13 Distinctive Traits Of Female Narcissists Revealed

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female narcissist traits

In 2023, news about Lilith, who goes by toxiccwaste0 on TikTok, went viral when she admitted to having female narcissist traits, which included skillfully manipulating people in the past. She was formally diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder in 2021 but now describes herself as a “reformed narcissist.”

Narcissism is a collective term for people with a personality disorder called Narcissistic Personality Disorder – NPD. According to Dhriti Bhavsar, counselor, MSc. in Clinical Psychology, “Some of the identifiers of a narcissist woman are a grandiose sense of self-importance and entitlement, preoccupation with fantasies of success, brilliance, beauty etc. and interpersonally exploitative behavior.” Simply put, the definition of a narcissist woman, in the context of this article, would be a woman who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder – NPD.

Learning about female narcissist traits is important, especially if you are in a relationship with a narcissistic woman. Many of the traits, especially in the milder cases, are similar to cases of Borderline Personality Disorder. They can be so subtle that differentiating between the two disorders can be quite challenging, even for a mental health professional.

What Is Female Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

The incidence of NPD seems less in the case of women. In the narcissistic female, the symptoms will be less severe, making detection difficult. As to how to identify a narcissist woman, certain obvious narcissist traits in females can help with that. “This may be due to the over-representation of males in research and literature,” according to Dhriti. “Women are likely to show vulnerable narcissism or covert female narcissist traits. These could manifest in traits such as shyness, hypersensitivity, and apparent low self-esteem.” 

Statistics show that only 4.8% of females will develop NPD as against 7.7% of their male counterparts. Explicit traits of a self-involved female will depend upon a range of factors depending on the type of narcissism. Both men and women narcissists share several common traits. Despite the widely held belief that more men are narcissistic than women, a study shows that there has been no systematic review to establish the magnitude and stability over time of this gender difference.

Some of the different types of Narcissistic Personality Disorder are:

Related Reading: 13 Signs Of A Vulnerable Narcissist In Relationships And How To Deal With One

  • Overt narcissist (grandiose narcissist): More common among male narcissists, grandiose narcissism is characterized by grandiose behavior and entitlement
  • Covert narcissist (vulnerable narcissist): Covert female narcissist traits present as shy, reserved, and insecure
  • Communal narcissist: One who appears to be very giving and selfless with their time and money, always using charity as a means to promote their image
  • Malignant narcissist: One who combines the traits of NPD with Antisocial Personality Disorder and can exhibit a dangerous lack of empathy while preying on others
  • Healthy narcissist: As characterized by some professionals, they tend to exhibit high self-esteem along with other NPD traits, but these do not seem to cause problems for them (these are especially challenging to diagnose)
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Some studies indicate that narcissist traits in females might be more of the covert or communal type, while overt and grandiose narcissism is higher in the case of male narcissists. In female narcissism, the differences may be attributed to gender roles. A study shows that as compared to male narcissists, female narcissist traits include:

  • Less severe traits that characterize NPD 
  • Less grandiose and entitled behavior 
  • Lower levels of physical aggressiveness 
  • Greater empathy levels
  • Greater emotional sensitivity

These traits tend to make it more difficult to make a diagnosis, so female narcissists have a greater chance of being misdiagnosed.

Related Reading: Exposing A Narcissist – What You Should Know

13 Female Narcissist Traits You Should Know About 

It is important to know how to identify a narcissist woman. She tends to exhibit covert female narcissist traits. A study shows that she tends to be less impulsive and entitled in her behavior while also being more empathetic than her male counterparts. A narcissist woman will also tend to have certain distinctive traits, such as being constantly fixated on their appearance and a greater tendency toward jealousy and envy. 

Dhriti adds, “They come across as more needy to garner more attention and sympathy from people around them. They are usually less aggressive and entitled than male narcissists but yes, they do tend to be a little more empathetic.” 

Here are 13 narcissistic traits that are common among female narcissists. An aging female narcissist may exhibit an increase or a decrease in these traits depending on her age and mental health access.

1. They are extremely self-centered and self-absorbed 

Being self-centered or self-absorbed is a primary narcissistic trait of those with narcissistic personality disorder. Just like a male narcissist, a female narcissist has an inflated sense of self and will go on endlessly about herself and her life without paying any heed to others. 

