20 Identifiable Traits of a Female Narcissist

June 28, 2010

In the discussion following a recent post about one woman’s iPhone infidelity, Mike asked:

Just curious, you had the post on this is what good guys look like and red flags for bad guys, I’d be interested if you have a comparable list on how to identify the red flags for bad girls who are likely to behave like the woman here.

That’s a fair question, and as I’ve been thinking it over I’ve found that applying the same standards women use doesn’t really work. Women are attracted to men for a whole host of reasons, and struggle with the question of how to read a guy’s intentions. We don’t want to have sex too soon and lose his respect, but we don’t want to hold out so long that he seeks satisfaction elsewhere. For women, it’s critical to observe a man’s character over a period of time to assess his willingness to enter into a committed relationship.

Character is very important in women too, but men are primarily drawn to women via physical attraction. Their interest in a woman is immediate upon seeing her, and she may wield considerable power over him based on her sexual attractiveness. Women are generally willing to enter relationships, but men worry about finding out down the road that a woman was not who he thought. How can a man verify a woman’s character quickly, so that he doesn’t get caught up in a relationship with a woman who is unlikely to be monogamous over the long-term?

If a man avoids one thing in a woman, he will increase his chances of long-term happiness a thousand fold:

Female Narcissism

It used to be that the word narcissist wasn’t thrown around lightly. We saved it for sociopaths and historical figures like Machiavelli and Napolean.  Female examples were rare, and generally found in fiction: Rebecca of the Daphne Du Maurier novel, Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond in the 1950 film Sunset Boulevard. In its worst form it is a diagnosable personality disorder (NPD), and historically, 75% of those diagnosed with NPD have been male. However, researchers who have recently studied narcissistic personality traits in the American population say it’s an epidemic, increasing just as fast as obesity since the 1980s, and that much of the growth comes from women. Twenge and Campbell, authors of The Narcissism Epidemic, studied 37,000 college students (2006) in an effort to understand modern levels of self-involvement:

1. In 1982, just 15% of college kids scored high on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, but that number has risen to 25%, largely due to a greater number of narcissistic women.

2. In the 1950s, just 12% of respondents agreed with the statement, “I am an important person.” By the 1980s, 80% felt special.

3. In 1967, 45% of American students felt that “Being well off is an important life goal.” By 2004, 74% agreed with that statement.

4. Nearly 10% of 20-somethings are thought to have NPD, and it’s estimated that 26% of people now in their twenties will have developed NPD by the age of 65.

Women narcissists often are diagnosed with the subset Histrionic Personality Disorder:

A personality disorder characterized by a pattern of excessive emotionality and attention-seeking, including an excessive need for approval and inappropriate seductiveness, usually beginning in early adulthood. These individuals are lively, dramatic, enthusiastic, and flirtatious.

They may be inappropriately sexually provocative, express strong emotions with an impressionistic style, and be easily influenced by others. Associated features may include egocentrism, self-indulgence, continuous longing for appreciation, feelings that are easily hurt, and persistent manipulative behavior to achieve their own needs.

Female narcissists focus more heavily on physical appearance that male narcissists. They often overestimate their own attractiveness, and focus on displaying or flaunting physical attributes. Scientists think there may be a link between narcissism and anorexia or bulimia.

In summary, female narcissists see their lives as a running feature film with them in the lead, receiving accolades at all times. Women narcissists in their 30s and 40s who are unhappily single will generally blame their unpartnered state on being too independent, feisty, strong-minded, intimidating and intelligent for most men. They have little self-awareness.

What Caused the Narcissism Epidemic?

There is far less social pressure to demonstrate character than in past generations. Daughters who once would have been disciplined for spoiled behavior are now allowed to dictate the dinner menu, or veto a family move.

The self-esteem movement, which was intended to create happy, friendly children, produced a generation of kids who filled their rooms with “Participant” trophies and congratulated themselves for showing up. In fact, Twenge and Campbell found that 30% of students felt that they should get good grades just for attending class. Indeed, grade inflation at the country’s best universities is a serious problem, and Cornell West was rumored to have regularly given all A’s in his course at Harvard.

During the 1960s, the core American value of individualism began to morph into self-admiration. The human potential movement stressed introspection and self-improvement, intending self-actualization. However, the concept of self-esteem became a shortcut to the hard work of real personal change.

During the 70S and 80s, Americans became obsessed with celebrity culture, and eating disorders skyrocketed.

Today, social media breeds narcissism by constantly encouraging women to post flattering photos, and create online profiles that stress their uniqueness. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube all require self-promotion, bringing out the narcissist in us. Reality shows promote the most ordinary, unimpressive people as special, and we follow their dysfunctional lives with fascination.

As Twenge and Campbell point out, when I was growing up, it was normal to hear the following kinds of  remarks from parents:

Who do you think you are?

Just wait until your father gets home!

Because I said so, that’s why.

My generation became parents and flipped the script. We justified our decisions at great length when our children disagreed with us. We gave up our own interests to spend hours building Lego structures with our kids or ensuring that our little soccer player got all the development she would need to get recruited to play in college someday. Psychologists used to believe that narcissism resulted from emotional damage in childhood at the hands of cold, neglectful parents. However, the data has never supported that theory, and now it’s widely accepted that narcissism grows from inflated feedback. American parents want super-achieving children, and we’ve insisted we have them, even if we have to create the fiction. Instead, we’ve created a generation of Special Little Snowflakes.

Hooking Up And Narcissism

Twenge and Campbell believe that hookups, FWBs and other no-strings relationships are a manifestation of the narcissism epidemic. Hooking up is considered a selfish act, in that it is about self-satisfaction rather than generosity toward another person. When couples do commit to a relationship, they often continue to wrestle for the upper hand, and relationships are often characterized by lack of emotion, antisocial attitudes and an emphasis on physical appearance. In addition, parents pressure their children to achieve, claiming that “love can wait.” That adds to the appeal, at least in the short-term, of no-strings sexual relationships.

“It changes what is normal behavior in dating,” says Campbell, referring to the hookup culture among youth that has left modern-day parents wringing their hands. According to Campbell and Twenge, the rise of the hookup culture and narcissism rates had a convergent evolution—a link they see as significant. “One of the hallmarks of a narcissist is short-term relationships that don’t require a lot of emotional investment,” says Campbell. Adds Twenge: “The current trend right now, especially among younger people, is that ‘I’m going to focus on myself, not on forging an emotionally close relationship.’”

Hannah Seligson’s article Do Narcissists Have Better Sex? for The Daily Beast makes another observation:

In fact, narcissism, even in small doses, has shifted courtship into a high-stakes relationship culture. Now that people think more highly of themselves, expectations of what a relationship should be like have skyrocketed into the realm of superlatives. Twentysomethings not only expect to waltz into high-level career positions right out of college, they also expect partners who have the moral fortitude of Nelson Mandela, the comedic timing of Stephen Colbert, the abs of Hugh Jackman, and the hair of Patrick Dempsey.

How to Identify a Female Narcissist

Physical Appearance

  1. She dresses provocatively, flaunting sexually suggestive body parts.
  2. She focuses attention on makeup and hair, even for the most mundane tasks or events.
  3. She is overly confident about her looks. Research shows that narcissists are no more attractive than other people, but they believe they are much better looking than other women.
  4. She places high value on brand names, and feels entitled to wear “the best.” She frequently purchases new clothing, and does not distinguish between wants and needs.
  5. She is more likely to have plastic surgery, most commonly breast augmentation.
  6. She enjoys being photographed, and often asks others to snap her picture. She enthusiastically shares the best pics of herself on Facebook or other social media sites. She will sometimes invest in a professional photographer for a portrait that she uses on Facebook or for online dating.


  1. She insists on being the center of attention, and is often the most charming person in the room. Narcissists are very outgoing and excel at marketing themselves.
  2. She often seeks favorable treatment, and automatic compliance. She believes that she is special, and that she deserves fame, fortune, success and happiness.
  3. She is highly materialistic.
  4. She is prone to envy, though she presents as supremely confident. She seeks opportunities to undermine others, and enjoys sharing confidences about how the two of you are better than others.
  5. She is convinced that others are envious and jealous of her, and often uses this excuse for her lack of real, intimate friendships. When her friends enjoy successes of their own, she finds ways to punish them by downplaying their achievements.
  6. She lacks empathy, and even common courtesy at times. She puts others down, including you. She does not hesitate to exploit others.
  7. She is very competitive.
  8. She believes that she is intellectually superior to her peers.
  9. She blames others for problems. Narcissists don’t believe that they make mistakes, and lack the ability to process shame.
  10. She displays a haughty attitude when she lets her guard down or is confronted. She will act impatient, arrogant and condescending. She will often excuse her own shortcomings by claiming that others are pressuring her or expecting too much of her.
  11. She is dishonest and often lies to get what she wants. She will never admit this.
  12. She is “psycho:” She engages in risky behaviors, has an addictive personality, and is prone to aggressive behavior when rejected. (Note: This is most common with Histrionic Personality Disorder.)
  13. She is unpredictable in her moods and actions. You have trouble figuring out what she wants and where you stand.
  14. She is capable of short-term regret, and will apologize profusely if backed into a corner. However, she will quickly rationalize her behavior and return to narcissistic patterns.

A woman doesn’t need to have all 20 of these traits to make a lousy relationship partner. If you can check off even a few of these characteristics, you should head for the hills at 60 mph. The six traits related to physical appearance should be apparent immediately, or within a short time of meeting.

Narcissistic personality traits can be difficult to detect at first. Narcissists always make a strong showing right out of the gate, and it takes time for them to reveal their negative qualities. They will only do so when feeling threatened or that they are not receiving “their due” in some way.

Based on the women of all ages I have known in my life, I think 10% is an accurate estimate of the number of narcissists in the female population. That’s a lot of women who could make you miserable if you’re not careful.

Please don’t date one. I beg you not to fall in love with one. And never, ever marry one.

  • GudEnuf

    Blame it on Mr. Rogers….always telling kids they’re special. 😛

    • HA! I knew there was something off about that guy.

    • bsg

      i put more blame on disney princesses. when our daughter was born, you wouldnt believe the amount of ultra pink princess stuff we received as gifts. it all went straight to the thrift store.

      • That’s an interesting point – when I think of insidious culture, I tend to think of celebrities, but Disney has most definitely played a role. On the other hand, I grew up with many of those same Disney fairy tales. I think in that era we understood that we would never be princesses – these were women from long ago and far away. We did play dress up, and every little girl loves a tutu and tiara, but we used what we could find around the house, borrowing our mothers’ shoes, etc. Today for $50 you can turn your daughter into Jasmine or Ariel. The role playing is too close to reality. BTW, it doesn’t help that whenever Disney releases a new movie, tons of Americans name their babies after the female princess character.

  • #21 Does she have a little dog in her purse….

    • Hahaha, here’s number 22: Does she wear a shirt with her own likeness, like Paris Hilton above?

      • #23 Has she ever marketed a sex tape of her own?

        • 24: Has she EVER admitted cheating on anyone without expressing remorse?

        • Aldonza

          Does she refer to her friends and co-workers as “my minions”?

        • 25. Did she like Sex In The City 2

        • Hahaha, that’s my favorite yet! I almost put a pic of those 4 in the post. Carrie and Samantha are clearly off the charts for NPD.

  • Chili

    I don’t really see how fancying oneself important is necessarily a sign of narcissism; it isn’t necessarily saying other people are NOT important.

    • Chili, that’s true. What’s significant is the shift over time. It used to be that young people would not say they were important unless they had achieved something noteworthy, and been celebrated in the community for it. An “important person” was the pillar of the community, had enormous influence and a strong track record. Today, 80% of young people feel special, but why? What is special about them?
      I’m not suggesting that people shouldn’t feel comfortable in their own skin. I think liking oneself is a prerequisite to a healthy relationship, in fact. But research shows that a large number of 20-somethings feel destined for greatness. From the Daily Beast article:
      In a nationally representative sample of 35,000 Americans, one out of 16 respondents registered as a narcissist on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory. These are people who agreed with statements like: “If I ruled the world it would be a much better place,” or, “I will never be satisfied until I get all that I deserve,” and, “I find it easy to manipulate people.”
      If it’s any consolation, the responsibility lies with parents, and with academics (and the ever helpful media) who pushed self-esteem curricula on schools. Most young people can keep perspective, with a healthy degree of self-respect. But there are always the outliers – and it seems that your generation of women has a pretty significant group who feels entitled and better than everyone else. I know several young women who fit this description – you probably do too.

      • Chili

        I see what you mean. Maybe this shift has something to do with the increasingly specialized world. You now are expected to finish not only high school and college, but many people feel compelled to get masters and even doctorates just to get a decent job. I would imagine after one finishes so many years of education, a certain sense of entitlement and importance may be present. I’m not saying all educated people are narcissists or vice versa, but this may be responsible for the giant shift.

        Furthermore, those who have not yet finished these years of school may expect to do so in the future, and it is very easy to fancy oneself important if you think you are “destined for greatness” in a way, even if you never actually complete all those years of education. Education is one way to become a “pillar of your community.”

        • I think education does play a big role. Of course, there are plenty of entitled and selfish women who are not educated, but delaying emotional involvement until after your education is complete can’t be a good thing, in the sense that people aren’t really getting much practice in give-and-take relationships.

      • alexamenos

        It used to be that young people would not say they were important unless they had achieved something noteworthy, and been celebrated in the community for it….Today, 80% of young people feel special, but why? What is special about them?
        yeah….self-esteem in kids is over-rated and way over-emphasized.
        A while ago I was involved in the Big Brother / Big Sister program…the mother of my ‘little’ was convinced that his biggest problem was that he lacked self-esteem and confidence. The kid was fat, stupid, lazy, illiterate and un-hygenic. If anything his lack of self-esteem was his most redeeming quality, inasmuch as it reflected a modicum of self-awareness. His mother, nonetheless, constantly tried to reassure him that he was a precious little snow-flake. He’s probably doing time these days.

        • OMG! That’s unbelievable – rewarding a terrible attitude with assurances that the kid is special and should be treated as such. It raises an interesting question – the link between self-esteem and a personal sense of responsibility. My guess is for all her efforts, his sense of self-worth remained low because he never had the experience of effort followed by success.
          I do not understand how a mother whose child qualifies for BBBS would reinforce lazy behavior, coupled with obesity. Talk about the curse of low expectations.
          BTW, your involvement in that program signals good character. That’s money in the bank with women, after sexual attraction has been established.

  • Kylie

    WOW This is my mother. She received both of these “diagnoses” a few years ago, as the only explanation for the selfish and crazy behavior my family and I witnessed my entire life. Even receiving the diagnosis did not encourage her to change, she just continued to blame everyone around her. Stay as far away from these people as possible. and never let them have your children.

    • Kylie, thanks so much for commenting. I know a couple of women who are mothers and are narcissists as well. Honestly, I have always felt for their children – they are emotionally cold and withholding. From an early age, one could observe their kids tentatively looking to them for approval and love, only to be met with seeming indifference. I am so very sorry that you had to endure life with a selfish mother.
      I’ve observed the husbands of these women – they fell in love with a narcissist – easy to do, and have spent their married lives trying to fill the holes their wives create in the family dynamic. Oddly, no matter how aloof and reticent these women are emotionally, I get the sense that their husbands remain very interested. Perhaps they are the ultimate challenge.

      • Kylie

        Well thanks, and yes I agree. I am just glad that people are starting to recognize these as legitimate problems, at least the people hurt by these types have something to point a finger too. Narcissists have remarkable ability to make you feel like the crazy one!

  • vera44

    Yikes. Some of the traits are congruent with high-achieving perfectionist women as well, though. Namely:

    – She focuses attention on makeup and hair, even for the most mundane tasks or events.
    – She is very competitive.
    – She believes that she is intellectually superior to her peers (sometimes she is).

    All of these used to apply to me when I worked in finance. Not anymore, but I think an environment of people like this can influence an individual negatively as well.

    • Vera, you may have noticed that at the bottom of the post are Related Posts on HUS. There’s one entitled Crap! I’m a Narcissist that I wrote after I scored, ahem, rather highly on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory. I think you’re right that some of these behaviors are characteristic of smart, ambitious women, and do not indicate an unhealthy psychological profile or poor character.
      Obviously, the killers are lack of empathy, dishonesty, blaming others, exploiting others, lack of real friendships. In terms of physical appearance, I’d be on the lookout for any woman who is overly preoccupied with her appearance, seeking her reflection, making snapshots even more important than relating socially, etc.

      • Aldonza

        You can have someone who is high-achieving, gorgeous, brilliant who is *not* narcissistic because they can empathize with other people. And you can have someone who is a total loser, not attractive, and frankly, not all that smart who is one. The real kicker of NPD is the lack of empathy.
        People who lack empathy truly don’t understand that other people have feelings. I mean, they know it logically, but they don’t *get it*. They have trouble reading other’s moods. They’re frequently confused when people act hurt, particularly if someone is hurt by something that *they* would not find not hurtful. Their attempts at comforting others are almost always falling flat, if they bother at all.
        Empathetic people may not always understand someone’s feelings (and in the case of real trauma, it may be impossible to really know what someone is going through), but they at least know that someone is hurting and they understand at a very basic level that another person’s pain is as valid as their own.

        • I agree with this. Total lack of empathy is the hallmark. Descriptions of NPD often say that the person wants to care, but doesn’t. For example, a narcissist can attend a funeral, understanding that sadness is “required.” They will behave as if they are sad, and may even shed tears. But the feelings are transient, they don’t change the person in any way, because they are not truly experienced. That’s why n.’s can act sorry and regretful when it can be proven they acted selfishly. Once they are forgiven, they shake off those feelings, learning nothing from the experience. That’s why they hurt the people who love them repeatedly.

        • verie44

          Isn’t total lack of empathy called psychopathy or sociopathy? I’m pretty sure those people don’t have feelings.

        • Yes, that’s why narcissists are sociopaths. Again, this refers to full-blown NPD, but there’s a spectrum.

    • Nisie

      Keep in mind that for the diagnosis of Narcissistic personality disorder to be given, the person must meet a certain threshold of narcissistic behaviors and the person who gives the diagnosis looks at how the person is functioning.

      • True. A diagnosis of NPD only occurs in certain circumstances. First, the person must be in a position to be evaluated, usually via voluntary therapy. Obviously, many narcissists do not perceive the need for improvement, so most go undiagnosed. Second, many N’s are highly functional. Their charisma and charm serve them well in the professional sphere, and they are often socially dominant. It’s at the one-on-one level that they become problematic.

