Are female narcissists different than male narcissists?
Most narcissists (75%) are males and, in general, there are only minor differences between male and female narcissists.
In the manifestation of their narcissism, female and male narcissists do tend to differ. They emphasize different things. Men are likely to emphasize intellect, power, aggression, money, or social status. Women are likely to emphasize body, looks, charm, sexuality, feminine “traits”, homemaking, or their children and childrearing.
Females concentrate on their body (many also suffer from Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa). The women flaunt and exploit their physical charms, their sexuality, and their socially and culturally determined “femininity”. They secure their Narcissistic Supply through their more traditional gender role: the home, children, suitable careers, their husbands (“the wife of…”), their feminine traits, their role in society, etc.
Another difference is in the way the females and males react to treatment. Women are more likely to engage in therapy because they are more likely to admit to psychological problems. But while men may be less inclined to disclose their problems (the macho-man factor) – it does not necessarily mean that they are less prone to admit it to themselves.
The prime rule of narcissism must not be forgotten: the narcissist uses everything around her to obtain her (or his) Narcissistic Supply. Children happen to be more attached to the female narcissist due to the way our society is still structured and to the fact that women are the ones to give birth. It is easier for a female to think of her children as her extensions because they once indeed were her physical extensions;her on-going interaction with them is both more intensive and more extensive.
The female narcissist regards her children as significant Sources of Narcissistic Supply while the male narcissist is more likely to regard his children as a nuisance rather than as a source of rewarding Supply. Because the narcissistic woman does not have the diversity of alternatives that are available to men, she fights to maintain her most reliable Source of Supply: her children. Through insidious indoctrination, guilt, emotional sanctions, deprivation and other psychological mechanisms, she tries to induce a dependence in them which cannot be easily unraveled. There is no psychodynamic difference between male and female narcissists. The only difference is in their choices of Sources of Narcissistic Supply.
Female narcissists engage in the same control tactics as male narcissists. Emotionally abusive, narcissistic women are masters of ‘spin control’ and driving home their “reality” through verbal force and emotional reasoning, just like the males. This kind of person clings to her belief system no matter how many times she’s confronted with evidence to the contrary. Interestingly, the more wrong she is, the greater the outrage and drama she displays.
Here are some common control tactics beloved by narcissistic women:
1. The Hoodwink. The narcissistic woman begins a conversation (attack) with one topic. When you present facts that are contrary to her beliefs, she hoodwinks you by going on a different tangent, changing the subject or making a brand new accusation. While you’re still defending your original point, she distracts you by jumping to another topic that’s completely unrelated.
2. SHUT UP! When you try to explain your feelings or point of view, this kind of woman may brutally tell you to, “Shut up!” Narcissists not only can’t cope with the truth, they go to great lengths to deny and obliterate it.
3. Name-Calling. This is the last resort of narcissists and other bullies. If they can’t defend their position or their behaviors, they resort to emotionally-based personal attacks. It’s another distraction technique that sidetracks you from the original point of contention by putting you on the defensive.
4. Projection. Narcissistic women accuse their victims of actions or thoughts that they themselves are actually guilty of. This is a primitive defense mechanism.
5. Splitting. Narcissists see the world in all-or-nothing, good vs. evil, black-and-white terms. They have little ability to understand context or nuance. Either you see things her way or you must be invalidated. You cannot agree to disagree with this kind of woman. Any criticism, difference of opinion or challenge to her “authority” is seen as a threat and you will be treated in a manner so as to be devalued and demonized. This is another primitive defense mechanism.
6. Smear Campaign. First, they split and then they smear. It’s not enough for a narcissistic woman to disagree with you or despise you. Everyone else in her world, including your own family and friends, must also hate you and see how wrong you are.
7. Gaslighting. Women who use this tactic deny things they’ve said and done (and often accuse you of the very same transgressions they committed). They distort reality, claiming the event never happened (“you imagined it…YOU must be crazy”) until you begin to doubt your own sanity.
8. Increasing the Volume; Not the Logic. The more wrong an emotionally abusive narcissistic woman is, the louder and/or more stubborn she gets. Her level of fake outrage, vindictiveness or emotional withdrawal is in direct proportion to how correct you are. She will either talk over or shout at you, repeating the same simplistic, emotionally-charged statements over and over until she drowns out all reason, or give you the silent treatment until you submit and apologize for your “offense.”
9. Blame and Shame. Narcissists blame others for everything that is wrong in their lives and never consider how they contributed to, and often caused, the problems and their own unhappiness. They shift responsibility to make you seem bad or crazy in an effort to shame you into submission.
10. Playing the Victim. When narcissistic women are put on the spot for their bad behavior or dishonesty and they can’t deny it, then they play the victim. They claim they are the ones who are being unfairly attacked for “standing up for the truth” and having the “courage” to speak out or etc.