My name is Sam Vaknin, and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited.
A refresher course.
Two narcissists of the same type, somatic, cerebral, classic, compensatory, inverted, etc. If they are of the same type, two narcissists cannot maintain stable, long-term, full-fledged and functional relationship.
To remind you, there are two types of narcissists, the somatic narcissist and the cerebral narcissist. The somatic type relies on his body and sexuality as sources of narcissistic supply. The cerebral narcissist uses his intellect, his intelligence and his professional achievements to obtain the same.
Narcissists are either predominantly cerebral or overwhelmingly somatic. In other words, they either generate narcissistic supply by using their bodies or by flaunting their minds.
If both members of a couple are cerebral narcissists, for instance, if both of them are scholars or academics, the resulting competition prevents them from serving as ample sources of narcissistic supply to each other. Finally, the mutual admiration society crumbles.
Consumed by the pursuit of their own narcissistic gratification, these two similar narcissists, same type narcissists, have no time or energy or will left to cater to the narcissistic needs of their partner.
Moreover, the partner is perceived as a dangerous and vicious contender for a scarce resource of narcissistic supply.
This, of course, is less true if the two narcissists work in totally unrelated academic or intellectual fields, but it still holds.
What happens if the two narcissists are of different types?
If one of them is cerebral and the other one is somatic, then a long-term partnership based on the mutual provision of narcissistic supply can definitely survive.
Example, if one of the narcissists is somatic, uses his or her body as a source of narcissistic gratification, and the other member of the couple is cerebral, uses his or her intellect or professional achievements as such a source for supply.
Well, in such a combination, such a dyad, there is nothing to destabilize such a collaboration. It is even potentially emotionally rewarding.
The relationship between these two narcissists, the cerebral and somatic, resembles the one that exists between an artist and his art or a collector and his collection. This can and does change, of course, as the narcissists involved grow older, flabbier and less agile intellectually.
The somatic narcissist is also prone to multiple sexual relationships and encounters intended to support his somatic and sexual self-image. Cheating and adultery are not taken kindly even by cerebral narcissists. These may subject the relationship to fracturing strains.
But all in all, in general speaking, a stable and enduring relationship can and often does develop between dissimilar narcissists.
But this rule that opposites attract, cerebral somatic, somatic cerebral, this rule does not apply to a classic inverted narcissist pairing.
Cerebral narcissists tend to pair with inverted cerebral narcissists.
Inverted cerebral narcissists are the only ones who can appreciate the intellectual accomplishments of cerebral narcissists. The inverted narcissist appropriates the accomplishments of the inverted cerebral narcissist as their own.
In a couple where one of the members is a cerebral narcissist and the other is an inverted cerebral narcissist, the cerebral narcissist generates fame, recognition, and celebrity. And the inverted cerebral narcissist appreciates the accomplishment of the cerebral narcissist and appropriates these accomplishments, feeling that he had a contribution.
Similarly, somatic narcissists tend to bond with their inverted somatic counterparts. Though content to derive her narcissistic supply from the reactions to her intimate partner's achievements, the inverted narcissist, being of the same type, still feels envious and frustrated by her relative obscurity.
So an inverted cerebral narcissist feels overshadowed by her classic cerebral narcissist partner.
Being cerebral, albeit inverted, she feels that she too should be recognized or can contribute. And being unable to do so because of her psychological dynamics, she feels frustrated, aggravated, overlooked, discriminated, unjustly ignored.
In the long run, such an inverted narcissist succumbs to her self-defeating urges and seeks to ruin the fount of her frustration, her classic partner, despite the fact that he, her partner, also serves as her prime and often exclusive source of narcissistic supply.