Male and Female Narcissism

I became interested in the topic of the differences between male and female narcissists when I realized that one of my friends, Don, is a male narcissist.  Until that time the narcissists in my life had been female – which is contrary to much of the literature stating that male narcissism is more prevalent (75% of all narcissists are male).  I have disagreed with this and highlight the findings that I found useful on this investigation.

Is Narcissism more prevalent in males than in females?

Kathy Krajco’s Blog Narc-attack has a post entitled ‘NPD? A Male Disease?  An Adult Disease?’  She answers this question beautifully.  Females are just as prevalent and are underrepresented in the statistics.  The females I have dealt with are more vicious than the males and are more clever at coming across as saints to the general public.  The subtly of the female narcissists makes people think we are the ones that are crazy instead of them.  Dare I say I do not openly talk about this subject with many people and have reduced my thoughts to this blog.

The next question for me was:

What exactly are differences in male and female narcissism?

I read a website which explains the differences (Winning Teams).  It highlights probably the most significant difference: subtly.  Men assert their narcissism directly and females do so indirectly.  That may explain why female narcissists can go undetected and why at first it is not evident that the female is narcissistic.

With my dealings with Don he is indeed more assertive…or aggressive in his narcissistic expressions.  He hogs the conversation and competes with you directly.  He will outwardly say that his job is more complex and in higher status and pay than yours.  He says his car is better than yours.  He will tell you that you have nothing going on and he is busy all the time.

Lydia, his wife, expresses narcissism much more indirectly.  She mentions that she has a new car and tries to weave it into the conversation, she instead ever so often tell stories about her dealings with the new car.  She makes a joke about you rather than directly tell you that you have no life.  She is the queen of subtly insulting you and showing her superiority.

What is interesting about dealing with Don & Lydia is that my boyfriend is not that bothered by Don.  He recognizes that Don talks all the time and my boyfriend has to interrupt to get a word in.  However, my boyfriend is not as upset with Don as I am.  Don is more verbally hurtful towards me than my boyfriend.

Does the male narcissist treat males and females differently?

My first response was YES!  I read an article entitled ‘A man with attitude – male narcissists‘.  This explains why the wife/girlfriend deals with the worst of it.  This explained why Don would verbally attack me and not my boyfriend.  Male narcissists are chauvinistic and old-fashioned.  Don does not like the fact that my relationship with my boyfriend is one of equality.

The male narcissist measures himself (competes) against other straight men.  This usually means that he has male straight friends who have a lower status (according to his measuring stick).  They don’t have a glamourous job or a high status/paying job.  If a friend of his were to obtain a better job (or more money, etc.) then the male narcissist will voluntarily drop this friend.

The women who are dealing with male narcissists…my heart goes out to you.  You should realize just how strong you are.  The fact is…no matter what sex, race, shape, form they come in…they are all terrible and truly evil.  I hope to one day be free.

Any thoughts on the differences are welcome!

Related post: Male N or Female N – which is worse?

T Reddy

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9 thoughts on “Male and Female Narcissism

  1. Oh my goodness, thanks for sharing and what you wrote definitely hits the nail on the head. From what you described about female narcissists, my former flatmate from hell fits the exact description. People taught she was a saint while she turned my friends away to the point that I thought I was going crazy and all that a few years ago(but looking back now she used mind games to try and break me down). Anyway, I got one question though, can a female narcissist be a result of a certain upbringing from childhood such as being spoilt rotten from young? I recently learnt from friends that my former flatmate from hell grew up spoilt rotten because her mother would give her what she wanted and even defended her when she misbehaved or when her dad tried to discipline her when he caught her for being a bully to other kids in her school. Can being spoilt rotten from young create a narcissist?

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    • Thank you, whatsaysyou.

      It is a coincidence that you ask what causes narcissism. I have been researching this topic and trying to look at my interactions with the narcissists in my life. From what I have read from other blogs and psychology articles it seems there are 2 main streams of thought:

      1. A person becomes a narcissist because one of their parents was one. So if you were abused emotionally and/or psychically by a narcissist you will then become one. I found this theory to be the same as ‘you become your parents’.

      2. A person is overindulged during childhood where they are extremely spoiled and the parents do not allow the child to see the reality of who he/she is.

      Psychologists have said that there is a genetic predisposition for narcissism and with the right environment a narcissist is created.

      It has been hard to search for the answer to this question. I am still gathering my thoughts around this and once I do…I will be sure to post my findings.

      The dealings you had with your flatmate are unbelievable and the feeling that you get where you think you are crazy…I understand. It is hard to find the right support because your friends’ views may be manipulated by the narcissist.

      I hope this helps and I will be coming back to this very question soon!

      Take care.

      T Reddy

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  2. I suspect one reason male narcissists are less subtle than female is that overt aggressive behavior in men is generally lauded by our society while it is frowned on when perpetrated by women. This forces the impulses underground, which is almost always a terrible thing psychologically speaking. I’m curious about how these behaviors differ in Eastern cultures as well.

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    • That is a good point…it is acceptable in some societies for the men to be aggressive and the women to be more submissive. And that forces the growth of the subtly in women.

      The culture aspect is very interesting. My N mother and enabling father are from India…my ex-female N friend is from Spain…and another ex-female N friend is from England. I’ve seen differences in how they express/behave outwardly but internally I have felt the same. IMO, some cultures and some countries don’t ‘invest’ in understanding psychology and leads to how the society deals with them and how enabling a society can be.

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  3. That is exactly my experience with male and female narcissists. Male ones in my life will take BS constantly about how good they are at something and directly condescend whatever you talk about. The female ones will spin everything to make themselves look great and those around them look inferior.

    One of the worst experiences I’ve had was a female narcissist hijacking more a dozen friends into believing I was the one wrong in a dispute, even when all the evidence pointed at her. I had to cut everything she touched out of my life as if it were cancerous.

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    • That is well said about the differences! It is an interesting difference and one that is not studied enough in the psychology world. Thank you for reading. I apologise for the late reply, I missed this comments in the queue and just realised I had not responded. xxoo T Reddy

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      • Males Ns in the workplace are often in leadership positions because of how they come across. I hope it gets more and more evident that results and behaviours should be looked at rather than impressions and images.

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