Gender and the Narcissist

Written by Sam Vaknin


Are female narcissists any different? You seem to talk only about male narcissists!


I keep usingrepparttar male third person singular because most narcissists (75%) are males and more so because there is little difference betweenrepparttar 126204 male and female narcissists.

Inrepparttar 126205 manifestation of their narcissism, female and male narcissists, inevitably, do tend to differ. They emphasise different things. They transform different elements of their personalities and of their lives intorepparttar 126206 cornerstones of their disorder.

Women concentrate on their body (many also suffer from eating disorders: Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa). They flaunt and exploit their physical charms, their sexuality, their socially and culturally determined "femininity". They secure their Narcissistic Supply through their more traditional gender role:repparttar 126207 home, children, suitable careers, their husbands ("the wife of…"), their feminine traits, their role in society, etc.

It is no wonder than narcissists – both men and women – are chauvinistic and conservative. They depend to such an extent onrepparttar 126208 opinions of people around them – that, with time, they are transformed into ultra-sensitive seismographs of public opinion, barometers of prevailing social fashions, and guardians of conformity. The narcissist cannot afford to seriously alienate his "constituency", those people who reflect his False Self back to him. The very proper and on-going functioning ofrepparttar 126209 narcissist's Ego depends onrepparttar 126210 goodwill andrepparttar 126211 collaboration of his human environment.

True, besieged and consumed by pernicious guilt feelings – many a narcissist finally seek to be punished. The self-destructive narcissist then playsrepparttar 126212 role ofrepparttar 126213 "bad guy" (or "bad girl"). But even then it is withinrepparttar 126214 traditional socially allocated roles. To ensure social opprobrium (read: attention),repparttar 126215 narcissist exaggerates these roles to a caricature.

A woman is likely to label herself a "whore" and a male narcissist to self-style himself a "vicious, unrepentant criminal". Yet, these again are traditional social roles. Men are likely to emphasise intellect, power, aggression, money, or social status. Women are likely to emphasise body, looks, charm, sexuality, feminine "traits", homemaking, children and childrearing – even as they seek their masochistic punishment.

Another difference is inrepparttar 126216 wayrepparttar 126217 genders react to treatment. Women are more likely to resort to therapy because they are more likely to admit to psychological problems. But while men may be less inclined to DISCLOSE or to expose their problems to others (the macho-man factor) – it does not necessarily imply that they are less prone to admit it to themselves. Women are also more likely to ask for help than men.

Yet,repparttar 126218 prime rule of narcissism must never be forgotten:repparttar 126219 narcissist uses everything around him or her to obtain his (or her) Narcissistic Supply. Children happen to be more attached torepparttar 126220 female narcissist due torepparttar 126221 way our society is still structured and torepparttar 126222 fact that women arerepparttar 126223 ones to give birth. It is easier for a woman to think of her children as her extensions because they once indeed were her physical extensions and because her on-going interaction with them is both more intensive and more extensive.

This means thatrepparttar 126224 male narcissist is more likely to regard his children as a nuisance than as a source of rewarding Narcissist Supply – especially as they grow older and become autonomous. Devoid ofrepparttar 126225 diversity of alternatives available to men –repparttar 126226 narcissistic woman fights to maintain her most reliable Source of Supply: her children. Through insidious indoctrination, guilt formation, emotional sanctions, deprivation and other psychological mechanisms, she tries to induce in them a dependence, which cannot be easily unravelled.

But, there is no psychodynamic difference between children, money, or intellect, as Sources of Narcissistic Supply. So, there is no psychodynamic difference between male and female narcissist. The only difference is in their choices of Sources of Narcissistic Supply.

An interesting side issue relates to transsexuals.

Philosophically, there is little difference between a narcissist who seeks to avoid his True Self (and positively to become his False Self) – and a transsexual who seeks to discard his true gender. But this similarity, though superficially appealing, is questionable.

The Cyber Narcissist

Written by Sam Vaknin

Torepparttar narcissist,repparttar 126203 Internet is an alluring and irresistible combination of playground and hunting grounds,repparttar 126204 gathering place of numerous potential Sources of Narcissistic Supply, a world where false identities arerepparttar 126205 norm and mind gamesrepparttar 126206 bon ton. And it is beyondrepparttar 126207 reach ofrepparttar 126208 law,repparttar 126209 pale of social norms,repparttar 126210 strictures of civilized conduct.

The somatic finds cyber-sex and cyber-relationships aplenty. The cerebral claims false accomplishments, fake skills, erudition and talents. Both, if minimally communicative, end up atrepparttar 126211 instantly gratifying epicenter of a cult of fans, followers, stalkers, erotomaniacs, denigrators, and plain nuts. The constant attention and attendant quasi-celebrity feed and sustain their grandiose fantasies and inflated self-image.

The Internet is an extension ofrepparttar 126212 real-life Narcissistic Pathological Space but without its risks, injuries, and disappointments. Inrepparttar 126213 virtual universe ofrepparttar 126214 Web,repparttar 126215 narcissist vanishes and reappears with ease, often adopting a myriad aliases and nicknames. He (or she) can thus fend off criticism, abuse, disagreement, and disapproval effectively and in real time – and, simultaneously, preserverepparttar 126216 precarious balance of his infantile personality. Narcissists are, therefore, prone to Internet addiction.

The positive characteristics ofrepparttar 126217 Net are largely lost onrepparttar 126218 narcissist. He is not keen on expanding his horizons, fostering true relationships, or getting in real contact with other people. The narcissist is foreverrepparttar 126219 provincial because he filters everything throughrepparttar 126220 narrow lens of his addiction. He measures others – and idealizes or devalues them – according to one criterion only: how useful they might be as Sources of Narcissistic Supply.

The Internet is an egalitarian medium where people are judged byrepparttar 126221 consistency and quality of their contributions rather than byrepparttar 126222 content or bombast of their claims. Butrepparttar 126223 narcissist is driven to distracting discomfiture by a lack of clear and commonly accepted hierarchy (with himself atrepparttar 126224 pinnacle). He fervently and aggressively tries to imposerepparttar 126225 "natural order" – either by monopolizingrepparttar 126226 interaction or, if that fails, by becoming a major disruptive influence.

Cont'd on page 2 ==> © 2005
Terms of Use