The Five Weak Points of a Narcissist You Should Know About

Although it may not seem like it, every narcissist has weak points. One of them is attention. The moment they're ignored and their words aren't taken into account, their imaginary pedestal is of little use to them.
The Five Weak Points of a Narcissist You Should Know About
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 November, 2021

Knowing the weak points of a narcissist can help you defend yourself. They also let you know a bit more about the psychology of these people who are extremely widespread in our society today. Publius Sirus said that “he who violates another’s honor loses his own”. However, in the case of a narcissist, until that time comes, their selfishness and bad conduct leave scars on others.

It isn’t easy to detach or distance yourself from this type of personality. Furthermore, you’re likely to find narcissists in your own family as well as any workplace. It’d be great if you could just look the other way and pretend they aren’t there. However, you can’t but fail to notice these people. That’s because this is precisely what they thrive on: attention, power, and influence.

However, there are certain dimensions of their personality that act as their Achilles heel. Knowing what they are can help you. Let’s find out about them.

A narcissist can be approached from different directions. You probably know that the best strategy is to keep your distance. However, when this isn’t possible, there are other strategies that can come to your rescue.

woman challenging the weak points of a narcissist

The weak points of a narcissist

To begin with, it’s important to take into account the fact that there are different types of narcissists. For instance, some people may possess only some nuances, traits, and associated behaviors, while others clearly suffer from the full-blown clinical condition.

Narcissistic personality disorder is estimated to have a prevalence of one percent in the population as a whole. However,  in recent years, it’s been diagnosed more frequently.

The University of Warsaw (Poland) conducted research that indicated there are two ways to classify narcissists: the grandiose and the vulnerable. Knowing this is important when dealing with them.

  • The first type (grandiose) are more aggressive. With these people, you have to be more cautious.
  • The latter type (vulnerable) tend to resort to victimhood and possess far more fragile levels of self-esteem.

The fact that there are two kinds of narcissists can be helpful as you can work out which of their weak points fits each profile.

1. “I don’t believe you.” The power of dismissal

“I don’t believe you. Give me proof of that. I just don’t believe it’s true that you’ve done so many things in your life.” If there’s one that a narcissist can’t deal with, it’s being pushed to one side and dismissed. Indeed, one of their greatest needs is to dazzle and nourish themselves with the admiration of others. Therefore showing indifference to them is a useful way to behave with them.

In addition, contradicting them in what they say can also be useful. However, exercise caution if you’re dealing with a “grandiose narcissist”.

2. “Your behavior doesn’t make sense.” Their inability to self-analyze

A very obvious weakness of the narcissist is their inability to self-reflect and self-analyze. In fact, they’re incapable of looking within to understand themselves.

They usually use a number of defense mechanisms when it comes to accepting their many insecurities. Inviting them to tell you the reason why they do this is another way to override them.

3. “You don’t have my support.” The pain of receiving a “no”

Among the weak points of a narcissist is the pain of being told “no.” As you’ve already seen, the one thing they need is to constantly be the center of attention. Furthermore, they want to be respected, admired, followed, and given power over everyone else around them.

Saying “no” whenever possible allows you not only to set boundaries. It also brings them down from their pedestal.

Narcissists always need to be the sun in the middle of the universe. For this reason, they seek to reaffirm themselves through excessive behaviors and falsehoods. Putting limits on them whenever possible, ignoring them, and undermining them are all good resources for dealing with them.

4. “I think deep down, you feel very lonely. I feel sorry for you.” Their inability to feel vulnerable

This is a simple and effective strategy for handling a narcissist. The University of Milano-Bicocca (Italy) carried out research that helps in understanding the importance of self-esteem in this personality type. Interestingly, the study concluded that, although it’s always taken for granted that these people exhibit self-esteem in an inflated and excessive way, in reality, it could be the opposite.

In fact, self-esteem is one of the weak points of a narcissist. Usually, it’s quite low. This causes them to develop multiple defenses in order to build a suit of shiny armor under which they protect themselves. Consequently, if there’s one thing they can’t tolerate, it’s accepting their vulnerability.

Therefore, something as simple as telling them that you feel sorry for them, for who they are, and how they push people away, will force them to face their Achilles heel again.

Woman talking about the needs of narcissists

5. Weaknesses of a narcissist: the fear of being alone

As well as being one of the greatest weaknesses of a narcissist, loneliness is also their greatest fear. That’s because, in order to be someone, a narcissist needs victims. They’re like predators looking for prey to feed on. Without them, they die of hunger and loneliness, as they have no one to serve as sustenance to feed their ego.

With the narcissistic personality, face-to-face confrontations and arguments aren’t worth it. In fact, when it comes to surviving in the scenarios where they live alongside you, it’s far better to know their weak points. Isolating them, undermining them, not giving them attention, and making them see that their actions have consequences and that they’ll end up alone are all effective strategies.

In conclusion, we have to assume that, whether we like it or not, this profile will always exist in our “social ecosystems”.  Therefore, it’s crucial to know how to identify these kinds of people and to set boundaries in order to escape their influence. Also important is the laying down of the correct foundations in upbringing and education. In this way, the narcissistic personality that proves so harmful to others will hopefully cease to proliferate.

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.

  • Di Pierro, R., Mattavelli, S., & Gallucci, M. (2016). Narcissistic Traits and Explicit Self-Esteem: The Moderating Role of Implicit Self-View. Frontiers in psychology7, 1815.
  • Hyatt, C. S., Sleep, C. E., Lamkin, J., Maples-Keller, J. L., Sedikides, C., Campbell, W. K., & Miller, J. D. (2018). Narcissism and self-esteem: A nomological network analysis. PloS one13(8), e0201088.
  • Rogoza R, Żemojtel-Piotrowska M, Kwiatkowska MM, Kwiatkowska K. The Bright, the Dark, and the Blue Face of Narcissism: The Spectrum of Narcissism in Its Relations to the Metatraits of Personality, Self-Esteem, and the Nomological Network of Shyness, Loneliness, and Empathy. Front Psychol. 2018 Mar 14;9:343. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00343. PMID: 29593627; PMCID: PMC5861199.
  • Zajenkowski, M., Maciantowicz, O., Szymaniak, K., & Urban, P. (2018). Vulnerable and Grandiose Narcissism Are Differentially Associated With Ability and Trait Emotional Intelligence. Frontiers in psychology9, 1606.

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