What makes a woman a narcissist?
It’s more than just being self-absorbed or occasionally egotistical.
Narcissistic women believe they’re much more important than they are, demand constant attention and validation and have no real desire to understand or cooperate with others.
The narcissist is often a very manipulative individual, and when you’re dealing with a highly narcissistic woman you may feel like you’re going crazy.
That’s her pulling your strings and pressuring you to orient your whole reality around her.
How do I know?
I’ve dealt with my share of female narcissists in my life and even dated several of them.
Red alert: don’t date a female narcissist if you value your life and happiness.
Part of the problem is that female narcissists are increasingly latching onto ideologies like feminism to disguise their disorder and pathology and pretend their behavior is just them being a “strong woman.”
No, it’s not.
They do other women a disservice by acting like they can do and say whatever they want because they are female.
It’s really a shame. Here are the signs I’ve noticed in female narcissists and how to deal with them.
1) She is extremely entitled
I think we’ve all felt that life is giving us a raw deal at some point.
We’ve all felt like we deserve better and get down or angry about that.
I certainly have.
But the narcissist goes the next step past that: she not only believes life should give her better, she demands and expects it.
When I say she demands better from life, I don’t mean that she works toward that and puts her mind to her goals to achieve it.
More often than not, the female narcissist will simply sit back with a hand out and expect people, jobs, recognition and love to come her way.
And if it takes too long or doesn’t go how she hopes, she will throw a temper tantrum, sulk or engage in numerous other narcissistic behaviors.
2) She believes she’s superior to other women (and men)
The narcissist lives in a universe that’s all inside her own head.
It’s a world in which she’s the CEO of the cosmos and everyone else is somewhere below her on the ladder.
That includes her own parents, her boyfriend or husband, her friends and her work colleagues.
This sense of her own superiority often filters down into a disturbing lack of respect or consideration for others.
Even when she herself has caused a crisis, such as arriving late to work repeatedly or cheating on her partner, she will dismiss the frustration and disappointment of those she’s impacted.
It’s just the peasants whining again.
Her mistakes are her own to deal with and the concerns that other people have about them don’t seem to really mean anything to her, except for the annoyance it causes her in having to pretend to care.
3) She expects and craves constant validation and attention
If you’re in a relationship with a female narcissist, working with one, or have a close friend or family member who is, then you know that they are a lot of work emotionally.
The female narcissist is like an endless sponge of attention and praise.
No matter how much you validate and give her attention, she wants more.
In practical terms, this often translates over to exactly what you might imagine:
- Intense social media addiction and her posting selfies to get likes 24/7
- Wild hissy fits at work if she is criticized in even the slightest way
- Asking loaded questions of friends and partners and then berating them if they give her advice or any answers that aren’t 100% positive or supportive of her
- Becoming visibly upset and angry if others receive more recognition, praise or limelight than she does, even for very small events or matters
- Refusing to respect the boundaries or time of others when they are busy but she wants their attention or praise.
4) She expects you to play the role she’s set out for you
Narcissists hate the unpredictability of life because it often doesn’t go how they’d like.
This angers and saddens them, so they try to expand their sphere of control.
The easiest way to do this is to demand that those around them and close to them behave in predictable and controllable ways.
If you are in a relationship with a narcissistic woman and start changing, she’s not going to like it.
In fact, she’s very likely to become quite upset at the changes in your personality, appearance, beliefs or priorities.
That’s because she wants to control you and craves you to continue whatever role she’s already slotted you into in her mind and heart.
“Narcissists always have a storyline in mind about what each ‘character’ in their interaction should be saying and doing.
“When you don’t behave as expected, they become quite upset and unsettled.”
5) She uses her emotions as a weapon
There are times when the behavior and words of others makes us feel a certain way intensely.
But making others responsible for the emotions we feel or using our emotions as a tool to manipulate, shame or blame another person is something else entirely.
It’s a common trait of the narcissistic woman that she will use her emotions as a weapon, such as in the earlier drunk driving example.
The basic idea is that you or somebody else is responsible not only for how she feels, but for what she does as a result of feeling a certain way.
Obviously this is a bit of a nightmare scenario, especially if you are tied to this narcissist through a relationship, family connection or work necessity.
It’s more than enough being responsible for our own actions!
Having to be blamed and manipulated due to the emotions of someone else is both exhausting and extremely frustrating.
6) She’s militantly perfectionist
The narcissistic woman tends toward perfectionism, in others more than in herself.
She expects people to be perfect, but what this really means is that she expects them to act, say and be the way she wants them to be.
But even in her own performance, failure to live up to an ideal will cause the narcissist to go into a spiral.
It’s society’s fault or your fault or her dad’s fault that she didn’t get the promotion.
Her ex broke up with her because she’s short and her boobs aren’t big enough, the world is so shallow, especially men.
Now if you’re a man you’ve been put in the position of implicitly defending or answering for all men to live up to some ideal standard? How does that work, exactly?
“The demand for perfection leads the narcissist to complain and be constantly dissatisfied.”
7) She’s passive aggressive
If the narcissist was just a total jerk 24/7, she wouldn’t get anywhere in life.
But that’s not usually how it works.
More often than not, she engages in passive-aggressive behavior.
One day she’s the picture of sweetness and kinds words, the next she’s your biggest critic and making your life a living hell.
It’s because she’s switching and shifting emotional states in accord with getting what she wants.
When things are going her way she’s Mother Theresa.
But as soon as she loses the job or has a bad fight with a friend, the world is against her and she’s a martyr of innocence and righteous indignation that you and others around her need to answer for and reassure her about.
8) She buys into toxic New Age types of spirituality
I personally think the Law of Attraction and some New Age spirituality teachings have elements of truth to them.
