Understanding the Arrogant Narcissist: Unmasking the True Nature of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

At The Nurturing Coach, we strive to provide a comprehensive understanding of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).  Today we are focusing on the “Arrogant Narcissist” or what some experts refer to as the “Overt Narcissist.” Our aim is to offer a nuanced perspective, exploring the grandiosity, behaviour patterns, and relational challenges associated with this specific presentation of NPD.

Unveiling the Grandiosity

One prominent feature of the Arrogant Narcissist lies in their pronounced sense of grandiosity. Such individuals often find themselves preoccupied with vivid fantasies centred around personal attractiveness, power, wealth, and success. They harbour a deep-rooted belief in their own superiority and uniqueness, which permeates their thoughts, behaviours, and interactions with others. Their tendency toward boastful, pretentious, and self-centred behaviour becomes a defining characteristic, showcasing their need for constant validation and recognition.

The Elusive Pursuit of Relationships

In this variant of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, individuals frequently struggle to establish and maintain healthy, meaningful, and enduring relationships. Their primary view of others revolves around fulfilling their own needs and elevating their sense of self-importance. The pathologically narcissistic individual perceives those around them as mere tools to satisfy personal desires or bolster their self-worth. Regrettably, they often overlook the reciprocal needs of others, leading to subtle or overt exploitation and manipulation within relationships.

The Relentless Quest for Admiration

Admiration holds paramount significance for individuals with NPD, particularly those with an Arrogant Narcissistic presentation. They actively seek out situations and contexts that can gratify their need for admiration. They expect to be treated with unwavering respect, deference, and admiration by those around them. However, when their expectations are not met, they often react with surprise, hurt, or even rage. This hypersensitivity to perceived slights or lack of admiration further highlights their fragile self-esteem and their profound reliance on external validation.

Exploitation and Manipulation: A Distorted Perspective

The Arrogant Narcissist’s distorted perception of relationships is evident in their exploitative and manipulative tendencies. They view others solely as instruments to serve their own needs and rarely pause to consider the reciprocal needs of those they interact with. Whether through subtle passive-aggressive manoeuvres or overt displays of manipulation, they consistently prioritise their own agenda, often at the expense of others. This self-centred approach, combined with condescension, haughtiness, and a patronising demeanour, further reinforces their sense of superiority.

The Paradoxical Struggle with Envy and Worthlessness

Ironically, despite harbouring feelings of envy toward others, including jealousy towards their talents, accomplishments, and possessions, the Arrogant Narcissist frequently professes a belief that it is others who envy them. They react with suspicion and intense rage upon perceiving envy from others. This paradoxical dynamic highlights the internal struggle faced by these individuals. Behind their façade of grandiosity and arrogance lies an underlying sense of worthlessness, emptiness, meaninglessness, hollowness, and futility. These emotions, though often hidden, contribute to their fragile self-image and can manifest in various ways.

The Mask of Composure: Concealing Vulnerabilities

When faced with defeat, criticism, or contradiction, the Arrogant Narcissist experiences strong negative emotions. However, they often strive to appear composed and unaffected, seeking to maintain an image of invulnerability. They may dismiss and minimise criticism or retaliate with verbal attacks and vengeful actions. In more severe cases, they may succumb to episodes of depression, psychosomatic reactions, substance abuse, or even contemplate suicide. Behind their seemingly impenetrable facade lies a fragile ego, easily wounded by any perceived threats to their self-worth.

Contrasting Arrogant/Overt and Shy/Covert Narcissism

To gain a more comprehensive understanding of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, it is crucial to compare and contrast the Arrogant/Overt Narcissist with the Shy/Covert Narcissist. While the former exhibits an overt display of grandiosity, arrogance, and exploitative behaviour, the latter adopts a more introverted and covert approach. Exploring the nuances and distinctions between these presentations enables a deeper understanding of the broad spectrum of NPD and its multifaceted impact on individuals.

In conclusion, the Arrogant Narcissist represents a unique manifestation of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, characterised by grandiosity, exploitation, manipulation, and a relentless need for admiration.

Understanding the complexities of this presentation allows us to navigate the intricate dynamics of relationships involving individuals with NPD. By promoting awareness, empathy, and further research, we can facilitate a more compassionate and informed approach to supporting those affected by this challenging personality disorder.

Click [here] for a comparison chart outlining the features of the different types of Narcissism.


Ronningstam, E. (1999). Overcoming narcissist abuse: Narcissism, narcissistic personality disorder, & borderline personality disorder facts, information, support, coaching, and healing for survivors and victims. Psychology Today.

Wink, P. (1998). Narcissism and the dimensions of entitlement: A construct validation study. Journal of Personality Assessment, 71(1), 5-21.

Cooper, A. M. (1998). Further developments in the clinical diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder. In E. F. Ronningstam (Ed.), Disorders of narcissism: Diagnostic, clinical, and empirical implications (pp. 53-74). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.


Note: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment. If you suspect that you or someone you know may be experiencing symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder or any other mental health condition, we recommend consulting with a qualified mental health professional for an accurate assessment and appropriate support.

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  1. Question: What are the key characteristics that differentiate the Arrogant Narcissist from other types of narcissists?
    Answer: The Arrogant Narcissist, also known as the Overt Narcissist, displays a pronounced sense of grandiosity, a constant need for admiration, and a tendency to exploit and manipulate others. Their behavior is characterized by overt displays of superiority, while other narcissistic presentations may be more introverted or covert in nature.

  2. Question: Can individuals with Arrogant Narcissistic presentation form genuine and lasting relationships?
    Answer: Establishing and maintaining healthy relationships can be challenging for individuals with Arrogant Narcissistic presentation. Their self-centeredness and tendency to exploit others make it difficult for them to engage in reciprocal and meaningful connections. However, with self-awareness and therapy, some individuals may develop healthier relationship patterns over time.

  3. Question: How can one differentiate between genuine self-confidence and the grandiosity displayed by Arrogant Narcissists?
    Answer: Genuine self-confidence is based on realistic self-appraisal and a balanced sense of self-worth. In contrast, the grandiosity exhibited by Arrogant Narcissists is excessive and often disconnected from reality. They constantly seek external validation, disregard others’ needs, and display a sense of entitlement, setting them apart from individuals with healthy self-confidence.

  4. Question: Can Arrogant Narcissists experience feelings of worthlessness and emptiness?
    Answer: Despite their outward display of grandiosity, Arrogant Narcissists often struggle with underlying feelings of worthlessness, emptiness, and futility. These emotions contribute to their fragile self-image and may lead to paradoxical dynamics, such as envy towards others while believing that others envy them.

  5. Question: How can one approach relationships with Arrogant Narcissists while preserving their own well-being?
    Answer: Interacting with Arrogant Narcissists requires setting clear boundaries and prioritising self-care. It’s important to recognise that their behaviour stems from their own insecurities and not to take their actions personally. Seeking support from therapists or support groups can provide guidance on effective communication strategies and coping mechanisms.