Narcissism (pathological egocentrism) in women: manifestations and methods of defense

Self-love, respect, recognition of one's merits and protection of boundaries are worthy and positive qualities for the fairer sex. They have nothing to do with destructive, pathological personality traits such as narcissism. In women, it manifests itself in the form of inadequately inflated self-esteem, self-obsession, and the desire to use other people to satisfy their own egoistic needs. Such a girl does not even try to understand those around her, because she is completely immersed in herself, in maintaining her grandiosity and inflated Ego. By and large, narcissism in women is the inability to have warmth and close, trusting relationships “on equal terms.” Such ladies have no spontaneity, no feeling of happiness. In some cases, this may indicate borderline personality disorder or psychopathy.

What it is

Narcissism in women is a personality disorder in which they cannot adequately evaluate themselves and exhibit excessive narcissism, pride and arrogance.

The term comes from Greek mythology. Remember the story about the young man who loved himself so much that he stared at his reflection in the water and turned into stone? A flower grew at this place, which gave the name to the disorder.

Previously, it was believed that narcissism develops more often in men. But, as practice shows, there are many women among narcissists. With all their behavior they show that they love only themselves, and they don’t care about those around them.

According to psychologists, narcissism in women manifests itself in a focus on appearance, while men focus more on achievements. Such representatives of the fair sex carefully select clothes, cosmetics and accessories, devoting a lot of time to creating the ideal image. They treat the interior of their apartments and houses, their workplace, and the appearance of their family and friends in exactly the same way.

Narcissistic personality disorder. What do these predators want from others? And, especially, loved ones?

They want to eat them, literally and figuratively. They want both material benefits and nourishment from your emotions. In this case, the eating weapon is:

  • abuse (Briefly: direct moral violence. Name-calling, insults. Can be supplemented with physical violence)
  • passive aggression (Briefly: devaluation. For example, “What is your opinion? No one asks for your opinion”),
  • inversion of meanings and words (In short: there were actions and words. But then all the meanings are inverted and distorted through verbiage)
  • gaslighting (In short: first they OFFENSED, and then they turned it around in this way: “you thought you were sensitive, go get treatment”)
  • and manipulation (most often, a feeling of unjustified guilt).

This is how they cover up their emptiness. Because their essence is emptiness. And shame... Which they will never admit for anything.

Signs of female narcissism

It is easy to identify a narcissistic woman. It combines such traits as high self-esteem, inability to sympathize, empathize with others, expectation of envy, etc. There are other signs of this unhealthy behavior.

Pleasure from someone else's pain

One of the main signs of narcissism in women. Narcissists derive pleasure from humiliating, hurting, and harming others. And this is all done on the sly. And while the victim is tormented, suffering from insults, they gloatingly watch her suffering. If a person tries to talk, talk about his feelings, he runs into a wall of arrogance, misunderstanding and a complete lack of empathy.

Female narcissism knows no pity. A woman, without a twinge of conscience, first brings a person closer to her, and after she uses him for her own purposes, she throws him away like a boring toy. She is not capable of long-term, serious relationships, because she gets real satisfaction not from creation, but from destruction.


The desire to compete sometimes goes beyond all reasonable boundaries. This is due to unhealthy envy and the desire to remain in the center of attention under any circumstances.

Interestingly, one of the signs of narcissism in women is considered indirect aggression. In some cases it would most likely manifest itself directly. But due to some social reasons, women behave more restrained than men. Although, in its essence, narcissism in their case is no different from that of men. Just remember the examples of offensive behavior, aggression and resentment that often end female friendships.

Narcissistic women are always closely assessing their surroundings. They divide the people around them into 2 groups:

  • those who pose a threat;
  • those who can become admirers, blind followers.

Perverse narcissism in men and women, psychological portrait.