It’s true that confirmation bias and our beliefs help shape what we perceive and how we perceive it.
But the idea that we can “manifest” a dream reality and that “low vibrations” and “negativity” are holding us back from a fulfilled life is bullshit.
All too often, this kind of dualism can end up feeding into a paradigm that’s just about the high vibration ascended masters on one side and the low vibration pieces of shit on the other.
Sadly, this is quite a good fit for the female narcissist, who may embrace ideologies like the Law of Attraction and become very hooked on snakeoil spirituality.
The female narcissist is often one of the first to be duped by dubious gurus who can take advantage of her belief that she’s special and that her life means more than the lives of others.
They reinforce this belief and then convince the narcissist that she’s on a “special” path to greater and greater enlightenment, overtaking the negative, low-vibration peons as she climbs to ever higher level of sublime vibrations.
She’s always known her life was more important and spiritual, so it just makes sense.
Plus, when the guru talks about the challenges in her life with real concern and compassion, she just knows he’s onto something. Especially since:
9) She considers her problems more valid and pressing than those of others
Part of the narcissistic woman’s superiority complex is that she believes her problems are much more valid than those of others.
This relates to the narcissist’s problem in feeling empathy.
Mind you, a narcissist is not necessarily a full on sociopath who has no understanding of the emotions of others and little to no remorse.
A narcissist still has feelings and understands that others do, too. They simply don’t care much or have repressed and lost that part of them that pays attention to the feelings of others or even how they may have impacted them.
The narcissist’s self-absorption often stems from inner insecurity and anxiety that stemmed from early childhood dynamics of invalidation or neglect.
Alternately, the narcissist may come from a background as a golden child, where she was praised for being better than others by doting parents who then created a cycle of authority worship and craving for recognition and outer dominance in this woman.
She needs to be better at everything she does because she never got that approval as a kid, or she needs to be better at everything she does because it was her way of trying to get love from her parents growing up.
This unfortunately stems even to her problems, which must always be sadder, bigger and more important than your problems.
10) She blames others for disappointments and mistakes in her life
What’s even worse about a narcissistic woman is that she tends to blame others for the roadblocks and disappointments in her life.
Not only are her problems more valid and important than yours or anyone else’s, they’re also supposedly your fault, or at least somebody else in her life.
The narcissist hates to take responsibility for their own mistakes or even for their own errors at all.
No matter what happened, it is like there is no low to which a narcissist won’t stoop to evade responsibility and the horror of being proven wrong or guilty.
Even if they do something awful like drive drunk and smash somebody’s fender, they will argue that they were only doing it because they’re depressed…because you’re a jerk…
So you see, it was basically your fault that they drove drunk and ripped up their Mazda’s front bumper because you’re an asshole who makes them sad so they feel like drunk driving.
Welcome to the delusional land of the narcissist.
Spotting the different kinds of narcissism
First of all, not all narcissism is a personality disorder. Some falls more under the category of a personality type or maladjustment.
For those kinds of narcissism which are a disorder, they fall into five main categories.
Psychology writer Courtney Telloian has a great article on this topic.
“Researchers and experts typically work around five types of narcissism: overt narcissism, covert narcissism, antagonistic narcissism, communal narcissism and malignant narcissism.”
So what are they? Let’s look at the COMA model:
- Covert narcissism: those who play the victim and complain and guilt others around them in order to get what they want and reinforce their idea of themselves as more important than others.
- Communal narcissism: these narcissists use social and political issues to pretend to be very altruistic. They then shame, guilt and attack anyone who disagrees with their strongly held, “correct” and righteous views.
- Overt narcissism: this is the typical kind of narcissism many of us think of when we hear the word. Pushy, self-centered, a lack of empathy and blaming others for anything that goes wrong.
- Malignant narcissism: this kind of narcissism crosses the line and is often when a woman is referred for psychiatric assistance. It can become a matter of even enjoying the suffering of others, believing the whole world is persecuting you or delusional, grandiose thinking about one’s importance.
- Antagonistic narcissism: this kind of narcissism is all about manipulating and using others. Life is a zero sum game and this woman wants to win, even if it means destroying everyone around her.
How to deal with a female narcissist
Dealing with a female narcissist can be difficult.
The reason is that it’s easy to get drawn into a back-and-forth conflict that just goes around in circles and feeds into their narcissism.
Instead, do this:
Don’t play the game
Narcissists crave attention and validation. Keep in mind that conflict and argument is one form of attention.
If they can’t get positive attention they’ll take any attention they can get. So don’t give it to them.
This means engaging as little as possible in the narcissist’s game.
You should also know that unless you have a very close relationship with the narcissist or permanent ties you really have no responsibility to give them advice or encourage them to seek help.
That’s up to them. After all, you’re not their therapist!
Avoid the personal
Narcissists like to make things personal as a way to manipulate and get to you.
Sometimes the things they say and do really are personal and there’s no way to dodge it.
But as much as possible, decline the invitation to take it personal. Simply disregard their attempts to barb you and walk on.
If that’s not possible, at the very least avoid fighting with them. They love fighting because it reinforces the idea they’re under attack for being better.
Know your limit
We all have a limit. If you’ve reached your limit with a female narcissist it’s time to cut ties as much as possible.
If they’re a non-optional part of your life, get in the habit of wearing headphones whenever they’re around or suddenly being swamped with work.
You’d love to catch up with them, but you’re just super busy right now.
It’s really a shame, right?
It doesn’t only hurt those it impacts, it also leaves the narcissistic woman ultimately alone and unwanted as well.
That’s because when you try to make yourself the only winner and everyone else the loser you end up self-isolating and being rejected.
Try your best to deal with this narcissistic woman with patience and grace, but also rest assured that if she crosses your limits too often it may be time to cut her out of your life or limit your time around her as much as possible.