If you’ve never interacted with a true narcissist, consider yourself lucky. The narcissist is a completely self-absorbed individual, with no empathy for others, who manipulates individuals for her own gratification. Once you allow her into your life, she will wreak havoc — so beware.
Research psychologist Jean Twenge of San Diego State University reports that Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) affects about 6% of the population and is on the rise, especially in young women. Since few people with NPD seek treatment, it is important to arm yourself with the skill-set to identify the disorder. This will save you a lot of time, energy and pain.
A narcissist can be hard to spot at first because when she targets you, she will shower you with love for period of time, sometimes even years, in order to lure you in. She can be highly charismatic and treat you exceptionally well, but don’t let these things fool you – it’s all a big trap. This is not her true self.
Below are 5 tangible, easy-to-spot traits of Female NPD. Keep in mind that a narcissist may not display all of these behaviors, and any single one is a red flag.
1. She Has Delusions of Grandeur and Unrealistic Fantasies.
Not only does she think she’s superior, the narcissist thinks she is magnificent, and believes others cannot live without her. Her talents and accomplishments are often highly embellished. She seeks power and fame, and believes she, or her children, should and will achieve it.
- Highly exaggerated comments about her accomplishments, contributions, and talents; stories that sound unrealistic or don’t quite add up
- Statements regarding her superior beauty or intellect
- Comments that group you with her as superior – “We are so much smarter than the others.”
- Bragging and embellishing her own or her child’s achievements or superiority regarding attractiveness level, popularity, or skills
- Believing she or her child will achieve celebrity status, such as becoming a professional athlete
2. She Has an Overwhelming Sense of Entitlement.
The narcissist is the center of her own world and believes she deserves special treatment. She thinks others should serve her without giving them any respect or consideration. In her mind, it’s okay for her to break the rules because they don’t apply to her. She takes no responsibility for her mistakes.
- Last minute requests for others to drop everything and indulge her whimsy
- A group of peers that follow her from place-to-place and are at her beck-and-call
- Breaking social norms, such as cheating, rude behavior, cutting lines, not following traffic laws, breaking promises, and standing up appointments without remorse
- Persuading authority figures to make exceptions for her
- Quickly assigning blame to others even when she is wrong
- Never apologizing
- Patterns of destroyed relationships in her past
3. She Dominates and Steamrolls Conversations.
The narcissist constantly talks about herself and hogs the conversation. It’s hard to get a word in. In her world, she is always, ALWAYS right.
- Interrupting when others are speaking
- Use of the word “but” quickly and frequently to bring a conversation back to herself
- Criticizing, negating, ridiculing or disregarding comments of others; arrogant attitude
- Becoming angry with others who disagree with her or press her for more details
- Lack of attentiveness when others are talking; poor listening skills
- Condescending remarks
- Belief that she is the expert on all subjects, regardless of who she is talking to, i.e. she may attempt to educate a doctor on a medical issue
- Talking at length to convince you she is right, no matter how absurd the point
- Lying to get something she wants
4. She Constantly Craves Attention.
The narcissist is always on stage and portrays herself differently depending on the audience and situation. She believes she deserves constant admiration from those around her, and if she doesn’t get it, she can be quick to anger and show her true self.
- A change in personality depending who she is with; chameleon-like behavior determined by her environment
- Charismatic behavior to ensure she is the center of attention in any setting
- Extreme materialism
- Excessive flirting, even with someone’s spouse or significant other; dressing provocatively
- Comments that others are obsessed with her, regardless of gender – she may say a man in the room is hitting on her or a woman she knows is stalking her
- Statements that others are jealous of her
- Always wanting to win
- Never sitting on the sidelines and taking it all in
- Placing her children in activities that make them the center of attention, like modeling or acting, in hopes that she herself will someday achieve fame vicariously
5. Her Appearance is of Utmost importance.
The narcissist places extreme significance on her physical appearance for any situation. Her appearance is about status, and she buys nice things, whether she can afford them or not. She is overly confident about her attractiveness level. She may not be viewed as beautiful, but she believes she is more appealing than other women.
