a position that is seen as caring, such as a teacher, nurse, doctor, counselor, social worker, director of a non-profit, etc. However, those who know them best realize that there are always strings attached to their acts of kindness, and they are better off not accepting any help from them. These acts of kindness are held over their head and expected to be repaid ten-fold, or they are used to lure people in so they can be exploited. An altruistic narcissist's behavior tends to come across as confusing because, on the one hand, the narcissist is so charitable and considerate and seems to care so deeply. Still, their emotions seem shallow and insincere, and their actions seem like they are for show.
Examples of an Altruistic Narcissist
For the past three years in a row, Traci has won the company award for the most volunteer hours given to their designated charity. At every event, Traci makes sure to take lots of pictures of herself helping and posts them all over her various social media accounts. She places volunteering and the needs of strangers over the needs of her children and husband. Her children and husband are resentful at how much time she spends helping others and all the accolades she gets. At home, she is either cruel and callous or simply emotionally unavailable. She'd rather be seen as kind and compassionate by total strangers than loving towards, or loved by, her family.
James is a handsome and charismatic pastor of a local church, married, with two adult children and several foster children. He has the kind of personality men admire, and women adore. He shovels snow during the winter for elderly parishioners, plays Santa during Christmas, volunteers at the local food bank, and builds houses for the poor. His adult children struggle with what to think of their father, as on the one hand, he seems so loving and compassionate to others. On the other, he has been emotionally and physically unavailable, hurtful, and cruel to both them and their mother. Over the years, they've grown tired of hearing about their father being such a wonderful man when he is very different behind closed doors.