Male Victims of Female Narcissists

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.

Getting Help

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.

What to do if you are a Male Victim of Abuse

If you are a male victim of a female narcissist, you are understandably mentally and physically exhausted from living with constant trepidation. Here are a few suggestions that may help:

  • Read books and articles about narcissistic personality disorder. It will help you to have a clearer understanding of this complex disorder.

  • Learn your legal rights in case you need to seek a restraining order, or if you need to get temporary custody of your children.

  • It may be necessary to sever ties and cut off all contact with your narcissistic partner as a means of self-protection. This includes email, texts and phone calls. If this is the case and you have children, consider setting up a neutral, third party mediator.

  • Counseling can help you change your negative thought patterns and learn effective strategies for coping with stress. A victims group may be a great source of support.

  • Maintain a journal and keep track of all abuse episodes, however minor. Take pictures of cuts and bruises or damaged personal possessions. Get copies of police reports or other legal documents.

  • Never attempt to “get even” with your narcissistic partner, even if you feel retaliation is justified. You may be arrested or forced to leave your home.

  • If you have turned to substance abuse in order to cope with your difficult situation, don’t hesitate to seek drug and alcohol treatment or rehab. Treatment for substance abuse or addiction can help you learn to cope and make well- reasoned decisions about your future.

Make sure you choose a treatment center such as Paracelsus who also tend to the underlying cause of substance or alcohol use, which is often trauma and a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Without attention to the underlying cause of alcohol or drug use, rehab success might be limited or not successful at all.

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