  • PJL

    like all of these characteristics, the question of a motivation is rather important. Some women wear a lot of make up because they’re just incredibly girly; they do it for the same reason I have a lot of books.
    . . .
    Consider, therefore, a woman of my recent and unfortunate acquaintance: “I don’t wear make-up, *because* I’m *so* pretty that I don’t need it like other women. Thank God I’m so (*&#$*& attractive.” (She was cute/pretty but she couldn’t get anyone to pay her to take her picture.)
    . . .
    These people have an incredibly infectious personality. They’re almost snake charmers. It’s amazing how well even a cute 5-6 of 10 narcissist can get you around her little finger. This same “friend” chewed me out for not inviting her to a lunch I had. For a brief moment, I felt as if her complaints were justified until I realized that I can’t feasibly be expected to invite my entire social circle every time I have people over for food and drinks!

    • PJL, I agree that motivation, and also context are important. I have to say, a woman in this cultural era who announces that she’s too attractive to need makeup is definitely sounding Narcissism alarms! The only women I ever hear say they wear nothing but a little mascara or lipstick are invariably supermodels.
      As for personality, you’re right. Interestingly, though not surprisingly, recent research has found that celebrities have high scores on the NPD inventory. We idolize famous people, and fantasize about being with them, but many of them probably have very little to offer in terms of real emotional intimacy. I suspect that anyone who could be a fly on the wall in the home of Angelina and Brad would not feel envious in the least.

      • PJL

        Indeed, this girl wasn’t a super model but she was *so* charming. And that, actually is my first & only red flag. If I immediately hit it off with a girl–if the attraction is instant, if she seems perfect–then I take a step back. You said above that these people are often the life of the party: I’ve learned, unfortunately, to force such people to prove their virtue to me. I’d be interested to hear your reaction to this (fair? unfair?) standard.

        “Women narcissists in their 30s and 40s who are unhappily single will generally blame their unpartnered state on being too independent, feisty, strong-minded, intimidating and intelligent for most men.”

        This is my favorite genre in the dating world. The “I’m single because I’m *so* great.” I’ve been single for a long time for a number of reasons–one of them being my current mobility; but I know that among those reasons lie my own manifest imperfections. I realize I’m not the greatest catch I could be. How any one could utter this line has always shocked me. I wouldn’t believe it possible except I’ve actually heard it and worse.

        • Not only do I think it’s fair for you to make someone prove their virtue or character to you before you get involved, I think it’s essential. That’s good strategy, and prevents you from investing in a shady deal. As a man, if you’re looking for a short-term thing it doesn’t matter much, as you are unlikely to don rose-colored glasses and succumb to the rush of oxytocin, haha. Women need to be careful from the first kiss, or even before. It can be very, very difficult to decipher both intent and character, as you know.

        • The movie He’s Just Not That Into You blew wide open the whole idea that guys don’t call because they are too intimidated. If that is ever true, it’s obviously not a good fit to begin with. It’s made a lot of women complacent, and given them an excuse to hide behind. Which is odd, because it obviously is a very ineffective way of getting into a relationship. But that’s the whole point about narcissism – no self-examination required.

  • VJ

    As they say ‘Danger Will Robinson!’ I’m going to quibble with the survey’s here and strongly suspect that this phenomenon is much more widely distributed than suspected. I really think this is approaching the saturation point in many populations. And almost everywhere, the media at large seems to feed it like a ravenous beast. It’s seemingly ‘naturally’ inculcated by most of the modern mass media & advertising as an artifact & essential purpose of ‘the sale’ of much of anything today. And therein lies the essential problem. What was once clearly seen as ‘dysfunction’ or just ‘poor manners’ & worse, is now regarded as being essential to even operate in the modern marketplace as a fully functional economic ‘actor’. Part & parcel of the problem that we commonly no longer regard ourselves as participatory ‘citizens’ united in a common purpose in a polity, but individualized units of ‘consumers’ all reaching out to ‘self-actualize’ their own desires, whatever they might be. Often regardless of consequences.

    So I agree, part of the entire ‘hookup’ culture is (obviously) all about satisfying the often very selfish & heedless demands of female & male desires. That’s nothing much new. In the moment, going with whatever body looks swell & ‘doable’, just to see & ‘try on’. And it always takes some serious conscious thought to try and overcome this natural bias & impulse, and yet that’s being now reinforced from every media portal in creation, seemingly. And so we’ve got a snowball effect of concatenation & self reinforcing uncomprehending misery.

    So again there’s an easier way of approaching the general problem. You won’t have to be confused with months of questioning yourself about various degrees of affliction & dysfunction here. It all or often comes down to their relationship to Media & how they consume it, and how much of it they allow themselves to consume & be consumed by it.

    Questions that might be asked to discern this crucial relationship:

    1.) Does he/she think it’s critically important to have all the latest styles, everywhere or as much as possible. (Hair, clothing, accessories, car, ‘lifestyle’, etc.)?

    2.) Does he/she seem usually unnaturally self involved to the point where they are not listening to anyone much? (Critical follow on here: Do they have a Very important job/career that might demand this type of ‘concentration’ ?) [For a generally Non Media focused question].

    3.) Look at what they’re reading. If it’s more than a few Tabloids a week & generally All the time? Not a especially good sign, unless in ‘the industry’ somehow.

    4.) Look at what they focus their time upon. It’s not ‘self improvement’ but reading trash for trash sake? Never coming to any hard conclusions about ‘how to live or love a just life’, but just constantly carping about which celebs did what to whom; how so & so left her and how she cheated on him with this one or that one? Not an especially mature specimen there, OK?

    5.) Following on from the above; Do they constantly talk about celebrities they may have never (or rarely) met as if they’re part of the family or ‘good friends’ even if (or especially) if only ‘Facebook friends’? Are their lives focused on meeting same or contacting same with little rhyme or reason to this (no business ventures or obvious need)? Then fantasy is not their only problem!

    6.) What are their dreams & desires? If it’s focused on the future & some recognizable form of ‘peaceable’ family or home life? There’s some hope. If it’s filled with products, desired & dreamed & hoped for luxuries? Watch out!

    But again & again, I say that our relationship with things is the tell here. Men & women who place more emphasis and focus more on relationships & people over things? They’re the ones to place the long term bets on for LTRs. Now this is not always a sure fire predictor, (a relatively impoverished childhood might prejudice you here). But it might be easier than doing psychoanalysis on the fly. All you’ve got to do is look, count & observe behavior w/o much interpretation needed. And it could save you a bundle on your next divorce!! Cheers & Good Luck! ‘VJ’

    • Great addendum to the list. I’ll cosign everything you say here. Shallowness and stupidity, especially when purposefully cultivated are to be avoided in a mate, duh!
      Hannah Seligson ended her piece by suggesting a refresher course in Rousseau’s Social Contract, which led to my spending more than an hour reading it (this is where my day goes!). I loved the idea of including it here, but I didn’t really think it worked. I do think there’s something to the notion, though, of responsibility to fellow citizens. An idea of being “all in it together” rather than “every woman for herself.”

  • Vincent Ignatius

    Before I even got to the end, I estimated the prevalence of female narcissists at 10%. The fraction of women showing many of those behavior is probably closer to 25% in my generation, but I wouldn’t call those narcissists. I wonder what the hell will become of these girls in 10-20 years.

    I hate female narcissists but I’ll be honest that it feels like self-loathing.

    • I agree – the 10% figure refers to full-blown NPD, but there are many women who meet some of these criteria. They’re not such good bets for relationships either.
      As for your final comment, you get credit for introspection 😉

    • Dan, that is absolutely hilarious! And that raises a good point – I wrote this post for guys, but honestly, narcissistic women are the pits to deal with. That clip pretty much gets it exactly right.

  • Robert

    This is horribly bad science, equivalent to East Anglia, and horribly bad assumptions and, in my humble opinion, a sign of scraping the bottom of the barrel for a topic to blog about … I certainly do not run into narcissism often at all … very, very seldom … male or female … by far most people have low self esteem and are very insecure … especially women … especially attractive women … in fact it is a refreshing rarity when I encounter anyone who has a semblance of healthy self esteem … finally a challenge … something is wrong with our culture because way too many people suffer from LSE, including, unless I miss my guess, you.

    • Aldonza

      In my experience the LSE people are attracted to the NPD people and vice versa. Perhaps you see all LSE people for a reason?

      • This makes sense – the people who feel the least deserving will stick around and put up with a narcissist’s abuse. I do know one young couple, both incredibly self-absorbed. Everyone finds them intolerable, but the way I look at it, they’ve taken two narcissists off the market, and that’s excellent. I wish there were more NPD/NPD hookups!

    • Robert


      • Robert

        Although it may be because I am an inconsiderate, arrogant ass hole.

      • Oh god.. my side hurts. Thank you, Aldonza. I honestly laughed aloud for several minutes.
        My grandpa taught me to play poker when I was a kid. He told me, “Son… if you ever sit down at a table and don’t know who’s the sucker, get up and leave, cause you’re the sucker.” I always liked that saying. Maybe it works for narcissism, too. If you don’t know who the narcissist in the room is… it’s you.

        • I don’t know if this is a coincidence, but ever since I wrote about Sh*t My Dad Says, people have been sharing awesome advice from their male elders! I fear we’ve lost that in American society – the chances are high that Grandpa lives in another state, and that he’s much older than a generation ago.

        • I don’t think it’s coincidence. I think reading that site gets people thinking about the elders in their life, which naturally leads to remembering things they’ve said. And yeah, we’ve definitely lost some family unity in the U.S. If you think about it, if you’re living in Germany or France or Spain, you only have a big U.S. state’s worth of room to move away from your family. A couple hundred miles. Here, you can literally move half a world away. (Imagine moving from Maine to Hawaii.)

        • Aldonza

          I was waiting for someone worthy of appreciating my pointed and subtle humor. 😉

    • Hmmm, Robert, welcome. What an interesting comment. Some questions, if I may:
      1.Why do you condemn the science? Is the sample size of 37,000 too small for you? Jean Twenge the lead author, is a respected psychologist from San Diego State, and has written a previous bestseller, Generation Me.
      2. East Anglia was a deliberate suppression of data. Why do you claim that is the case here?
      3. As far as scraping the bottom of the barrel for topics goes, I will mention that an early post on this blog, Are You Dating a Narcissist? is my second most-read post. It gets dozens of hits per day. Obviously, many people don’t consider narcissists an endangered species.
      4. If it is true that most people have low self-esteem, I guess that is an even harsher judgment of the self-esteem movement in the last 40 years, which saw considerable educational resources dedicated to it.
      5. Why do you find anyone with a semblance of healthy self-esteem a challenge? That is rather troubling, to be honest.
      Re my own shortcomings, I’m afraid they tend toward narcissism to be honest. Indeed, I write this blog because I believe the world can benefit from my great wisdom. In fact, if you don’t mind my saying so, I believe that if I ruled the world, it would be a much better place.

      • Robert

        OK. Short and blunt. Oh well, not so short after all.

        1. Global warming and the lipid hypothesis have turned me against “science” and “scientists” forever; reputation, best selling books and sample size notwithstanding Scientists are way too respected and completely untrustworthy. I don’t have time nor the inclination to dig up all the shortcomings and generally police the whole profession, but when I find something as blatant as your post, I can’t help myself.
        2. East Anglia, Penn State, United Nations, NASA, Algore … where does it end? And intentional fraud is not necessarily better than incompetence.
        3. Hey I understand. I may very well have narcissistic traits myself … but I don’t believe in false modesty … pardon me for being so blunt … had I known about your blog I would have read your post eagerly … you are eminently readable.
        4. Yes. Along with our education system in general. Colleges now provide remedial English classes to teach incoming freshmen how to read and write. Perhaps that is why so few people are narcissistic and so many are LSE. I used to instruct at a local university. After completing my first semester I thought long and hard about the grades I gave. Though only a couple of people earned them, I eventually gave all A+’s and A’s, and one A-. I got in trouble for the A-.
        5. Perhaps refreshing would be a better phrase.

        Regarding your shortcomings … I like your obnoxious attitude. I think I’m falling in love.

        • Oh you charmer. While I imagine you have an ego the size of Texas, you’re smart and fun to talk with. I hope you’ll swing by again.

  • Women narcissists in their 30s and 40s who are unhappily single will generally blame their unpartnered state on being too independent, feisty, strong-minded, intimidating and intelligent for most men. They have little self-awareness.

    HAHAH! Love it. 99 out of 100 times I’ve heard a woman say those things about herself, I’ve wanted to say, “No, you’re single because you are only sort-of good looking, you are selfish, loud, overly-aggressive, you’re a poser intellectual, and it seems to me that nobody can please you as well as you’d like to be pleased. Sorry, hon. No pussy is worth that much trouble.

    I’ve found what I’ll call a subset of female narcissists. I call them the “unique and precious snowflakes.” They’re the girls who act however the hell they want, and if anybody criticizes them, they get a tongue lashing for not respecting everyone as a unique and wonderful person with their own quirks. In other words, they justify their narcissism by faulting other people for not recognizing how wonderful and unique they are.

    • Yes, I think there is an oversupply of snowflakes. They’ve got the same shelf life as any other woman, so if they can’t find a sucker, they’re headed for the discount bin.

  • Heather J. Lilac

    “The only women I ever hear say they wear nothing but a little mascara or lipstick are invariably supermodels.”

    Seriously? I don’t wear makeup and neither do any of my (female) friends. Many times it makes a woman look WORSE than better. Chemicals on your face? Yuck! And the all-organic natural stuff is to expensive.

    A little olive oil or shea butter for moisture and I’m good to go.

    • Wow! I’m impressed. That shows a definitive confidence and an ability to go your own way. I very rarely come across young women who go without makeup. Good for you.

      • Snowdrop111

        There are some regions of the U.S. (example: Colorado) where you’re automatically Paula Jones if you have on obvious makeup.

        • Interesting. The Ivory Soap girl look. Glad to hear it’s still around!

        • verie44

          And there are regions where said “ivory soap girl” look will get people staring like you have a second head (coughLAcough). Even celebrities always have their face on there. And if you’re not 10 pounds underweight, you are automatically a 5/10 or below.

        • I lived in LA from age 22 to 25. I have never felt so unattractive in my entire life. Absolutely brutal.

        • Aldonza

          I lived in the south for college. Equally hard on the female ego. Those girls down there were born with mascara on.

  • Steve

    I think in this post we are talking about a lot of overt narcissism – obvious traits. However there is something key to this aspect and that is the value of the ‘image’ – the external image and how others perceive us – over the internal experience and how we feel inside – our ‘inner truth’ lets say. With a narcissist the image is all important – often at the expense of any feeling inside. That is what makes them very bad lovers – because they are not acting from true feelings – but from external superficial aspects…for instance a girl might pick a great looking guy because of the intrinsic social value that alignment gives her – as opposed to her true feelings for the depth of the guys character.
    This type of narcissism can be very covert…

    • It can be, and usually is, very covert. I think people need to be aware – asking themselves if the relationship is all about the other. As I said in the post, narcissists are often the most charming people, and even with a healthy skepticism you could be a couple of months in before realizing the person is going through the e-motions (groan, sorry for that terrible pun). All my advice seems to return to the same recommendation: take your time. Don’t give away your heart too quickly. Get to know someone inside and out. Observe their relationships, their response to difficulty. Are they there for you in a crisis? Or do they say call me when you’re freed up? Of course, this is easy to say, but let’s face it, most couples will be having sex before this stage. Which means we all have to manage the fallout as best we can….Still, men should be careful, especially good men. Narcissistic women have a way of finding the nice guys and turning them into a mess.

      • lightstream

        You hit the nail on the head.

        I hate narcisists, their ways, lies, shallowness, hurtfulness, judgemental ways, twisting logic, always arguing with too much emotion, rarely admitting guilt. Better to take one’s time with people. I never considered the idea of testing people’s character by asking favors or help, but that’s a hell of a good idea!!! Thanks. Keep up the good work. & the little mentioned thing is that sin nurtures narcisism and all of the qualities that bring misery. That’s just the way it is. Looks like God had it right all along 😀 If nothing else, always be truthful. One cannot be an a-hole forever if he’s honest about everything, both to one’s self and when talking with others. Slow down, use logic, use reason, wait till the negative emotions pass, analyze, go over, consider all possibilities, develop the mind, develop the higher faculties, seek insight, wisdom, intelligence & be humble and wait for the insight to come from the higher power. Selfish N’s see whatever they want to see cause their world is one of lies and they are the only god of this delusion and everyone’s feelings dont matter because they are just the puppets in their play. Actually, many lying N’s enjoy hurting others & using them. They will get theirs eventually, and actually, just the N’s very existance, as an N, is torture & punishment in itself, did they only know what real beauty they were missing out on.

    • Aldonza

      Yes, but if you find a male narcissist who *prides* himself on being a good lover….

      • Hmmmm, a narcissist could have good technique, but without emotional intimacy the sex is never going to be mind-blowing, at least for me.

        • Aldonza

          You got me there.

  • Heather J. Lilac

    Robert sounds like my type. LOL!

    • Yeah, his defiance is sexy. Followed by an admission of faux vulnerability. What woman could resist?

      • VJ

        Not to mention the delectable and oh so aggrieved and petulant low rent idiocy. Just irresistible all around actually. Bet he’s almost employed too. Cheers, ‘VJ’

        • LOL, VJ, now you see why so many of us miserable. It’s that edgy petulance that gets us every time, even though it signals: GO AWAY! I AM DIFFICULT AND UNPLEASANT!
          Difficult and unpleasant? Oh, that sounds exciting!

  • Heather J. Lilac

    “Narcissistic women have a way of finding the nice guys and turning them into a mess.”

    Any stats on that?

    • Nah, that’s pure conjecture. Actually, I have observed this. Narcissistic women don’t do well with players. Players are not a good bet – they don’t give enough positive reinforcement. The narcissistic women I’ve known have a way of ferreting out the good looking beta guys. Honestly, they’re like black widow spiders. These poor guys don’t know what hit them until they’re miserably in love with a woman who will eat them for breakfast.

      • Aldonza

        Does that mean “Girl Game” is learning to mimic the behaviors of a female narcissist?

        • Well, one form of Girl Game, I suppose, could amount to targeting a nice, good-looking beta and running roughshod over him. It definitely happens. Yes, I think you’re right – that is the female version of a player. She doesn’t care about him, uses him only for the positive reinforcement. Of course, the female player is not after sex, but rather wants to be put on a pedestal and obsessed over.

