Unlike their more introverted counterpart, overt female narcissists stick out like sore thumbs. They’re the alpha female, women who want to be the smartest, the most attractive or whatever.
Signs of a female narcissist
- Catty, shallow and unprincipled
- Love being at the centre of drama
- Make a good impression with the people who matter to them
- Can be as dangerous as male narcissists
- Don’t outgrow their exploitative behaviour as a general rule
- Need to be the centre of attention
- Derive sadistic pleasure from the demise of others
Like to one-up
The overt female narcissism is the alpha female. Like her male counterpart, she loves to be a winner. She may trumpet how competent she is or how she assumed a leadership role on a project. Or she could relish boasting about her possessions, overseas trips, etc.
Female narcissists aren’t only interested in looks or material possessions. Some female narcissists want to be considered superior to other women.
They’re highly selective about who is included in their group.
When normal women select their partners, they do so because they believe that person is special. When a female narcissist selects her partner, she’s looking for status. Ordinary people are too average for them.
Narcissists like surrounding themselves with people who reflect their false self.
Narcissists dislike anyone who will hold them accountable or challenge them. They will remove anyone who tries to make them liable.
She likes stuff
Some narcissists are fond of seeking attention through material goods. They could use bags, cars, or any other material item to advertise their perceived superior status.
Female narcissists can be attracted to high-profile careers.
She enjoys gossiping, bullying, and she is insecure.
Narcissistic women love to bitch about others. They gather in groups and complain about someone or perhaps a group of others.
She will invade your space
Women who get together and trash talk others think nothing of encroaching on someone’s personal space.
Never have conversations around her or her friends at work; you will regret it.
She could be a communal narcissist.
Just as you cannot have confidential discussions around these women, you also shall not believe when they seem caring and concerned. This is because they are not—it is an act.
At one time, overt narcissists thought that there were only agentic narcissists. That is, people are only interested in themselves. Researchers have discovered another subtype of overt narcissists called communal narcissists.
Surely not, you may be thinking. This must be a contradiction in terms. Communal narcissists?!
Unlike agentic female narcissists, communal narcissists want validation for the community. They could get this through donating to worthy causes and putting photos on their social media profile. They could be in more caring occupations or organisations.
Interestingly, researchers have also found that many people like communal narcissists. Studies that have compared the likeability of communal narcissists, normal people and agentic narcissists find that most people like communal narcissists. It’s unclear why this is the case.
Some researchers have suggested it’s because they show others that they like them more. However, this sounds like a partial reason they’re perceived as more likeable. Why? There are many reasons some are liked, but others are disliked. Perhaps their followers get something out of the friendship? Maybe they help the narcissists engage in triangulation by acting as the narcissist’s flying monkeys.
Or maybe the issue is closer to home. Perhaps many of us are much too ready to accept others at face value. If we’re nice people who project our kindness and compassion onto others, we assume others enjoy the same virtues. We may think to ourselves: These people are normal and reasonable like me, right? While these are lovely sentiments, all narcissists, be they male or female, are not like you, so they don’t have your interests in mind at all. Their only interest is in themselves.
So, don’t accept kindness and displays of warmth from people you meet at face value. Don’t be suspicious, but don’t let your guard down until you get to know them better.
Narcissists are great actors; they’d give me an award-winning academy nominee a run for their money. They can cry, smile, seem warm, stay engaged and it looks convincing, but never assume they are genuine. Always note their actions, not their words.
Their behaviour is their own. It has NOTHING to do with you.
If you’ve exposed you to abuse your whole life, this is harder to accept than it seems. Many of us had less than perfect childhoods, some of us may have been harmed by significant others, like parents . Hence, the child that’s been abused can’t just dig deep for those reservoirs of confidence. The fact is that those reservoirs haven’t run dry; they’ve always been empty.
Still not convinced that the problem is with them? Consider this:
When each of us chooses a behaviour, it’s our behaviour and no one else’s. Female narcissists don’t take responsibility for any of their behaviour. They see others as extensions of themselves, and so if people act in a manner they don’t like, they get disappointed quickly in other people.
We all suffer from black-and-white thinking, but this characteristic is more pronounced in narcissists.
Narcissists have a deluded view of reality. They also don’t see you as you are; they desperately need to see you as lesser beings to preserve their inflated view of themselves.
Abusers usually learn their inflated view of themselves from their family. They learn that a lot of this behaviour is normal; this behaviour is not normal. If someone takes a dig at you, tells you that you’re too sensitive, compares you unfavourably with someone else, tells you you’re fat or ignores what you’ve told them, that’s also probably emotional abuse.
There is now some evidence to suggest emotional abuse is as damaging as physical abuse. McGill University in Canada found that humiliation, shouting, and ridicule could be as harmful as physical abuse.
Sadly, society still doesn’t fully comprehend the damaging impact of emotional abuse. Society still doesn’t understand that the skills necessary to stand up to abuse are learned skills. Sadly, the unassertive lack those skills. Someone who’s unassertive will not stick up for themselves.
Hence, gaining the confidence to shake off damage is hard for those who’ve suffered from abuse. Often, people have been through so much that they struggle to separate their role from the abuse dished out by the abuser. So don’t expect that you can shake off abusers’ comments like dandruff (see What do I do now?).
Okay, if she’s so successful, why is she having a go at me?
It’s because she’s jealous. All narcissists lack self-awareness, and so they target others that have qualities they lack. Instead of adopting those qualities themselves, they target wonderful women with loads to give and drag them down.
Here’s the bottom line: It sounds horrible, but some people love being able to ruin other people’s lives. Sick, isn’t it! Female narcissists want to control and dominate their victim’s life. They also genuinely believe that they are superior to others.
Help, I’m a victim
If you’re the target of a narcissist, that doesn’t make you weak and stupid. Weakness is not what narcissists target in others; they target your strengths.
Dealing with verbal abuse
We live in a society that assumes that once we’ve removed ourselves from a toxic environment, we can move on. Physically, it’s possible to move on. Moving on emotionally is a lot slower. Also, victims of abuse have been brainwashed to think they’re responsible for the abuse. They’re not.
Often, emotional abuse is so subtle that you may not realise the toxic impact that verbal abuse has on you. This is if you’ve been exposed to it long enough or if you were abused both as a child and as an adult. Usually, the first sign that you’re living with the effects is if you suffer flashbacks. You’ll know when this happens.
Or you may repeatedly hear cruel negative self-talk. This is your mind acting vicariously as your abuser. And this isn’t just a short-term problem—not at all. Victims often beat themselves up for months, years or decades afterwards after the psychological abuse was first inflicted. And they often feel angry that no one recognised their pain, and no one did anything to help them.
What do I do now?
Show yourself empathy.
Use affirmations (if these work for you).
Emotional wounds aren’t things that you can shake off. Understand where your wounds are, and do the inner work to get better at dealing with abusers. Whether you’re dealing with a female narcissist or male narcissists, realise you’re dealing with someone who wants to control your thoughts using mind control techniques.