Narcissist Women: Recognizing the Signs

Narcissist Women: Recognizing the Signs

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We tend to think of narcissism as a particular set of characteristics: however, narcissist women often display different traits and behaviors than male narcissists do.

In fact, we often easily apply the label of a narcissist to men.

But, female narcissism is seemingly more likely to go under the radar.

In terms of a male narcissist, studies estimate that almost 75% of narcissists are men.

However, this could be because of gender biases in diagnoses.

Women are more likely to be diagnosed with borderline or histrionic personality disorders.

As more and more is understood about narcissistic abuse, more and more is understood about these overlooked narcissist women.

In some ways, this could make narcissist women even more dangerous than their male counterparts.

Often, narcissist women use stereotypes about women to shield their narcissistic behavior.

They might cloak themselves in outward roles such as "nurturing mother," "doting grandmother," or, "helpless and naive young woman."

Narcissists are great actors: they play these roles to distract from their malignant behavior or other ways a narcissistic woman feels.

No one suspects someone who presents as a nurturing mother to abuse or neglects their children.

Underneath these masks, narcissist women are very aggressive and often exert this aggression through different tactics than those that are more commonly associated with narcissistic men. 

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1). How She Looks

According to Greek mythology chronicled in Ovid's Metamorphoses, Narcissus is a beautiful young man who sees his own reflection in the water and then falls in love with it.

There's a reason that this myth inspired the term narcissism: especially in narcissist women. 

Narcissist women are extremely obsessed with their physical appearance.

Women are objectified in our culture and a narcissistic woman uses that to her advantage. 

Regardless of her actual beauty, a narcissistic woman typically spends a lot of time, energy, and money on their appearance.

Narcissist women use their sexuality as a weapon to gain money, status, narcissistic supply, attention, validation, and social status.

This might manifest itself as competitiveness with other women. Including her own daughter, mother, and other female relatives.

The narcissist woman is unable to see other women as anything other than competition. 

All narcissists are intensely competitive and narcissist women often use other women as their targets of competition.

This is because narcissist women feed off the social dominance of men. They use the men in their life to achieve a higher status.

And, Narcissistic women use their looks and sexuality as a tool to achieve this feeling of interpersonal superiority.

Anyone who threatens these feelings of superiority (or perfection) will be seen by the narcissist woman as a threat.

Often narcissist women will strike for physical perfection in a way that might manifest in disordered eating, conspicuous consumption, and over-sexualization.

2). How She Acts

One of the key traits of a narcissist woman is an obsession with money.

Rampant materialism is often a sign of narcissistic women.

Narcissist women often manipulate their partners and family members into spending money on them: luxury clothes, expensive jewelry, spa treatments, plastic surgery, and expensive shoes all become obsessions used to provide the narcissist woman with validation.

They will often use their sexuality to find wealthy partners to fuel an extravagant lifestyle. 

Or, they might ignore their children's material needs to feed their own desires.

While male narcissists are more likely to earn large amounts of money, narcissist women are more likely to spend a lot of money. 

3). In Relationships

Narcissist women use relationships for their own gain and validation. 

They often collect admirers to provide themselves with a narcissistic supply. They crave attention and being the object of desire.

Narcissist women often have ex-partners that they keep ensnared, may instigate love triangles to feel validation, and are prone to cheating both emotionally and physically.

Narcissist women are often very seductive. 

They flaunt their sexuality to gain attention and admirers. 

They may also do this to manipulate their intimate partners.

They may try to inspire feelings of jealousy in order to gain a sense of power over the partner.

They also frequently inspire an idealization phase: they will make you believe they are too good to be true before moving on to the devaluing phase. 

4). At Work

Narcissist women are very divisive. 

They use passive-aggressive tactics, such as divide and conquer, to gain power within their work and social circles.

They are also duplicitous and backstabbing. 

Think of the high school mean girl. 

Narcissist women often function in a similar way.

If your female boss finds reasons to belittle you or takes credit for your work, then she might be a narcissist.

Narcissist women's obsession with status can also manifest itself at work. 

They might be over accomplished to receive intellectual validation.

They might pursue outward recognition and validation through awards, degrees, or a large social media following.

5). In Friendships

Narcissist women are extremely competitive with other women.

If you have a female friend that is constantly putting you down, she might be a narcissist.

Women who are narcissists are often conniving and manipulative.

For example, does she speak ill of others behind their backs?

This is a huge trait of a narcissistic woman.

She might also act inappropriately with your partner. 

Narcissist women don't like it when other women receive male attention or are in healthy relationships. 

They may try to sabotage your relationship or undermine your confidence with your partner.

Another common trait in narcissist women is a tendency to martyr themselves.

If you have a friend who constantly blames others for their problems: they might be a narcissist.

These narcissist women will play up the idea that everyone is victimizing them in order to avoid blame.

If you see a woman doing this, then she might be a narcissist. 

7). Examples

  • The Grandiose Woman Narcissist - Women with grandiose narcissism often display excessive self-confidence and believe they are superior to others. They might frequently say things like, "No one can do it as well as I can." or "I deserve the best because I'm better than everyone else." They tend to dominate conversations and make them about themselves, disregarding others' feelings or contributions.
  • The Covert Narcissist - A covert narcissist can be more difficult to identify because they often present themselves as victims or martyrs. They might say things like, "Nobody understands how much I sacrifice." or "I always put others before myself, and no one appreciates it." These women often use guilt or pity to manipulate those around them.
  • Narcissistic Parent - A narcissistic parent tends to view their child as an extension of themselves rather than a separate individual. They might say things like, "You're a reflection of me." or "You should be grateful for all I do for you." They may disregard their child's feelings and impose their own desires and ambitions on them.
  • Narcissistic Relationship - In a narcissistic relationship, the woman narcissist tends to be controlling and manipulative. They may say things like, "If you loved me, you would do this for me." or "You're so lucky to have me." They often belittle their partners and make them feel dependent or worthless.
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) - Women with NPD have a deep need for admiration and lack empathy for others. They might say things like, "Why can't you see how special I am?" or "I don't care how you feel; what matters is how I feel." They often have a grandiose sense of self-importance and believe they are entitled to special treatment.

