Communal Narcissist

Communal Narcissist Signs, Examples & How to Cope

Living in a society means encountering a diverse range of personalities. While most people show healthy levels of self-esteem and empathy, some individuals have a unique type of narcissism known as communal narcissism.

In this psychologyorg article, we will examine the concept of communal narcissism, its signs, and examples, and provide helpful strategies for coping with individuals who exhibit this behavior.

Introduction to Communal Narcissism

Communal narcissism is a fascinating yet often misunderstood aspect of narcissistic behavior. Unlike the traditional narcissist who seeks admiration and recognition for personal achievements or grandiosity, communal narcissists portray themselves as exceptionally caring, selfless, and altruistic individuals within their communities or social circles.

At first glance, they appear to embody qualities of generosity, self-sacrifice, and an unwavering commitment to helping others. They engage in acts of charity, volunteerism, or support, often showcasing these deeds to receive admiration and validation. However, beneath this apparent selflessness lies a deep-seated need for recognition and praise.

Their altruistic actions are not entirely driven by genuine empathy or compassion. Instead, communal narcissists subtly manipulate situations or relationships to receive acknowledgment for their supposed selfless acts. They strategically position themselves as martyrs, portraying their sacrifices or contributions as altruistic endeavors for the greater good while covertly seeking admiration and validation.

Understanding communal narcissism requires delving beyond the surface generosity. It involves recognizing how these individuals use their altruistic façade to fulfill their need for admiration and recognition, ultimately showcasing a unique and complex facet of narcissistic behavior.

Definition and Overview

A communal narcissist is an individual who displays narcissistic tendencies but focuses on presenting themselves as altruistic, self-sacrificing, and community-oriented.

They seek admiration and validation for their apparent acts of kindness and generosity, using these actions to gain recognition and admiration from others.


Communal narcissists exhibit traits typical of narcissism but channel their behavior towards portraying themselves as exceptionally giving, charitable, and selfless individuals.

They engage in acts of charity, volunteerism, or helpfulness, often in a public or visible manner, seeking acknowledgment and admiration for their apparent altruism.

While they may appear benevolent on the surface, their actions are primarily driven by the desire for admiration and validation, subtly manipulating situations to receive recognition for their seemingly selfless deeds. This behavior contrasts with the traditional narcissist who seeks admiration for personal achievements or grandiosity.

Narcissistic Abuse

Narcissistic abuse involves manipulative and controlling behaviors employed by narcissistic individuals to dominate, exploit, or emotionally harm others. It can manifest in various forms, including emotional manipulation, gaslighting, belittling, and isolation, leaving lasting psychological and emotional scars on the victims.

Communal Narcissist

Types of Narcissism

Narcissism, a personality trait characterized by a grandiose sense of self-importance, a constant need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others, manifests in various forms. Here are some types:

1. Grandiose Narcissist:

This is the classic, overt form of narcissism. Individuals exhibit an inflated view of their abilities, seek constant admiration, and often display a sense of entitlement. They might take risks to maintain their self-perceived superior image.

2. Vulnerable Narcissism:

Unlike grandiose narcissism, this type involves a more fragile self-esteem. Individuals may appear shy or reserved but have a deep need for validation. They can be hypersensitive to criticism and have difficulties regulating their emotions.

3. Communal Narcissism:

This subtype involves narcissistic behavior within a community or group. Individuals seek admiration and praise for their contributions to the group, such as charitable acts or appearing altruistic, often to maintain their self-image rather than genuine concern for others.

4. Malignant Narcissism:

This is a combination of narcissism with antisocial, paranoid, and sadistic traits. Individuals can be manipulative, and aggressive, lack empathy, and may enjoy the suffering of others.

5. Agentic Narcissism:

Agentic narcissism focuses on personal achievement, power, and dominance. Individuals prioritize their success and goals above everything else, seeking admiration for their accomplishments and displaying assertiveness in pursuing their ambitions.

6. Covert Narcissism:

Also known as closet narcissism, individuals with this subtype hide their narcissistic traits behind a facade of humility or self-effacement. They still crave attention and admiration but may be manipulated subtly or indirectly.

7. Good Deeds:

Good deeds encompass actions or behaviors that benefit others or contribute positively to society without expecting anything in return. They can include acts of kindness, charity, volunteering, or helping others selflessly.

Signs of Communal Narcissism

Altruistic Displays

Communal narcissists frequently engage in public displays of altruism and charity work. They actively seek opportunities to showcase their supposed selflessness, often involving themselves in high-profile charity events or taking on leadership roles within volunteer organizations.

Emotional Manipulation

One hallmark of communal narcissists is their ability to manipulate emotions to their advantage. They are adept at using guilt or emotional appeals to maintain control over others and ensure their continued admiration.

Attention-Seeking Behavior

Communal narcissists crave constant attention and recognition for their efforts. They frequently share their philanthropic efforts on social media platforms or in social gatherings, seeking praise and validation from others.

Sense of Superiority

Underneath their altruistic façade, communal narcissists have a deep sense of superiority. They believe they are inherently better than others due to their supposed selflessness, and they may exhibit condescending behavior towards those they perceive as less charitable.