  • Female narcissists will not ask how others are doing  
  • Attempts to change the subject of a conversation will be met with disinterest while they will quickly bring the subject back to themselves 
  • They like to talk about their real and imagined accomplishments, and can be quite egotistical
  • Intimacy with them can make you think that everything is about them

2. A narcissistic woman will rarely apologize or admit fault

Female narcissists will never admit to being wrong and will never apologize. They will, instead, attempt to blame other people for anything that goes wrong rather than take responsibility for their words or deeds. 

A female narcissist will:

  • Twist the situation by deflecting blame onto someone else
  • Not care about the effect it could have on that person
  • Be extremely manipulative 

3. Narcissistic women can be extremely petty

An inability to look at the bigger picture makes them extremely petty and nitpicky. Often, a narcissistic woman will get stuck on small things that seem irrelevant in an attempt to lay blame elsewhere. A female narcissist can obsess over the smallest of slights. The obsessiveness can lead to deep resentments that may compel her to seek revenge. The tendency to fixate on perceived wrongdoings is at the root of their petty and jealous nature and makes them come across as extremely bitter people. 

Related Reading: How Saying Hurtful Things In A Relationship Affects It

4. Narcissistic females can be obsessed with image and social status

While a common trait of both men and women with NPD can be a shallow and superficial nature, this trait manifests as being overly materialistic in narcissistic women. As a result: 

  • Female narcissists are high-maintenance women, overly concerned with brand names and other status symbols that reflect wealth
  • They are also obsessed with physical appearance, image, social standing, and social media
Infographic on traits of a narcissistic woman
You should know about these narcissistic traits of a woman

5. Self-absorbed women with this disorder are usually addicted to social media

The self-absorbed trait of a narcissist is exhibited differently in females than in males. Here’s how it manifests in women:

  • Female narcissists are more wrapped up in their social media accounts and constantly post selfies while publicly documenting every aspect of their lives
  • All this in an attempt to get more likes and followers online
  • Their involvement in their online persona is so complete that they may have trouble distinguishing between their virtual and real selves
  • They would rather be on their phones than spend time with their friends or partners allowing their relationships to suffer from this neglect

6. Narcissist women are experts at exploiting others

An exploitative nature is one of the most prominent female narcissist traits in relationships. Lilith, the TikTok user who was diagnosed with NPD, said in one of the videos, “Everything that I said or did was planned and thought out to get reactions and to get people to do certain things… So I pushed people to really bad places… so that I could have more control over them.” Clearly, female narcissists are adept at exploiting others for their personal gain. 

In this trait, they are no different from their male counterparts. However, female narcissists will use manipulative tactics that are different from the ones used by men. For example, studies show that they will use manipulative and passive-aggressive behaviors in their exploitative attempts more often than men. The emotional and psychological toll that is extracted from their victims is the same. These include a sense of shame, feelings of helplessness, and emotional flashbacks. Chronic cases may even experience symptoms similar to PTSD.

7. Women with NPD are extremely vain

Both male narcissists and female narcissists are extremely vain, but in the case of the female narcissist, this usually translates into a huge fixation on their physical appearance. The obsessiveness with their appearance shows up like this:

  • They are extremely sensitive to any comments directed at their appearance, weight, and attractiveness
  • The most innocuous of comments can be misconstrued as criticism, making them fly off the handle
  • The obsessiveness with appearance can result in excesses such as extreme dietary habits and excessive cosmetic surgery

8. A narcissistic woman will use her sexuality to manipulate

Dhriti says, “A narcissistic woman will use sexually coercive tactics such as seduction and threatening to leave. Conversely, men prefer to use a more physically coercive approach to achieve their ends.” If you are dating a narcissist, you would be able to relate to these female narcissist traits in relationships: 

  • Using their sex appeal to manipulate others to their own ends
  • Wearing revealing clothes and using a lot of makeup to enhance their sexuality
  • Sexual seduction, also known as “sexual narcissism.” It is a part of their armory and is used to manipulate others 
  • Involvement with people who can help or support them in their endeavors – A kind of parasitic sexual relationship

Related Reading: No Contact With A Narcissist – 7 Things Narcissists Do When You Go No Contact

9. Female narcissist traits: Appearing shy and reserved

Female narcissists are often of the covert narcissist type. This means they tend to differ from the typical narcissist in their outward behavior. 

