Kind Narcissists, Camouflaged Selfishness

Narcissists usually employ kindness and generosity when you first meet them. They trick you into gaining your trust. However, eventually, they reveal their true identity.
Kind Narcissists, Camouflaged Selfishness
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 November, 2021

Kind narcissists are hard to identify. That’s because you don’t see them coming. Furthermore, you might well take it for granted that the person you just met is the most caring, thoughtful, and considerate person in the world. However, little by little, they reveal their other face. That dark side, where the most devious selfishness and darkest personality dwell.

In recent years the term “narcissist” has become extremely popular. However, we should be careful not to use this label in an arbitrary way. For example, a narcissist isn’t someone who simply takes a lot of selfies or permanently seeks attention.

As a matter of fact, narcissistic personality disorder defines an emotionally abusive profile that guides the behavior of the individual towards manipulation. Lack of empathy, grandiosity, inability to establish deep social ties, and an obsessive search for validation of others are the traits that define them. Furthermore, each narcissist uses their own techniques to get what they want.

For instance, some exhibit openly malicious behavior. On the other hand, others are more devious and use kindness to profit. Let’s take a look.

There are narcissistic friends, parents, partners, bosses, and colleagues. Indeed, this trait may be present in any person. Furthermore, it manifests itself in ways that are both camouflaged and insidious.

kind narcissist congratulating partner

Kind narcissists

Kind narcissists are in disguise. They’ll appear to be, for example, a nice guy or a charming and attentive woman. In addition, they often seem to be extremely trustworthy and usually enjoy social success. However, behind this facade hides the classic narcissist. It’s only their manners and techniques that are different. This is what proves to be so contradictory when you first meet them. Because you simply don’t notice that they’re a narcissist, as they don’t raise any suspicions in you at all.

Bearing this in mind, you probably think that the narcissistic typology is rather broad and that’s why it’s so difficult to recognize them. However, this isn’t entirely true. As a matter of fact, the University of Pittsburgh (USA) conducted research that suggested we shouldn’t think about types or subtypes of narcissists, but rather about a disorder that falls within a spectrum.

Therefore, some personalities are problematic, while others manage to integrate pretty well. In addition, each one uses their own strategies, and both kindness and altruistic behavior may be included in their repertoire.

Defining characteristics

Kind narcissists are the kinds of people who, at the beginning, of a relationship, will move heaven and earth to please their partners. They’re always attentive and considerate. However, over time, the situation takes a complete turn for the worse.

In fact, eventually, they don’t move a muscle for their partner. Furthermore, it’s only their own immediate needs that matter. However, the most complex thing is that outsiders will continue to see the narcissist as an outstanding person who’s admired by everyone.

This personality profile also arises in people who take care of relatives whenever there’s a clear benefit for them, like an inheritance. It’s also commonly seen in work environments. It defines the kinds of colleagues who are always willing to help, yet who, at any given time, can work against you in multiple ways. They do it to get noticed or achieve some particular benefit to their advantage.

Kindness as a decoy

Narcissists don’t only appear to be nice. They actually assume they really are. Furthermore, you won’t see the narcissistic personality as hostile or threatening when they first appear on the horizon. Indeed, it’s really not easy to identify them at the beginning. That’s because they’re generally so charming.

Narcissists are viewed in this way because they need to create a good internal narrative about themselves. In fact, if there’s one trait they all share, it’s low self-esteem. This makes them build an artificial image of themselves with which to support and validate themselves. Likewise, the kind narcissist knows that by acting in a prosocial and altruistic manner, he earns everyone’s trust.

Kind narcissists deceive with their discreet behavior. They don’t seek to be the center of attention. In fact, they earn the trust of others little by little, which they then later use to their advantage.

Boy thinking his coworker is a kind narcissist

The discreet and generous narcissist is just as dangerous as any other

There are narcissists who are wolves in wolf’s clothing and narcissists who are wolves in sheep’s clothing. The former are loud, impressive, and attention-seeking. They’re also outgoing, charismatic, and attractive and they manage to be the center of attention in any circumstances. The second kind demonstrate other types of behavior. Kind narcissists fall into this category. They’re discreet and less conspicuous.

As a matter of fact, this is their great asset. It allows them to skillfully make emotional conquests and climb the career ladder at work.

Authentic kindness starts from a genuine sense of empathy and altruism. Nothing is sought in return. The mere fact of acting out of goodness already acts as a benefit. However, this is something that narcissists can neither understand nor feel.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.