These are precisely those narcissistic people who:

  1. Constantly feel repressed shame. (Shame is the feeling that “I’m not okay, there’s something very wrong with me.”
  2. Experiencing it, they inevitably feel envy of those who, in their opinion, are more kindly favored by fate in one aspect or another.
  3. These are empty people, people are candy wrappers. They are outstanding masters of self-presentation and self-presentation. In this regard, a lot of attention is paid to appearance. Handsome men and beauties.
  4. But, communicating with them, you gradually understand WHAT emptiness there is inside. There is nothing practical or valuable there except the desire to assert oneself. There are only tops from any undertakings.
  5. This desire to assert themselves is what comes out of them. This is the same ambition that constantly causes us bewilderment, at least.
  6. Therefore, they always devalue others - directly or covertly. Sometimes, very gracefully. However, receiving depreciation from a perverted narcissist will always make your soul feel bad.
  7. They criticize. They are unhappy. And they always, in their narcissistic opinion, “deserve better.”
  8. The narcissist will be incredibly adept at twisting any situation. Showing the right for the wrong. These are masters of verbal skirmishes. Competing with them in this is only a waste of strength.
  9. They always find a donor victim who pours “narcissistic balm” on them, loves, supports, and looks after them. At the expense of your own life. And they eat it until it's gone. I ran out - took the next one.
  10. Based on the point above, these are traitors. Because a person (supposedly a loved one) is just a function for them. Which is needed to satisfy certain material and energy needs. Accordingly, if he dares not fulfill his function, he is immediately replaced with a new one.
  11. A traditional sign that is written about everywhere is a complete lack of empathy and compassion. It is when you are weak and vulnerable that he strikes.
  12. A narcissist never apologizes. Because it seems to him that by repenting, he is admitting out loud the inferiority of his EGO, and this is unbearable due to the feeling of suppressed shame.

@ Ekaterina Kholodova, psychologist

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How to recognize a narcissistic woman: behavioral characteristics

So, there is a narcissistic woman in your environment if:

  1. As soon as you enter the room, everyone falls silent, an awkward pause occurs, and those present exchange meaningful glances. And only your friend remains welcoming and friendly at this moment. But a couple of moments ago, rest assured, she was telling very unpleasant things about you.
  2. At the beginning of friendship, a friend extols you in every possible way, considers you an ideal, and always finds a reason for praise. Seeing this, you begin to trust, sharing your deepest secrets. And this trust will play a cruel joke on you later. Soon you will notice how mutual acquaintances avoid you, exclude you from group conversations, and do not invite you to any friendly gatherings. And soon your friends themselves will start talking about your secrets, sometimes with ridicule.
  3. Your friend is a narcissist if she gossips about someone but acts more than friendly and nice towards him in front of that person. She continues to be friends with him and meet. This is a sign not only of female narcissism, but also of duplicity, a well-developed ability to deceive others. Be careful. If a friend talks about someone like that in your presence, she may be talking about you behind your back.

And, of course, your narcissistic friend or acquaintance will not miss the opportunity to show that they are better than you.

Instructions for use

The main advice for men who want to build a relationship with a narcissistic woman is to praise, praise and praise again.

She lacked this as a child, and now your task is to compensate for the lack of praise and admiration.

Accept that your wife will constantly criticize you, tell you what to do right, and be nervous about little things.

The trash that hasn't been taken out or a dirty plate on the table can make her angry, so try not to awaken the beast in her with such trifles.

Never compare her to other women.

A narcissistic personality will never forgive you for this. If she doesn’t leave you right away, she will take revenge - regularly remind you of your shortcomings or defeats.

Don't blame her for mistakes. Believe me, she will punish herself a thousand times more.

It’s better to calm her down, hug her tightly, remind her of her achievements and tell her that you love her. This is very important to her.

She will be immensely grateful and will do everything to do something nice for you in return.

Advantages and disadvantages

Can female narcissism have any advantages, you ask? Yes, they are:

  1. The desire to become better in appearance, education, and professional activities. Desire to develop and learn.
  2. The ability to “present yourself”, external attractiveness in any circumstances.
  3. Charm, the ability to speak correctly, to convince your interlocutor that you are right.

Causes of narcissism

Why does narcissism arise and disfigure relationships? Scientists believe that the matter may be both in congenital characteristics of brain activity and in upbringing. In the first case, we are talking about a “breakdown” of the systems responsible for empathy and affection. In the second, about the violence experienced in childhood or rejection by significant adults who did not understand the child’s needs and ignored his emotional experiences.

Most likely, the truth is somewhere in the middle. That is, in order to become a narcissist, you must have a certain predisposition and be in an environment that is conducive to the development of the worst personality traits.