        • Aldonza

          I didn’t say become a narcissist. I said “mimic”. A lot like Game is about adopting the social behaviors of an alpha (of whom share a good many traits with male narcissists).

          Oh my. Could it be that people have emotional similarities irrespective of gender? Egads!

  • cch_1985

    You know the first thing I thought about when I started reading this? Those beauty pageants for little kids and their “stage moms.” (Think: Jon-Benet Ramsey).

    Talk about parental reinforcement of narcissistic tendencies!

  • PJay

    An essay on what female narcissism has wrought:


    We had nothing to do with the current situation, Ladies…

    • Despite the fact that old Fred there seems like a total maniac, that’s a very good writeup of the current mess we’re in. Women lost access to relationships, but gained other advantages. Men got access to easy sex, but they lost a lot of other things. It’s a colossal disaster all around.

      • Höllenhund

        “Men got access to easy sex.”

        Alpha males got access to easy sex. Please always keep the 80/20 rule in mind, Ms. Walsh.

        • How did I know you were going to leave that comment? Yes, it’s true that some men got access to sex. As you’ve said yourself, only 60% ever reproduced to begin with. And as I’ve said, I’m not totally confident of that 80/20 split. Anyway, I’m responding to a link that PJay provided. Fred is on a tear, but he’s not qualifying his statement wrt alphas and betas. Why do you insist that I amend his argument to do so?
          The truth is, there are some women who won’t get male attention no matter what the sociosexual environment looks like. Others can attract men for sex but can’t keep them for any number of reasons. There are plenty of people missing out, both men and women.

        • Höllenhund

          “How did I know you were going to leave that comment?”

          I know I’m becoming somewhat repetitive, Ms. Walsh, but consider this: you’ve advised others again and again not to make sweeping statements about either gender, yet you just did the same thing. What’s the point in glossing over such an important detail? It’s like saying “all women have easy access to male attention”. It’s blatantly false and I can imagine you’d correct anyone who said that.

          “As you’ve said yourself, only 60% ever reproduced to begin with.”

          I wasn’t the one who brought it to your attention, and the figure is actually 40%:


          “Fred is on a tear, but he’s not qualifying his statement wrt alphas and betas. Why do you insist that I amend his argument to do so?”

          I guess he’s an alpha himself and therefore the 80/20 rule never occured to him. You could have corrected that statement of his, because it is obviously untrue.

          “There are plenty of people missing out, both men and women.”

          Where did I disagree with that?

        • Sorry about mixing up the % and source of the data re reproduction. OK, re the 80/20 rule. As I’ve said, I find it intuitively reasonable. And I’ve argued the point in several posts, so that women can understand that there are many guys out there that they are simply failing to notice. Assuming the 80/20 rule is valid, then we have a problem, which is: “How do we get the 80% of men access?” and “access to whom?”
          1. Game is a solution for some, but many will not be able to pull this off.
          2. Women can be encouraged to be more assertive in approaching men, but this is an uphill climb, and they can’t approach men who are not out and about, mixing it up on campus.
          3. I think Snowdrop is onto something re the expectations of beta guys. Just as a disproportionate number of women are gunning for alpha, I think a lot of guys think they deserve at least a 7. I hear this a lot in emails. Guys complain that they are really unhappy with the lack of sex, but don’t want to date a 5 or lower. It’s natural enough, I suppose, but not realistic. If they’re not getting any, they should perhaps lower their expectations, certainly while they work on getting comfortable relating to women.
          4. I’ve talked before about the peer pressure issue – I have encouraged young women to go after shy guys, only to learn that the guy wants to “explore his options.” This is hardly surprising, as this is what he perceives a socially dominant male does.

          Despite these reservations, I would be happy to give this issue more play if I can verify it somewhere other than a PUA site. If you have a link or two, shoot them to me and I’ll have a look.

        • Höllenhund

          “Despite these reservations, I would be happy to give this issue more play if I can verify it somewhere other than a PUA site. If you have a link or two, shoot them to me and I’ll have a look.”

          I’ll just link an excellent comment from your site that cited statistics but was nevertheless ignored by your readers:


          I agree with every single word. Having said that, neither of us will probably find reliable evidence proving the 80/20 rule for the simple reason that neither young men nor young women are honest about their sex lives.

          “Assuming the 80/20 rule is valid, then we have a problem, which is: “How do we get the 80% of men access?” and “access to whom?”

          There was only one system that gave betas access to regular sex by essentially pairing them up with average women in marriage, and that is Western monogamous patriarchy. Having said that, betas do have access to pre-marital sex, it’s only that it is not regular and to less attractive women. After all, the 80/20 rule means that 20% of men get 80% of all the sex because they are the ones women find attractive; betas get the other 20%.

          “Just as a disproportionate number of women are gunning for alpha, I think a lot of guys think they deserve at least a 7.”

          That certainly happens. I guess it can mainly be explained by the popularity of online porn. But there is a huge difference, Ms. Walsh. A beta male who guns for hot girls will get summarily rejected 99 times out of 100 and consequently learns that he is aiming too high. On the other hand, an average 5 or 6 girl who puts out for the alphas will get lots of casual sex, which makes her exaggerate her own attractiveness and believe that she can snag an alpha. In other words, the average beta will have to face reality early in life; the average girl won’t. As Novaseeker has said, women are more sexually flexible than men are:


          “Guys complain that they are really unhappy with the lack of sex, but don’t want to date a 5 or lower.”

          I think that’s largely true. Novaseeker explained the reason here pretty well:


        • Liza207

          I live in NYC and I often see guys, who I would consider to be 9’s or 10’s and their spouses are oftentimes average. I have never gotten this. These guys could be with really hot women but their not. I just believe in dating at your own attractiveness level. As woman, I have often been criticized for saying this…whatever.


          Have you ever considered that a lot women today are commit phobic. I have been struggling with this for years. I think it goes undiagnosed in women because commitment phobia is usually associated with men or “a man thing”.

        • Anonymous

          I would also like to add, that this could be the reason why so many women are single these days. As a (recovering) commitment phobic woman: I was extremely picky and had ridiculously high and unrealistic standards. This was unconscious behavior that worked to keep me from having to commit.

        • Hi Anonymous, I just came across a link that might apply to you and Liza. I’d be interested to hear what you both think:


        • Liza207


          Thanks. Yes, I often feel suffocated by those around me; family, friends, and coworkers (except for my Maltese Gracie) and the thought of having to share my space with anyone terrify me sometimes. I always travel alone even when there are family members and friends, who are willing to travel with me. I wrote it off as me being a free-spirit. I just may be a “emotional empath” because the idea of having my own bathroom and bedroom with my partner sounds ideal to me.

          I am also anon (forgot to type my name and email).

        • Haha, OK, glad to straighten that out. It makes sense to me intuitively that if some people have little or no empathy, there would be others who have an overwhelming amount of empathy. All of these emotions are on a spectrum. It sounds like in your case, it’s really important for you to have quite a bit of space. I would think most guys would prefer that by a mile over some needy or clingy woman.

        • Liza, I’m interested to hear more about commitment phobia in women. It’s not something I hear much, though I have read that women from divorced parents are more oriented toward casual sex. Perhaps this is related? Do you have a sense of where this comes from? What is it that you fear? Is it a self-protective measure born of past experience?

        • Liza207


          Yes, I am a child of divorce. I am also free-spirited and very independent and my fear is that being in a relationship would limit me and I will lose my sense of self. Btw, I have always found casual sex to be really disgusting.

          I recently read a really good book, “Kiss and Run”: The single picky and indecisive girl’s guide to overcoming her fear of commitment by Elina Furman. She explains that female commitment phobia goes undiagnosed because it is often associated with men.

          Here are the top 10 signs you’re commitment-phobic woman:

          1. You have a long and elaborate list of requirements for your ideal mate.
          2. You go from one short-lived relationship to the next.
          3. You have a habit of dating “unavailable” men.
          4. You consider your married friends’ lives boring and think they settled for less.
          5. You stay in relationships that are rocky and offer little hope of commitment.
          6. You back out of plans at the last minute and have trouble setting a time for dates.
          7. You cultivate large networks of friends at the expense of a single romantic relationship.
          8. You have a lot of relationship trauma in your past.
          9. Your career is very important to you and you often choose work over relationships.
          10. You are constantly blowing “hot” and “cold” in your relationships.

          Although, this behavior is often seen in men. It would also make sense that women who exhibit this kind of behavior are commitment phobic as well, right? As a woman, I exhibited ever behavior on this list.

        • Wow, that’s pretty interesting. You know what strikes me about this list? It’s pretty much the same list of “mistakes” that Lori Gottlieb wrote about in her book about settling, and other recent books about women looking for love in their 30s and 40s have also focused on these kinds of decisions/choices. I’ve always assumed that women make really poor decisions in following their sexual attractions – in other words, some women are so drawn to bad boys they wind up forfeiting their single years in pursuit of men who don’t do relationships. It sounds, though, like it could work the other way around – women who don’t want to commit, deliberately sabotage themselves by pursuing men who they know won’t ever force the issue. If that is true, and you are one of those women, then I’m glad to hear you struggle with it, meaning that you are trying to change it.

        • Heh… synchronicity. Check out my newest blog post. I think the “Jam Effect” is one of the reasons for commitment-phobia in women (and in men, to some extent). In a nutshell, the Jam Effect works like this: We all want to be presented with as many options as possible. We believe that more choice means we’ll get more of what we want. But the reality is that too many options severely reduces our ability to make choices. One of the most common reactions to choice overload is not making any choice at all.

          Sound like any women we know? They’ve had the chance to land any number of great guys, but when it comes down to it, they just feel like they’d be giving up too many other options (even options they don’t know about yet).

          Another part of commitment-phobia that I’ve encountered is what I call “searching for the best bargain.” Some women (especially narcissists) want to find the best guy for whom they have to put out the least effort. After all, the relationship is all about the woman’s feelings, right? They find a great guy, but the idea of giving him what he wants in the long term is too scary. They think surely they can find a guy who has great qualities but won’t demand so much in return.

          Hmmm… your comment thingy isn’t listing my latest post. Here’s the url. http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/2010/07/01/the-jam-effect/

        • An emotionally healthy woman wants a relationship where she invests A LOT of effort, and is met with a similar effort on the part of her partner. She wants to be all about it, and to know that he is too. Women literally want to get drunk on their relationships – no effort is too large. If a woman is calculating the cost-benefit ratio early on? Bad, bad sign.

        • Just read your Jam Effect post, and I think this is right on. We worry so much about the opportunity cost of being in a relationship – if we’re halfwaying it with someone, we’ll miss Prince Charming when he shows up. I like your idea of establish the truly critical criteria for a mate.

        • Yikes, an excellent comment ignored not only by readers but quickly forgotten by myself. HUS has come a long way since then. That does look like interesting data – I will peruse it and see what else I can dig up. If it comes together, I’ll dedicate a post to the 80/20 rule, how’s that?
          After all, the 80/20 rule means that 20% of men get 80% of all the sex because they are the ones women find attractive; betas get the other 20%.
          You know I think this is a fallacious, or at least overly simplistic argument. I’ll repeat myself from recent thread:
          I think any given woman may be attracted to 20% of the men she comes into contact with. But I don’t believe it’s the same 20% for all women. Some women can’t resist the bad boys, and love that dopamine high they get from them. Others are risk-averse and attracted to stable men. There’s a wide spectrum of what women find attractive. It’s true that a man has to generate sexual attraction, and the best way he can do that is by displaying his sense of self-worth. Assholes are good at that, but again, not all women respond well to arrogance. I know for a fact that it’s not about looks – there are many hideously ugly high T types who do well with women, and many handsome beta guys who don’t.
          A beta male who guns for hot girls will get summarily rejected 99 times out of 100 and consequently learns that he is aiming too high. On the other hand, an average 5 or 6 girl who puts out for the alphas will get lots of casual sex, which makes her exaggerate her own attractiveness and believe that she can snag an alpha.
          This is very true, and it’s why I have talked about the potential usefulness of women policing other women. 9s and 10s are losing out big time right now – they would do well to shun those delusional 5s.
          Novaseeker is always brilliant, and his writing here is no exception. He is very good at laying out the problem in a clear and concise way. I was surprised though, to read that many men would rather forego sex and curl up with an xbox than mate with a 4 or 5. Do you agree with that? I always thought that men were first and foremost motivated to get sex, period.

        • Höllenhund

          “If it comes together, I’ll dedicate a post to the 80/20 rule, how’s that?”

          Sounds like a good idea.

          “I was surprised though, to read that many men would rather forego sex and curl up with an xbox than mate with a 4 or 5. Do you agree with that? I always thought that men were first and foremost motivated to get sex, period.”

          By and large, yes, but I guess there are multiple modern phenomena that mess up men’s biological programming in a huge way. Cheap and easily accessible pornography is one of them. Today the average 18-year-old guy has already seen lots of footage showing very hot, nubile women sucking balls/cocks, getting huge loads of jizz dumped on their faces and engaging in other mind-blowing sex acts. This will screw up his expectations about sex and make it more difficult for average and below average-looking real-life women to give him a boner. And he’s effectively off the dating market if he gets addicted to porn.

          Video games, TV and other forms of entertainment drive his attention away from interactions with women in general. Add to this all the stuff we can read about the harmful effects of chemical pollution (decreased sperm counts, effemination, testicular athropy etc.) and it partially explains the huge mess on our hands.

          At the end of the day, I think the strength of men’s sex drive is directly correlated to the extent to which they are sexually starved by society. 100 years the average guy couldn’t even see naked young women in pictures or in real life, let alone porn, unless he persuaded his girlfriend to undress after weeks/months of dating. I’ve read narratives about the foreign exchange students who were studying in Moscow during the ’60s and ’70s. They were quartered in all-male dormitories and had minimal opportunities to meet women. After one month they were debating whether the butt-ugly 60-year-old granny working in the campus cafeteria is a good kisser. Red Army soldiers routinely gang-raped even old grannies when they entered enemy territory in 1944/45, largely because they were sexually repressed. (Yes, there were many other factors at work but that’s a wholly different subject.)

          All in all, if a young man is sexually repressed and has no access to casual sex, he will devote a lot of time to try courting girls and he won’t be too choosy. The current situation in the West is somewhat strange because beta males are in some ways sexually repressed but in other ways they aren’t. They are surrounded by hot girls who flaunt their sexuality to alphas but also have access to porn, lads’ mags etc. and they can masturbate a lot and generally slack. He also has a lot of opportunities to satisfy his male passions (video games, paintball fights, skateboarding etc.). I’d say the average Western guy today is maybe less sex-crazed than 50, 100 or 200 years ago.

        • Makes sense. The overall degradation of the culture to include daily porn, as well as soft porn on prime time TV and feature films has certainly changed from the time when women could turn a guy on by showing a bare ankle. Pics of Betty Grable’s legs kept lots of American men company during WWII.
          Where will it end? We’ve just about exhausted the supply of titillation. I know some predict the rise of the sex bot. Let’s hope not.

        • Höllenhund

          In all likelihood, the next big thing on the porn market will be 3D virtual reality technology, not sexbots. It will probably be much more titillating and addictice than online porn and therefore make the sexual marketplace even worse than today since not only creepy nerds but otherwise eligible betas will get hooked on it.

        • Well, that should mean a further decline in the marriage and birth rates, which quickly becomes an economic issue. It obviously already is a problem in Western Europe – with no solution in sight other than the use of immigrant labor and their generally higher birth rates.

        • Passer_By

          “I was surprised though, to read that many men would rather forego sex and curl up with an xbox than mate with a 4 or 5. Do you agree with that? I always thought that men were first and foremost motivated to get sex, period.”

          It may be true, but I doubt it’s for the reasons discussed here and there. I think in a world without consequence, they probably would do it. But there are probably consequences at play that aren’t present with alphas pumping and dumping 6s and 7s.

          First, the guys in that midpack aren’t typically as indifferent to the feelings of women as the alphas are (in a a sort of cyclical way, that’s part of the reason they aren’t alphas). So it’s harder for them to do that and be totally indifferent to the emotional fall out. Also, they may be more prone to bonding during sex (since they get much less of it), and don’t want to bond to a 3 or 4. Also, the 3s and 4s may be much more likely to melt down on them if they are used.

          Second, there is no real damage to an alpha’s social proof when he pumps and dumps numerous 6s and 7s. For whatever reason, I think there would be significant reputational damage to a guy who is a 5-7 if he was doing that with 3s and 4s. By reputational damage, I mean he would appear much less attractive to higher value women by virtue of his association with those 3s and 4s, and other guys would mock him as too willing to go slumming.

          But, in an anonymous world without consequence, he’d hit it.

        • This strikes me as a very sensible and plausible explanation. The reputational damage concern has got to be huge. A young woman told me recently that she finally met the girlfriend of a good guy friend of hers. She didn’t know what to expect – sometimes it’s pretty awkward for the girl_friend to meet the girlfriend. In this case, she really liked her. She thought the new gf was funny, and cool, and attractive. So she said to the guy, “Dude, your girlfriend is so much cooler than you.” When I heard this I was horrified…how unkind! But he responded by saying, “I know! Right?” He was so pleased that his girl was well received. That raised his social status.
          That was an eye opener for me. It makes perfect sense.

        • Snowdrop111

          “As you’ve said yourself, only 60% ever reproduced to begin with. ”

          I have been thinking about this. I did see that study a few years back and I can’t find it again, about a large percentage of men throughout history never reproduced. I figured polygamy and war were the biggest answers.

          But after reading this blog a while, I got thinking. If women were evenly distributed, some of those men would HAVE to be paired with the ugly women.

          I think the reason 60 percent or 40 percent or however many men never reproduced, is they could not bring themselves to have sex with an average to ugly woman and therefore chose to abstain.

          Just kidding sort of. The article (I wish I could find it again) said that there is a time of high risk in a young man’s life where he knows it is make or break and a 19 year old male is completely willing to engage in high-risk behavior to prove himself one of the worthy. I believe war might be part of that (that’s what the article said.)

          But after reading this blog I don’t believe men want sex to be evenly distributed. That would mean some guys would get the average girls…and I don’t believe that many guys would be willing to get with an average to ugly girl if she was the only girl he could get with. He’d rather sit it out … that’s what I think. Not everyone. A caller called Dan Savage not long ago and said his male co-workers were loudly complaining that there were no good-looking women, but they themselves were not good-looking. The caller said he himself was with a not so good-looking woman and they were happy. The caller to Dan Savage said “Look in the mirror.” Of course this applies to women as well, and I try to persuade my single women friends not to be too picky too.

