Divorcing a Female Narcissist | Part 7


The Complete Guide to Divorcing a Narcissist is a seven part series. Divorcing a Female Narcissist is part Seven.  See below for links to the remaining parts. Is there a difference between male and female narcissists? Do female narcissists avoid counseling or therapy? What happens when female narcissists become parents? Why does a female narcissist want to control her children?

The basic characteristics of narcissism are generally the same between the sexes. The psychodynamics are consistent between narcissistic women and narcissistic men. It is the way in which each sex manifests narcissism and how each sex obtains narcissist supply that can differ significantly. If you are divorcing a narcissistic wife, then you’ve probably observed some of these behavioral differences already.

Is there a difference between male and female narcissists?

Is there a difference between male and female narcissists?

Is there a difference between male and female narcissists?

In comparing narcissistic men with narcissistic women, we see they differ in some of their actions, although their goals may be the same. For purposes of this discussion, we are looking at narcissistic behavioral patterns common to each sex. Be mindful, there are no absolutes.

How do females get narcissistic supply?

All narcissists require a source of narcissistic supply from the people around them. What may differ between the sexes is their preferred source of that supply.

Narcissistic spouses tend to follow traditional gender roles to obtain narcissistic supply. They do this because it’s effective and because society recognizes women and men as different. They are socialized differently. They have different experiences and can want different things.

Do female narcissists avoid counseling or therapy?

The narcissistic husband will likely resist counseling or therapy in the divorce, unable to admit he has or may have a psychological problem.

By contrast, the narcissistic wife is more inclined to seek the help of a mental health professional in the divorce. But she still wants to exert control over the situation and will try to manipulate the players. A narcissistic female may attempt to recruit the counselor to her side, against the other spouse. In other words, she may use the therapist as a proxy in order to control the narrative.

Narcissists Follow Traditional Gender Roles

Narcissists work very hard at appearing to be part of whatever group society holds in high regard. Reality and truth have nothing to do with it. Looking the part is intentional, deliberate. They dress for the role. They reside in the nicest neighborhoods. They drive the right vehicles. They socialize with important people. By following traditional gender roles, narcissists appear to be everything society respects and rewards.

To secure narcissistic supply, the man will lasso traditionally masculine attributes of power and aggression, intellect and education, money and social status.

By contrast, the narcissistic woman will lasso traditionally feminine attributes. These include physical appearance and sexuality, homemaking and child rearing, career choices and her spouse’s social status. These are her tools for securing narcissistic supply.

Given the importance they place on physical appearance, narcissistic women may also have eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia.

Adultery, Infidelity and Leveraging Sexuality

All narcissists need to be the center of attention. Marital misconduct, extra-marital affairs, and adultery are found with both sexes, although so-called “sexual narcissists” may have a higher level of infidelity.[i]

The narcissistic husband may control his spouse’s appearance to satisfy his objectives. When he wants to seduce someone, he relies on his ability to “charm the socks off” his target. Narcissistic men are charmers.

By contrast, the narcissistic wife is more likely to leverage her sexuality to gain power and control over her spouse. She may be emotionally distant or make her spouse feel guilty for desiring intimacy with her. As femme fatale, she exploits her sexuality histrionically, with drama and affectation.

The female narcissist is not subtle about having sexual fantasies involving other partners. She uses her appearance and body to attract attention. She dresses alluringly or provocatively – this is purposeful with a specific goal. She takes a lot of selfies. Morality and social norms are not important to her, so long as she generates jealousy, insecurity, and weakness in her spouse.

What happens when female narcissists become parents?

What happens when female narcissists become parents?

What happens when female narcissists become parents?

Looking through the lens of traditional gender roles, mothers are placed closer to the children than fathers. Having given birth, mothers experience a special emotional and physical connection to their offspring. Not better than fathers, but different. And because a narcissistic woman views her child as an extension of herself, she will use the child as an important source of narcissistic supply.

By contrast, children tend to be a nuisance to their narcissistic fathers. Infants very effectively compete for the mother’s attention, interfering with the father’s source of narcissistic supply. At some point, the father will find a way to get some form of narcissistic supply from the child, whether it be adulation or something else.

Why do female narcissists want to control her children?

In a child custody case, the narcissistic wife will do everything possible to keep the children. Why? First, because the children are a profound source of narcissistic supply for her. Second, because it will hurt the other parent. This she has in common with the male narcissist.

Narcissistic parents of either sex will attempt to exploit their children to get what they desire in the divorce. They want to capture child-generated narcissistic supply. Not surprisingly, both sexes are equally capable of parental alienation. But as the children’s mother, and because of traditional gender norms, the female narcissist may have an easier time making the children dependent upon her. She may also have an easier time brainwashing the children against the other parent.

View more of our series, Complete Guide to Divorcing a Narcissist:

  1. Stages of Divorcing a Narcissist
  2. Divorce with Narcissistic Personality Disorder
  3. How To Divorce a Narcissist and Win
  4. Financial Strategies for Divorcing a Narcissist
  5. How to Negotiate a Divorce Settlement with a Narcissist
  6. Divorcing a Narcissist with Child Custody Disputed
  7. Divorcing a Female Narcissist

More resources on Divorcing a Narcissist:

  1. Divorcing the Narcissist – Our original post describing the clinical definition and general introduction.
  2. Financial Abuse, Narcissists & Money: A Divorce Lawyer’s Perspective – Mason’s popular video sharing his experiences and thoughts.
  3. Divorcing a Narcissist: Six Family Lawyers’ Advice – Six nationally recognized family lawyers discuss their experiences and advice.
  4. Finding a Divorce Lawyer Who Can Handle Opposing a Narcissist – Mason’s thoughts on what divorcing spouses should look for.

End Notes:

[i] Why Sexual Narcissists Make Unfaithful Partners, S.K. Whitbourne PhD, Psychology Today.

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