  • They tend not to be too grandiose, entitled, and arrogant but instead present as shy and withdrawn individuals who are insecure 
  • This insecurity and low self-esteem are usually present in combination with other narcissistic traits that indicate covert narcissism
  • The shy and reserved nature of the female narcissist may seem at odds with their vanity and constant need for approval 
  • This is why they may tend to avoid large gatherings and prefer smaller and more intimate ones with people they are familiar with

10. Narcissistic women can be super-sensitive

The female narcissist tends to be more emotional than her male counterpart and is a lot more sensitive to comments with a tendency to overreact.  

  • Female narcissists frequently misconstrue what’s been said as they take everything personally, imagining slights where none were intended 
  • This over-sensitive, self-centered nature and low self-esteem cause them to be easily offended and hurt
  • Their reactive nature makes them prone to lashing out at others
  • Female narcissists also tend to be more moody and emotional and can suddenly withdraw into themselves when upset

11. They can be clingy and overly dependent

Female narcissists exhibit very clingy and dependent traits in their romantic and other relationships. Dhriti says, “They overly invest in relationships and tend to see their partner as an accessory. The low self-esteem of a female narcissist will make her constantly seek out praise and reassurance from those around her. Without this praise and reassurance, she may become moody, withdrawn, and reactive. She will try to remain in control by understanding the partner’s psychology.”

Narcissism

12. Narcissist women are usually manipulative

Research has shown that female narcissists are more likely to use manipulative tactics such as passive-aggressive behavior to manipulate others to further their own selfish agenda. This is unlike the male narcissist, who tends to be more physically aggressive. 

They also frequently play the victim by trying to appear helpless and vulnerable. This trait is commonly used at the beginning of a relationship, serving as a way to lure someone in. Female narcissists also play the victim card to get someone to do things for them. This common trait of the female narcissist probably has some linkage with traditional gender stereotypes. 

Other common manipulative and passive-aggressive tactics employed by the female narcissist would include:

  • Guilt-tripping
  • Going behind someone’s back
  • Giving them the silent treatment
  • Gossiping
  • Using gaslighting phrases
  • Spreading false rumors

All of these can be just as harmful to the victim as physical aggression, which is why these forms of abuse have been termed narcissistic abuse. 

Related Reading: A Rundown On What A Narcissist Does At The End Of A Relationship

13. Their relationships tend to be short-lived

An individual’s overall level of functioning is a useful gauge of the severity of their narcissism. A female narcissist with a higher level of NPD will tend to have shorter and more unstable relationships in their personal and professional lives. This inability to form stable relationships can translate into many outward manifestations. Female narcissists may:

  • Be unable to hold down a job for long periods
  • Have trouble developing and maintaining intimate relationships and lasting friendships
  • Have trouble taking care of their financial affairs

All of these narcissistic traits in this personality disorder do not have to be present for a woman to be considered a narcissist. These traits can be present in a female narcissist in various combinations and with varying intensities.  

Also, the aging female narcissist may exhibit an increased level of narcissism, with some experts attributing this increased narcissism to a sense of entitlement that comes with age. The combination and intensities will help an MHP diagnose the type of narcissism presented and its position on the spectrum of NPD. 

6 Tips To Deal With Narcissist Women

Dealing with a narcissistic woman is not an easy feat and can be stressful at the best of times. Whether she is a family member, a partner, or a female friend, a relationship with a woman with such a personality disorder can turn out to be quite a toxic experience. Learning to deal with such a personality while also safeguarding your health, especially if you have mental health issues, can be quite challenging. 

Here are a few tips to help you deal with a narcissistic woman. In fact, they can help you deal with both male and female narcissists.

