Last Updated on August 15, 2022 by Alexander Burgemeester
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.
Are female narcissists different than male narcissists?
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 Female Narcissist and Children
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.
10 Tactics Used By The Female Narcissist
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.
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.
Narcissistic women accuse their victims of actions or thoughts that they themselves are actually guilty of. This is a primitive defense mechanism.
Reading Suggestion: What is Projection in Narcissism?
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.
Reading Suggestions: How to deal with the Narcissist’s Smear Campaign?
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 they begin to doubt their sanity.
Reading Suggestion: What is Gaslighting in Narcissism?
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.
Would you like to read more about Narcissistic Women? Then check out this article recently published about Narcissistic Women.
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42 thoughts on “Are Female Narcissists Different Than Male Narcissists? 10 Tactics Used By The Female Narcissist”
Amy from episode 16 of the sixth series of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmare (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amy's_Baking_Company) is a classic example. She checks most of the boxes in your list. I think Gordon handled the toxicity pretty well, and did what we would all recommend – just walk away.
I wonder to which century the author refers to when talking about these narcissist women. All I read is a lot about femininity, drama, children, domestic life…. Good that nowadays women have nothing to worry, except looking good and raising children. I was specially surprised to see the author is from the Netherlands and portrays seemingly sexist ideas. That has been a very gender biased piece of information, making it sound less scientific, and closer to some kind of anecdotal sort of description of female stereotypes.
Because modern women are nearly all narcissists, it does not mean the author is a sexist.
I think it’s cool how he focused on women, as in the majority of the sites i encountered about narcissism are focused on men or on both sexes behavior. All in all, given the fact that a lot of women are like this, i do wonder how narcissism will be faced scientifically. Racism for instance, isn’t considered a mental illness (just) because many people are racists, and it’s still something very dangerous to society. My personal opinion would be we should not making something less wrong just because many people have it, and that the best attitude is always the one leaning towards more love and acceptance (or protection to risky behaviors).
you sound like a one yourself…..I had a narcissist girlfriend for three years I put up with that crap……this guy is so on point. Eliza….your response is a classic narcissist response
it’ not the author; it’s the npd. they play the society’s ideal mom, career woman, lover, hostess, etc, etc to con the largest group possible to drink the Kool-Aid and bow down.
Exactly!! Narcissists like to exploit societal ‘norms’. As long as traditional femininity is portrayed in books, magazines, movie, and TV, she is going to try her best to put on a show that reflects those attractive traditional female traits. She sees women getting attention, money, and worship by being thin, beautiful, young, trophy wife, etc. and she will do her best to ALSO get attention with those things.
She is very locked into gender roles and appearances. If a female narcissist has a husband who is gentle and sensitive, she will call him ‘homosexual’ and such; she wants/expects him to fill a male appearing role–the man is expected to be the provider, the protector, and not the emotional one. And because she’s a narcissist, she expects to rule the home, including the man while he is in it.
I don’t think this was exactly a description of a modern woman, but more as a point to say that a narcissistic woman plays up modern day housewife characteristics, to say that she’s better at it than everyone else who is also a mom/wife/colleague. Basically, “I am a fantastic wife, I am a fantastic mother, I am a fantastic woman, and I am better at it than you could ever hope to be.” All while using the unconditional love they receive from anyone (mostly their own children) to suck the life out of them until they are dried up and useless to them.
Also, the writer stated that most narcissists are generally men, so I think that this article seems sexist because it’s specifically geared toward women to compare and contrast both genders. I doubt it was meant to be sexist.
…in my opinion.
This so true.
Thanks a ton. God bless you for this post !
Good article. But I recommend at avoiding the first reference. It’s from a narcissist himself. Although one can get a certain amount of insight that way, it’s ultimately not the best source of information.