How to behave

So, what is female narcissism? As we found out, this is inflated self-esteem, which encourages us to always and everywhere show our superiority over others. How to treat narcissism in women? There are several recommendations:

  1. Keep your distance. You should not tell such a friend your secrets, share your experiences and worries. She doesn't care what happens to you. She uses any information she receives for her own benefit.
  2. If you find yourself working with a narcissist, document any work you do together. This will help you avoid unpleasant conversations with your superiors when shortcomings are discovered in your work. Remember: a narcissistic colleague is not averse to setting you up and then making you feel guilty for what happened.
  3. Reduce communication or eliminate it completely. If the second option is not possible, keep communication to a minimum as possible. As soon as your friend hears your refusal, she will be transformed. You will see how from a sweet and good-natured woman she will turn into an embittered fury who mercilessly tells your deepest secrets.

In any situation, remain calm. Walk away if the narcissist tries to provoke you. A few defeats and he will give up trying to make you part of his retinue.

Is it possible to help a narcissist change?

Dealing with a narcissist is a mental challenge. They easily fall in love with themselves, but they themselves do not know how to love in return. Well, a perverted narcissist, prone to turning everything upside down, to manipulation and emotional abuse, can literally drive a person sincerely attached to him crazy.

The behavior of narcissists is almost impossible to correct. The best psychotherapists refuse to work with them, claiming that psychology does not have methods for correcting this pathology.

Having discovered signs of narcissism in a woman’s behavior, you should literally run away from her. It is important to remember that all people for such ladies are just a “food” resource. They bring out strong feelings, subtly manipulating and pressing on their partner’s weak points, while remaining absolutely indifferent. And it will not be possible to build a happy life with a narcissist under any circumstances. Also find out 3 more types of people to stay away .

Read here: narcissism in men . Is this type suitable for a serious relationship?

Somatic narcissist and cerebral narcissist

There are two types of narcissists, somewhat corresponding to the two categories mentioned in the title of this article: the somatic narcissist and the cerebral narcissist.

Narcissists are misogynists. They keep women subservient, they loathe them and fear them. They look for ways to hurt and disappoint them (either by humiliating them through sex or by abstaining from sex with them). They have mixed feelings towards sexual intercourse.

The somatic narcissist uses sex to “conquer” and “secure” new sources of Narcissistic Supply. Consequently, the somatic is rarely emotionally invested in his “goals.” For him, this is just a mechanical action, devoid of intimacy and commitment. The cerebral narcissist experiences sex as humiliating and destructive. The action of satisfying one's instincts is a primitive, initial and universal impulse. The cerebral narcissist convinces himself that he is above it all, despite his superior intelligence and superhuman self-control.

That is, sex for both types of narcissists is a means of increasing the number of Sources of Narcissistic Supply. If he happens to be the most effective weapon in the narcissist's arsenal, he uses it generously. In other words: if the narcissist cannot gain respect, adoration, support, approval or any other type of attention through other means (eg intellectually) - he relies on sex.

Then he becomes a satyr (“nymphomaniac”): he has indiscriminate sex with many partners. His sexual partners are perceived by him as objects - sources of Narcissistic Supply. It is through the processes of successful seduction and sexual competition that the narcissist receives his desperately needed narcissistic fix.

The narcissist tends to hone his wooing techniques and considers his sexual exploits a form of art. He usually exposes this side of himself - in every detail - to others, to the audience, wanting to win their support and approval. Due to the fact that Narcissistic Supply in his case is contained in the very act of conquest and (as he believes) submission, the narcissist is forced to change partners like gloves.

Some narcissists prefer "confusing" situations. Thus, men may prefer virgins, married women, frigid or lesbian women, and so on. The more “difficult” the goal, the greater the reward the narcissist receives. Such a narcissist may be married, but he does not consider his extramarital affairs to be either immoral or a violation of the express or implied contract between himself and his spouse.

He continues to explain to anyone who will listen that his other sexual partners are nothing to him, dummies, that he is only taking advantage of them and that they do not pose a threat and his wife should not take them seriously. There is a clear division in his mind between the honest “woman of his life” (a saint, in fact), and the whores with whom he has sex.