8). How to Protect Yourself

  • Establish Boundaries: Clearly define what is acceptable behavior and what is not. Do not allow the narcissist to disrespect or manipulate you.
  • Seek Support: Reach out to friends, family, or a mental health professional. Sharing your experiences can help validate your feelings and provide helpful advice.
  • Practice Self-Care: It's essential to take care of your physical, emotional, and mental health. This includes eating healthy, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and engaging in activities that you enjoy.
  • Limit Contact: If possible, limit your interactions with the narcissist. This could mean reducing the amount of time you spend with them or cutting off contact altogether.
  • Educate Yourself: Learning more about narcissistic personality disorder can help you understand the narcissist's behavior and equip you with strategies to deal with it effectively.

If you believe you're in a dangerous situation, it's important to seek help immediately from law enforcement or a domestic violence hotline. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Narcissistic Women

What are the common traits of a narcissistic woman?

Narcissistic women often exhibit traits such as extreme confidence, dramatic emotional behavior, and a grandiose sense of self-importance. 

They are overly concerned with their physical appearance and social status and may have a fragile ego that requires constant validation (narcissistic supply). They can also be very self-centered and lack empathy for others.

How does narcissism differ in men and women?

While both male and female narcissists exhibit similar traits like a sense of entitlement, lack of empathy and need for admiration, there can be differences. 

Female narcissists, for instance, might use their relationships with other women to bolster their self-esteem or manipulate for personal gain. 

Male narcissists, on the other hand, may be more prone to showcase their narcissism through their professional achievements or financial success.

How prevalent is narcissism in women?

According to research, narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is found in approximately 4.8% of females.

Can a narcissistic woman be a nurturing mother?

Narcissistic mothers may struggle with parenthood as their self-centered nature can interfere with their ability to put their children's needs first. 

Often, they view their children as extensions of themselves and can be overly concerned with their children's achievements as a reflection of their own worth.

Is it possible to have a healthy relationship with a narcissistic woman?

Having a relationship with a narcissistic woman can be challenging due to their self-centered behaviors and lack of empathy. 

However, understanding the nature of the disorder and setting boundaries can help manage the relationship. It's also recommended to seek professional mental health support if needed.

What is the impact of narcissistic abuse?

Narcissistic abuse can have a significant impact on a person's mental health, often leading to issues such as low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. 

Victims may feel constantly belittled, manipulated, and unvalued.

Can narcissism be treated?

Yes, narcissism can be treated, often with psychotherapy. 

The goal is to help individuals with NPD understand their behaviors, develop healthier relationships, and improve their self-esteem.

How can I communicate effectively with a narcissistic woman?

Communicating with a narcissistic woman can be challenging due to their inflated sense of self-importance and tendency to feel superior. 

It's important to maintain your personal space and set clear boundaries. 

Avoid getting drawn into their manipulative tactics or abusive behavior, such as the silent treatment or belittling comments that make you feel inferior. 

Instead, focus on expressing your thoughts and feelings clearly and assertively.

What should I do if a female narcissist is part of my social circle or family?

If you have a female narcissist in your social circles or family, it's crucial to protect your mental health. 

Recognize the common traits of narcissism, such as an inflated sense of self, self-centeredness, and lack of empathy. 

In many cases, women with narcissistic traits exert control through manipulation tactics. Seek professional help if you find it difficult to manage the situation. 

Therapists can provide strategies to deal with narcissistic behavior effectively.

Can I maintain a healthy romantic relationship with a narcissistic woman?

Narcissists often engage in manipulative behaviors to maintain control and may show little consideration for their partner's feelings. 

If you're in a romantic relationship with a narcissistic woman, consider seeking professional advice. 

A mental health professional can provide guidance on how to navigate such a relationship and help determine whether it's possible to establish a healthier dynamic. 


Narcissist women can be even more dangerous than their male counterparts.

Especially because their abuse often goes unnoticed.

If this article has helped you to recognize that you might have a narcissist woman in your life, then your best option is to seek help. 

Understanding narcissistic behaviors and tactics is a great first step to protecting yourself from them.


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Comments 3

Overcomers on May 9th, 2024

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Overcomers on Mar 7th, 2024

I have a friend for over 30 years who I have detected recently as being Narcissistic.. Her traits are very similar to those outlined in this article. Just recently, she has used emotional manipulation on me, knowing how I feel about her. She tends to be very needy of male attention, as if their are insecurity issues. I have decided NOT to deal with her anymore, not answer her calls or respond to her childish ways. My health mentally and physically is important, and I cannot allow a 50 year old child ruin my peace of mind.

I have a friend for over 30 years who I have detected recently as being Narcissistic.. Her traits are very similar to those outlined in this article. Just recently, she has used emotional manipulation on me, knowing how I feel about her. She tends to be very needy of male attention, as if their are insecurity issues. I have decided NOT to deal with her anymore, not answer her calls or respond to her childish ways. My health mentally and physically is important, and I cannot allow a 50 year old child ruin my peace of mind.
Overcomers on Mar 4th, 2024

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June 18th, 2024

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