Based on what this site says, it sounds like pretty much everyone is narcissistic. I’m confused. I am confident and it seems like I could be a narcissistic person or something. I also tell myself that my accomplishments aren’t that impressive as others can do things far better than I. But at the same time, I appreciate the capacity at which I can do things. But all of this can be summed up to narcissistic behaviors based on the various ways things can be worded to manipulate thought.. I never liked the idea of accusing anyone of being a narcissistic human. Because two people can go back and forth forever saying that the other is projecting emotions on the other and this makes both parties look narcissistic. It sounds really circular and pointless. Maybe make a page that helps people identify them better? It all seems very broad. The slightest manipulation of words makes you a narcist..
acknowledging the possibility is the first step toward recovery
Even healthy, non-disordered people display some narcissistic tendencies at times. What separates us is the disordered ones look to destroy their target and for healthy people its just more internal. Self-esteem, self-image exc.
good point. ive been thinking today about how we LEAVE things, people, etc after we touch them. Better or worse off?
This article is so validating. I have experienced all 10 from the list above from the narcissists in my life over the years. Relationship with this type of personality is very exhausting and the roller coaster relationship is at times devastating. I do believe these types are bullies from my experience and deny all responsibility for their actions. I have lost many a nights sleep trying to figure out what I DID WRONG to deserve these kind of behaviors, my heart has been totally destroyed and these types could care less. They have no empathy, they have no concept to be able to put themselves into another persons shoes. They call you everyday for months and then they drop you, they replace you like an old pair of shoes and go skipping away like you never existed.
“They have no empathy, they have no concept to be able to put themselves into another persons shoes. They call you everyday for months and then they drop you, they replace you like an old pair of shoes and go skipping away like you never existed.”
exactly right, and there’s the main thing right there: only they exist
To the one that called this sexist… My goodness… I don’t think ALL women exhibit these behaviors, at least not in my world. If you do or they do in your life, I’d possibly have to consider a new group of people to hang around…. The one women, of a few I have dated for years, did stand out with most of these items on the list…
Maybe if you feel you had been subject to a narcissistic relationship can you come to appreciate the article. Possibly its the degree and repetitiveness of each of these items that’s makes the difference. I don’t know, but this list sure seems to hit home to my experience.
I had a friend who was a female narcissist. We had been friends for over 30 years and had fallen out here and there. Once we were back talking on a regular basis I begin to notice certain things. She had an inability to express herself verbally. She always talked in a very basic way…very immature. She always had some kind of drama going on and it was always someone else’s fault, it was NEVER her fault. She complained about a group of females she had been friends with for a long time, always accusing them of being no good. I begin to dislike them, of course because I was believing what she was saying. It was a constant conversation that she would bring up. I would often wonder why they treated her like that, I was like are they jealous? For the life of me I couldn’t figure it out. I would ask her why she remained friends with these people if they were so horrible towards her. She had no answer. I noticed she would lie about very basic things. She would tell me one thing and she would tell someone else the EXACT opposite of what she had told me. She lacked empathy…she acted like she cared but it was just that…an act. I noticed that my other friendships were give and take….we all gave something to the friendships….not with her…it was all take take take and never give. I noticed she embellished things. She lacked depth of character. Eventually it would all come together when I read the title of an article that said…Narcissists don’t want marriage, the want Weddings! I was like OMG….that sums her up. Then I begin to read up on narcissism and realized that is who I was dealing with. Needless to say, I ended the friendship. When I see her I simply act like she does not exist.
I was in a 8 year relationship were my partner would often show signs of morbid jealousy that had no foundation I would be accused of infidelity on a regular basis due to a X appearing on a text message l loved my partner dearly but could not be supportive of the issues as I became the victim and no matter how much reassurance I gave she was convinced of the infidelity which fuled a circle of self destruction and aggressive behaviours even looking at an image of a another women became an issue I know from first hand experience how destructive this type of jealously can be it effects every aspect of the relationship and drains the very life from both partner’s
Is She Narcissistic! I’m confused! Met an intelligent woman only 6 weeks after she tragically lost her partner, constantly assuring me she was over it. Long story cut short. She asked me to move in with her 4 months after we meet, within 3 weeks she told me to get out of her house because of her own insecurities with me (later unfounded), I moved most of my belongings out of her house, She then pleaded with me to move back in. Shockingly, I’ve done this 3 times within 4 months. Finally I walked out on her 6 weeks ago because I found an email in her drafts box discrediting me to her uncle and with so many lies. She apologised but later changed her mind. I’ve suffered great financial loss with no empathy or any responsibility for what she has done. Her entire family hate me. Strong word I know, but I don’t understand why she try’s to destroy me behind my back. She has no friends just associates. She has been left with a large house, business and plenty of money but she said all of my belongings have been given to charity, I called her bluff and managed to recover most of my property. I’ve cut off all contact. Within a week she’s dating a guy but I believe she was building this relationship with him before I left.