1. Get to know her behavioral patterns

Dhriti suggests, “Learn more about NPD. This will help you understand the tactics and behavioral patterns a female narcissist uses to manipulate and maintain control. These will include tactics such as playing the victim, trying to induce a guilt trip, and gaslighting. Pay attention to these, as it can help you identify the patterns of a narcissistic relationship and avoid falling for them. Keeping a diary of these occurrences can help, but make sure you keep the diary locked away safely.”

2. Set boundaries and enforce them with narcissist women

This may prove to be difficult if you are in a relationship with a narcissist, but it is all the more essential then. Boundaries will help lay down what is acceptable and what is not in the relationship, something that will help you avoid narcissistic abuse. Dhriti says, “It is essential to learn to speak up when someone does something uncomfortable. By setting healthy boundaries, you will protect yourself from becoming a target of their manipulative efforts.”

3. Focus on building your self-esteem

Dhriti suggests that you focus on building up your self-esteem and self-worth. This is because both male and female narcissists usually prey on people with low self-esteem, as they tend to be easier to manipulate. Engaging in positive self-talk and practicing positive affirmations, while avoiding negatives in your statements can help you achieve that. 

4. Avoid validation and criticism 

Don’t feed a female narcissist’s need for gratification. Cut off this narcissistic supply of paying too much attention to their every statement or need. Doing this may only serve to make you a victim of narcissistic abuse. At the same time, avoid criticizing or saying anything that could be perceived as a threat, as they are highly sensitive creatures. 

Dhriti adds, “Narcissistic females are often very preoccupied with their personal appearance and are more prone to fits of jealousy and envy.” The narcissistic woman may lash out and seek revenge when her self-image is threatened. It is also important to note that they are extremely competitive individuals, so avoid getting into a competitive situation with one as you may be perceived as a threat.

Related Reading: 21 Stages Of A Narcissistic Relationship With An Empath

5. Don’t lose your temper

Dealing with a narcissistic woman is a difficult task and requires a lot of patience on your part. Do not lose your temper, as that will cede control to her, something you want to avoid. Losing your temper tells her where your buttons are. She will use this knowledge to her advantage in the future and manipulate you to her advantage.

definition of a narcissist woman
The more you lose your temper, the more she will know exactly how to manipulate you to get her ways

6. Seeking help can become important if you want to deal effectively with a narcissistic woman

If you feel that your mental health is being affected by your relationship with a narcissistic woman or that you are being subjected to narcissistic abuse, then you should seriously consider getting help from a mental health professional. Some of the signs you should look for, indicating you need help, include:

  • You begin to lose your self-esteem
  • You feel depressed
  • You begin to doubt yourself
  • You begin to experience mood swings and emotional volatility
  • You feel anxious a lot of the time
  • You are having problems with trust
  • You are increasingly stressed

Related Reading: How To Make A Narcissist Miserable — 13 Things To Do

Look for a professional who is experienced in dealing with personality disorders, preferably with narcissism. This will ensure that you get the best help. Just so you know, skilled and licensed counselors on Bonobology’s panel are always here for you. A mental health expert can help you to:

  • Become knowledgeable about NPD and narcissistic traits
  • Learn to set boundaries
  • Learn effective communication skills
  • Learn how to cope with a narcissist specifically
  • Learn how to increase your self-esteem

Key Pointers

  • Self-centeredness, shallowness, and vanity are some of the common traits of a female narcissist
  • As you get to know them, other traits will also be apparent — Pettiness, hypersensitivity to any criticism, and manipulative tactics are some of the common ones
  • If you are in a relationship with a female narcissist, you must learn how to handle these traits effectively
  • This can be done by learning to communicate, setting personal boundaries with narcissistic women, and asking for help if needed

A narcissistic woman can be difficult to spot as her narcissistic traits are not as easily apparent as a male narcissist. There are, however, certain common traits of narcissistic women – Although of a lower intensity than men. They are obsessed with image and usually addicted to social media as it feeds their narcissistic supply. They exploit people using their sexuality and other tools. Narcissistic women are super sensitive to criticism and can be overly clingy and dependent. 

Because of these behaviors, their relationships tend to be short-lived. Once you recognize the traits of a female narcissist and identify their manipulative tactics, you can avoid playing into their hands and protect yourself. Be sure to seek professional help if you feel that your mental health is being affected.

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