        • Höllenhund

          I’m pretty sure the average 5 or 6 girl is 10 times more angry and frustrated if she has to pair up with a 5 or 6 guy and be sexually faithful to him than the average 5 or 6 guy who has no other option but to pair up with a 5 or 6 girl. Men aren’t hypergamous.

        • The 1-10 scale doesn’t really make sense for men, IMO. Nova mentioned in the link you provided that a 7 is a higher beta and a 6 is a regular beta. I don’t get that. Women select for numerous traits, one of which is looks. However, sexual attraction relies heavily on social dominance as well, hence Game. And for long-term mating, women seek evidence of a whole raft of positive character/provider traits. I have known extremely handsome men who would be considered beta because they are not high testosterone, and are heavy on the provider qualities. I have also known butt ugly men who do really, really well with women, based on attitude alone.

  • cch_1985

    I think that’s about the only explanation there is — these parents see their children as extensions of themselves. Or, perhaps more specifically, they see their children as their best (or only) opportunity to recapture their own youth. All of the things they were either denied by their own more strict and traditional parents, or things they never took the opportunity to do as youths despite strong desires, can now be experienced vicariously.
    The unfortunate part is that these parents are projecting behaviors onto children who are not developmentally ready to handle or appropriately understand the meaning behind what they are being asked/told to do. This forces them to come to conclusions that may be totally incorrect and may taint their worldview once they are at an age where these issues would normally come up and be dealt with in a healthy manner.
    Sadly, the question becomes what will result as these children age, and what effect will this have on the next generation of parents’ approach to raising THEIR children? Arguably, the whole phenomenon happening now could be termed a form of sexual and emotional abuse — both of which we all know are detrimental to development in the long run.

    • what will result as these children age, and what effect will this have on the next generation of parents’ approach to raising THEIR children?
      That’s a powerful and troubling question. Much of what I write is for this young generation, navigating the minefield of contemporary relationships. We can only guess as to how they’ll approach parenting, but we already know that part of the reason kids hook up is that they’re jaded about relationships based on their own upbringing, and the high divorce rate. Now many of them are getting lots of practice at relating with zero intimacy. It’s not a very hopeful picture.
      Re parents living vicariously through their children, I think that is a huge factor. Since we didn’t grow up feeling special, we can bask in the reflection of our kids’ achievements. I’ve actually read that while mothers are generally in denial about their daughters’ sexual lives, fathers are often proud to have a player for a son. They see their sons’ success at pulling girls as the top of the pyramid for an adolescent boy.

  • Heather J. Lilac

    “In all likelihood, the next big thing on the porn market will be 3D virtual reality technology, not sexbots. It will probably be much more titillating and addictice than online porn and therefore make the sexual marketplace even worse than today since not only creepy nerds but otherwise eligible betas will get hooked on it.”

    Bring it! The vibrator/dildo/artificial-sexual-stimulation-4-women market is a mutil-BILLION dollar industry. Imagine the possibilities of 3D TACTILE technology!!!! Applications that simulate dual nipple sucking while simulating clitoral oral stimulation AT THE SAME TIME????

    How soon? How soon? We’re already saving a portion of monthly paychecks!

    • Haha, Heather, this is a very salient point. Women are increasingly watching porn, and suffering the same twisted shift in expectations, by the way. Add in the toys, some 3D glasses and we can all just stay home on Saturday night. It’s like some freaky sci-fi flick. Haha, there will come a time when the good old Rabbit will seem as primitive as the first prehistoric tools.

  • VJ

    And the Defense Rests, your honor. Cheers, ‘VJ’

  • Lisette

    I wanted to chime in on the commitment-phobia discussion up above, but it looks like the thread ran out of replies. I do think it’s a real phenomenon — I’d consider myself a commitment-phobe, for what it’s worth — and I think commitment-phobia might go further to explain the plight of the beta male than women’s supposed loathing of nice guys. Hamby’s explanation about the “Jam Effect” rings true to me – I’ve heard both men and women my age express reluctance to settle down for fear that the mythical “someone better” might come along. I’m not really trying to defend commitment-phobes, or say that I would be a great relationship prospect or anything like that. But I do think commitment phobia, or maybe just delayed maturity, in both genders, is out there and is something to pay attention to when you’re trying to get a sense of the modern dating scene. Just my .02.

    • Lisette, you’re the third woman on this thread to express this. I think that’s significant. I am going to think more about this and do some digging. The idea of the perfect mate, i.e. one’s soulmate – that’s a delusion and potentially quite harmful, in my view.

      • Lisette

        Oh, I agree. I think the idea of “The One” sounds very nice and romantic in theory, but I think it can lead to either dismissing good people too quickly (no spark, etc.) or, worse, holding onto a “relationship” that really isn’t right because you’ve convinced yourself that the other person is The One. I thought “(500) Days of Summer” was a good example of this (until the end, since both characters seem to meet their perfect match).

  • Liza207


    Yes, you’re dead-on. The “someone better” might come along, has always been an issue for me. I can’t be involved with a guy without feeling like I’m settling and that there is a taller, hotter, more successful guy just around the corner.

    The bad boy (Alpha) has always been a big draw for me because I know he won’t commit to me and I won’t to him, so it’s the perfect union. Nice guys (Betas) were to be avoided at all cost due to their desire for commit.

  • Liza207

    I MEANT : Nice guys (Betas) were to be avoided at all cost due to their desire for commitment.

  • Heather J. Lilac

    Funny. I’m on of those women who makeup looks BAD on for some reason. I lived in LA and never felt “un-attractive” or intimidated going around au naturale and casual.

    • Lucky you, you’re probably gorgeous! If nature blessed you, then you’re right not to muck it up with cosmetics.

  • Lisette

    Yup, totally been there. Takes one to know one and all that. 😉 Oh, and Susan – for what it’s worth, I could definitely relate to the HuffPost article you posted for Liza & Anonymous up above.

  • Lisette

    … and that was intended for Liza’s response to my comment. I think this thread is overflowing!

    • Oh good Lisette, I’m glad you saw that link. I’ve just responded above.

  • A Victim

    HELP! I have a textbook narcissistic woman living in my home who has refused to move out for a year now! I can only assume it’s because I initiated the break up after a previous year of non-stop fighting, and she may see it as being defeated if she leaves. It’s insanity!!!!

    If anyone has advice or websites for this particular problem please share. I’ve found many sites that describe the narcissist and how to leave them, but none that say how to get one out of the victim’s house.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Whoa! I don’t mean to be glib or state the obvious, but have you considered taking legal action? Even calling the police? I think an argument could be made that she is an intruder. If it’s already been a year, you have presumably exhausted all strategies for getting her to leave voluntarily.
      Of course, the simplest solution would be to put her belongings outside and change the locks.

      • Liza207


        I have been sitting in a cubicle next to a textbook narcissistic (and I also believe a borderline personality) female at work for 5 years. We were cool at first and we use to talk a lot and we would hang out sometimes after work along with other coworkers. But, gradually she started exhibiting what I call “single white female” like behavior. She started dressing like me and wearing hair the same, competing with me in everything, wants my undivided attention at all times, becomes agitated whenever she sees me talking to anyone in the office or making personal phones calls. I can’t even talk about my dog. I have overheard her on the phone literally crying to her friends and family about how I’m sitting in my cubicle and not talking to her (there are times when I don’t want to talk, I have work to do).

        Susan, I kid you not. This chick is completely psycho. I have requested to move to another cubicle but there are no other cubicles. So, I decided to just completely stop talking to her but her continues to fixate on me and is still doing everything I mentioned above, even though I haven’t said a word to her since December.

        • What a story. That actually does sound more like Borderline Personality Disorder – the extreme neediness, the terrible fear of abandonment. Seriously, it sounds like a form of stalking. Can you speak to HR about this? This woman’s mental stability seems questionable. It’s a wonder she has any friends. In any case, it’s hard to imagine that she is very productive at work!

        • Liza207


          She is pretty high functioning at work. She actually has one bff and we have all hung out together on occasion (but no more). The bff is on Prozac I was told, so they are both psycho.

          I am considering talking to HR about her behavior. Thanks.

  • Chico

    10% of women are narcissists???? Hahahahahahaha. More like 90%!!

    • Whoa Chico! Good to see you. Actually, I said that 10% are diagnosable with NPD – that means they’re sociopaths, basically. I agree that there are many other women with naricissistic traits – that is why I wrote this post. However, I would realistically put the number at around a third. If you’re not meeting any women who don’t fit this description, you need to hang out somewhere new. Actually, I wrote that post with you in mind a while back –


  • Chico

    Hi Susan,

    I did read that post earlier, but I’ve been really busy lately going through all kinds of drama with job changes and family visits…but in a good way. In fact, I’m moving in a couple days.

    My lifestyle, stage of life, and interests don’t really introduce me to women. And it’s considered a bad idea to hit on co-workers or roommates. Most of my interests are things that only guys are interested in.

    I wish I learned how to play women when I was younger, but it looks like I’ll have to revisit this aspect of my life later on in 2011 or 2012. The post-grad program I’m going into in September requires a lot of hours and minimal distractions. She’d have to be only around at my convenience and not give me any drama…don’t see that happening without money.

    Regarding female narcissism, yes, most females are narcissistic. We are always being told that women are angels, made of sugar, spice, and everything nice. Men are liars, cheaters, pigs, and insensitive. We’re told that we should respect women. Most of the female population takes this to heart and honestly believes that they are inherently special, even though they give nothing in return and lack a moral code of their own (men have a man code). I personally believe that respect needs to be earned. Men (especially beta males) are partly to blame because they give these attention whores the self-validation they’re looking for.

  • Clay

    I’m a little late to this thread but have to say it is refreshing to see that it’s not always men who display NP traits and/or full blown NPD. The woman I dated for 2.5 years (38 years old) has no job, no kids, no mortgage/car payment (mom & dad buy everything) wears $1200 Christian LeBoutan heels every night (ladies you know this shoe), travels at least 7-10 times a year and celebrated her birthday “month” not actual “day.” She had so many traits that clued me in that something wasn’t quite right but I was so enamored with her looks/sex I just chose to ignore it. In the aftermath and having been dumped 4x by her during this courtship so she could go date the world, I was at least comforted to know that her ‘oddities’ were an actual disorder – NPD. And this has revealed to me that there is nothing I could have done – there is absolutely no helping/saving these people. Do as they author suggests and do NOT FALL into the web of this black spider. It is a VERY ROUGH road out of HELL.

    • Clay, welcome and thanks for sharing your comment. Honestly, I feel like it’s just terrible luck when someone gets involved with a narcissist. I’m glad you got out. Don’t ever go back to her!

  • Jerry

    Hi. My name is Jerry. I was just dumped out of a 7 yr relationship w/a girl that I now believe is narcissitic. It all started when she was still married to her first husband of 12 yrs. We started flirtatious talking etc 6 months b/f we ever slept together which occurred about a month and ahalf b/f she left him. She always accused him of being narcissitic. I dhould have ran from her the n b/c she did admit to looking for someone else while she was still married and living with this guy. They supposedly wentt o couples counseling and took personality tests. Supposedly he scored way off the chart in the narcissitic category. Who knows what to believe now. When she left him there was alot of turmoil b/t the 2 of them. she quickly consumed me with her probs. There wasnt much focus on what was going on in my life. I immediately began to pick up and drop off her children from preschool. You have to remember I lived an hour and ahalf away. I dropped of in the morn and was back there by 530 to get them. She has a very charming charismatic voice that made me melt the first time i ever spoke to her. “she had me from hello.” I think we all know that Tom Cruise Renzellweger movie!!! We used to joke about it alot. The beginning was bumpy. She decided she needed to date other people for a while. It drove me nuts. Iwas so in love w/her. I knocked on her door one night (late) to tell her I love you plz stop this nonsense. she agreed and when he left we made love all night. but by monday she wouldnt stop seeing this guy. It took another week of agony b/f she agrred to date me. (We talked early on thatif we were going to be togther that this would be permanent. It was a mutual agreement. Then the time off to date others.) We got back together. Shortly there after we had a wekend planned at the beach. She called and told me she need to go to her moms to get away the day we were supposedto leave for our trip. To this day I question if that is really where she went. I didnt then b/c I loved her and sadly still do very much!!! She returned from the beach to tell me all was okay and that we would be fine together….dictating our existence together. That was the same weekend as father’s day. She and her 2 little girls then 4 & 6 had a father’s day card for me. I can still see the card and that we were sitting in the kids bedroom when I opened up the card. I sobbed profusely b/c I finally had what I ve always wanted….a family and a beautiful one at that. Fast forward…She lived 1 1/2 hrs away. We wanted to be closer she wantedto live in a new place. I helped her get her current job at PPD. She got an apt 2 miles away. I moved her up here. She lived in her apt for 1 yr. then we decided to live together nowing we were going to get married. We got engaged summer of 2005. I took the kids w/me to pick out her ring, they gave their blessing to marry mommy, I even gave dear old dad a call, and when I proposed she had her 2 children on either side of her. How storybook can you get!!!!
    They moved into my home. I told her to decorate it how ever she wanted to. She picked outthe paint carpet new pictures etc. I did everything she asked b/c i loved her and wanted her to feel like this was her home. She brought in all of her furniture w/the exception of one bed room suite that my mother gave her youngest daughter. At first we saved all of my old furniture b/c we wanted a place on one of the local lakes. At some point she began to make fun of me for wanting to hang on to my furniture for the lake place. She often said that I was afraid she was going to leave me. I never gave it any thought. Then we decided to have a yard sale. I sold everything. I was unaware of any NPD probs in the rel. at this point I didnt know what to look for etc. As look back now I can see plenty of the signs. I gave up a 50k per year job for her b/c I was selling ins at night and I didnt want to miss out on the kids growing up. I was calling from the road and telling them good night. not the kind of dad I want to be. We decided that I would finish a pharmacy degree I started yrs b/f I even knew her and the kids. It would be 3 yrs with summers off. Maybe I should have said no…not sure it would have made a diff.I school full time in sept 2007. By oct 2008 she got very sick…Mono followed immed. by shingles, severe vit d def. Possibly chronifc fatigue and fibromyalgia. At this point I am in the middle of a 3rd yr dr of pharm grad program. I know my priorities are her and the 2 children. I took care of alll three of them first . Meds for her helping her change clothes and get walk to the shower and bathroom. keep up the house. Feed, bathe, hw, teacher mtgs, and cheerleading practices. and oh yea we ate dinner to and I got the kids on and off the bus each day. I did manage to call in her work for her on mos days until she went on dis. This lasted for months. She would sleep 48 to 60 hrs and then waake uo and raise hell w/me b/c a GD thing hadnt been done and i was of no supp to her and herkids while she was trying to get better. I never once got a thank you for what I did. She never really told me what she needed done. when she did get up she was doing things like scrap booking?!?!!! There was a time (dec 2008) when I was sick. sheand I have the same phys. I mentioned to him thatI was worried about her getting enough rest….up for 2-3 days w/o sleep and then down for 2-3 days. He asked me to have her call b/c he was concerned about bipolar issues and she had told him that their was a family hist. that started in the late 30s early 40s. Once when she was “out” asleep b/c of being sick I made a short term loan from my mother just to get us through. See she had said bills and money were stressing her nad making her worse. so when I eventually told her she was MAD. I had chosen mommy over her . I was just doing what it took to get by.
    FFWD to april of 2008. her condescending badgering had gotten so bad that I left for a few days to let calmer heads prevail. I was just tired of my self-esteem being derailed. 2 days later she called me to come home..so i did. she used her charm on the phone and her passionate sex w/me when i got home. we talked a few mins. and all was well right???
    Unknowingly she was plotting to buy a house w/o me knowing it and talking to her awful exhusband about doing the closing (dissbarred…hang on). The day b/f my 41st b-day (july 16) she tellls me she is leaving. she has bought a house and is taking the kids and leaving and the closing isnt until Aug 8 and they will be staying with me until then. I was devastated. Here is the narcissitic reasoning….and I started hearingthis when my phys approached her about being bi polar. she knew i had mentionedto him that I was concerned.
    She started then on her path to destroy me. It has worked. No one hasstoppedto think what about Jerry and trying to get this pharmacy degree so he can take care of the family. B/f the house purchase I was thrown out of school. with only the outside hope ofan appeal. She never stopped to say i am sorry about school. Dont worry about me and the kids and getting married. we are here for you….nothing. What I got was u are so volatile and unpredictale amd anything makes you mad….yea I cant figure out how I am going to take of you and be able to marry you. She never said thanks for takeing care of me while I was sick. I know it interferred w/school and u had a lot on u. I know you failed some classes but dont worry i am here to do what ever it takes to get us through this. we can work together. Instead she told everyne around us i needed “help.” told her dad she was worried about my fianancial pos. and all of my school loans. we were in this together!!! So I let them stay until Aug (2009). in the mean time we talked and got re-engaged and I was going to move there w/them w/in 6 to 9 months. That never came to pass. when she got to the new house she took off her ring and never put it back on. She stated she felt like I was treating her like a piece of property. I asked her did she think of me and how i was feeling….hurt insecure???She just stared at me w/a blank stare. After she was gone she kept trying to dictate what went on in my house. She demaned I come over to her house all of the time. and if i had something to do at home she said I didnt want to come over and when I got there I was looking for excuses to leave. This was all part of her plan to get revenge on me for asking the doctor about her not restng when she was sick. She thought I wantedto make everyone around us think she is crazy. She told her ex husband that was why she wanted to move from me. She had told me and other s she was afraid…why not leave then??? why not call the police if i had gotten so frightenly angry??? What I now see is a person that was suffering narcissitc injury. and this was her way of dealing with it. When her daughter got brain cancer she cut me out of all of the treatments. i never went once. when her parents came to help and stayed she never acknowledged my existence except the wekends they were gone. Little did I know she was in the beginning stages of a new reltionship that began where…on the faacebook. This I am certain started in June. She should have told me then.
    REV back a little…after she had left my house she decided that i was being unfaithful to her. i never was. one night about 130am she sneaked in my front door and tore up my house beat the hell out of me amd found no one here. I promise i was faithful to her. That was okay for her to do….she never apologized. An old girlfriend from 15 yrs ago sent an email to me. herson had died suddenly and I knew him. we talked back and forth via emai adnd she looked up my address wanting ot know how to get here. i never saw the emails. My ex found them and rightfully so was up set.
    so when i caught her lying to me i made a scene and got a restraining order put on me.
    She yoyoed me from the time she left my house until 8-4-2010. on again off again. I loved her and her so much that i fell for it. I just didnt know she had started another relationship. She tried to end it but i showed up on a sunday (7-18-2010)to take her to church. she let me come in and stay all day. I help her change her clothes b/c she was so sick that sunday. the next 3 days were great but by thursday (7-22-2010) she was angry. She had said to me she needed to focus on the kids and her and getting things straight in her life. i said okay. the wole time she is seeing this other guy. on sat (7-24) she asked me to come over to look at the dog. something was wrong. I went. I ended up staying longer than I should. We ate together, we kissed passionately all day, I went and got the kids ice cream etc. functionon justlike a normal couple would. Itrie to leave to no avail. she kept me hanging around and hanging on….we eventually made love later that evening. during the process i knew something wasnt right…I knew someone else “had been there.” but i kept thinking it was just me b/c i trusted her. I left later that evening. The next day (7-25) I asked about the movie something simple. lets ease back int o this and try to avoidthe same probs we had before. she said she needed to talkto the kids..idont think she ever did. when i got upset and hurt my foot she came over. she sat w/an ice pack on my foot and her head on lap while i rubbed her hair. her fav. thing for me to do. we started to talk and she told me that if I wanted my family back to prove it. knowing the whole time she has been sleeping w/someone else (the person resp for telling on her children’s dad andcausing him to go to jail….how trashy b/c she is losing all child support and cant keep her house). She tells me the first step in the process of gettingback together is me going to see a cunselor b/c she thinkd im bipolar, borderline personality disorder, anger issues etc….i am basically crazy.
    She goes to the first meeting and tells the counselor we arent together but she is going to be involved in the first 4-6 weeks of meetings. counselor runs her out. the next day on thurs (7-29) i stop by to ask her if there is anyone else involved and she says no. The next day she leaves for the beach w/him….confirmed by her and her ex hub. so all along im thinking she needstime for her life and i will getting done w/school. will we see other people?? she acted like she didnt want me to. so i thought it was only fair that she didnt. the weekend passed and I noticed she was gone. I figured to her mom’s b/c i just knew she was hurting.
    the last time I had seen her she was alittle mad but i gave her the life ins policy that is on my life and she is the beneficiary of. So much to my surprise on tues 8-3-10 ifound an strange car a her house. I made a scene that involved the PD. I caught her in a lie,. caught herat her game. Narcissitic injury…..HUGE…..shame has set in!!! of course i told evetyone we knew incl. her ex inlaws that adore their grand children. THere was an rest order placed on me….fne but the bitch decided on the 3 diff occassionsto try and harrass me. it is becuse I caught her in her lies and games and she is tryng to figure out what to do to get me back. She even tried to “poke” me in the courtroom last thurs 8-12-10….looking at me and talking loudly about the kids after shesat down behind me. she called my neighbors to tell them just enough to aggravate me. told one neighbor…”see how he acted that is why needs counseling and I had to gethim there. the only way he would go is if i would take him.”She was/is tryin to make me look crazy to justify her infidelity. I also believe she wanted to keep giving me just enough hope to hang around.
    That is all bullshit. she told my neighbor they werent sleepeing together…she didnt tell him how long she had been seeing this guy and that we slept together the weekend b/f she went to the beach w/him)and she cant b/c then she will have been lying to him. she is w/him b/c he has control of a piece of property that she can get $ from when it sells and he is taking her diff places. one of the reasons she left me…i couldnt do that b/c I am still in school. well I took care of her sick ass and her kids while I was in school causing me to fail. i should have grad. 5-2010.
    I had a place picked out to take her to get married when I was done..Tybie Island Ga. It was going to be a surprise??? I did try to throw her a surprise b/d party one time and she got mad. What do you think of that???
    She has been gone the weekend w/him. now she is back in town later this pm. I know she is going to try to harrass me and push me over the edge b/c she wants this life policy benefit. forthe record she has a habdgun. I am afraid of the narcissitic ragwe that is about to be unleashed on me. see new guy heard me talk about she and I sleeping together the weekend he took her to the beach. Everyone around knows incl the minister and my phys. I neededto tested for STDs and I needed someoneto talk to. The minister’s rxn told me she lied to him.She even told him about the rest. order….what was the purpose of tha but to make me look crazy. Went and apologized or me causing a scene at the drs office. never caused a scene there. Again trying to make me look crazy.
    here are some of the charac. she has exhibited…everything is alwasys about her , no empathy, dishonest,blames others for eveerything, exploits others, and has no real friendships….she talks bad about all of her friends and has even abandoned a couple. See the pattern of narcissitic rage…trying to get him back!!!
    I am out i actually cut myself out b/c she was trying to keep me hanging on and I caught her. and I said go to hell!!!!
    Alot of typing BUT you all have this type of behavior.
    To top it all off she is very OCD. Not the door checking kind but the getit on my maund and it stays for months. she also starting to get paranoid.
    HELP HELP!!!
    I coud be doomed!!!!