With the exception of the significant women in his life, he tends to see all women in a bad light. His behavior thus serves a dual purpose: providing Narcissistic Supply on the one hand, and reproducing old, unresolved conflicts and traumas on the other (for example, the abandonment of Primary Objects and the Oedipus complex).

Following the inevitable departure of his spouse, the narcissist is likely to be shocked and traumatized. This is the kind of crisis that might lead him to psychotherapy. But still, deep down, he feels forced to continue on exactly the same path. The breakup becomes cathartic and cleansing for him. After a period of deep depression and suicidal thoughts, the narcissist is likely to feel cleansed, invigorated, liberated, and ready for the next round of hunting.

But there is another type of narcissist. He also has periods of sexual hyperactivity in which he frequently changes sexual partners and tends to see things in them. However, for him this is a secondary behavior. It occurs mainly after serious narcissistic injuries and crises.

A painful divorce, a devastating personal financial collapse, and this type of narcissist begins to hold the view that the “old” (intellectual) solutions no longer work. He furiously seeks new ways to attract attention, restore his False Ego (i.e. his greatness) and provide a vital level of Narcissistic Supply.

Sex is convenient and a huge source of the highest quality resource: it is immediate, sexual partners are interchangeable, it is a solution that is comprehensive (it covers all aspects of the narcissistic being), natural, highly valued, adventurous and enjoyable. That is, after a life crisis, the cerebral narcissist tends to be deeply involved in sexual activity - very often and to the complete exclusion of all other concerns.

However, as the memory of the crisis subsides, after the narcissistic wounds heal, the Narcissistic Cycle resumes and balance is restored: this second type of narcissist shows his true colors. He suddenly loses interest in sex and all his sexual partners. The frequency of his sexual activity decreases from several times a day to several times a year. He returns to intellectual pursuits, sports, politics, any activity other than sex.

This type of narcissist fears relationships with the opposite sex and is even more afraid of the emotional involvement or attachment that, in his opinion, tends to develop after sexual intercourse. In general, such a narcissist withholds not only sexually, but also emotionally. If he is married, then he loses all outward interest in his spouse (sexual and otherwise). He gives himself over to his world and tries to occupy himself so much as to avoid any interaction with the people close to him (and, presumably, those dearest to him).

He becomes completely involved in "big projects", life plans, philosophical trends or important matters - all of which are very productive in the sense of supplying narcissistic supply, and all require a large amount of time. In such circumstances, sex inevitably becomes an obligation, a necessity, or a routine, reluctantly performed to maintain the providers of the resource (his family).

The cerebral narcissist does not enjoy sex and would rather prefer masturbation or “objective”, emotionless sex, such as visiting prostitutes. In reality, he is using his spouse as an “alibi,” a defense against attention from other women, an insurance policy that protects his masculine image while making it socially and morally acceptable for him to avoid any intimate or sexual contact with others.

Deliberately ignoring all women except his wife (a form of aggression), he feels entitled to declare: “I am a faithful husband.” And at the same time, he feels hostility towards his wife for allegedly depriving him of the free expression of his sexuality and isolating him from sensual pleasures.

The twisted logic of such a narcissist goes something like this: “I am married/attached to this woman. Therefore, I am not allowed to engage in any other form of contact with other women that could be construed as anything other than casual or business acquaintances. This is why I refrain from having anything to do with women - because I feel decent, unlike most immoral men.

However, I don't like this situation. I envy my free peers. They can have as much sex and romance as they want - whereas I am chained to this marriage, bound by my wife, my freedom curbed. I am angry with her and I will punish her by refraining from having sex with her.”

Frustrated in this way, the narcissist nullifies all types of relationships with his inner circle (spouse, children, parents, siblings, very close friends): sexual, verbal and emotional. He limits himself to only the most necessary exchange of information and isolates himself from society.

His seclusion protects him from future wounds and deprives him of the intimacy that he so fears. But I repeat: in this way it also strengthens the neglect and reproduction of old, unresolved conflicts. In the end, he really finds himself abandoned by everyone and completely deprived of Secondary Resource Suppliers.

