Narcissism is a personality disorder that is often associated with men because statistically, there are more male narcissists than female narcissists. However, just because there are less female narcissists does not mean that they are any less dangerous. In fact, in some ways, female narcissists can be even more devious and manipulative than male narcissists. In this blog post, I will explore the differences between male and female narcissists. I will also give examples of the main traits of the female narcissist.
Differences between male and female narcissists
A study conducted by the University of Buffalo, based on data from 475,000 participants, compared male and female narcissists using three criteria.
They looked at narcissistic traits related to:
The researchers found that there are distinct gender differences. Male narcissists are considerably more aggressive, power-hungry and entitled than female narcissists.
“Compared with women, men exhibit more assertiveness and desire for power.
But there was no difference in the exhibitionism aspect, meaning both genders are equally likely to display vanity or self-absorption.”Emily Grijalva, PhD, Assistant Professor of Organization and Human Resources in the UB School of Management
These differences were linked to gender stereotypes which everyone, including narcissists, internalises as children.
“Individuals tend to observe and learn gender roles from a young age, and may face backlash for deviating from society’s expectations.
In particular, women often receive harsh criticism for being aggressive or authoritative, which creates pressure for women, more so than for men, to suppress displays of narcissistic behavior.”Emily Grijalva, PhD
These societal pressures and gender roles mould female narcissists differently than males.
So, what does this mean in terms of the traits of a female narcissist?
Female narcissists are more likely to be covert, or stealth narcissists. This means that they are less obvious in their narcissism.
They are more likely to use manipulation and seduction to get what they want.
Traits of the female narcissist – a constant craving for validation
The female narcissist needs constant validation and attention.
They must always be the centre of attention and will go to great lengths to make sure of it.
They may fish for compliments and constantly post about their achievements on social media.
Traits of the female narcissist – masters of manipulation
Female narcissists are often very charming and charismatic.
They are masters of manipulation and will often use flattery and false compliments to get what they want.
They also use their looks and sexuality as weapons.
Their hair, makeup and clothes are always perfect, and they surround themselves by people, especially men, who will admire and desire them.
Female narcissists also tend to be controlling.
They need to know what is going on at all times and will often go to extreme measures to control those around them.
They are also likely to be experts in gaslighting, which is a form of psychological manipulation that makes the victim doubt their own sanity.
Traits of the female narcissist – the eternal victim
A female narcissist will often play the victim card.
She is quick to blame others for her own problems and will shamelessly use her children as pawns to gain sympathy and attention.
“While male narcissists tend to be more visible due to their tendency to be more aggressive and overt, female narcissists are likely to adopt a covert style.
Female narcissists are masters of using subtlety to manipulate others to do their bidding, all the while making themselves appear to be the victim.”W. Keith Campbell, PhD, and Jean M. Twenge, PhD
Traits of the female narcissist – total ruthlessness
The fact that the female narcissist might not be as aggressive as a male does not mean that she is any less abusive.
Female narcissists are unable to understand or care about the feelings of others.
They may take pleasure in other people’s pain, mock or ridicule those who are struggling, and feel no remorse for their hurtful words or actions.
Finally, female narcissists are jealous.
Just like Snow White’s wicked stepmother, constantly asking her mirror who is the fairest in the land, the female narcissist is obsessed with being the most beautiful, the most desired and the most successful woman in her social circle.
In order to achieve and maintain this status, they will trample over anyone who gets in their way.
They will use all of the tools that they have available to them to destroy anyone who they perceive to be a threat.
They will not rest before they have totally destroyed whoever they perceived to be their competition.
It is important to keep in mind that not all narcissists are created equal.
There are different types of narcissism, and not all narcissists will display all of the traits that we’ve discussed.
However, if you are in a relationship with a woman who displays any of these traits, it is important to take measures to protect yourself.
Narcissistic abuse can be incredibly damaging, both emotionally and physically.
There is no sugar coating it. If you are in a relationship with a female narcissist, the best thing that you can do is get out as soon as possible.