  • RightWingNutBar

    Here’s another trait for the list:

    26. She has her own blog. (ha ha – but seriously)

    It shouldn’t be surprising that some of the traits correlate with high achievement. Isn’t the prevalence of narcissism and womanizing higher amongst high achieving males too?

    Anyone who’s worked at a big law firm should be well aware that this applies to both men and women.

    • @Right Win Nut Bar
      You’re so right! I wrote a follow up post to this, where I revealed my own score on the NPD diagnostic test (very high!). Perhaps it takes one to write about it….

  • Chris

    I fell in love with a woman (still am) with many of these characteristics. 
    She is never married and  45 years old, lives with her brother just a block from mom (77).   She worked 60+ hours a week,  had lots of public accolades, very smart, very polished, extremely poised in even the most difficult business/organizational situations.  Everyone admires and loves her.   Vey polished.  Good looking. Lots of energy.  Never a negative statement.  Complimentary.   Worked hard.   Did “the dirty work” but always got the job done. Great sense of humor.  Charming. Sexy.  I fell for her like a ton of bricks.  I went all in.  As a client,  we didn’t make it to the “boy friend girl friend” status quite yet.

     Then the phone calls became returned more and more “too busy”.  Personal emails were not returned “I’m not an Email person.”   Dates were broken at last minute.  Never permitted me to pick her up at her house “I’ll meet you there.”   Never a phone call taken in the evening “to chat”.  Never a Saturday date “too busy”.   We only kissed twice.

    We had incredible fun times and we really connected on the chemistry level both ways (her and I).  She enjoyed my company.  She REALLY like my unbridled enthusiasm for her and her work ethic and accomplishments.

    Her plate was “too full” all the time.  She really had no close girl friends (“they can’t be trusted”) and had at least one “tag-along” submissive older male who arranged to be at many public events with her as possible.  She treats him poorly but has kept him in tow for years.

    After she cancelled our New Year’s date (once she landed a new job), promised a make good date… 6 days latershe didn’t answer my phone call…. I finally exploded and told her “if she wanted a doormat she needs to find another guy.”

    When we got together 6 months later she told me she needed a man to put her in a house and pay all the bills.   We were done.

    Very painful for me.   A year later I still think of her every day.   Guess I am as ill as she is.  Her narcisism is horrible and I do believe that she will never be able to acknowledge it,   She is hyer-sensitive to criticism and blames others (and me) for problems and poor attitudes.  She has trouble sleeping at night.

    Its so sad as I still see a whole universe inside her that will never see the light of day unless she learns to reflect on herself and does some personal work.  

    But I still love her, knowing all of the above.   This is called, I think, male insanity.

    • Chris,
      I am so sorry that is a truly terrible story. I don’t know what to say – I won’t tell you that you’re insane because you can’t help what you feel. You’re not alone – people struggle mightily to get over narcissists. They are truly like an addiction. With support, you can do the personal work that will enable you to give yourself closure (she will never offer that) and move on with your life.

  • Chris

    Just curious, why won’t a narcissists offer closure?
    P.S. Have been working this with a therapist for the past year.   She always called my “non-relationship” an addiction.  I had a hard time accepting that …as (to this day) I  know  there was a very genuine connection… but her fear of intamacy and/or her inability to express or experience genuine emotions were the core reasons she failed to take the relationship to the next level.  Today was her 45th  birthday which we always did something special.   So naturally, this “trigger date” brought all the emotions, broken dreams, hurt feelings back to the surface, just as if it were yesterday.  It’s almost embarrassing.   It is so difficult as I know my emotions are my responsibility, not hers.

  • PuffsPlus

    Wow, what a great article. My mom is a female narcissist, and I’m thinking she has Histrionic Personality Disorder too. She wasn’t aloof with me, though. When I behaved the way she wanted me to, she was affectionate. But any show of defiance or even individuality on my part was discouraged and punished. No tolerance for criticism, no introspection. But she wasn’t spoiled growing up. Her parents were cold and unforgiving and even abusive; hard to know exactly, though, because I know now she told me many, many lies about herself over the years. I really don’t believe my mother was treated as a “special snowflake” type.  In fact, she never really bonded with her parents; I’ve read that was once viewed as a cause of psychopathy, but at least one expert on that subject thinks it might be a *symptom* rather than a cause.
    One of her most appalling shows of a lack of empathy happened when I was about 14 and I happened to be in her office at work…had gotten out of high school early or something. A young temp in the office across the hall started loudly crying after receiving a phone call. The temp hung up and of course her office mates asked her what was wrong. She sobbed back (loudly enough so my mother and I could hear her) that her mother had just called to tell her that her father had been in a terrible car accident, was in the hospital and in the ICU, but the doctors said he probably wouldn’t survive. The temp continued to sob loudly as she got ready to rush to the hospital. My mother got a look of disgust on her face and said to me, “What’s with all that fuss over her father? If it was her mother, maybe I could understand the reaction. “

    • @Puffs Plus
      I’m sorry, that’s a terrible story. Growing up with her must have been very, very difficult. I do think that being ignored or feeling unloved as a child can lead to narcissism just as easily as being spoiled can. In fact, for many years, the prevailing theory about NPD was that it is caused by childhood trauma or damage. I’m glad you didn’t succumb to the same fate.

  • L

    Oh, shi–

  • cloverfield

    I just got out of a relationship with a Narcissistic female – all the classic signs. She was “perfect” while we were dating, only to turn cold, distant, and unfeeling once we broke up. She had also been cheating on my emotionally and physically for months (we dated for a year and she cheated for 7 months of it).Once we broke up, she moved on in days, and dropped me like a bad habit.

    Of course, I had no idea she had cheated and I was trying to still be friends at least – I’ve known her for over 5 years. However, she had so done a “180” that she wouldn’t even take responsbility for cheating on me with two guys. Everything was “my fault” by that point. As I’ve discovered more and more, I realize she’s surrounded with enablers that all knew she was cheating and didn’t say a word to me.

    I know popular wisdom says that to “get back” at a NPD, you should just ignore them and move on. However, I couldn’t let it rest, knowing that she was telling everyone what a terrible guy I was and how everything was my fault. So, I sent out a very calmly worded email explaining exactly what happened (with proof) to all the guys she cheated on me with, and BCCed her mom, her brother, her co-workers, and all of our mutual friends. May not have been wise, but it certainly made me feel better.

    What helps also is I might be leaving the country soon for a job offer – I’ve read that NPDs tend to try and revisit their victims after some time has passed to get more of that Narcissistic supply they crave by stirring up old feelings. Unfortunately for her, I’m pretty observant and pretty emotionally mature – I ended it with her as soon as I caught her in the first lie. She’s a non-person to me, at this point. The girl I thought I loved was just a character she was playing to keep me around while she ran around and slept with whoever gave her the slightest attention, lying to me and keeping me in the dark the whole time.

    The best advice I can give someone that’s been mistreated by a NPD is – remain calm, show no emotion, gather your evidence, and methodically (and legally) shred their reputation with both their old and new “crowds”. NPDs HATE to be exposed for what they really are – petty, vengeful, angry people with no empathy or understanding of other human beings. Don’t be afraid of exposing her to family and friends, but only if you have rock-solid proof (for example, finding texts between her and someone she’s cheating with…) When you present your case, don’t waffle or back off. Your goal is to confront and utterly shatter – even if its only temporary – the person’s fantasy world by overloading them on negative feedback from friends and family. So what if they lash out or pull the silent treatment? They never cared about you, you should not care about them. Treat them as the enemy, because that is now how they think of you.

    Also, make sure you don’t go overboard or do anything overly unique (IE putting her picture on a billboard or something equally public). The NPD can use this to their advantage – they love attention, even negative attention, because it’s a chance for them to play the martyr and recieve more Supply from their enablers.

    It can be done, as long as you remember that the person you are now dealing with is an enemy and a stranger. That person you thought you loved was a complete sham – a reflection of what she thought you wanted her to be. Good luck.

    • @coverfield
      I’m not worried about you – it sounds like you have coped very well with your narcissist. BCC’ing friends and family seems harsh, but I won’t judge, because I know how a narcissist can make one’s life pure hell. You feel desperate to hold them accountable, especially if they continue to insist that they have done nothing wrong, that the fault is yours, etc. In any case, I’m glad you are done with her. Some people find it impossible to leave narcissists – they can be addictive.

  • CADC09

    Awesome article. I was wondering about a woman I recently met. There is an attraction, she has had breast augmentation, and is preoccupied with her looks. But she also was in an abusive relationship before, so maybe this could possibly explain some of her behavior. She has disclosed that she has dated married men, would this show her lack of emotional availability?

    • @CADC09
      Depending on where you are from, preoccupation with one’s looks can be pretty typical. LA, for example. I guess I would want to understand why she had her breasts enhanced. Did she go from flat to average? Or did she feel the need to go from average to enormous?

      I will say that I believe dating married men is a major red flag. I’m not sure if it means she’s emotionally unavailable, afraid of commitment or just a masochist. But it says something about her character. Proceed with extreme caution.

  • Ming on Mongo

    I don’t think I’ve seen much written re: female narcissism before. What an interesting article and thread… thanks!

    My “2-cents” here is that having been formerly married to a clinically diagnosed NPD (with BPD, Histrionic & ADD “co-morbidities”), I feel like I’ve acquired a certain “intuitive” sense for what they’re about, along with antennae for detecting many of the “red flags”. And one strong “clue” that I haven’t really seen documented, seems to be the folks (especially women) who treat their pets (usually dogs) like “people” (“my child, best friend”, etc.). And when you get to know them, not surprisingly you usually do start to see all the other “endearing” symptoms crop up (the self-absorption, entitlement, grandiosity, lack of empathy, strong need for control, hyper-defensiveness, etc.). So it’s not that they really love the pet, so much as they love how it serves their needs and how it makes them feel.

    But when you think about it, just like a dependent child, a submissive pet not only becomes the perfect “recipient” for all those narcissistic symptoms, it’s also a constant and ideal source of “narcissistic supply”, as well as an easy & uncomplaining opportunity for their other famous “talent”, that of “projecting” all the disassociated parts of themselves onto others (“oh, he’s so smart, strong, brave, always glad to see me, really understands me, etc., etc.”)!

    BTW, I agree they don’t much care for “closure”, although it’s not difficult to understand the sense of “control” that avoiding it continues to provide them. Hey, we were “useful” once before, right?! ;-p

    • @Ming
      Great insight on pets there – I have never heard that but it makes perfect sense as a source of unconditional worship and adoration.

  • filrabat

    I would also add to that unbelievably petty and stands for no set of values beyond maintaining her own image and impressing her friends. Also, that she has poisonous contempt toward anyone, anything, etc., with that contempt rooted more in knee-jerk petty personal distaste, as opposed to the sober-minded rational thought process (in short, she’s an image bigot).

  • Ming on Mongo

    Susan… while there’s no question that Narcissists can be a “dangerous” breed, I think one of the things that’s important to point out when dealing with “N’s”, is that like the old folklore about “vampires” (both physical and psychic), for them to become a threat, we have to first let them “in”. Which usually means allowing them to ignore our “boundaries” (and often seems to be their first “tip-off”)! So in a curious way, I don’t begrudge them and their plight is really a tragic one, when you think about it, as they never “asked” to be who (and what) they are. Still,I think they are a sort of human “predator”, that one needs to know how to watch for out in the daily “jungle”!

  • Free at Last

    @CADC09: I agree with Susan, you need the be really cautious here. Bear in mind that most narcisstic women are Hollywood-class actors and skilled liars. It might actually be that she was the abuser in her previous relationship. As for dating married men, this certainly not an admirable trait and a possible sign of a golddigger.

    I suggest that you head over to Dr. T’s blog http://www.shrink4men.com/index/ and read “13 Signs your Girlfriend or Wife is a Borderline or a Narcissist” (January 2009) and “15 Warning Signs She’s a Psycho Chick” (February 2009).

  • Free at Last

    @Ming: I agree, we have to “let them in” before they become abusive. But two of their tactics are (1) love-bombing, which can go on for months, and they’re on their very best behaviour the whole time – until they move in with you or otherwise feel that they have you under control, and (2) the “slowly boiling the frog” trick, where they erode your boundaries so slowly and carefully that you don’t realize it’s happening. I’m quite good at holding my ground regarding boundaries, yet I’ve been there and had both done to me. Some of these women are exceptionally clever, and if you’ve been well brought up and haven’t actually experienced a relationship with a disordered woman, you just don’t know what to look for. There’s a lot of material on Dr. T’s site that can help you recognize the early warning signs in a relationship.

  • Free at Last

    @Chris and Susan, back in late September 2010, regarding closure. I think the main reason that narcissists don’t care much for closure is that it just doesn’t matter to them; they’re already gone and feeding off someone else. Since they have little or no empathy and closure doesn’t matter to them, it never even occurs to them that it might matter to you.

    My ex-N had a bizarre characteristic that I never figured out until I began studying NPD. Early on, when I asked her why she divorced her ex-husband, she said that “my feelings towards him changed.” Overnight, just like that. I don’t know what these twisted women feel towards their partners, but it certainly isn’t love.

    As Sandy Hotchkiss wrote in her book “Why is it Always About You?” narcissists never fully developed a sense of Self. This prevents them from recognizing their boundaries and those of others, and therefore they view others merely as extensions of themselves. It took me a while to wrap my head around that, but it does explain a lot of their behaviour. The people in their lives are just like a hand or a foot that intrinsically does what they wish, or mere possessions like kitchen utensils. When those people are no longer useful to them, they’re discarded or replaced. They can’t feel love the way you and I do; it’s probably more like a feeling of usefulness. Hence the cheating, conflicts, breakups and lack of closure.

  • Interesting in enough that it brings to light the many “red flags” we do see in toxic dysfunctional people. Call them toxic abusive or just “bad” doesn’t mean much to me at this point. I am not a psychologist but after living with a toxic dysfunctional person after 17 years it does teach one something about them.