Solving the problem of finding new resources, he again plunges into the selfish abyss of sex, replaced by the choice of a spouse or girlfriend (Secondary Source of Narcissistic Supply). Then the whole cycle repeats: a sharp drop in sexual activity, emotional detachment and severe alienation leading to a breakup.

This second type of narcissist is the most loyal to their spouse. He oscillates between what can be called hypersexuality and asexuality (in fact, compulsorily repressed sexuality). In the second phase, he does not experience sexual attraction, except for the most basic one. He is thus not forced to deceive his wife, betray her, or violate marriage laws. He is much more interested in preventing the worrying loss of the kind of Narcissistic Supply that really matters. Sex, he reassures himself, is needed by those who are not capable of anything better.

Somatic narcissists are prone to verbal exhibitionism. They tend to brag, in vivid detail, about their accomplishments and exploits. In extreme cases, they can present “living witnesses” and resort to total, classic exhibitionism. This fits well with their tendency to “objectify” their sexual partners, engage in emotionally neutral sex (for example, group sex) and engage in autoeroticism.

Such an exhibitionist seeks his reflection in the eyes of his eyewitnesses. This forms his main sexual drive - that from the outside is also what defines the narcissist. There must certainly be a connection here. One person (the exhibitionist) may be the culmination, the "ultimate case" of another (the narcissist).

The narcissist lies to his spouse, commits infidelity, and engages in extramarital affairs for a variety of reasons reflecting disparate psychodynamic processes:

  1. In pursuit of narcissistic supply, the somatic narcissist resorts to periodic sexual competition.
  2. Narcissists are easily bored (they have a low boredom threshold) and have a low tolerance for boredom. Sexual advances alleviate this nagging and annoying boredom.
  3. Narcissists maintain an island and a focal point of stability in their lives, but all other dimensions of their lives are chaotic, unstable, and unpredictable. This formation serves many emotional needs. That is, a narcissist can be a model employee and build a career for decades, even if he lies to his wife and squanders their shared savings.
  4. The narcissist feels superior and important, as well as called to be above the law, and engages in behavior that is frowned upon and considered socially unacceptable by others. He rejects and vehemently resents any restrictions and conditions imposed on them by their partners. He acts based on his impulses and passions, unencumbered by social contracts and criticism.
  5. Marriage, monogamy, and raising children are universal behaviors found in the average personality. By being involved in such relationships, the narcissist feels deprived of his uniqueness, and immersion in relationships and roles - such as husband and father - completely deprives him of significance in his eyes, equating him with the gray mass of those around him. This narcissistic injury leads him to rebel and assert his superiority and uniqueness through extramarital affairs.
  6. Narcissists suffer from delusions of control. Being in a relationship involves give and take, and a carload of compromises, painfully interpreted by the narcissist as a loss of control over his life. In order to regain control, the narcissist enters into other relationships in which he dictates the degree of involvement (affairs).
  7. Narcissists are terrified of intimacy. Their behavior is best characterized by the Approach-Avoidance Cycle. Adultery is the best means of reducing intimacy, suitable for less threatening forms of interaction.

About the author: Sam Vaknin is the author of the books “Malicious Self-Love”, “Narcissism Revisited” and “After the Rain - How the West Lost the East”, and many other (paper and electronic) publications on the topic of narcissism

Circle Five – Tightening the Nuts

This stage is an alternation of “ice showers” ​​and thaws, which become shorter and shorter each time. The aggressor subjects you to more and more humiliation, showing verbal, emotional, and then physical, including sexual, violence. You are trying to “become better”, fulfill and anticipate his wishes, “reach out” to him in order to understand what and where went wrong, and how it can be corrected. At the same time, your narcissist, on the contrary, neglects your desires or does the opposite. “Withholding” applies to you

a ban on expressing emotions, especially anger.
They don’t listen to you, they interrupt you, they turn everything into a joke, they devalue your feelings and your condition.
You develop strange illnesses, incomprehensible pains, problems with sleep and appetite, nervous tics, panic attacks, dermatological problems. By translating your state of mind into psychosomatic language, your body is trying to convey to you the truth about your relationship. Your general nervous exhaustion is also facilitated by the beginning of exploitation, the use of your knowledge, skills and resources in favor of the narcissist, which will acquire even greater scope in the next stage of communication.

