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Are There More Female Narcissists Than Male?
I get many comments about using male pronouns in my articles and in my online show. Most are from men who want to let me know that there are more female narcissists than men, or that using male pronouns somehow translates to my excusing female narcissists. Before I address that, let me clarify what I have already said many times in many articles and in many episodes of the show: I only use pronouns for the ease of talking and understanding, and it should in no way imply that narcissists can only be male. It just makes explaining it easier and more natural-sounding. "Partner" cannot be used because the narcissists in some people's lives are their parents, or their children, or their siblings or their co-workers. It could even be a neighbor they have only talked to once who decided to go on a smear campaign against them, or someone they went on one date with who has become fixated on them because of a rejection. The word "partner" does not fit. Nothing fits, so I just use a generic pronoun and I use the same one in every article for consistency. If someone is so hung up on a word that it becomes the focus of the entire thing, they are missing the point by a mile. It's a word. It is not that important. The information given in these articles is the important part - and it applies to any and all narcissists equally.
So... are there more female narcissists than male ones? Statistics say no. Historically, statistics have overwhelmingly colored narcissists as male, with some reporting up to 75% of narcissists as male. I myself have not encountered this. I myself have met just as many female narcissists as I have males. In fact, I grew up with two female narcissists - and they are every bit as diabolical and difficult as their male counterparts, so I see no distinction in this area whatsoever. Narcissism does not play favorites. It affects people of any and every gender, race, age, ethnicity, sexuality and relationship. Again, getting hung up on gender here is trivial and distracting. It misses the point of the work completely. This is not about which gender is worse. It is about learning to recognize narcissists. It is about recovering from narcissistic torture and abuse, or surviving it when you are in it.
Should we believe the aforementioned statistics? It's hard to say. My experience has not lent them any credibility, I will say that. It is perhaps similar to statistics regarding Borderline Personality Disorder. Borderline Personality Disorder is considered to affect females by an overwhelming majority. This is absolutely, unequivocally not true. Some theories suggest that part of the reason for this skewing of statistics regarding BPD is the idea that "women with BPD often end up in the doctor's office, whereas men with BPD often end up in prison." Part of this is cultural: if a woman begins screaming and breaking things or assaults her husband, her husband may feel that she needs help because she is having a breakdown or because things are not right and he may push her to seek help. If a man begins screaming and breaking things or assaults his wife, his wife may call the police. Both of these are examples of Borderline rage, but they are dealt with differently by spouses and family and it often depends on the gender of the person acting out. Fair or unfair, this is the way of things. This is not to say that Borderline men never seek help and Borderline women never go to prison, of course. It's just a general example.
Another part of the problem may be that the way men and women act out is often different. Women with BPD may scream and cry and go into hysterical fits of rage or threaten suicide but never actually physically hurt anyone, whereas men with BPD may react with physical violence. Because this is a "different" behavior, the man is perhaps not recognized as suffering from BPD. It's a multi-faceted situation colored by a lot of things and narcissism statistics are likely the same. Because women don't always behave in the ways that are historically and culturally associated with pathological narcissism in men, it may be that the disorder is not recognized, causing statistics to be skewed.
These things are the reason I do the work that I do. Statistics are great, but they do not apply to real life. These articles are designed to help you recognize and deal with the narcissist in your real life, regardless of their gender, age, sexuality or anything else. If you think the person in your life cannot be a narcissist because they are a woman, you are wrong. If you think the person in your life cannot be a narcissist because they are a man, you are wrong. Forewarned is forearmed and the more information we have, the better we can defend ourselves. If we get too hung up on minor details, the big picture only gets dimmer.