Examples of Communal Narcissism

Case Study 1: The Social Media Influencer

Sarah, a popular social media influencer, actively promotes charitable causes on her platforms. While her followers perceive her as selfless, her primary motivation lies in gaining more followers and increasing her online presence. Sarah’s acts of charity are carefully curated to maintain her image and secure more lucrative brand partnerships.

Case Study 2: The Volunteer Organization Leader

John, a leader in a volunteer organization, is highly admired by his team members. However, behind the scenes, John manipulates situations to ensure he is always at the center of attention. He often takes credit for the group’s accomplishments while downplaying the contributions of others.

Case Study 3: The Charismatic Politician

Alex, a charismatic politician, presents themselves as a champion for the underprivileged. While they advocate for social causes publicly, their true intentions lie in furthering their political career and gaining power. Alex’s altruistic acts are carefully calculated to win the favor of voters and secure political support.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a mental health condition characterized by a pattern of exaggerated self-importance, a constant need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others. Individuals with NPD often have an inflated sense of their abilities, achievements, or importance. Some key aspects of NPD include:

  1. Grandiosity: People with NPD usually have an excessive sense of self-priority. They might exaggerate their achievements, talents, or abilities and expect constant praise and admiration.
  2. Need for Admiration: Individuals with NPD constantly seek admiration and validation from others. They may fish for compliments, boast about their accomplishments, and feel entitled to special treatment.
  3. Lack of Empathy: There’s a notable lack of empathy towards the feelings and needs of others. They might disregard or belittle the feelings of others, viewing them as inferior.
  4. Sense of Entitlement: They often have a strong sense of entitlement, expecting special treatment and becoming angry or upset when they don’t receive it.
  5. Fragile Self-Esteem: Despite outward confidence, individuals with NPD may have fragile self-esteem and can be easily hurt or offended by criticism or perceived slights.
  6. Manipulative Behavior: They may use manipulation or exploitation to achieve their own goals, often taking advantage of others without remorse.

Coping with Communal Narcissists

Setting Boundaries

When dealing with communal narcissists, it is essential to establish clear boundaries. Communicate your limits and expectations, and avoid enabling their attention-seeking behavior by refusing to engage in excessive praise or validation.

Assertive Communication

Practice assertive communication techniques to express your needs and concerns effectively. Be direct and respectful when addressing issues related to the communal narcissist’s behavior, emphasizing how their actions impact you or others.

Developing a Support Network

Seek support from trusted friends, family members, or support groups who can provide guidance and validation. Having a network of individuals who understand the dynamics of communal narcissism can be instrumental in coping with the challenges it presents.

Self-care and Emotional Well-being

Prioritize self-care and focus on maintaining your emotional well-being. Engage in activities that bring you joy, practice mindfulness or meditation, and seek professional help if necessary. Taking care of yourself will strengthen your resilience and ability to cope with communal narcissistic individuals.

Communal Narcissist


Communal narcissism is a unique form of narcissism characterized by individuals who present themselves as selfless and altruistic while seeking admiration and validation from others. You can better understand and cope with these individuals by recognizing the signs and examples of communal narcissism. Setting boundaries, practicing assertive communication, developing a support network, and prioritizing self-care are effective strategies for navigating relationships with communal narcissists.

Read Also: Acceptance & Commitment Therapy Techniques Psychologyorg


Can communal narcissists genuinely care about others?

While collective narcissists may display acts of kindness and charity, their primary motivation is often centered around gaining admiration and validation rather than genuine care for others.

How can I protect myself from the manipulative tactics of communal narcissists?

Setting clear boundaries, practicing assertive communication, and seeking support from a trusted network can help protect yourself from the manipulative tactics of communal egocentrics.

Is communal narcissism a diagnosable mental health disorder?

Communal narcissism is not currently recognized as a separate diagnosable mental health disorder. However, it falls within the broader category of narcissistic personality traits.

How do you identify a communal narcissist?

Communal egoists often exhibit behaviors like exaggerated generosity for recognition, a need for admiration within a group, promoting their contributions, and seeking validation for their altruistic acts.

Do communal narcissists have empathy?

Collective narcissists might display empathy selectively, often when it serves their image or agenda. However, their empathy tends to be more focused on receiving admiration for their supposed altruism rather than genuine concern for others’ well-being.

What is a communal personality?

A communal personality typically refers to someone who values and prioritizes the well-being of the community or group. However, in communal narcissism, this term might be used to describe individuals who appear altruistic but do so primarily for personal recognition or praise.

What is an example of communal narcissism?

An example could be a community leader who constantly engages in charitable activities for public recognition rather than genuinely wanting to help. They may seek admiration and praise for their contributions to the community, using these actions to maintain a favorable public image.

How do you test if he’s a narcissist?

Several tests and assessments, such as the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) or the Dark Triad personality traits test, can help identify narcissistic traits in individuals. However, it’s essential to consider consulting a mental health professional for a proper diagnosis as these tests are not definitive and require expertise to interpret accurately.

If you want to read more articles similar to Communal Narcissist: Signs, Examples & How to Cope, we recommend entering our Psychology category.

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