i was with a NPD woman for 12 years, met her at her age 20…
I never had a chance with her family-later finding out my religion was the main issue-she was playing both sides, lying to both… they always lie, and the juicier the lie the more fun for them… for 12 years she used this thing with her family against me-bringing it up EVERY FIGHT to use against me-guilt trip, demanding apologies…
so a few months back I find out it was HER all along-and said the most f’ed up stuff about me… no wonder they never wanted to even MEET me. Had I known then, id have not married her, nor even said goodbye… now to your question: In her case, it was the lies and expectations of her mother-so worried she wouldn’t approve, SHE tok the lead in badmouthing me-getting carried away(no empathy and alL) to make sure it stuck… that’s the word-they are indecisive, they may do really FINAL stuff like happened to you… yet the next day, nothing happened, and theyre back…
Just know none of it is real-just a vampire game to a empty shell of a a husk of something much less than a person
A great artical.
An earlier comment about Sam Vaknin being a narcissist himself, is true, he has a great understanding of what narcissisism is from the inside out. However I do agree with critisism of his concept of narcissism in that it is to broad. If not carefull, it can become a catch all catagory for other personality disorders and other mental health conditions that share similar symptoms but where the root cause, the trigger and the intent differ greatly from npd.
AMEN..25 years I rode that rollercoaster of hell..you will never be good enough for these monsters. They are able to rip your heart out and smile. Never to lose one minute of sleep over it. Cause after all “you should have seen it coming”.
This is textbook my mother and has saved me from insanity. I feel validation after reading this. It only took me 40 years on this earth to realize I was raised by a narcissist. Thank you for your valuable insight
They like hunting in churches because they can find caring emphatic people that are blind to their shit. They like to be pitied so that someone good person will rescue them. They’ll use their own kids as pawns to trap a person.Be very careful in the church settings when considering a mate. Seriously! Don’t be a sucker. Jesus didn’t ask us to check our brains in at the door.
Wow. My ex had all 10 of these attributes, in spades. It took me too long to realize that there would be no “meeting of hearts” as she was unable to see past herself and her own projections. To a narcissist, you don’t actually exist as a person; you are just a resource. It was helpful to see this list of female narcissistic traits, as most websites describe the way it manifests in men, which is slightly different. Male narcissist can tend toward physical threats and violence, while female narcissist engage in scorched-earth emotional warfare. If I was to add an eleventh female narcissistic trait, it would be that female narcissists use sex to trap a man, but once he is under her dominion, she loses sexual interest. Or more accurately, she never had interest in sex, but uses it as a tool to dominate and control. Once that control is established, sex is no longer required or of interest.
