Many of us have been through it… dating what we casually refer to as a “crazy” woman. If you live and date long enough, you might meet a woman who is emotionally or psychologically/emotionally abusive and non-reciprocating.
I endured one such relationship in the past, and I know quite a few of you reading this have as well.
To be clear, this is not an attack on women in general. This is a specific attempt to describe narcissistic women or those with such qualities.
To be fair, most people who fall into this category statistically are men. This is NOT a woman-bashing article by any means. Women reading this article can also apply the same criteria when evaluating the man they are dating. Certainly, most men and women do not fall into this category (only 1% of the U.S. population is clinically narcissistic), and people who attempt to suggest otherwise are typically jaded, disillusioned, and suffering from serious issues themselves.
We all act selfish, over-dramatic and immature at times in our relationships. Please don’t rush to quick conclusions if your mate acts in these ways occasionally. Narcissistic people act this way much of the time in their relationships. Narcissistic Personality Disorder can only be diagnosed by a trained professional.
If a woman exhibits any combination of the following qualities OFTEN, she MIGHT BE narcissistic. If this assessment is correct, this woman is not your normal multi-layered and complex woman with her fair share of flaws…this woman in fact, might suffer from a personality disorder. If so, this person has actual issues which must be diagnosed and treated. There are different causes and risk factors associated with NPD, and you can become familiar with them.
First you should know that people afflicted with this disorder typically developed it during their childhood as a result of parental neglect and/or abuse.
Narcissistic people don’t usually know they are, and will usually not change without counseling and treatment. In other words, simply pleading with them to change, will NOT WORK!
You might be tempted to stay, because such women and their male counterparts are often exciting and fun. Their overly dramatic up and down behavior may be thrilling at times and create powerful memories. They initially come off as very confident, sexy and secure. These qualities and experiences can become addictive. They are unfortunately, only part of an elaborate act to cover up their deep insecurities and issues, which you won’t typically discover until you are deep into a long-term relationship.
Just remember that none of thes good memories or fun experiences is worth the continued drama, power struggles, ugly fights, and headaches you’ll have to endure. When you see a combination of these signs regularly, don’t make excuses for her. Don’t “try to understand or save her” (unless you are clinically qualified to do so). Take the exit ramp immediately and free yourself to enjoy a loving and healthy relationship. That’s what I eventually did, and I am eternally grateful! Let’s describe some narcissistic qualities or experiences:
1. She intentionally tries to make you jealous. A narcissistic woman will deliberately do inappropriate things with other men in front of you. This is because she is deeply insecure or feels deeply inadequate, and must do such things to compel you to compete for her love or give her more attention. Mature women will just communicate their needs to you without arguments and drama. A narcissistic woman deliberately seeks admiration from other men. She might run her hands through another guy’s hair, touch on his arms and comment on how strong he is, or any number of suggestive things when she knows you’re watching.
2. She has unreasonable standards or expectations. Every self-respecting person has preferences and healthy standards, but hers are almost impossible to meet. This is because she is narcissistic and feels entitled to treatment she doesn’t deserve. This woman’s motto is: “It’s all about me.” Don’t expect her to empathize with you. This is not in her makeup. Underneath all her drama, she suffers from low self-esteem and lacks self-worth. She will charm you and flatter you to get the attention, flattery, pleasure or gifts she wants and punish you when she doesn’t. And a narcissistic woman will eventually discard you and act like she never knew you (unless you sever the relationship first). She wants you to neglect other important parts of your life (job, business, family, friends) for her. No matter what the situation or person involved, SHE must come first. She will accuse you of putting other things before her and then question if you love her at all. She may even say things like, “I should come before your job, your children, your family, and everything else!” No matter what you do, she will find fault with it, and you will never please her because she is insatiable. Meanwhile, she never puts you before her other friends and interests! This is a not so subtle form of controlling you. It also indicates that she is very selfish and unwilling to reciprocate – a narcissistic woman will NEVER put you first in her life, although she expects you to do so for her.
3. She is materialistic and money-grubbing: She is quick to tell you what her girlfriend’s man bought for her or where he took her for vacation. She wants you to feel insecure, and like you must compete to buy/earn her love and appreciation. When you buy her something, she wants to know why you didn’t get the bigger or more expensive version. She may even get the jewelry you gifted her appraised behind your back to find out how much money you spent on the gift. She may also try to keep tabs on how much you make and do all she can to see that most of it goes to her directly or indirectly. They believe the money they make belongs to them and the money you make as well! Most women want and deserve a nice gift from time to time. But mature women value YOU more than any gift and won’t try to control you or your money.
4. She’s addicted to drama. No matter who you’re with romantically, no matter how nice she is, you will sometimes argue with her. This is normal. But a narcissistic woman will deliberately start arguments, call you ugly names, insult your children, throw something at you, talk bad about your mama, degrade your dad, try to hit you, call the police on you, or do anything to disrupt the peace. You will have no clue why she is upset, or how such a small thing started such a big fight. This is another form of control. Then, after starting a bitter fight, she’ll become sweet and sexy. It’s as if she needs drama to keep you engaged and to prove you care about her. Relationships with truly narcissistic people often involve regular physical and verbal fights, many of which go far beyond your normal scope of arguments in a relationship. As you can imagine, this quickly becomes draining (and dangerous).
