Narcissists: Masculine and Feminine

Uploaded 5/11/2011, approx. 4 minute read

My name is Sam Vaknin, I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

Look around you, self-absorption, greed, frivolity, social anxiety, lack of empathy, exploitation, abuse, aggression and violence, and these are not marginal phenomena, these are the defining traits of our world and its denizens.

Our world has narcissistic civilizations, it upholds narcissistic values, penalizes the alternative value systems.

From an early age, children are taught to avoid self-criticism, to deceive themselves regarding their own capacities and achievements, to feel entitled, to exploit others. Litigiousness is the flip side of this inane sense of entitlement.

The disintegration of the very fabric of society is its outcome. It is a culture of self-delusion.

People adopt grandiose fantasies, often incommensurate with their real, dreary lives. Consumerism is built on this common and communal lie of I can do anything I want to or put my mind to, and I can possess everything I desire if I only apply myself to it.

There is one incriminating piece of evidence, the incidence of narcissistic personality disorder among men and women. Here, too, there is no proof that narcissistic personality disorder is a genetic disorder, or even that it has genetic roots. There is overwhelming evidence that it is the sad outcome of faulty upbringing of abuse in early childhood or early adolescence.

Still, if narcissistic personality disorder is not related to cultural and social contexts, then it should occur equally among men and women.

The fact is that it doesn't.

Narcissism, pathological narcissism, is three times more prevalent among men than it is among women. This seems to be because narcissistic personality disorder, as opposed, for instance, to borderline of histrionic personality disorders, which afflict women more.

Narcissism seems to conform to masculine social mores into the prevailing efforts of macho-capitalism.

Condition, achievement, hierarchy, ruthlessness, drive, victory are both social values and narcissistic traits.

Social thinkers like Lash, Christopher Lash, speculated that modern American culture and narcissistic self-centered one increases the rate of incidence of narcissistic personality disorder. And to this, Otto Kernberg, one of the fathers of the science of personality disorders, responded rightly.

The most I would be willing to say is that society can make serious psychological abnormalities, which already exist in some percentage of the population, seem to be at least superficially appropriate.

In other words, social mores, social values, value systems, sanction certain pathological behaviors, make them or render them socially acceptable, and this way enhances them.

In my book, Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited, I have written about the connection between gender and pathological narcissism. In the manifestation, I wrote, of their narcissism, male and male narcissists inevitably tend to differ. They emphasize different things. They transform different elements of their personality and of their lives into the cornerstones of their disorder.

They both conform to cultural stereotypes, gender roles, and social expectations.

Women, for instance, concentrate on their bodies as they do in eating disorders. They flaunt and exploit their physical charms, their sexuality, their socially and culturally determined femininity.

In its extreme form, this is known as histrionic personality disorder.

Many female narcissists secure their narcissistic supply via their more traditional gender roles – home, children, suitable careers, their husbands, their feminine traits, their role in society, and so on.

It is no wonder that narcissists, both men and women, are chauvinistically conservative. They depend to such an extent on the opinions of people around them that with time they are transformed into ultra-sensitive seismographs of public opinion, barometers of prevailing winds, and guardians of conformity.

Narcissists cannot afford to seriously alienate those who reflect to them their false self. The very proper and ongoing functioning of their ego depends on the goodwill and collaboration of their human environment.

Even the self-destructive and self-defeating behaviors of narcissists conform to traditional masculine and feminine roles. Besieged and consumed by pernicious guilt feelings, many a-narcissists seek to be punished.

The self-destructive narcissist plays the role of the bad girl, but even then it is within the traditionally socially allocated roles.

To ensure social opprobrium, the narcissist cartoonishly exaggerates these roles. A woman is likely to label herself a whore and a male narcissist to style himself a vicious, unrepentant criminal or a tortured artist.

These again are traditional social roles. Men are likely to emphasize intellect, power, aggression, money or social status. Women are likely to emphasize body, looks, charm, sexuality, feminine traits, homemaking, children and child rearing, even as they seek their masochistic punishment.

There are mental disorders which afflict a specific sex more often. This has to do with the hormonal or other physiological dispositions, social and cultural conditioning through this socialization process and withdrawal assignment through the gender differentiation process.

None of these seem to be strongly correlated to the formation of malignant pathological narcissism.

So, narcissists say in our culture, I belong, I am a narcissist and you, you are the deviance. You have maladapted to my brave new world. It is the world of the narcissist. It is my world.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like the following:

Women Narcissists

Male and female narcissists differ in the way they manifest their narcissism, with women focusing on their body and traditional gender roles. However, both genders are chauvinistic and conservative, as they depend on the opinions of those around them to maintain their false self. Women are more likely to seek therapy and use their children as a source of narcissistic supply, while men may view their children as a nuisance. Ultimately, there is no psychodynamic difference between male and female narcissists, as they both choose different sources of supply but are otherwise identical.