So true I’m getting out of a 10 yr marriage with a female Narcissistic she used sex to trap me and she has all 10 traits herself but I can’t just go no contact cause I have a son with her but she is making it very hard for me to see him she doesn’t care about him anyways she uses him for a pawn
One of their most readily employed tactics is withholding sex and affection. They are more than willing and interested during the idealization phase. They mirror men like us (empaths most of the time) and our desire for genuine love and intimacy. They exploit that to sink their fangs and tendrils into and around us, presenting us with a “too good to be true” scenario. It is one of their greatest weapons to secure a lasting trauma bond with their victim. When they are sure that they have you ensnared, they begin to wield control and insidiously devalue you over time with passive aggressive belitting, dismissing, eroding away at elements of your own identity. These women actually want to control how you feel and what you think! You are but a 2 dimensional card board cut out playing your role to uphold the image they want to portray to society. (A society of strangers whose acceptance and validation means more to them than their spouse). If you don’t hold up to your anticipated abilities, supply source or begin to see what’s really behind their false self mask, they will sharpen their claws even more, accelerate the gaslighting and (another favorite), the silent treatment…..provoke you by sticking their salt covered fingers in wounds that you revealed to them during idealization when they asked you to be more vulnerable with them, tear away at your self esteem and deepest insecurities on purpose, make you believe that they are the only one who would want or put up with a lost cause like yourself, to both diminish you as a human being and to convince you not to leave so they can drain you of whatever final drops you have left to bleed or they can remove from you, begin to rewrite history, even replacing elements of the idealization phase with cold depictions of how they have never really been happy or you have never been able to “please” them like a man should and make them feel like a woman……simultaneously telling you they love you, want things to work, want to keep the family together, want to reconnect and improve intimacy (all the things you want)….give you a peck on the lips here or there, a shallow fleeting complement (this is called breadcrumbing used to give you the least amount of positive reinforcement they can get by with) sometimes they may even offer sex, reluctantly or non-enthusiastically because you have made them believe you may be serious about plans for change or regaining control or an exit, the silent treatment takes on an extreme state next as you go days and week with no texts, calls, are ignored at home or triangulated with her secondary sources, non-intimate supply sources and even objects like her smart phone……still claiming fidelity and righteousness (mine is a proclaimed and practicing Christian) all the while she has been seducing/ attempting to seduce various potential secondary supply sources, with consideration of replacing you with one who is worthy enough and willing, then you will be discarded. Through about a year of the most painful agonizing emotional turmoil, I finally came out of the fog and can see….I am awake. One of the hardest things accepting has been not only that the woman I thought was the most special person I had encountered in my life with her of 10 year/ married for 8, is a narcissistic sociopath who cares nothing about me or our potential future she fabricated while I commited my life to it, but the acceptance and realization that I was never special to her, no more than any other person she has come in contact with. I was simply an appliance to utilize for her gain as I met a certain desired profile, destined to eventually break down over time and be replaced without a second thought. At present, I am in a neutral state, getting a plan together that will the best long term outcome anticipated for they 2 little boys we brought into the world together and myself. No contact will obviously never be an option. It is not so simple as to “just leave” as many might suggest knowing that divorce is sometimes better and healthier when compared to an unhealthy marriage exposure. However, this is an unhealthy marriage dipped in raw sewage and gasoline, subsequently set ablaze, requiring a plan that isn’t anywhere in the books.
Great article! It was very well written ! Thank you for sharing this. I shared this a few times!
actually women are the ones with options. They can choose to have a baby or not, they can give it up with no consequences. They can abort it for any reason and nobody else has a say. They can choose to force a man to support the baby for 18 years or more, or avoid all responsibility by giving it up for adoption, etc.
women get a 7 to 1 custody advantage, further giving them the usual option to both have the baby and make the other parent pay (willing or not).
they have ALL the options and advantages with children.
Not really true anymore. If a man wants custody he only must have a better lawyer and the desire, and no history of abuse, violence or restraining orders. Same with women. I know, as a prior legal assistant and knowing two men with custody personally.
Its currently about 30/70. But it is changing quickly due to more men being stay at home dads.
Think about it, celebrity women regularly pay spousal support now, even when they never married. I thinks its palimony. And they certainly aren’t assumed to get custody. It’s a reflection.
So, your comment is outdated and slightly misogynistic. It wasn’t too long ago a man could divorce a woman, take her children and give them up for adoption and she had no say. Often she had to resort to prostitution or die in the streets. Just because he wanted a younger woman or no kids. Women had no rights at all with children or otherwise. It swung back the other way, but really only as a way to trap women and make them financially dependent. So, now it’s becoming more equal. That should be supported. Men as caretakers is a very exciting revelation.