5. She isolates you from family, friends and interests. Because she believes she is the center of the universe and even the universe itself, she will try to make you feel guilty when you spend time with your friends, family or hobbies. She will do and say things around your friends and family that make them not want to be around. She may hide your mail and not tell you when someone called. She might even try to tell your friends and relatives that you are mad with them and don’t want to see them anymore! You may also make the decision to isolate yourself by refusing to bring people you care about around because her behavior is so unpredictable and embarrassing. Whether she isolates you or you isolate yourself because of her antics, this works to her advantage. She wants you all to herself, not to make you happy, not because she sincerely adores you, but so you can give her your undivided (and non-reciprocated) attention, and cater to her innumerable needs and desires.
6. She blatantly lies and denies everything she said or did that is toxic. This woman will NEVER admit to doing or saying anything wrong. In her mind, she is perfect and YOU are the problem! This tactic is convenient because it always comes up when you are raising a legitimate grievance. By keeping you on the defensive or by denying everything, she never has to be accountable for her own actions.
7. Even her girlfriends subtly suggest that she’s “crazy.” A woman’s female friends will usually be protective of her and her reputation. They don’t want to do or say anything to make her look bad or to cause her partner to raise an eyebrow. A narcissistic woman’s girlfriends however (if they respect you and think you’re a decent guy) will sometimes give you clues that she “isn’t working with a full deck.” Sometimes they’ll tell you directly that they don’t understand why she behaves that way. They may even tell you, “You’re a good man and I respect you, so you might wanna just go your separate way and spare yourself the pain,” or “She’s always been like that, none of us understand it.”
They’ve seen her with other men and seen the same toxic and unreasonable behavior from her before. They begin to figure out that ALL of those guys weren’t that bad, and that the majority of the problem might be HER. Often, this woman will be very loving with you around her friends/relatives, and may even brag about you and your accomplishments. She thrives on being seen as a successful and empowered person. But she won’t share any of her toxic behavior or her relationship problems with her friends because she fears being exposed. Therefore this woman will stress that she is “private” about her business (even with her closest friends). She may only exhibit this toxic behavior with lovers, so sometimes her friends won’t know how she acts behind closed doors.
8. She criticizes everything about you and never seems to honor your perspective on things. In her opinion, no item of clothing, cologne, haircut or anything belonging to you is ever good. Whatever opinion you voice, she gives the opposite side. Whatever you love, she hates. You always find yourself wanting to defend your opinion or judgement. This is not healthy or normal. Your lady will naturally see some things differently from you. But when they seem to have a problem with almost everything, you have serious troubles on your hands.
9. She uses sex as leverage. Women have the right to be tired, have headaches or generally not be in the mood for intimacy. Narcissistic women however, will deny sex to punish you for not complying with their unreasonable expectations. Let’s say you planned a date and had to reschedule due to a problem at the job? She’ll take that personally and punish you by giving you the cold shoulder. She may deliberately give you the cold shoulder until you apologize repeatedly, or beg like a broken and desperate loser ( if you allow such). On the other hand, they also use sex or pleasure as a superficial way to make you feel desired and loved for the purpose of getting you to give them something or do want they want.
To conclude with a summary from another writer, “In her manipulation she may even fool you that she cares about you, but in reality you don’t count one bit, because she is at the center of her own make believe world where she is Queen. Her world starts and stops with herself, but she goes out of her way to disguise that fact from everyone she comes into relationship with (her husband, boyfriend, children, parents, siblings, friends and work colleagues)….The individual may think that you are in a relationship, but soon you’ll become aware that you are in a one sided relationship devoted only to the narcissists’ needs. When you look for a reciprocal relationship, the narcissist female becomes disinterested and bored very quickly, and the relationship comes to an abrupt and inexplicable end. The narcissistic female becomes cold, uninterested and remote, and the relationship is all but over to your bewilderment.”
Of course, you have the option to end such a relationship yourself before it comes to this. If she abruptly ends the relationship, you will likely fight to keep her in your life at first. Ironically, people often stay with narcissistic mates for years, thinking they can “save” them, thinking something is wrong with themselves, or mesmerized by the short-lived memories of the great sex and romance they once enjoyed.
Try to remember all the chronic fights and other toxic behavior that made you feel miserable and frustrated most of the time. Unless you are a remarkably strong and secure individual, prolonged experiences in such relationships can negatively affect your own confidence and sanity. You also have the option to learn more about this disorder and work with your partner to get help. You’ve been warned…
Agyei Tyehimba is an educator, activist and author from Harlem, N.Y. Agyei is a former NYC public schoolteacher, co-founder of KAPPA Middle School 215 in the Bronx, NY, and co-author of the Essence Bestselling book, Game Over: The Rise and Transformation of a Harlem Hustler, published in 2007 by Simon & Schuster. In 2013, he wrote The Blueprint: A BSU Handbook, teaching Black student activists how to organize and protest. In April of 2014, he released Truth for our Youth: A Self-Empowerment Book for Teens. Agyei has appeared on C-Span, NY1 News, and most recently on the A&E documentary, “The Mayor of Harlem: Alberto ‘Alpo’ Martinez.”
Agyei earned his Bachelor’s Degree in sociology from Syracuse University, his Master’s Degree in Africana Studies from Cornell University, and his Master’s Degree in Afro-American Studies from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
If you are interested in bringing Agyei to speak or provide consultation for your organization, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.