Circle Nine – Dance on the Bones

Consumed by hatred, the narcissist seizes or orchestrates every opportunity to take revenge. He is capable of tripling the persecution, harassing you in any possible way: denunciations, calls, making your secrets public, endless visits while drunk or otherwise insane, acts of physical aggression. Persecution (“stalking”) is also common, in which alternating threats and cajoling are possible.

In especially serious cases, a destructive person who is “stuck” on you will prefer to destroy you than to lose you forever.

Relationship with a narcissist

Relationships with a narcissist are always dependent. The narcissist always chooses victimized people as partners. And since victimized people are very dependent, in a relationship with a narcissist they are... happy and unhappy at the same time.

And again we want to draw attention to perverted narcissists, since their tactics of “luring” into relationships are very sophisticated.

At first, a relationship with a perverted narcissist is like a “honeymoon.” He is attentive, charming, caring, romantic, gentle. Well, just a dream, not a partner.

This period goes well, but ends quickly. For some time, the narcissist somehow manages to hold back negative feelings in order to gain the trust of his partner, but then his patience runs out, and the true face of the narcissist is revealed to the person. Sobering sets in.

In a short period of time, from a gentle and loving person, the narcissist turns into a bitter and aggressive “creature” who attacks his victim partner not only psychologically, but sometimes also physically. The gradual devaluation and bullying of the partner on the part of the narcissist intensifies and he becomes a real “moral murderer” and an energy “vampire”.

It is not difficult to predict how such relationships will develop and how they will end. After all, the victim’s self-esteem is gradually destroyed, and the narcissist asserts himself at this expense. At the same time, victims cannot just pick up and leave, because narcissists diligently keep their partners close, constantly reviving the “honeymoon” that was observed at the very beginning of the relationship. But the calm, as a rule, does not last long.

By the way, the psychologist compared the self-esteem of a perverted narcissist to a bottomless hole into which both the admiration of others and his own achievements go.

Moreover, because of their pathology, narcissists feel helpless and embittered in their souls, and also endlessly experience a strong feeling of envy. The deceptive illusion of their own greatness does not allow them to perceive other people as equals.

The Dangers of Narcissism

Narcissism as a personality trait has positive and negative consequences. The positive ones include:

  • desire for self-improvement. This applies to appearance, education, success in work or creativity;
  • external attractiveness, regardless of initial data - such people know how to “present themselves”;
  • charm, eloquence.

Negative Characteristics of a Narcissist:

  • an unjustifiably high opinion of one’s own data and an unjustifiably low opinion of others;
  • unwillingness to listen to other people's opinions and criticism;
  • inability to work on oneself in accordance with the needs of others, including in the professional sphere;
  • rapid idealization and devaluation of others;
  • preoccupation with yourself, your needs and desires.

At the same time, the positive character traits of narcissistic people are overshadowed by their negative qualities. With age, problems with adequate assessment of oneself and the people around them worsen. This makes narcissists unpleasant, cold, selfish and intolerant.

How to get rid of narcissism?

Narcissism is a personality disorder that is difficult to get rid of, but you shouldn’t give up. How to deal with narcissism, recommendations from psychologists:

  • not to admire yourself, but to sincerely love yourself as a person who is worthy of love and respect;
  • to see that there are also people around who need kindness and love;
  • ask a loved one to give constructive criticism of shortcomings and boldly look them in the face, while understanding that there are no ideal people, but everyone is unique in their own way;
  • start helping people in need of help;
  • take responsibility for your life and if you feel that therapy is needed, make an appointment with a psychologist and therapist, steadily complete all tasks and follow the course of therapy.

Round three – Tests of the pen

This is where the first bells appear, telling you that everything is not as cloudless as it seemed before. Moreover, all these misunderstandings still look quite innocent, and you, of course, are in no way to blame for them. Only slightly. Well, or out of thoughtlessness. By organizing “uncomfortable” situations, violating agreements, controlling or criticizing you, the narcissist tests the strength of your boundaries and your reaction to their violation.

At the same stage, he will try to “earn your trust” and extort some information from you that can later be used against you. Unfortunately, we tend to brush aside obvious bad signs in the development of relationships, which takes us to the next stage of the narcissistic nightmare.

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