Please understand I am not defending npd women. My mom is one and she fucked me over very well. But, she isn’t the majority.
Also, if you’ve been effected by these narcissists, you must evaluate your own behavior for the ‘fleas’ of bad behavior that you caught. Victims can have symptoms because they naturally mimic parents. Once you realize your behavior might hurt others in the same way it is very easy to change, even overnight.
Amen to this brother here. Not everyone is awake to see what’s really going on.
Yeah that wasn’t meant for you.
Married to female for 40 years. This article and discription is exactly how i would write my life with her. I knew something was not right when she rejected sex constantly. (She was masterbating in place of real intimacy with her husband .which is cheating the marriage major big time in my book.) This is a big red flag. Thanks for the internet. Need non narcissist dating sights with test to show where ones spectrum needle sits. Ha..never quit educating your brain.your heart has its own brain.
Just what are the diversity of options that are not available? That is the most ridiculous feminist bullshit there is. And it doesn’t help women it hurts boys and men. Wake up and smell the forskins burning. What was it that women burned to symbolize their oppression by every man ever and those to come. Their bras. That’s right the symbol to represent the terrible pain and subjectification of women was their clothing that each and every one of them chose to put on and take off. Well it’s time men start burning their foreskins. Oh wait we don’t have it anymore.
“My bad”…said no narcissist ever.
Pathetic, morally bankrupt individuals. These folks are actually proud of their inability to engage and experience any type of emotional connection or feelings. Ignoring them, eats them up and rattles their false sense of identity and reality. Secretly, they take pride in being stoic. The colder you get, the warmer they try to become. If you cannot avoid them, keep them at a literal and figurative distance.
THEY CANNOT, AND DO NOT WANT TO CARE…PERIOD!
This article and the comments have really shed some light on what I am dealing with. Falling in love with a girl who is a narcissist has been emotionally draining and heartbreaking. I have been questioning what type of person I have become. The way she has made me distance myself from my family. The anger and frustration I have shown. And always how I am the cause of every problem. She is proud of how she has ended past relationships and how those people “don’t exist” anymore. I was once afraid tonne one of her exes that don’t exist to her. But now after reading this and the comments I see it’s not my fault and she is in for a long dramatic life leaving the ruins behind. I hope the next guy doesn’t try as hard as I did to understand her and make it work. It’s a no win.
Describes my Mother. Wish I knew this information thirty years ago and would have cut her off completely.
You sir just described my ex wife, point by point.
Of course, this horrible human being wasnt always like that. It took some bad times and some wrong doings of her part, to make thethe full narc come out.
I’m currently in the devaluation phase with my narc/ex-gf/friend. So much written in the article and in the comments are true. I’m struggling with this. The emotional abuse. The gas lighting, the manipulation, after always being there for her. And yes they do call every day for months, even years and than just kick you to the curb, like you never existed.
My narc has lost many friends over the years and was divorced twice and of course it was always the friends or ex-husbands fault, but I now know better. She not only is a narc, but also an alcoholic with stage 3 to borderline 4 liver disease. So it really is hopeless.
You almost have to hate and despise them to help get over all of the trauma they created in your life. For me, I’m just getting tired of the verbal abuse, the belittling and disrespect, the lack of empathy and interest in my life while I’m suppose to be interested in her life and problems. I’ve been through hell with this woman, but I really have no one to blame but myself. I saw the signs, I knew what she was like, I just didn’t realize that she was a narc until recently. What a waste of 20+ years.
I am so glad that I have found this article and several others like it pertaining to this subject. I ended up becoming an alcoholic before I realized what I was married to, and by the grace of God, AA, and a fantastic rehab, I was able to get my life back. Thankfully, she decided to leave me and it made it so much easier since it was her idea.
I would have never believed that there were as many of this type of women out there as there seems to be. It is quite staggering. I encourage anyone who has learned of this information to share it with those of us who have lived through it, so we can share our experiences with each other and let the healing commence.