- Catching her own reflection at inappropriate times
- Hair, makeup and nails that are impeccably maintained, even for everyday tasks
- Wearing brand name items that represent high status
- Flaunting the status of her clothes, cars or other possessions
- Clear leader of her social group; she decides what they do, when they do it, and who they associate with; she dictates when the party is and decides who the host will be
- Frequently in her own photos on social media, even when celebrating someone or something else; Queen of the Selfie
- Uploading images of herself surrounded by attractive friends at parties any chance she gets — sending two messages: “Look how popular I am,” and “You weren’t invited.” (Over time you will notice subtle shifts in those photographs – the newly recruited friends and those that chose to leave the group on their own, or were discarded)
- Posting images of herself that are under the guise not looking great, such as in a very pregnant photo or wearing a Halloween costume; regardless of the situation, photos will always be flattering, her message being, “I am always the most beautiful.”
Why Does She Target You?
The self-serving narcissist wants to associate herself with you for your status, whether it’s social, economic, cultural, professional, or what have you. You represent something she wants, and if you are lured into her circle, she believes she will acquire your status. She collects individuals as status symbols in order to convey a false persona. She uses you as a tool to build her identity, and when she thinks she has achieved that, or you don’t meet her needs, you will be discarded.
How Does She Make You Suffer?
Just when you start to trust the narcissist and feel comfortable, the trouble starts. She has successfully manipulated you into a toxic social circle that you depend upon — and now she has you. This is when the narcissist starts to show her true self, and it’s a scary thing. In this phase of the relationship, you will be constantly tested with demands to serve her, you will be made to feel inferior and clingy, and will be subject to an environment of ongoing negativity. If you don’t perform as requested, you will be humiliated, perhaps even publicly, or given the silent treatment. Even if you perform well, she will only use you as long as she needs you. As soon as your contribution to her status has run its course, she will drop you.
How to Get Out?
The only solution is to leave the group and cut off all contact. Don’t answer phone calls or texts, and delete group members from all social media. The narcissist will likely lead a smear campaign to portray you as an unstable person – she doesn’t want your exit to make her look bad. Her campaign also keeps the remaining group members on their toes – they don’t want this to happen to them. Any targeted negativity can be difficult to ignore, but it will pass. Know that you are leaving a toxic relationship and a dysfunctional group on your own terms. Others may stick around for a long time before the narcissist inevitably cuts their cords. You, on the other hand, are now free to lead your own life and focus on what is important to you. Be thankful you have the courage and self-esteem to do that.
- U.S. News & World Report, Health, Narcissism Epidemic: Why There Are So Many Narcissists Now, Lindsay Lyon, April 21, 2009
- Psychology Today, 10 Signs that You’re in a Relationship with a Narcissist, Preston Ni, M.S.B.A., September 14, 2014
- Psychology Today, Are You a Narcissist? 6 Sure Signs of Narcissism, Susan Heitler PhD, October 25, 2012
- PsychCentral, Blog – How to Spot a Narcissist, Samuel Lopez de Victoria, PhD,
- PsychCentral, Blog – Narcissistic Personality Disorder Symptoms, Steve Bressert, PhD
- The Huffington Post, 18 Ways to Spot a Narcissist, Amanda L. Chan, updated August 14, 2015
- WebMD Mental Health Center, Narcissistic Personality Disorder
- Mayo Clinic, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, May Clinic Staff
- Hooking Up Smart, 20 Identifiable Traits of a Female Narcissist, June 28, 2010
- Thought Catalog, 5 Sneaky Things Narcissists Do to Take Advantage of You, Shahida Arabi, August 6, 2014
- Lifehack, 15 Things Narcissists Don’t Do, Elizabeth Andal