There’s a lot of info out there about how to deal with dating a male narcissist, but men aren’t the only ones with this condition. In fact, women are perhaps just as likely to share these toxic traits. They’re simply harder to recognize because of the way they play out. With that in mind, here are 7 signs of a female narcissist, what the disorder entails, and how to deal.
What is a narcissistic personality disorder?
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a condition that affects every aspect of a person’s life, as well as the lives around them. Per the Mayo Clinic, those with NPD experience “an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.” However, these bombastic qualities are covering up an extremely vulnerable and fragile individual beneath.
Those with NPD often have tumultuous relationships plagued with insecurity, fighting, and general unrest. They can also be extremely aggressive and vindictive towards others when things don’t go their way, making them toxic to be around.
While those with NPD may find their condition improves with targeted and intense talk therapy, many are hesitant to seek treatment since they don’t believe they have a problem.
As mindbodygreen explains, narcissistic traits are essentially the same in both sexes. However, because of cultural differences in how women are socialized, the way those traits are expressed tends to vary. For instance, while both male and female narcissists get angry, men tend to become physically aggressive while women often prefer to seek revenge and hand out punishment.
That being said, these are not hard and fast rules. The ways in which narcissism is displayed in people depend on the environment and individual personalities.
7 signs of a female narcissist
- She’s obsessed with her appearance and is extremely materialistic. A female narcissist values the superficial above all else. Not only does she spend a long time preening in front of the mirror, but she’s also likely to go to great lengths to achieve what she believes to be physical perfection. To go along with that, she insists on clothes, jewelry, and accessories from the finest brands. This is true even if getting these things is outside of her means.
- She’s the queen of one-upmanship and competitiveness. She can never just be happy for someone else’s achievements. Instead, she either has to outdo them or belittle them as if they don’t matter at all. While there’s room for everyone to succeed, that’s not how she sees things. To her, everything is a competition and she plans on winning it at all costs.
- She ignores people’s boundaries and does what she wants. Other people’s boundaries aren’t her problem. If she wants to do something, she will. Oftentimes, she will do this purposely to spite the other person. This is particularly true if she believes she’s been slighted by them in any way. If called out on this disrespect, she’s more annoyed than apologetic.
- She refuses to take accountability for her actions. A female narcissist refuses to apologize for her behavior or even admit she’s done anything wrong, even if all the signs are there. Instead, she shifts the blame to everyone else. Nothing is ever her problem or fault. It’s all down to everyone else.
- She has a serious sense of schadenfreude. If you’re not familiar with this German term, it refers to the act of taking pleasure in others’ misfortune. She finds it amusing or even pleasurable when someone else is humiliated, fails at something, or has something bad happen to them. Because she’s obsessed with winning, she roots for everyone else to lose.
- She actively sabotages other people’s relationships. The vindictive side of her enjoys causing drama and unrest in other people’s relationships. She’s sneaky, gossipy, and gets off on starting trouble. She loves to throw a lit match into a situation and sit back and watch while everything burns.
- She punishes people for perceived slights. If she believes someone has done something against her, she’ll react quickly and brutally. Perceived slights range from believing someone else spoke negatively about her to someone simply disagreeing with her opinion on a particular topic. She expects the world to bow to her every whim. When it doesn’t, she can’t handle it.
- She always plays the victim. The female narcissist, while lacking sympathy, regularly elicits it from others. She wants people to feel sorry for her so that they’re more likely to do what she wants. She’s the queen of manipulation and has no problem twisting situations to suit herself.
Why relationships with women with NPD can be so toxic
Relationships with female narcissists can be toxic because narcissism is a personality disorder characterized by grandiosity, a lack of empathy, and a constant need for admiration. Narcissists often manipulate and exploit others for their own gain, which can lead to emotional and psychological harm.
Plus, they’re unable to understand or care about the feelings of others because they lack empathy, which can lead to a relationship that is one-sided and emotionally destructive. The toxicity in these relationships can be exacerbated by the fact that the partner may not realize they are being abused, as the narcissistic behavior may be disguised as charm or manipulation.
How to deal with a female narcissist
- Keep your distance and don’t engage. Interacting with someone with NPD is trying at the best of times, but it may not always be something you can avoid. If you have to see this person on a daily basis, do your best to disengage. Don’t react to the things she says. Don’t start conversations with her or initiate a relationship on any level. Do your best to avoid her altogether.
- Don’t compromise on your standards or boundaries. While she may attempt to cross them, hold tight to your boundaries. Don’t be tempted to shift or abandon them to make her more comfortable or your life less dramatic. Make it clear that there are certain things you will not accept.
- Encourage her to seek help for problematic behaviors. While you’re unlikely to make much headway in this regard, it’s worth trying. Explain why her behavior is so toxic and how it’s affecting other people, including yourself. There’s a chance that even if she doesn’t immediately take you up on it, your words will stay with her. She may reflect on them at a later date and decide to act.
- If all else fails, cut off all contact. This is probably your best option, if at all possible. It’s not your job to fix her or deal with her behavior. Walk away and cut her out of your life completely. You’ll be much happier this way.
If you notice any of the 7 signs of a female narcissist, make sure you act sooner rather than later.