The “Lone Wolf” Narcissist and His Prey

Narcissists require constant validation and attention, and their sense of entitlement clashes with their dependence on others for self-worth. Lone wolf narcissists who withdraw from society can become dangerous due to their unquenched hunger for narcissistic supply. Schizoids, on the other hand, are indifferent to social relationships and have a limited range of emotions and affect. Psychopaths lack empathy and disregard others as instruments of gratification, and they are often criminals. When narcissism, schizoid disorder, and psychopathy converge, it can result in extremely dangerous individuals.

Raging Narcissist: Merely Pissed-off?

Narcissistic rage is a phenomenon that occurs when a narcissist is frustrated in their pursuit of narcissistic supply, causing narcissistic injury. The narcissist then projects a bad object onto the source of their frustration and rages against a perceived evil entity that has injured and frustrated them. Narcissistic rage is not the same as normal anger and has two forms: explosive and pernicious or passive-aggressive. People with personality disorders are in a constant state of anger, which is effectively suppressed most of the time, and they are afraid to show that they are angry to meaningful others because they are afraid to lose them.

Narcissist: Is He or Isn't He?

Narcissism is a spectrum of behaviors, from healthy to pathological, and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual specifies nine diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). A malignant narcissist is someone who has NPD and wreaks havoc on themselves and their surroundings. They feel grandiose and self-important, exaggerate accomplishments, and demand recognition as superior without commensurate achievements. They require excessive admiration, adulation, attention, and affirmation, and are interpersonally exploitative, devoid of empathy, and constantly envious of others.

Asperger's Disorder Misdiagnosed as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

Asperger's Disorder can be diagnosed in toddlers as young as three years old, while Narcissistic Personality Disorder cannot be safely diagnosed until late adolescence. However, Asperger's Disorder is often misdiagnosed as Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Both types of patients are self-centered and engrossed in a narrow range of interests and activities, with severely hampered social and occupational interactions. The gulf between Asperger's and pathological narcissism is vast, with the narcissist switching between social agility and social impairment voluntarily, while the Asperger's patient's social awkwardness is an inevitability.

Narcissist's Constant Midlife Crisis

The midlife crisis is a much-discussed but little understood phenomenon. There is no link between physiological and hormonal developments and the mythical midlife crisis. The narcissist is best equipped to tackle this problem as they suffer from mental progeria and are in a constant mid-life crisis. The narcissist's personality is rigid, but their life is not. It is changeable, mutable, and tumultuous. The narcissist does not go through a midlife crisis because they are forever the child, forever dreaming and fantasizing, forever enamored with themselves.

Old-age Narcissist

Narcissists age without grace, unable to accept their fallibility and mortality. They suffer from mental progeria, aging prematurely and finding themselves in a time warp. The longer they live, the more average they become, and the wider the gulf between their pretensions and accomplishments. Few narcissists save for rainy days, and those who succeed in their vocation end up bitterly alone, having squandered the love of family, offspring, and mates.

Signs You are Victim of Narcissistic Abuse, Not Common Abuse (Stress, Depression Management Webinar)

Narcissistic abuse is a subtype of abusive behavior that is pervasive, sophisticated, and can be practiced either covertly or overtly. Victims of narcissistic abuse often experience depression, anxiety, disorientation, and dissociative symptoms. This type of abuse can lead to complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) and even elements of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The way individuals process and react to trauma can lead to either regression into infantile behaviors or personal growth and maturation, depending on their emotional regulation and maturity.

Your Narcissist: Madman or Genius? (Based on News Intervention Interview)

Narcissists often claim to be geniuses, but Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a serious mental health problem. It is difficult to tell the difference between a genius and a madman, but the scientific method can help by applying a test of falsifiability. Narcissists often make predictions that fail time and again, while geniuses' predictions hold water for long stretches of time. Narcissism is a problem of nurture, a problem of the environment, and abuse and trauma suffered in early childhood.

Narcissism Evolving: 3 Disturbing Trends

Women have become as narcissistic as men, if not more so, as gender roles shift and women try to emulate men. Narcissists are becoming more dangerous, leveraging their cold empathy more sinisterly and becoming more malignantly grandiose and even criminalized. People, even narcissists, no longer have role models and everyone claims superiority, leading to pathological envy and a society where no one can be better than anyone else. This narcissism is going to kill and destroy us as a species.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2024, under license to William DeGraaf
Website Copyright © William DeGraaf 2022-2024
Get it on Google Play
Privacy policy