Narcissism is a personality disorder marked by a powerful sense of personal entitlement that often leads the narcissistic person to disrespect the feelings of other people. Individuals who suffer from this difficult personality disorder tend to be arrogant, manipulative and condescending towards others, often requiring a steady stream of attention to prop up their fragile self-esteem.
Although the media, the medical community and the justice system have successfully directed our attention to male narcissists and their female victims, narcissism affects both men and women, and female narcissists are capable of inflicting just as much misery as their male counterparts.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC), notes that one in seven men over age 18 have been the victim of stalking or violence at the hands of a partner at least once in their lifetime. Research indicates that the ratio of male and female victims is about 50-50, although the behavior of female narcissistic is somewhat different.
Thanks to prevailing cultural norms across much of the world, men are expected to be strong and dominant while women are kind and helpful. As a result, female narcissistic behavior often isn’t as apparent and tends to be more subtle.
Like female victims of narcissists, men can suffer great pain and humiliation at the hands of a female partner. Because the complaints of male victims are often met with skepticism or derision, men, who are socialized not to display signs of weakness, are often too ashamed and embarrassed to report the abuse to authorities.
At the hands of female narcissists, male victims may experience threats, manipulation and other forms of emotional or psychological violence. For example, female narcissists may spread ugly rumors about their male partner. They may turn on the charm in public while bullying behavior is reserved for behind closed doors.
Withholding sex is a common ploy of female narcissists. If physical assault is involved, it often means men are victims of biting, spitting, kicking, punching or throwing things.
Most domestic violence shelters are designated for female victims, and male victims are often unaware that in the United States, the government requires that funding for domestic violence programs must be used to assist all victims – not just women. The fact remains, however, that there is a shortage of resources for male victims.
It doesn’t help when law enforcement personnel tend to be skeptical and are inclined to take the woman’s side. Many men are hesitant to step forward, as judges continue to reward custody to women and men are fearful of losing contact with their children. As a result, female batterers often get away with abusive behavior.