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The four faces of narcissism: The Devaluing Narcissist

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The four faces of narcissism: The Devaluing Narcissist
The Devaluing Narcissist is a classic bully, but their behaviours say more about their feelings of inadequacy than their victims' shortcomings
Although narcissistic behaviours are predictable, people with narcissistic personality disorder are tricky to identify because they present themselves outwardly in one of four very different ways.
Expert Dr Supriya McKenna demystifies the types, today looking at the "Devaluing Narcissist". 

The telltale signs of a Devaluing Narcissist

Sheila Yates, now 68 years old, is the most longstanding member of the village choir, and she’s the undisputed queen bee. The latest unpaid conductor, a timid retired music teacher called Edmund, is justifiably scared of her, but he does his best to represent the other choir members. 
“Um, well, um, today I thought we could try that Beatles medley that we agreed on last week, so I’ve taken the liberty of making some copies, so if you’d pass them round…”
If you looked over at Sheila, you’d notice her sitting there, back erect, with her arms crossed in front of her, with barely concealed disdain across her features. You’d probably catch her rolling her eyes and shaking her head.
"She’s the undisputed queen bee"
Sheila is always flanked by her fan club, Shirley, and Mary, who will share glances with her and snigger slightly, when she requires it of them. Sheila’s not a devotee of "pop" music. 
The choir has been trying to recruit younger members for years, but they never seem to stay. Edmund was delighted when a 25-year-old soprano he used to teach turned up one day. She had the most beautiful voice—pitch perfect and clear as a bell—and there were admiring smiles all round.
But Sheila seemed unimpressed. After the tea break, she positioned herself in front of the new girl, and every time she sang she winced or shuddered, occasionally saying, just loudly enough, “Ugh…She’s flat. Can’t anyone else hear that?”
The new girl left the choir, genuinely believing that she was tone deaf (such is the power of "gaslighting").

How to recognise a Devaluing Narcissist

Devaluing narcissist mother putting down son
Sheila is a Devaluing Narcissist. She’s the sort who has to put other people down in order to feel good about herself. She has "hierarchical thinking", meaning that she places everyone on a scale, relative to her.
If someone is good at something, for Shelia, that means that she must not be good at it—an unbearable feeling for her, which she simply cannot tolerate.
Like all narcissists, Shelia has underlying low self-esteem and a feeling of inadequacy, which she must not feel.
Devaluing Narcissists construct a false persona of superiority to hide behind, as an armour. They need other people to believe in this shield of superiority, to keep it whole and strong, so that they can believe in it themselvesso it can protect them from their true feelings of shame and worthlessness. 
"Like all narcissists, Shelia has underlying low self-esteem and a feeling of inadequacy, which she must not feel"
Devaluing Narcissists are openly toxic, and attract people who side with the bully. Like all narcissists, they don’t reserve their behaviours for just their nearest and dearest, although they often bear the brunt of them.
They call people names, badmouth them, ridicule them, demean them and make them feel insecure—both behind their backs and to their faces.
When Shelia’s own daughter, an accomplished composer, was interviewed on the radio, Sheila refused to tune in, telling her that “any fool can get on the radio these days.”
When her grandson got 95 per cent in his maths exam, she asked him, “What happened to the other five per cent?” and when he got a place at Oxford, she told him that it had "gone downhill", and that Cambridge was far better (not that she had even been to university herself). 
Whatever you do, whatever hoops you try to jump through, you’ll never be enough for a Devaluing Narcissist. You could solve world poverty and end all wars, and you’ll still be criticised for being "too big for your boots". If you lose weight, you’ll "look ill and wrinkly", and if you gain weight you’ll be "asking for diabetes".
This type needs to be top of the imaginary scale in their heads, which means they’ll never truly cheerlead you. 
However, just occasionally, these narcissists will throw you off balance with a tiny "well done", to rope you back in, but be warned—their ridicule will never be far away. 

How a Devaluing Narcissist shows signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Devaluing Narcissist rolling her eyes with lack of empathy
They demonstrate all the other characteristic narcissistic behaviours too. Lovebombing at the start, which turns into control, a need to win, blame-shifting, gaslighting, low empathy, entitled and exploitative behaviour, a disregard for rules and laws, moral hypocrisy, and a constant need for attention, whether through adoration or conflict.
They’ll manipulate people and situations, and be prone to rages when things don’t go their way.
They’ll be openly or passively aggressive, claim that people are jealous of them, and project their own inadequacies on to others (accusing them of things that they themselves are doing or being).
"They’ll violate boundaries, and they’ll play the victim when required"
They’ll violate boundaries, and they’ll play the victim when required. They’ll have no deep friendships (but possibly a small fan club), they can’t recognise or care about other people’s needs or truly love them, and they’ll have a history of conflict at work.
And you can’t expect a genuine apology from any narcissist—they simply must not admit to themselves, or anyone, that they are not unique, superior and perfect, if they are to stay feeling emotionally safe. 
Dr Supriya McKenna is a bestselling author on the subject of narcissism. Her new book, The Narcissist Trap: The Mind-Bending Pull of the Great Pretenders, is out now. 
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