    “Please don’t date one. I beg you not to fall in love with one. And never, ever marry one.”

    I do hope all readers will take this statement with them and remember it for their life time.

  • udolipixie

    Funny at first glance I’m a narcissist.

    3. She is overly confident about her looks. Research shows that narcissists are no more attractive than other people, but they believe they are much better looking than other women.
    Yep I’m confident & overly so since others input doesn’t affect me but I’m aware there are better & much better looking girls.

    6. She lacks empathy, and even common courtesy at times. She puts others down, including you. She does not hesitate to exploit others.
    That’s me excluding putting others down.

  • NB

    Wow. My ex-girlfriend scores a very solid 18 of 20 from the list of NPD traits above. Unfortunately for me, she was amazingly skilled at masking them. Each time a new one became clear to me, it was easy to rationalize it away by comparing it to all of the other good traits I thought she had. I was a good 6 months into the relationship and deeply in love with the person I thought she was before it finally began to really dawn on me who she really was. Even after figuring out who she was, it broke my heart to leave her and staying away was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. I count my blessings that I didn’t follow through with my plans to marry her. I use to dream of raising a family with her, now the very thought of leaving any child of mine in her care scares me and fills me shame and guilt for my bad judgment.
    I wouldn’t wish such a relationship on my worst enemy. I will certainly be much more careful in the future, but to be completely honest, I’m not sure it will matter. I’m not young or stupid or inexperienced, but if I were to meet somebody else just like her, I doubt that I would be able to recognize the danger before it was too late again. That’s how good she was at deception.

    And do you know what? She would take those last two lines as a compliment.

    • @NB
      You make an excellent point – getting into the crosshairs of a narcissist is terrible luck, and it can definitely happen more than once. They are so good at being charming and seeming empathic that you’re in eyeballs deep before you know what’s up. However, you can be vigilant, and the moment you see any red flags, deal with them. Don’t ever just hope for the best. Watch her behavior carefully for signs of this. The key is not to rationalize anything away.

  • Ming on Mongo

    Congrats, NB, and actually it looks like you “caught on” a lot quicker than some of the rest of us! Also, agreed that accepting the death of the “dream”, aka the “illusion” (whatever it happened to be), has to be one of the toughest parts.

    BTW, for those interested in some of the emerging neurobiological research in this area, here’s a great website:

  • Wow, who are you? Are you the guru of people. You have been so hurt and conned, me too. But move the fuck on. Get over it!!!

  • Anonymous

    We are reduced to scales of how people fuck us over. Really? Nope… Put a barbed wire fence around your heart, envision it and then see if a person can break it down. Don’t give them 100 percent… They get 20 and work up from there. Only you can determine if they are worth it Nd vise versatile!!!!

  • Rob

    My Narc has none of the 6 physical characteristics (in fact the complete opposite) – she was so naturally beautiful she made a point of NOT bothering with herself (and still looked beautiful!).

    However, on the personality side of things she has 10 of the 14 attributes in bundles.

    Her shy charm, combined with the the breathtaking beauty, is a cocktail that I can only imagine has ruined many a man.

  • Max

    I fell in love with a NPD and we dated for about 6 months when she decided to break up with me on christmas eve because I was sad (she then asked me to still come to her family christmas and pretend that we were together so she didn’t have to deal with telling them…to which I told her to get f****d). I WAS sad because I had to put my dog down due to cancer. She told me she couldn’t be there for me and got her mum to ring me and console me. Confused, very upset but still very obsessed I got back with her a few months later. Three weeks later she told me she was going over seas for 6 months by herself and that she wanted to see other people while she was over there. Completely blinded by love I told her I was going to stay faithful and wait for her to get back hoping she would change her mind. A month or so after she left she invited me to come over and visit her so I planned my 2 month holiday and left the happiest I had ever felt thinking she was finally going to commit. Two days after I arrived, still very jet lagged, she told me she had been with 2 people since she had been there. Understandably, I was very upset but forgave her because I put it down to travel lonliness. I told her that I would be a bit fragile for a while and asked her if she would consider this…..her response was to flirt shamelessly every oportunity she got. If she wasn’t flirting, she was starting arguments from nothing and started to get violent with me. After the 2nd violent attack I left her in the middle of Europe and went and enjoyed the rest of my holiday by myself.
    It wasn’t till I got back that a friend who was studying psychology told me to read about NPD. I am feeling much better now that I know it wasn’t me and that I am finally over her. My self confidence still has a while to go to get back to where it was but I am very glad to hear I am not the only one to fall for these people as I felt very stupid for letting myself be treated like that.
    I guess now I just feel sorry for her. It must be difficult living with yourself having this disorder. I even wrote to her and encouraged her to seek help.
    On a positive note, believe it or not but she did actually improve my life in a way. When I fell for her I thought she was a very together, successful person and because of this I went out and fixed all the problems I had been avoiding for years including my relationship with my parents. I now have a good relationship with my parents, gave up smoking and started my own business.
    Hurray for narcs!

    • @Max
      Thanks for sharing your story. I’m so glad you have learned about NPD so that you will never fall for someone else who behaves that way. That lack of empathy for you when your dog died is just a massive red flag, which you know now, of course.

      I love it that you take a positive attitude toward the whole experience, and the changes you were able to make in your own life. Good for you!

  • Amanda

    Hey Susan, I like reading the articles on your website as I think they are helpful and insightful for a 22 year college girl like me. However, I have an opinion on women initiating, and I strongly believe women should iniiate for the following reasons:

    1) A man intiating is just the beginning, a real relationship is long-term commitment and effort, I see too many men, handsome or not pursue attractive women (friends, or other acquaintances). These women wait around to be ‘picked,’ all their effort going into being ‘passive objects for male attention.’ I disagree with this traditional and passive stance, that accepts male dominance and traditonal notions of patriarchy.  In the end, a lot of time was wasted when it turned out the guy was a time waster and when women don’t pick, they are at the ‘mercy of whoever picks them.’

    2) It saves young women time, life is short, and it only leaves me feeling empowered, on condition that guy i was polite about rejection (and most decent guys are). I even think women should ask out purely for the exercise in confidence! However It absolutely bugs me that ‘initiating interest’ is always associated automatically with the woman being some kind of desperado, psycho or stalker. I believe ‘desperate’ is a vibe.  Again, something that was assigned traditionally as a gender confinement that goes with the broader gender stereotype that men should own, and  women beings properties of men not deserving a place in the workplace. So the really crucial thing or appraoch i believe is best, is for a girl to appraoch a guy in a friendly, casual way. That’s important, you’re not trying to court a guy, you just want what you want, but you’re putting it across in a casual no pressure way. Then later just drop something, clear, direct like ‘ I wanna check out this new theatre opening on lygon st, do you wanna come? Something so direct that it could only be a yes or no, (u want to corner the cat haha – bad example i sound scary) and no space for maybe’s. Cuz in dating, maybe is usually code for not interested enough (i use it). ‘ If he really thought i was inteersting, or attractive enough etc he’d want to hang out with me, and if he’s not interested enough he’ll just be like..[some excuse that reeks of unavailability = not interested]. I’ve done this before, and it’s worked. One guy said sure, and another guy said he’s got a gf LOLLL.  But it saved me from wasting my time, to keep wondering whether someone i like could be interested in me.

    3) Its like having 2 incomes. One that comes my way (the men that approach me) that is not my active control, and other that is my active  control, and empowers me that I am able to influence the choices of men because I dare to express my interest because I’m not ashamed about what I want. As a woman, why should we be? It’s a new age of equality and this is what it looks like.

    4) To the men who are emasculated by the above, I say: They’re not ‘man enough for  [emphasis: FOR ME so i’m not trying to insult anyone else] and most likely harbour other narrow-minded, chauvinistic, patriarchial traits that have no basis in society, except for the view that thousand of men and women keep accepting them.

    So the challenge for me is probably marrying my slightly left dating view, with the largely ‘right- dating circuit.’ But thats okay, i can deal with that!




    • @Amanda
      Great comment, thanks so much for posting it! I’m going to use part of it in a new post, so stay tuned!

  • Amanda

    And I forgot to mention one really important point, in my experience of seeing older and other people’s relationships, the quality of the long -term relationship never mattered on who made the first move. It is always a 2 way street, or both people should realize it should be. Theres too many scenarious where guy made the first move, guy courted the girl, guy got bored of the girl (the girl kept being passive thing that wanted to be courted)…etc etc. So women might as well have fun and play too. And ultimately the other person will tag you back, so it may have come from one person’s initial expression, to two people who tag each other back and forth. That the only model I believe in for women doing the first move (so theres my conservative catch), simply because I don’t believe in my interest in a guy being unconditional.

    I also believe there is this unrealistic expectation on what it means when a guy makes the first move. In movies, it’s shown as a result of deeply, unconditional love or ‘crazy feelings’ for the girl. In reality, this could be no furthur than the truth. In truth, women are like an open meat market, one girl turns them down, they’ll easily and happily find another target. Its actually meaningless when a guy thinks a woman is attractive or hot.

    Recently my friend was being courted by a cute guy she found attractive. There was a lot of flirting body language, and long story cut short, he eventually started sabotaging their developing friendship/potential relationship. Knowing the kind of girl my friend is, I believe what happened was initially she wasn’t ‘his’, so he was excited by the chase and challenge of wooing her. She was happy to lap it all up, it went to her ego and made her feel good. You would have thought he was a well meaning, good guy with cute looks. But once he had her interest, it became boring that she kept lapping it up. Instead it started to be a scenario where she would just go with anything he suggested (not sexual), always available, always yes, responses that excited him when he ‘didn’t have her,’ but now that he did it was just predictable and passive. So…moral of the story, ladies should learn to call their own shots within moderation, and do what they want because you don’t get any extra points for staying in line for what society traditionally thing a women ‘should be.’



  • Dogsquat

    Amanda, I agree with almost all of the actions you’ve espoused in your prior two posts.  I disagree with some of the reasoning you used to get there, but I think that may just be semantics.

    I think the best takeaway from what you’ve said is that women should be more active in signalling their interest in a man, as it increases chances for happiness (for both partners, although it wasn’t phrased that way).


    Have you had a chance to read Susan’s later article here?:




    You sound like someone who may possibly identify as a feminist, and if you have time I’d be interested in your take on what was said there.


    Semper Fi,


  • Marsha

    Just dealing with a female narcissist is one thing..to have had a mother who slept with  your husbands, spent 60 years trying to ruin my life in other ways besides what I just mentioned and having a sister who is identical to her has been a nightmare of unbelievable proportions;  I am still looking for answers in dealing with these two. I can distance myself for years, (because they cause the dispute) only to be sucked in within 5 or 6 years due to family tragedy, death, or other family issues..I HAVE to find a way out forever..and for me..forever is getting shorter and shorter. I want my children, grandchildren and life to be normal without these pariahs ,,,but HOW?

    • @Marsha
      That is horrible, truly horrible. I don’t know what a therapist would say, but I would say that the only way out is to completely cut them out of your life. Total estrangement. I’m not saying that would be easy – it sounds like you’d have to make some very difficult decisions.

  • James

    “men are primarily drawn to women via physical attraction”

    I can’t believe an otherwise sensible article would start off with such outdated chauvinistic fallacy. The irony is that it’s tied in with female narcissism – the female belief that their attraction to the opposite sex is “pure, genuine, based on the man’s internal value only, and not possibly as shallow as something physical”. Whereas they try to degrade men and devalue men’s attraction by putting it down to “primarily physical, shallow, fleeting”.

    This is what so many narcissistic women don’t understand. Men will like the women’s body *automatically* once he falls in love with the personality. It’s like the way a man will lovingly clean his old clunker of a car – because it’s a faithful companion that has stuck with him through thick and thin, so he loves it as a whole. Women with narcissistic mental processes will think that a man is attracted to her physical beauty primarily. Why? Because it’s a protection mechanism. The narcissistic mind *cannot* tolerate or process personality faults. So if she’s rejected, she puts it down to the man being too picky – over one extra pound on her body, or one eyelash out of place, or the wrong colour lipstick – so she can devalue him as being “shallow” or “superficial” when in fact he didn’t like the *person* he saw dwelling beneath. He didn’t like the self-centredness, the massive ego, the manipulation – if she were a nice person he could put up with 20 or 30 extra lbs on her without any thought. TRUST me, as a man, when I say out of a pair of female twins, the man will be most attracted to the one without makeup especially if she comes across as genuine and caring. If the other one has makeup and slutty clothes it will be an instant warning sign that she’s conceited, or compensating for something, so even before she opens her mouth, the more physically attractive twin becomes less attractive to him.

    All my male friends bar one, take a long long time to get to know women before becoming attracted – to her personality. And they all WANT a committed long term relationship. But the women they want to be with are fleeting, the ones who want shallow meaningless one night stands, FWB’s and harems of male sex slaves. One female friend said “I dumped him because he started talking about marriage. Where are the guys who just want to screw around?” 

    Sure my male friends have made comments like “she looks hot” but it’s the females I know that actually act on it. The males realise such instant physical appeal is meaningless and flippant, but it’s always been my female friends who have acted on it, obsessed over men for their looks without having spoken to the men and deemed them her ideal partner. It’s females who make shallow instantaneous physical judgements like “he’s too short for me” or “I won’t date him because he’s a year younger”. Meanwhile males end up falling for all physical types, the fat, the thin, the short, the tall, after coming to like the *person* not the body.


  • Nathaniel

    you just got me cursed out by a narcissist please remove this article

  • jag216

    The simplest and clearest barometer to me of a person’s maturity and character:

    How do they respond to being wrong?

    How do they respond when someone points it out to them?

    The way they handle this clear scenario will tell you whether a person is mature or not. Period.

    The reason for this is simple: There is really no better place to apply love in a situation than when something has gone wrong. Not that I am saying love isn’t for things that are good or okay, but whether a person loves themselves – or others – in spite of their mistakes and failures is a sign of how mature they are.

    This is not foolproof – it is possible, for example, to be the Golden Child of either a narcissist or a borderliner – but here I have found another interesting test:

    Do they confuse you with others who are close to them – call you by the wrong name? Especially siblings?

    Do they lavishly compliment you in ways that really are a reflection of how they themselves would like to be seen?

    It could be that they like everything about you that reminds them of themselves – that you only exist as an extension of themselves and their needs, hopes or desires.

    I was the Golden Child – until I crossed the will of the narcissist parent. I became Satan in their eyes – instantly, in a flash, without question. I had never experienced this kind of turn in nearly 40 years. I read about it in books – I didn’t realize how incredibly awkward and disorienting it was in person. I had fallen through the looking glass.

    One final bit of advice. Dealing with a narcissist – especially after a heavy argument where you’ve been accused of every name in the book in a volley of hot rage – is like dealing with an abusive alcoholic the next day. They have a hangover, they are alone, they know there’s someone hurt, but in extreme cases they cannot remember anything they did or said to you. The shallowest regret comes, and if any plot to resolve the situation appears, it’s an offer for ‘the two of you’ to get help – because a narcissist will never unilaterally seek help for themselves. Ever. At least an alcoholic can swear off their intoxication.

  • genes

    three weeks with a narcissistic woman is enough for me…its like a roller coaster..your right she is very charming and beautiful but will explode in an instant if she dis agree even little things…it drains me and almost lost my insanity..she will cry when i will leave her…but will go back the oldways next hour…i pitty her and i want to help her…i think its her mothers fault…but they said there is no cure for this psycho…

  • Drake

    I am searching for everyone like me out there who is suffering as I am….Deeply inlove with someone who I thought was just as deeply inlove with me, only to discover that she may very well be Narcissistic.
    When we first met other than her beauty she was so amazing to be with and to talk to…she said the same about me. Looking back, I see red flags everywhere and in alot of what she said. At the time, I could sense it (an strange ackwardness in the moment). At first I would not try and ignore only for it to happen more and more, until I did begin questioning her about. It would only take a simple question and immediately she went defensive and would act as if I were paranoid.
    We’ve been together on and off, many times over the past year and a half. I eventually moved away…over 500 miles away…broken hearted. About one month later we talked. From there we quickly seemed to patch things up. Someone threatened her on her job and she said that she was afraid for she and her daughter’s life. I immediately packed up and was with she and her daughter within two days. Everything was great for about two weeks, then she went psycho on me. It was some things at first…certain inappropriate things that she would say. As the days passed things became increasingly worse. Until finally, I asked her, “Why don’t you appreciate me like I appreciate you?” Her response was, “Appreciate you for what? You’re my bitch.” I couldn’t believe what she was saying. How could her opinion of me be so low when I have always been there for her?
    That was nothing compared to the numerous times of cruel and very unthoughtful things that she has said and done to me. Why don’t I just walk away…you may be saying that to yourself right now. I say it is because I love her so much that I literally would walk through whatever hell she was in with her until she made it through.
    She seems to choose to say and do the things that she does to hurt me and bring me, then act as though it is my fault that we have so many problems. I don’t trust her but I do love her so much. This isn’t good at all. How do you close the door on someone you love so much? How do you let go of a life that you know that the two of you could have?
    If anyone out there has already gone through exactly what I’m going through now, please respond.
    I am far from desperate. There are others that want to date me, but I can’t even think about it. My heart grieves at even the thought of it.

  • James Gee

    I was invloved briefly with a woman who is clearly on the spectrum for a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. On the first date she said, “Don’t be put off if people come up to talk to me while we’re on our date. Alot of people know me”. I played it off then, but 5 months later the joke got old enough for me to break it off. Then she started stalking me for 6 months. What do they call that again? Oh yeah. A shrewd attempt at manipulating my emotional susceptabilities. Luckily I have some really good friends who supported me and she finally went away. They are charming at the beginning, but they always give away who and what they are with their behaviors. Now she’s an elected city official. The thing is she was never really all that attractive to me. Charming yes, but just so shallow.

    • @James Gee

      Welcome, thanks for sharing that story.

      “Don’t be put off if people come up to talk to me while we’re on our date. Alot of people know me”.

      Agreed, that’s a real red flag.

      At least you only went five months. Some people marry these women!

  • jaime

    i know 2 people that are just like this-i was trying to put my finger on what to call them-thank you! its so sad really. especially when they are parents and their children have to deal with this….

