(or Grandiose Narcissist)
By Dana Morningstar
This type of narcissist is more obvious, and tends to be a textbook example of what most people expect a narcissist to be. Overt narcissists are usually grandiose, arrogant, overly-confident and self-assured, obnoxious, and charismatic. They do not seek approval, fear rejection, or show emotion like vulnerable narcissists do. If they are rejected or insulted, they don’t crumble like a vulnerable narcissist does—instead they go on the attack, and they don’t stop until they’ve sufficiently ground down their “opponent” for not treating them with the admiration and respect they feel they so rightfully deserve. Grandiose narcissists don’t need the support and reassurance of others, like vulnerable narcissists do. It’s thought that grandiose narcissists aren’t compensating for a lack of self-esteem, but more so that their inflated sense of self comes from being spoiled and/or from their parents telling them how special, amazing, and talented they were, without balancing that with proper discipline and a more realistic view of themselves and their shortcomings.
All overt narcissists are delusional and grandiose to some extent; however, some are delusional to an extreme. Those at the far end of the spectrum tend to think they have special abilities or powers, such as the ability to time travel, that they are a prophet or God, the reincarnation of a deity or of a famous person from history, a direct connection to extra-terrestrials, the salvation of the human race, or have extra-sensory abilities or powers. They may even claim to have been subjected to persecution of some sort due to their special status and powers (such as kidnapping, torture, alien abduction, or ritualistic cult abuse), although they are unable to prove any of these claims. Cult leaders would fall under this category. Most delusional narcissists tend to be overt narcissists, but many can have covert features as well—crumbling emotionally and needing a lot of reassurance if their delusions are questioned or are not taken seriously by others.
Example: Charlotte’s popularity in certain “spiritual” and supernatural circles was growing. She was intelligent, beautiful, and very convincing. A large part of her appeal was that she claimed to be a psychic, as well as having a host of other super-natural abilities such as teleportation, clairaudience, and clairsentience. She had other grandiose and delusional claims, such as stating she was the reincarnation of Cleopatra and had been the target of government programs and a satanic cult due to her superhuman powers. She had thousands of followers who had turned over large sums of money to help support her spiritual mission of cleaning their energetic vibrations so that their souls could travel back to the star system from which they all originated.
Example: Jerry, the top-selling agent in a real-estate firm, had married the office secretary, Tina, close to ten years ago. When Tina first met Jerry, she was drawn to how confident, outgoing, and self-assured he was. However, many other people (including most of his coworkers) thought Jerry was an arrogant, pompous, obnoxious jerk who was difficult to be around for any length of time. These ten years have been an emotional roller coaster, with Jerry’s numerous affairs, alcohol, and poor money management peppered with promises of change that never lasted for long. However, in Tina’s mind, she took a certain degree of comfort in thinking that Jerry would always stay with her, as they’d gone through so much together (when really he’d put her through so much). When Tina developed cancer, Jerry told her he couldn’t handle the stress, and he moved out. Tina then realized that her relationship with Jerry would forever be one-sided, and that he did not have the emotional capacity or desire to care for her or her needs.
Dana Morningstar is a former psychiatric nurse turned domestic violence educator who specializes in abuse awareness and prevention. Her passion is working with survivors of abuse to reclaim and rebuild their self-esteem, boundaries, confidence, and identity. She is an author of multiple books on the subject, and also has a blog, podcast, and YouTube channel, as well as several online support groups, all of which you can find under the name “Thrive After Abuse.”