Did you know that 5% of people in the United States have a narcissistic personality disorder? All of these people are overly focused on their self-esteem issues. In turn, narcissists form strategies that are meant to enhance their poor self-esteem.
Among those individuals are two main types of narcissism: black knight narcissism and white knight narcissism. The distinction between the two lies in whether or not the narcissist is pro-social or anti-social.
To learn more about the differences between black knight narcissists and white knight narcissists, keep reading.
Pro-Social Narcissists vs. Anti-Social Narcissists
In order to evaluate whether or not a narcissist is pro-social or anti-social, you have to ask yourself three things:
- What are the narcissist’s intentions?
- How do they supply their self-esteem?
- What kind of impression does the narcissist want others to have of him/her?
Pro-social narcissists want to help others. They want others to see them as good.
Of course, they want credit and praise for their good deeds. But, they add a lot of value to their friendships and society as a whole.
On the other hand, anti-social narcissists take advantage of others. They exploit others’ weaknesses for their own personal gain. Overall, they want others to fear them.
At the worst, anti-social narcissists humiliate and berate others. Often, these kinds of narcissists are the toxic, malignant individuals who represent the ‘typical’ narcissist.
The History of White Knights and Black Knights
You may have heard of the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. These knights repeatedly swore to do good deeds for the weak and innocent. In fact, they often called themselves heroes.
In these stories, there were also knights that self-identified as powerful and destructive. They thrived on dominating over the weak and innocent.
Those knights who only worked towards their own personal gain wore all-black armor. Because of their armor, these are the Black Knights.
In contrast, the knights who are offering help are the White Knights.
This story translated into the two main types of narcissists: Black Knights and White Knights. Just like the knights in the story, these different kinds of narcissists are either for or against helping common folks.
The Black Knight Narcissist
Just like with King Arthur’s Knights, the black knight narcissist is focused on defeating everyone else for their own gain. In fact, they thrive on putting others down. It makes them feel better about themselves.
These are the anti-social narcissists. And, some people refer to black knight narcissism as selfish narcissism. (This is even though both forms of narcissism are selfish at the center.)
They don’t enjoy helping people, and they may not even believe that these people deserve help. In their minds, everyone else is lesser than they are. And, the narcissist will make sure that they know it.
Black knight narcissists are not inherently evil, although they make come off like this. They don’t offer help to individuals in society. But, there is an explanation behind their behavior.
Black knight narcissists have such low self-esteem that they feel like they need to knock everyone else down. By taking everyone else down, they are picking themselves up.
Usually, this behavior draws back to the inner child. Then, they grow into adults with narcissistic behavior.
The White Knight Narcissist
The white knight narcissist is the individual who is contributing to society. They are helping people and bettering society for their own gain. While it is for selfish reasons, their help is great for those around them.
These individuals are pro-social. And, some people refer to white knight narcissism as altruistic narcissism.
At the very heart of it, white knight narcissists are looking to make an impact on the world in return for recognition. They want others to praise them for their good deeds. In the long run, they want to be remembered for everything they did during their lifetime.
You may find these individuals volunteering at food banks, working at hospitals, or contributing to charity. They aren’t the typical picture of a narcissistic individual.
While white knight narcissists may not seem harmful, they can be harmful to themselves.
They’re contributing to society and benefiting everyone around them, but they are hurting themselves. The individual equates others’ reactions to their worth.
If someone doesn’t say thank you, the white knight narcissist notices. These interactions negatively impact them more than they should.
Similarities Between All Narcissists
Both black knight narcissists and white knight narcissists have much in common. This is even though there is a difference in how they approach their lack of self-esteem.
Here are some of the qualities that you may find in both white knight and black knight narcissists:
- Narcissists revolve around their own unstable self-esteem and base their decisions on how each will affect their self-esteem
- Narcissists can’t engage in whole object relations, a thought process in which people can see themselves and others together with both likable and unpleasant traits
- Narcissists can’t engage in object constancy, which is the ability to maintain positive feelings for someone when you feel negative emotions at the moment
- Narcissists have an obsessiveness with their status
- Narcissists have a binary sense of self in which they’re perfect or worthless
- Narcissists have intellectual empathy rather than emotional empathy
- Narcissists believe that someone needs to take the blame when something goes wrong
Both white knight narcissists and black knight narcissists have these personality traits in common. Even though they go about their wants differently, they have the same issue: low self-esteem.
If you or someone you know is dealing with narcissistic personality disorder, there is help. If you live in or near San Diego, you can trust Solara Mental Health with the treatment plan.
Our team is dedicated to helping narcissists overcome their challenges. Whether you need help with black white narcissism or white knight narcissism, we know how to help.
Get into contact with us today. The sooner that you reach out to us, the sooner we can get to work on improving your mental health.