Vulnerable Narcissism? Yes, It’s a thing!
Grandiose, in-your-face, loud, aggressive and cold-hearted narcissism is what comes to mind when we think of narcissists. But there is another kind of narcissism called “vulnerable narcissism”.
According to Psychology Today, a vulnerable narcissist also known as “covert narcissist” or “inverted narcissist” is a co-dependent who uses their vulnerability as bait to lure in unsuspecting ‘victims’, then smoother them with demands for attention (which they feel entitled to), sulking or the silent treatment, complaining and whining.
Vulnerable narcissist come across as hypersensitive, quiet and reserved, but just like grandiose narcissists, they too are selfish, self-absorbed, manipulative, entitled, cold-hearted, have an inflated self-image and yes, turn to social media to stroke their ego.
A study, published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, found that social media sites like Facebook or Instagram offer a platform for vulnerable narcissists to promote an image of perfection while pursuing the admiration of others. Using social media is a safer bet than attracting attention in more direct ways.
This is why I advice against reading too much into what your ex posts on social media. The ‘message’ may not be about you or to you, but about them trying to attract attention in indirect ways. When you take it “personally” and respond to their “indirect messages”, you only help to stroke their ego and sense of grandiosity (they are just so “amazing” that you can’t stay away from them).
In my article: 10 Signs Your Ex Does NOT Want You Back, I list using Facebook as the only form of contact as a sign that your ex does not want you back, but likes having you around because it makes him or her feel good about him/herself. In the initial stages, it may be necessary to use Facebook to open the lines of communication, especially if that’s the only medium of communication your ex responds to. But that should last 1 – 3 weeks maximum. If after 3 -4 weeks, you are still unable to get your ex to a more “intimate” form of contact, you may want to rethink trying to get them back.
You may be nothing but just one of the many “followers” or “likes” stroking your ex’s ego. It’s hurts their narcissistic personality to lose even one ‘follower’ or ‘like’, and will do whatever they can to keep you around.