Blog post originally published on Tuesday, December 06, 2005 at "What Makes Narcissists Tick". I will include the comments for this post as there is good content there as well.
Another thing that warps our picture of NPD is double standards that are the fruit of stereotypes and sloppy thinking:
- Women are nicer than men and therefore less likely to be narcissists.
- What's okay for men to do is wrong for women to do.
- All old people are nice and deserve a pass to treat young people without repsect.
- Physically hitting someone is worse than verbally abusing them or destroying their life through slander and calumny.
- Children are all innocent and, by nature, good.
So, another thing that invalidates current statistics is mental-health-care workers applying double standards of both age and sex.
An example of such a double-standard is this: if we see an action photo of an angry male coach with his mouth wide open and his face contorted, we think nothing of it. He doesn't strik us as ugly. Yet, if we see a photo of a female coach with but an intense look on her face, we find the image off-putting. She strikes us as ugly.
These internal reactions are so conditioned by society, that even if you are aware of the double-standard, you can hardly help but be affected by it. Therefore, we think nothing of this behavior in our male hero, but she strikes us as a bitch.
Again for example, personality traits regarded as distinguishing a man as worthy of admiration as a good, tough businessman are regarded as distinguishing a woman as a bitch. That's just a fact, and mental heath-care workers are taking few (if any) precautions to avoid applying such sexual double-standards in diagnosis.
Which cuts the legs out from under the widespread belief that NPD is far more prevalent in men than women. In my own slice of the world, the ratio is 50-50. And in my own understanding of the disease I see no reason why men should be any more prone to it than women.
But I can think of many reasons why male narcissists are exposed as narcissists more frequently than female narcissists are. Put another way, I see many reasons why female narcissists get away with it more often. Could it be then that women are under-represented in the statistics?
It sure could be! In fact, because of this we must presume that women are greatly under-represented in the statistics. And you can't just chalk this up to the fact that men are more likely to use their fists than their mouths. For, the only narcissist I have observed physical violence in is an extremely violent woman — who had everyone but those who had seen her with her mask off thinking she was a regular Mother Theresa.
And anyone who thinks male narcissists are worse because they're more prone to physical violence is dead wrong. If anything, that makes them less dangerous than female narcissists. The law deals with physical attacks. It does almost nothing to protect us from non-physical attack. Indeed, the non-physical violence the woman I referred to above did was by far more damaging and sadistic than any beating she gave someone.
Author: Kathy Krajco