The Most Sinister Trait of the Fragile Narcissist.

Sherile Turner-Myles
7 min readMay 9

Fragile narcissism is a subtype of narcissism marked by a deep sense of insecurity and vulnerability, often masked by a grandiose exterior.

Photo by Malcolm Lightbody on Unsplash

One of the most sinister traits associated with fragile narcissism is their extreme sensitivity to criticism or perceived threats to their self-esteem. This sensitivity can lead them to react in hostile and defensive ways, even to minor or constructive feedback. They may become enraged or vengeful towards those they perceive as a threat to their inflated self-image and go to great lengths to protect their fragile sense of self.

This trait can be particularly dangerous when the fragile narcissist holds a position of power, such as in the workplace or a personal relationship. Their extreme sensitivity to criticism can lead them to lash out at others, undermine their colleagues or partners, and engage in manipulative and abusive behaviours to maintain their power and control.

It is important to note that not all narcissists are fragile, and not all fragile individuals are narcissistic. However, when these traits are combined, it can create a highly toxic and destructive personality type that can cause significant harm to those around them, leading to various destructive behaviours.

Defensive reactions:

Defensive reactions are one of the most common behaviours exhibited by fragile narcissists when their self-image is threatened. When faced with criticism or negative feedback, they may become hostile, angry, or dismissive in an attempt to protect their sense of self-worth. This behaviour can be particularly damaging in personal or professional relationships, where open communication and feedback are important for growth and development.

Work: imagine a fragile narcissistic manager who receives feedback from a subordinate about their communication style. Instead of accepting and using the feedback as an opportunity to improve, the manager becomes defensive and dismisses the subordinate’s feedback as unwarranted criticism. The manager may respond with anger, hostility, or blame-shifting, deflecting attention away from their own behaviour and onto the subordinate’s perceived shortcomings. This defensive reaction not only shuts down the opportunity for open communication and feedback…

Sherile Turner-Myles

I write about Covert Narcissism and other Personality Disorders, and how they impact relationships.