Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Female Narcissist by Irene Matiatos - Part 1

Applause is the spur of noble minds, the end and aim of weak ones. - Charles Caleb Colton

Abusive behavior in men or women can be a function of many underlying issues. Personality disorders or their milder counterparts (i.e., "traits" or "features") are one underlying etiology. This article tries to help the reader understand the mindset of the female with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) or with narcissistic features.

Like her narcissistic male counterpart, this lady harbors deeply held and undisputed irrational underlying beliefs that affect her feelings and behavior. Most of these beliefs are never questioned and are only dimly realized, if they are realized at all. While we all harbor irrational beliefs, those with personality disorders harbor belief systems that are deeply embedded and intertwined.

A real charmer

Dana is an extremely pretty 23-year old young lady. A delight on the surface, she has an uncanny knack of presenting herself extremely well to the target audience she wants to impress. She has a corresponding almost magical ability to make people feel verrrry good.She can WOW you! You'll be gushing (or panting if you' re a guy), and there just isn't anything you wouldn't do to please her. She will continue to reward your good behavior as long as she needs you. After all, it is very hard work to be "on" so much of the time.

If she's accomplished her mission and you are no longer useful, she spends less and less energy being perfectly charming and engaging. In most cases Dana has no real desire to be disrespectful, but as she "relaxes," becoming more "herself," she becomes quiet or mildly disrespectful.

A typical narcissist

The problem is that the only person Dana cares about is Dana. You are no more than the object who provides her with whatever it is she wants and needs: love, admiration, money, encouragement, support, etc. While she pretends to care, and indeed wants to care, the reality is that she doesn't. Her world starts and stops with herself. She hides that fact pretty well from most people; especially those who are consistently meaningful to her (i.e., parents, husband, siblings, boss, etc.). Most of these individuals would be shocked to hear this, and in fact would think you' re crazy!

Dana is typical as pretty female narcissists go. She relies on her beauty and her charm. She feels good about herself as long as she "has it over" anybody she considers "the competition."

Few real friends

Parents are parents and too often love unconditionally, but friends and acquaintances don't. As a result, while new people Dana meets like her, the more they got to know her, the less interested they are in her company. Except, of course, for the young men, most of whom vie for her attention.

Other than a childhood best friend with virtually non-existent self esteem, there are no friends. There are acquaintances and those who share her environment as well as the many men who surrounded her — all of whom she refers to as "friends," but there really are no friends.

She explains this deficit by rationalizing that her peers disappoint her in one way or another. This one uses drugs, that one you can't trust, the other one is jealous of her, etc. There is virtually no recognition that the reason people who are not closely related to her, or have no sexual interest in her, do not like her, given how she treats them!

I' m the best!

Dana is not content unless she feels she has it over her peers, especially female peers. She believes she has the prettiest face, the nicest hair, and the best figure — which she flaunts with her form-fitting, sexy, and hip wardrobe. She is always well-dressed, even when lounging around. "Studied cool" describes her style. While giving the impression of having thrown together any old top and pair of jeans, the trained eye can discern the hours and hours spent trying the outfits on, making up to appear not made up, etc.

Every asset she has, she flaunts. One weekend, invited to spend it with some new friends at their family's home in a poor section of a neighboring town, she found reason to make a 30-mile detour to her parents' upscale, gorgeous home — to show it off — as though announcing her supremacy. Of course, she would never admit that's why she came home. Her reasons are always framed in wording that casts her in a positive light such as "It's my dad's birthday," or, "I have to pick up something important I forgot." Never an honest reason like, "I wanted to show off the house to intimidate them."


Jealousy is a huge issue. Her own envy is as cut off from her consciousness as Wisconsin is cut off from the Atlantic Ocean. While she has no clue regarding her pervasive jealousy, it is sadly evident to the sensitive observer.

One year Dana didn't get her cousin a birthday present. While Stephanie routinely bought Dana beautiful and expensive gifts, Dana couldn't say why she didn't get Stephanie anything. When pressed, annoyed, she provided a series of senseless answers.

"I made a deal with my friends that we were not to exchange gifts."

"Did you made that arrangement with Stephanie?"

"No, but I' m not getting any gifts. We' re going to lunch. I'll pay."

Not only did she not end up paying, Stephanie paid for both Dana, as well as for Dana's boyfriend!

The "problem" was that Stephanie, her peer, had gotten her life together. Also beautiful, she found her calling and was pursuing an advanced degree with straight A's — a feat Dana couldn't hope to accomplish. Stephanie also had a rich boyfriend who adored her. You get the picture. When asked point-blank if she was jealous of Stephanie, Dana replied too quickly and with an affected laugh, "Jealous of Stephanie? WHAT is there to be jealous about?"

The price she pays

Part of the price Dana pays to manipulate others is the exhaustion required to be "on" much of the time.When caught with her vigilant guard down, she is not nice: often impatient, short, arrogant and condescending, reflecting her near chronic bad mood. Shopkeepers, boyfriends who try too hard, and all the not-too-important people in her life who will put up with it, are the unwitting victims. This is subtle. For example, one day she walked into her compulsively-clean mother's house and saw a leaf on the sparkling floor by her feet. Instead of picking it up, she asked, "What's that?" Her mother, almost on cue, dropped what she was doing to pick up the leaf by her daughter's feet.

To be continued...

Dr Irene's Verbal Abuse