  • I thought this was a very accurate article. In my own personal experiance, is it safe to say narcissist males cant resist narcissist females, and that they will put up with extreme abuse so long as their ego is fed in the slightest bit. another observation of mine is that no matter how attractive the a narcissistic female is, most self-aware males get very turned off by her attitude, because alot of my friends and i have talked about it and we have had girlfriends like this and after one or two of them, we dont usually date women like this again. we will have no-string relations but leave at the first sign that she will try to whip you or play games. I got lucky and have any amazing down to earth girlfriend, guy alot of my guy friends would much rather just be single then have to be someone they are not for a girl.There is of course that one “friend” you dont here about anymore because he is no longer the guy he was when he wasnt with her, and it hurts to have that happen.

  • amanda

    Hi I believe this is me after reading this article :/ I always thought I treated others generally well but I know I dont in relationships. After my first boyfriend broke up with me for the second time I sort of lost it and I’ve had people be in “serious” relationships with me when I feel nothing. I figured it must be because I just “wasnt in love and never getting over him” and I mean I guess that could be it but ya um does anyone know what to do if you actually are a narcissist? Should I just do the opposite of what I usually do? or should i seek therapy/shrink to work it out?

    • @amanda

      I give you credit for self-awareness. Try changing your behavior deliberately. If you find yourself unable or unwilling to do that, I would definitely seek counseling.

  • Vilma

    I need help. I have a narcissist in my office who’s trying to hijack my fashion style to make people think we are in an overt “competition” or that we are “similar” in character. I noticed something was off a year ago when she was writing notes in a meeting with a cheapo plastic nib fountain pen (compared to my collectiion that runs into the hundreds of dollars) that was so hideous I thought I would faint. Then after I got a limited edition watch (automatic) I saw her in a plastic imitation Chanel with glass crystals glued on the face so it looks like a popcorn toy watch. Next she brought lunch boxes in exactly the same designs as the ones I’m using. As an experiment, I used a different one every week. One week I take clear plastic next day she does. I take a round box. She does too in same color but big and ugly and cheap. I have a plaid Kleenex tissue box cover. She gets a cushion for her chair in exactly the same design. Now she has been dressing in the same kind of clothes that I wear or has been shopping at the same store that I do. I’m feeling victimized. She flirts heavily with male colleagues and is very lazy, is CONSTANTLY talking in a high pitched moany voice sounding like she’s having sexxxx. I now have misophonia because of it and need to be in a different part of the building to work. She lies, cheats, insults colleagues and worst of all, sleeps with married men. It’s not against the law to so she flaunts it. Up until last week, she used to wear tight mini skirts and tops to work. I’ve always dressed conservatively but as stylishly as the rules allow. It’s time consuming and expensive to assemble a wardrobe like mine. What’s unique is that an outfit looks like a complete ready-made set. To copy my exact palate in one go would take a lot of dedication because I’ve been collecting items over four years. It takes an age for the ‘right’ color or shade or item to be sold in stores. No-one else in the office wears clothing similar to mine which is why it looks so obvious that she’s working hard copying me. I don’t know what to do because I just spent a lot of money revamping my wardrobe. Four years of hard labour and intense study. I’m not flattered by the cheepo mimicry. I feel like its an aggressive overture. I have been ignoring her pointedly because of the misophonia, her lying and rude behavior. Yes, she looks bad in her clothes because it’s all mismatched but I really don’t want people to think we are alike. Help me!!!!!!!!!

  • Hugo

    The identification of npd is so difficult because nearly all npd’s have spent many years becoming gifted liars and skilled actors in fake emotions. Our first duty should be to “never underestimate our opponents” but first we must recognise that we are in a battle, with the relationship with an npd as being no more than a Venus fly trap. All of the perceived pleasures of the relationhsip are a mirage.

    Others have mentioned the covert side of npds and i believe this is another tell tell sign of the disorder. The true npd is a social chameleon, adept at reading people, studying them and rewarding them to gain access, once this has been achieved, then the covert and systematic destruction begins.

    Time is also required to reveal the npd. All npds exploits the benefit of the doubt, a spouse, partner, friend or family member gives and masterfully uses tactics such as charm, confusion and event learning to lay dormant to make detection all the more difficult.

    Once the npd has gained access,feels in control and sees signs of a dependency culture developing, then their arrogance will allow them to drop their mask andwe at last see glimpses of the real monster. Their weapons of choice for diminishing the self esteem of others is wide and varied but often includes, verbal put downs, measured criticism disguised as advice , verbal anger, arrogance, envy, entitlement and the lack of EMPATHY .

    Ultimately, we must be aware of “the process” as much as the identification of traits, as again, we are dealing with very skilled, very determined and very deceptive individuals who see no wrong in their actions , believing it is their divine right to destroy others.

    NPD’s are addicted to self love, self satisfaction and their drug of choice always will be anybody they can exploit.

    In the old book,the story of Samson and Delilah is perhaps one of the oldest stories of npd. Samson was besotted with Delilah’s beauty, so much so that her beauty blinded him to what “real love” was and in the end his enemies blinded him, robbing him of his sight. Ironically, when Samson could no longer see Delilah with his eyes, he truly saw her for who she was and never had his vision of her been so clear.

    We too must be blind to the npd’s charms in order to see the real act as the true deception it always has and always will be.

  • Anony

    I think this post is bullshit. Oops, is that narcissistic of me?? What about someone who spent their entire life being treated like shit? Does giving herself love make her a narcissist? Maybe she’s naive and isn’t aware of her needs because she was taught that her needs were not important. In a society where we stress how important family is, we’re so overly religious speaking of a GOD who loves everyone and made everyone different, this sure is a judgmental post. Women already have so much pressure put on us from men, society, career, everything. Look at what the media calls beautiful. We get bombarded with those images everyday. And for someone who already has low self esteem, it’s tough. Physical appearance plays a part in this unreal world we live in. There’s nothing wrong with wanted to achieve things in life. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to feel important or special to someone. There are women in this world who get no attention at all, not even healthy attention from parents. Some women get negative attention and if giving herself the love she needs makes her a narcissist then so be it. While there are women who are vain and shallow, if you actually talked to them about their lives you’ll find the vanity and shallowness to be a defense mechanism in a world where no one has you best interest at heart.where they have been hurt, abused, mistreated, for being sensitive, sweet, kind, thoughtful, and authentic in this backwards ass world. I guess miserable people with low self esteem are your heroines right?

  • Anony

    You judge when were all run by the same government. Do you not go shopping? To the hair and nail salon? Do you not where makeup at times? Don’t you like to set goals and achieve them ? We all do ! This is America ! We all want the same shit! All of us. Viewing everyone as enemy and opponents. That’s how this country was born and that’s how it survives.
    We all live in a narcissistic ass country together. No one is no better than anyone else.

  • Reclaimedmylife

    I wish I had known what NPD was some 20 years ago, but now I do as I married the posterchild for narcissism and was with her for 18 years.

    It’s very true that a BPD/NPD breakup is difficult, especially without closure. I have created my own closure, which I struggle with at times. Looking back, with what I lived, the emotional abuse, lies, cheating, total lack of empathy for me or anyone, and with what I see now, I have definately fine tuned my radar to the red flags, and as another poster stated I would not wish that life on anyone, there is no one I despise that much.

    I am nearly 50, she is nearing 55 and is now a full-fledged self proclaimed Cougar who is hooking up with cubs that are younger than my own Son. Thank God my Son is not from our Marriage, and that we did not have children together. She meets all the criteria, especially all the self-photos, and professional photography, and the sexually inappropriate poses, even on facebook which she shares with her family, it’s sickening.

    I removed myself by taking off her mask and re-establishing my boundaries which I had allowed her to slowly erode over time. Although I was never abusive, questioning her treatment of me, and questioning her actions, provided enough “Narcissistic Injury” to finally be shed of her.

    I disagree with the poster about alerting the world to her, including her family, any reasonable person should be able to see right on through it, and even though I was one who did not, I was only 29 at the time I met her, and wasn’t thinking with my brain. I ignored all the red flags, and fell for her seductiveness and her high-functioning personna, as well as the intermitent “small mercies” to keep me hanging on to it for so long.

    The best thing is, I can move on in life with a great relationship, whereas she will never self-reflect enough to question her actions, that would be going to a dark place that she will ultimately have to face at some point, when she gets even crazier as her body takes it’s toll and she is a lonely old, mean, hoarding, yet still psycho woman.

  • jackalope

    No brand names, eh? Guess that means no woman who shops at a mall. No clothing that shows off a woman’s assets? I guess you don’t want a woman who enjoys time at the beach, a gym, or yoga class. She can’t have a facebook? I guess she can’t stay in contact with friends from high school or college who are out of state, or promote her home business. Oh and she can’t be competitive? So she shouldn’t strive to do her best in school and at work and strive to get raises and promotions, etc. It would be completely wrong for her to try to be a better mother than others she has encountered.

    Unless I miscounted, that’s four. Good luck finding a woman who doesn’t have those traits. I mean, unless you want all women in burqas and unable to learn to read, etc.

  • alice

    I must admit…….i fit most of.these. but..dont we all have our bag of crap?…im aware now…….got some work to do

  • Wudang

    This is a great post. I highly agree with the analysis of how this trend developed.

  • Anna Kolesneuski

    Had a nasty narc “friend” who ticks all these boxes! In her fb pic, she’s posing like the queen, what a laff.

    She dumped me when I started rejecting her controlling ways, though I must admit it took me a long time to detect her narcissim.

    The event that really gave her away was that she told me about getting caught going through a date’s wallet when he went to the bathroom. Who the hell does that?! Madness.


    1) Why is do you assume in your article that men are the ones that need to be kept interested? As you have said in your subsequent comments, only 40 percent of men reproduce. Which leaves 60 percent, then adjust for sexual preference, and there are still plenty of men to satisfy a woman’s needs. Women have far greater control over their own desires now than ever before.

    Additionally, I am what the media considers overweight, but I am never left without a free drink or interesting person to talk to when I go out, and if I wasn’t already set in my relationship, I could easily get whomever I choose. A previous commenter said that men do not want to settle for anything less. The fact is, if you have the genuine self-esteem that comes from valuing yourself, and not the artificial confidence that comes from narcissism, you have the whole market available to you. I’m afraid your readers are just as shallow and self serving as the women you are warning against.

    2) Why do you look at the past to find a model for the present? Such as, and I paraphrase, women have lost intimacy, children used to only regard themselves as special if they did something extraordinary, etc. if the model of the past worked so well, why did it change? Clearly there were faults with grandma’s version of parenting.

    Women have greater control over their work and lives. The assumption that intimacy is lost when women have greater control is faulty. Admittedly, some women have lost the knowledge to keep their bodies sacred until they are ready, but that is partially to blame on media, and partially on men. Rape statistics are incredibly high, and that has more to do with the lack of accountability in homes, schools, and the influence of media. Men need to be taught to respect a woman’s body, and women need to be taught to view themselves as more than sexualized objects.

    3) Growing up with a narcissistic momster means that I know all too well the damages of the disorder. And I can guarantee you that my nmomster was not coddled and admired by her momster.

    4) I agree that children need to be held accountable from early ages. I would say that instead of the problem being a fault in parents desires to build self-esteem in their children, it is a lack of direction for parents to build character and accountability in their children. One could possess all the self-esteem in the world, but without character he falls short. Self-esteem rises out of a child’s own experience when achieving his or her own accomplishments. Parents are told to always encourage their children, but parents don’t need to applause them for every little thing they do. Instead we need to only share our child’s accomplishment.

    Instead of saying, “Wow honey what a great job on that project,” we should say, “You had a challenge with that assignment, but you were able to meet that challenge and get a good mark. I bet you feel proud of yourself.”

    Instead of swooping in to make sure our kids are always alright, we should allow them to face the real life consequences of their actions.

    6) Parents are always changing the way they raise children. We make mistakes and learn from them. We are under more pressure than ever before. More women are working harder and longer, more dads are staying home. Instead of barking up an old model as your source for proof of the failings of today, perhaps awknowledging the changing dynamics of society would strengthen your argument.

    While I do not disagree with your main point, your argument was flawed and weak. There is no doubt that narcissism is on the rise with blogs, Facebook, and other markets where narcissists can easily present themselves in whatever fashion they see fit. Maybe tht would have been a better basis for your argument. As the argument stands, it seems more like a bashing of sincere parents than a warning for single males.

  • mav

    Yeah well I apparently got involved with one and 2 years later had a child. My life is a nightmare with this woman. Fits all criteria, plus some.

  • RN

    Thank you for this amazing article. This is my first response to anything on the internet but I felt the need to thank you. I’ve always known in the back of my mind that my daughter was a narcissist but I wasn’t sure to what degree until I read your article. My daughter displays all 20 characteristics and I am sure there are many more that she has that would just grow this list. I have spent her lifetime taking blame and then responsibility for all her failures and being confused by her hurtful behavior. She has coined the phrase “I didn’t birth myself”.

    I am her mother and I am the primary target of her assaults. I am constantly bombarded by hurtful comments only to have a reprieve of apologies and loving behavior. The mood swings are incredible and I have given up on trying to figure out what drives them. My daughter is in her early 20’s and just moved back home (at our insistence to help her get her life straight). She is 100% supported financially and recently conned us into paying for breast implants that for years I have told her are not our responsibility. I feel ashamed for giving in because I know better but somehow I thought it would make things better between us. I used to blame all the reality shows for her behavior, but now I see it is just inherent in her personality to be so incredibly self-centered and ego-centric. She grew up with 2 hardworking parents, both college educated (an engineer and a nurse). We never gave in to all her demands but gave her what she needed and tried to instill a work ethic and raise her to be a productive member of society with empathy towards others. To this day I cannot see where we failed. I am left longing for a healthy mother-daughter relationship that I fear will never be. I always feel like we are just a means to an end, and with my daughter there is no end to her wants. I could write a book about this experience because my daughter began to display these character traits very early in life.

    I have come to the conclusion that there is no healthy relationship to be had with such an individual and the only way to live a normal, productive, happy life is to disconnect with such a person. When that person is your own flesh and blood it is so hard, it feels like a my heart is being squeezed and torn out of my chest just thinking about it. I have decided to seek a professional therapist to help our family divorce from my daughter and as I am typing this I feel guilty and like I am giving up on her.

    Is there any hope for curing a narcissist? Is there any support group for the family dealing with a narcissist? Is there anyone out there who is in my situation who has found a way to deal with this? I am desperately seeking help for me and my family so we don’t continue down a path of destruction. I just don’t know what to do.

    • @RN

      As a mother my heart goes out to you. Have you considered family therapy? Since she’s living with you, you have the leverage to insist. I would definitely try getting counseling together before breaking ties with her. She may always lack empathy, but surely she can learn how her actions and behavior affect others, and that she will have to be more giving if she hopes to maintain any relationships.

  • J

    Hi RN,

    Sorry that you are dealing with all this. It’s possible that, if and your husband did impose effective limits, that your daughter’s narcissism may have a genetic component. There are loads of on-line resources for dealing with narcissists; many have good information and links to local resources.

    My mother was a narcissist. IMO it is a poor idea to negotiate with them. You need to set limits and carry on ON YOU OWN TERMS with them. Otherwise, they take advantage.

  • anon

    WOW…I went on 1 date/meeting with a girl from Uptown named Lindsay B…she fits about 17/20 of those criteria. She was the most ridiculous narcissist I have ever met. She even had the gall to tell me she wouldn’t go to dinner if it wasn’t in Uptown at $100/plate or more…haha
    She thought she was so hot, even after we took a photo together he face looked like my foot.
    To make her looks even worse, she was a horrible little person…it was fun to explain to her why she was alone and no one would tolerate her behavior.

  • Chris

    Damage done and I don’t trust anyone anymore. I’ve lost any semblance of confidence. I know it’s almost crazy but I won’t enter into another reltionship and am wary of everybody now.

  • I disagree. Wearing makeup is part of a woman’s job, whether it is a woman in pet care, medicine, entertainment, blogging, the police force or teaching. Women are not allowed to be everything to everyone whenever they wish. We have to change makeup according to the public scenario. Being the life of the party is what a shy person forces themselves to become for achieving career success. Caring about oneself as an important person is not wrong, as every one of us is important. I wholeheartedly agree with the person above, commenting on lack of empathy as a better qualifier. Isn’t it ironic how I see myself as a floor mat for years past up to present in personality when I fit the bill for caring about my hair in terms of being publicly prsentable and being outgoing when I meet people? Gosh, maybe I need to show up in the pink bath robe I’m wearing next time I have to interview someone for an article, sans makeup, bad hair like a poodle, hiding in a shell, barely talking like I have social anxiety. Also, my lower teeth are really messed up as in together now like i never had braces. If and when I get veneers or Invisalign to fix them which is like plastic surgery to some folks, veneers anyway, is that going to be narcissism, and wow, nearby dates should run away from me? It’s the flip side: someone who judges me solely one me wanting to fix my teeth with veneers must be a shallow person who doesn’t want to get to know the real me. I like every girl in this generation have had moments where I’m down in the dumpy lumpy frumpy self esteem drama. Suggesting our society shouldn’t teach girls they are princesses is wrong. We actually should show girls they’re a big deal. Self affirmations start from the small ages. Believing oneself to be a princess beauty at age 4 becomes “I’m a smart, successful, beautiful woman” at 30. We should never joke around with too mean, self depreciating humor whatsoever because, as I may attest well,eventually, the subconscious believes it. I was talking about this sort of the other day, answering a question on why people don’t seek help for learning disabilities. Really, it shouldn’t be a question. My scholl’s teachers made kids feel stupid like those same guidelines suggested, “Who do you think you are?” At my college, I had a few horrible experiences with professors myself. A family member pointed out to me how much lower my confidence went during this time period regarding my achievements/work. I wish I had gone to school now and saved myself the drama: feeling better about my schoolwork. And back to the hair, any white girl with “bad” hair or African American hair will tell you how much fixing your hair raises your self esteem. Chris Rock did a whole documentary on it. After I’ve had mine damaged to broken bits in a pixie a few times via work (don’t ask), I believe it. The whole list here is absolutely one big list of pluses employers look for again, in any career path be it a Victoria’s Secret contract or secretary gig. Way are we bashful girls supposed to: not make it in the world? Screw this train of thought. Sorry if this is anywhere rude. Realzing as I blindly, literally no vision aid haha, type my URL in here, you’re gonna call it narcissistic. Give me a break. I wanted something very cool for people to see on a URL, and, AND- I use a pen name/chef/stage alias because I feel uncomfortable using my real name on a product. Very narcissistic of me feeling uneasy seeing MY legal name on something. 😉

  • That’s typo ridden as I’m blind, using an iPad. Sorry. Also correction I did graduate from college and school. I meant to say nowadays. I wish I’d gone nowadays where there’s more this empowering women movement, body image, seeking help for schoolwork, etc.

