– Emily Levine
Narcissism is often spoken of as elevated and sometimes detrimental self-involvement. But it’s not just a personality type that shows up in advice columns; it’s actually a set of traits classified and studied by psychologists. The psychological definition of narcissism is an inflated, grandiose self-image: to varying degrees, narcissists think they’re better looking, smarter, and more important than other people, and that they deserve special treatment.
Psychologists recognise two forms of narcissism as a personality trait: grandiose and vulnerable narcissism. ‘Grandiose narcissism’ is the most familiar kind, characterized by extraversion, dominance, and attention-seeking. Grandiose narcissists pursue attention and power, sometimes as politicians, celebrities or cultural leaders. Of course, not everyone who pursues these positions of power is narcissistic. Many do it for very positive reasons like reaching their full potential or helping make people’s lives better. But narcissistic individuals seek power for the status and attention that goes with it. Meanwhile, vulnerable narcissists can be quiet and reserved; they have a strong sense of entitlement but are easily threatened or slighted.
– W. Keith Campbell , The Psychology of Narcissism