  • Joe Smith


    To what extent is NPD correlated with insecurity? I met a woman almost two months ago, initially charming and intelligent, that I started dating about 2 weeks after our first meeting.

    Things were great initially, but got weird quickly. Her ex boyfriend try to break into her apartment 3 weeks into our relationship (I was there), he threatened to embarrass her in front of her parents, and also made comments about committing suicide. All of this initially just blew my mind, because she’s an adult (almost 30) from an intact family (parents = high school sweethearts).

    She pretty clearly “coddled” the ex after their breakup (a less euphemistic way of putting it would be to say she wasn’t ready to stop recruiting his attention; she still found him useful in some way), and she doesn’t seem to understand how inappropriate it was for her to allow an unstable/fragile man to continue to believe there might be a chance. Not to mention how violent it is to inflict double-dealing like this upon me. (Interesting that after our first date I could feel that something was amiss, and called her out – claiming that she had a boyfriend or at least other suitors. She fully admitted that she just got out of a relationship.)

    To me, she seems wildly insecure – so much so that she has a hard time turning down attention, no matter who it’s from. She has no really close female friends, just a few men in their early 30s who can’t seem to figure out how to talk to a woman and spend all their time asking her what to do. The ex is a tubby former clube promoter, while she lives in a high end condo etc.

    At the end of the day, how strong is the argument that she has a mild or moderate form of NPD, based on these facts?


  • CCWriter

    Wow! Just now read this article and am seeing nearly every singe one of these traits in my mother. She is now 72 yrs old and STILL flying high in all her glory. At the age of 50 with my own family to focus on, it has been a lifetime of lightly treading through her maze just to stay sane… Godspeed.

  • CCWriter

    p.s. it took me a lifetime to see it for what it was. The narcissist’s behavior is hurtful but doesn’t have to rule my life or emotions anymore. Great revelation…still walking it out.

  • I dealt with a narcissist in my life for nearly 20 years. She was the best friend of my best friend, but over the last 8-9 years or so, she really started saying nasty stuff to me. There was a group of friends we’d get together with four or five times a year. That’s the only time we saw each other, yet every time we got together, she’d have a nasty, condescending remark for me. What made it worse is that my “best” friend would sometimes join in with a remark, or her friend would say something nasty to me, then say “high five” and smack palms with her best friend (who is my best friend). Well, on my birthday in 2011, she posted a really nasty card on my Facebook page for everyone to see. The card said something like, “if wishes were grapes, I’d stomp on your wishes. Then, I’d let them ferment, then drink them, and possibly vomit them up.” I’d had it with her, so I posted a picture of the Goodyear blimp on HER Facebook page and said, “saw this, thought of you. Thanks for making me look thin in comparison.” (She’s five feet tall and probably weighs 325 pounds.) I also left a message on her cell phone saying that I was tired of her s***. It felt good. I know it was over the top, but I’d had it with her nastiness. She’d even said “I could take the picture down (of the GY blimp) but I’m going to leave it up to show people your character. And I said, “YOUR character? You’re the one who’s been nasty to me for years!” Not surprisingly, she unfriended me, but I don’t care. I’m proud of myself for standing up to her and not tolerating her crap anymore.

    Another indication of narcissism: if she’s morbidly obese and her cell phone ring tone is “Don’tcha.” Probably 95 percent of the pictures on her FB page were of her face. And it’s the same pose, over and over and over. She’s divorced, but I think part of the problem is her husband (really nice) drank too much. He’d have to, to put up with her.

  • CCWriter

    If wishes were grapes Gloria, I’d give you bunches! As I tell my kids, surround yourself with people who honor you and have your back and just let the haters swirl around… Nice job moving on, HIGH FIVE to you!!

  • djcos

    I see so much of my own experience with a crazy-maker described here. It took me four years to realize that the emotional dynamic of the relationship was all about me being hoovered and providing unidirectional supply. It only really came to me when my mother died following a year long battle with nonhodgkins lymphoma. The shockwave of emotional realizations manifested in different ways: I literally saw “fire” in this woman’s eyes, waves of nausea, several visual hallucinations, auditory hallucinations and insomnia all somewhat complicated in my grief and loss, not only from the illusion of her love, but learning to live with the physical absence of the bedrock of real loving presence that was my Mom. During that period I read all that I could about grief, mourning and loss as well as love and relationships. While committing to “no contact” in the last two years I made the mistake of sending two or three updates on my life, thinking that maybe she was just emotionally immature and I was the one projecting my disappointments on her instead of vice versa. She contacted me and wanted me to fly her to my home to stay with me for six months just out of the blue. When I questioned her motivations there was the same set of crazy-making, lack of empathy, demanding immediate attention, emotional animal but much, much more intense and thankfully brief. I think I absorbed enough knowledge of negative narcissistic supply to make her go away for good this time. My nickname for her is “Dragon-Tiger-Firechicken.” In my heart I always thought she would grow up and or mature. She hasn’t, she won’t, she’s worse than ever. Goodbye DTFC!

    • @djcos

      My nickname for her is “Dragon-Tiger-Firechicken.” In my heart I always thought she would grow up and or mature. She hasn’t, she won’t, she’s worse than ever. Goodbye DTFC!

      Good for you! That nickname cracked me up – it’s good that you are healed and able to laugh about it now. My condolences on the loss of your mom, I’ve been through that too.

  • Trinka

    My understanding of the cause of NPD for my N mother (b 1920s)was being spoilt as a child. She received no restraint whatsoever against her needs and desires by throwing tantrums if she didn’t get her way. If she made a mistake her father fixed it for her to give himself peace and quiet. ie she was constantly rescued. She ended up despising women like her mother for their kind weakness and desiring her father’s attention which was always elusive. Ever after she manipulated men’s attention and saw women as competition.
    Generally I would say it can be put down to poor parenting and I am keen to see more education in that area to save future generations from pain and agony of these cretins.

  • Filipe

    I have been struggling with some narcissism myself, even though my psychiatrist (which is well renowed), says i don’t have the disorder itself.
    I say i wasn’t like this in my childhood, not even near to this, and also not much in adolescence. I advise everyone to treat themselves though, it’s best thing.

    BUT, i have a question. Is narcissism just prepotence that can’t be justified? Or is any sort of prepotence narcissistic? Are rich people, for instance, entitled to feel superior because of their amount of money? And if they are entitled to it and therefore not narcissistic, what is the real character you should pursue to be successful in life? Cause if you really think about it you always have to exploit others work in order to be successful in life, and therefore to feel proud of yourself.

    What bothers me is not my unability to change, which i do have, but the fact that i do think that only YOU are entitled to condemn your narcissism, for in a way or another, we all take advantage of someone and put someone down, otherwise we ALL would be living like the teachings of Jesus Christ or like the hippies.

    I really look forward to sincere comments. 🙂

  • one1923

    If the physical traits are an exclusive set they’re off by a thousand miles. The female narcissists in the sub-culture I’m a part of, are unwashed, and unshaved. They’re made up but take pride in dishevelment, and when smelling too bad, even for themselves, they cover it up with whatever awful perfume they’re into at the moment. I guess the catch is, each of them thinks they’re the sexiest woman on the planet despite all this.

  • Fiik

    Hello ^.^
    I just read parts of your text(i am ill and i cannot read all cause of my head) and from my point of view you confuse some parts with the Histrionic disorder which is similar to the Narcisstic disorder.. for example: “She is convinced that others are envious and jealous of her, and often uses this excuse for her lack of real, intimate friendships” that is definitely more a characteristic of a Histrionic disorder and not of Narcisstic one..
    and this “She is more likely to have plastic surgery, most commonly breast augmentation” it can be that a narcissist will do that but it is MORE common with the Histrionic disorder and not so likely around narcissist ones
    just wanted to add this here cause it may can confuse some people and excuse my lanquage

  • Ruel

    Wow, lots of comments here! Wish I could read them all. My mother has NPD type B. I probably became an M.D. because of her. Otherwise, would have been a Ph.D. and probably happier? There is no mention of type B here; the typical control freak. This is just as important and something to look out for. They most likely will not appear provocative, or directly seeking attention, etc. But they will be equally manipulative and lack empathy. It doesn’t stem from the ‘hookup’ culture, but from a strong feeling of unimportance; most commonly being raised in a highly authoritative family structure.

    Robert mentioned this article is “scraping the bottom” as he only knows women who are either decent or insecure. You may be either a very lucky guy not getting involved with the estimated 10%. It may be very hard to distinguish because these traits will be more evident in close relationships. Usually with personality disorders; it’s the close relationships that suffer.

    Aldonza is absolutely correct. One of the key disorders is a lack of empathy, which make relationships suffer, not being able to put themselves in others shoes; i.e. ‘the little things’ that count in a relationship. Sure they have emotions and definitely have sympathy. They may even seem like the most charitable people, this impulse stems from wanting more attention and admiration.

  • Nathan Hulse

    A great piece, followed by some surprisingly substantial dialogue… Which is why I am all the more surprised to see the author state that “East Anglia was a deliberate suppression of data.” Please revisit the subject. I am confident that you will find that the claims of wrong-doing were never substantiated and were ultimately debunked. In the end, the only real intrigue regarding ‘East Anglia’ is centred upon questions regarding the source of the high level, professional espionage.

  • End of The Trail

    Greetings to whomever:
    Oh, the similarities of the countless, and disasterous stories I have read over the last few
    months, have inspired me to take my relationship with a female N
    into serious consideration! The one thing that has not reared its ugly head
    in all the above comments etc, is any drug or alcohol abuse?? My N is a meth head and over the last four months or more, who knows for sure, has been a meth dealer to boot!!! Talk about a spun N! Also found out she has a warrent for shoplifting and has had a suspended DL for many yrs! what a catch! Met her a year ago as I had lost my house, and was planning to go work in the oil rich North Dakota fields. Been laid off from the Bricklayers union after ten yrs ,and employment was,and still is far from plentiful. She invited me to come live with her and kids plus her roomate. I was extremely vulnerable having to leave my home of ten yrs, raised my daughter there and had my big shop. She was full of life, beautiful, confident, and was head over heels in love with me. tell more later, here she comes sneaking up to my residence…

  • Missy

    We knew someone like that once. She married my father-in-law. Put him through hell. Tried to distance him from his kids, would lie to try to turn people against them. Was a social climber as well as obsessed with her looks. Was incredibly calculating and manipulative. When he died she immediately went for the will and tried to wipe it out, while lying through her teeth. Felt like I was up close with the character in the movie The Hand That Rocks The Cradle. Pure evil. I couldn’t agree more. Get as far away from that person as quickly as you can.

  • Lisa Doherty

    Wow this is absolutely my boyfriend’s mother…I really need to email this to him…so sad…they don’t even realize why people don’t want to be around them…

  • Seeing what she really is

    These are really great posts, an I’m seeing some similar situations, however I do believe sharing my particular situation my be of some benefit to all. When I first met my Narcs I really didn’t know what a Narc is, nor did I think there was anything wrong with my girlfriend. It was the typical happy/no arguing/everything peachy in the beginning. Of course there were some issues, but nothing more than what others go through. We got engaged fairly soon when it comes to giving it time (essentially a year after meeting). The engagement it self to was fairly short (4 months). So I must accept that some red flags and doing the typical dating for a while was ignored and probably helped lead to some of the outcome. However, when I really started to notice very disturbing things about my ex was after we actually got married. She did not tell me some very very important and disturbing things until after we got married and I have to think that was by chance…she intended it to end up that way. A few of these things, again, please remember these all came out after the marriage-
    1. she claimed she filed for divorce on her last husband when it was him who filed
    2. she stated that her/her last husband where into swinging, group sex, and actually had separate boyfriends/girlfriends at the last phases of their marriage
    3. claimed that when we met that she had been separated for some time and that “dating was ok” when actually she was just 2 months into her divorce
    4. I knew she had had breast augmentation, but she went from a natural 32DD to 32GG…needless to say there where boobs all over the place and I didn’t realize that she was not only fine before, but why to go that extremely large.
    5. I thought I was the only person she was dating when we met when in fact there was at least two other guys.
    6. she was very flirty with other women and stated that being with a woman, a man at the same time was ok with her an in her mind is the “normal” thing couples do time to time.
    7. I thought I was husband #2 when actually i was husband #3 and didn’t find out about this until after we where going through divorce and I found this out on my own
    8. Waited until I was in the hospital for a long period of time (4 weeks) to tell me she wanted a divorce. She never came to see me, never called to see how I as after surgeries, and only called to make sure the divorce was progressing the rate she wanted it to.
    9. Found out that she had been dating a “boy – meaning 11yrs younger than her, she was 36 at the time” only 1 month after I filed for divorce on her, and that this was her normal “thing” – start dating shortly after divorces where filed so she never would be alone.
    10. Even though this “boy” was a person I told her 10yr old son to stay away from at the skateboard park because I saw him smoking pot in front of pre-adolescent children, she still allowed him to be around him. Not to mention her son is probably hearing “oh, you’re doing XXX’s mom now!!! you got the MILF”, which I can’t believe what that has to be doing to him emotionally.

  • dutchgirl1982

    While I agree that narcissism is too prevalent in our society, I’m curious as to the testing used to diagnose Narcissistic Personality Disorder in young women. While gender equality is becoming more prevalent in younger generations, tests used to diagnose personality disorders are still biased, with a lower scoring threshold for women, despite equality in recent years. The MCMI-III, for instance, uses Base Rate scoring to generate a report, and it’s been criticized for gender bias; i.e. a man and a woman can take the test and answer the items identically but the woman will be shown as having NPD whereas the man will not. If gender bias tests and stereotyped expectations for women’s behavior are contributing to the sudden flood of narcissism in young women, then I would caution mental health professionals to use due diligence in the interpretation of biased tests.

  • Thomas

    Don’t blame Carl Rogers . The three underlining concepts of his psychotherapy are congruence , empathy and unconditional positive regard , three things narcissists are incapable of .
    I suggestions :the market economy , smaller families , feminism

  • @Thomas I wasn’t blaming Carl Rogers at all! And I agree that narcissism is becoming more prevalent, not just in women, but in society as a whole. I agree that the market economy and smaller families have led to more narcissism in our society. But I don’t believe feminism has caused it. Feminism has simply aimed for equality, which brings me to my point: if we’re more equal now, then the Base Rate cutoff on the MCMI-III should not be biased against women. i.e., if a man and a woman both take the MCMI-III and answer the exact same way, the woman’s Narcissism score will be significantly higher than the man’s, based on the way BR scores are weighted for women. It should be even, that’s all I’m saying, to avoid false positive diagnoses. Many people who have narcissistic traits don’t necessarily have a full-blown personality disorder. The tests that overpathologize a group of people based on gender, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or anything else that cannot be helped, should be revised to avoid biased scoring.

  • Harper Lee

    So much for feminism..

  • met this girl on twitter I instantly fell for her she was aso beautiful and literally I thought the girl of my dreams. At first she seemed so sweet and loving. nothing was ever good enough for her. She would constantly say she deserved better I took her to Paris for her birthday that cost me lots of money and she moaned because we couldn’t stay longer so she paid to do so. Whenever we argued she would say how beautiful she was and that she could have anyone and deserved better. We were together for 2years she would lie to my face and break promises and then just ignore it like she had done nothing wrong not even acknowledge what she had done. She called my mum and other female members of my family names like wh**es because I bought them flowers for Mother’s Day or their birthdays and she said I should only buy them for her and it was my fault she said that because I put them 1st. I admit I wasn’t perfect her lies and her behaviour caused me to lose my temper and I occasionally swore back at her which no man should do to a girl because I did this she would tell her family and friends and turn everyone against me not mentioning the reasons I got upset . She was a webcam girl and this caused me much heartache which she just could not understand when I got with her she promised it wouldn’t be forever once we got more serious she would stop but she refused in fact she done more and more breaking promises online doing things she said she would never do. Why would she act like this she seemed to have no remorse or guilt. Sometimes I would feel as though she loved me then she would flip out and say she hoped me and my family would die that I was the devil and she’s a beautiful angel posined by me. She said she had never acted like this with anyone before. She just had no remorse or guilt she said she didnt have to do anything for anyone if I loved her I would just put up with however she treated me and that she didnt have to keep promises she literally had no remorse
    She said I never made her feel loved but I couldn’t have loved her more
    She now says this new man she’s dating treats her like a queen which she deserves

    When we were together I wanted to help her and suggest she had this problem but she said I’m the one with the problem. That in mental.
    Did she have this problem ?

  • Ricky Lucas

    Ok il list a few things she would do that appeared strange its worth pointing out she wasn’t always mean she took care of her mum and at times seemed so loving and caring to me.
    Whenever we argued she would say how beautiful she was and could have any man she wanted
    She was a model and was a massive attention seeker using sex and acting like a lesbian on twitter before I was with her to get attention
    She got jealous of female members of my family calling them wh**es just because I bought them flowers for their birthdays. Saying u should only buy flowers for her no one else and I’m weird for doing it
    If I got mad at her because of this behaviour she would say I’m an abuser telling all her friends and even her friends bf’s I admit I did say mean things but so did she she saud she wanted to kill me and my family and she hoped she all died because I deserve misery for not treating her like the princess she is
    She constantly spoke about how she was a princess and how men hit on her and could never get over her
    She was a cam girl and used this money to buy things she could never afford she saud she deserved to live like a princess and above her means not caring about the hurt this job would do to her mum if she found out not to mention the pain it caused me
    She never felt any remorse for her actions and lies she’s wouldn’t even discuss them its as though it didn’t happen
    Would accuse me of not making her feel loved enough I took her to Paris for the day for her birthday which cost me 600 pounds and she said I was tight.
    She constantly accused me of looking at other women which I didn’t dare saying I can only look at her when I’m out not around the room
    She said she didnt need to keep promises she would break them not apologise or even speak about them
    She would be violent towards me I complained she said I should be embarrassed because I’m a man and she’s a girl but if someone hits u with boots or kicks u in the chest it hurts she shouldn’t want to her me anyways

  • MorganM

    Notice how so many young, single women today have big birthday parties for themselves. In the past, adults never celebrated their birthdays like this; birthday parties were just for kids.

    A classic woman narcissist I know, is still single in her 50s; she never married because she insisted on only dating extremely wealthy men, but she never met anyone rich enough for her wants and desires. She dumped one guy because the diamond engagement ring he gave her was too small. She now lives in a homeless shelter and still actively pursues and stalks wealthy men in the area.

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