Male Narcissist - Who They Are and How to Spot Them

Who is a narcissist? What’s the difference between male and female narcissists? How can I tell if my partner is a male narcissist? You are in the right place if you have these and other related questions.

Hi, my name is Katie Lister. I am a practicing Registered Nurse and the founder of Growth Gals. I lead personal development groups and coach women to live their best lives authentically. Growth Gals provides a safe space for women to connect with like-minded individuals, learn, and offer support to one another.

At GG, we discuss different issues like emotional intelligence, finding your life purpose, mental health, and how to spot narcissists. This article will give you all the information you need to recognize a male narcissist.

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Katie Lister

Katie Lister

Written by Katie Lister, RN, BScN. An experienced Registered Nurse, Group Facilitator, Life Coach, and Community Leader. Read Katie's Full Author Bio

What is Narcissism?

Narcissism is a personality trait and disorder where the individual displays excessive self-involvement and ignores the needs of others. A narcissist disregards other people’s feelings and opinions and does not understand the effect of their behavior on other people.

While it is termed as a trait, narcissism can also present as a personality disorder known as narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Narcissism exists on a spectrum, and people at the highest end are mostly those with NPD. People living with NPD have an excessive need for validation, praise, and admiration, especially overt narcissists. NPD is a mental health condition that needs diagnosis from a qualified mental health professional.

Symptoms of NPD

Of the symptoms in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), a person living with NPD is said to exhibit the following traits:

  • Frequent fantasies about power, money, success, beauty, intelligence, and love
  • Inflated sense of self-importance
  • Need for excessive admiration, praise, and validation
  • Lack of empathy
  • Sense of entitlement
  • Arrogance
  • Taking advantage of others
  • Sense of superiority
  • Envy and a belief others are envious of them and their achievements
  • Obsession with self-image, class, and status
  • Pride in their families or children’s achievements

In psychiatry, one must have at least five of the DSM-5-listed narcissistic traits above to get a diagnosis of NPD.

Most Common Narcissistic Types Diagnosed in Men

According to research, men, on average, score higher in narcissism percentages than women. A male narcissist is a man who has narcissistic behaviors or is medically diagnosed with NPD. Male and female narcissists display different behaviors, although some traits may overlap. A woman is more likely to be a covert narcissist, and both genders may display similar narcissistic traits.

There are two main categories of NPD: overt narcissism and covert narcissism. Other types of narcissism such as malignant, communal, and antagonistic narcissism exist as subtypes to these two categories. Men are more likely to be diagnosed with:

Overt narcissism

Men are more likely to have grandiose or overt narcissism, displaying high self-esteem, a grandiose sense of self-importance, and aggression. They are self-centered, ego-driven, and need external validation, also known as a narcissistic supply. The grandiose narcissists crave excessive admiration and love to brag. Their sense of entitlement and feeling superior to everyone else makes them feel that they are deserving of special treatment.

What is dating a narcissist like? Find out in this article. 

Malignant narcissism

Malignant narcissism is a severe form of NPD. A person living with malignant narcissism exhibits excessive self-confidence and self-absorption, as seen with grandiose narcissists.

These individuals lack empathy and are incredibly manipulative and sadistic. The malignant narcissists are willing to do destructive and harmful things to get what they want. The aggression may manifest as verbal, physical, and emotional abuse. They often experience violent outbursts and turn vindictive if someone bruises their ego.

Common Traits of a Male Narcissist 

The common characteristics and red flags that tell you if a man is a narcissist include:

Controlling behavior

A male narcissist tries to control things to avoid experiencing failure, discomfort, or disappointment. Control issues may manifest in a partner dictating how you dress, act, and talk around people. This control ensures you don’t undermine his perceived superiority over you.


Grandiosity is one of the primary traits of male narcissists. The narcissist may often have grandiose delusions about his abilities, importance, identity, or power. These ideas he has of himself are exaggerated and false, and only meant to make people think he is more influential or powerful than he actually is.

Love bombing

To lure someone into a relationship, a male narcissist often love bombs the person he is interested in. Love bombing is a form of narcissistic abuse and a manipulation tactic. This behavior is often characterized by an overwhelming outpour of gifts, attention, intense emotions, and affection at the beginning of a relationship. Narcissistic men use this tactic to get people to do their bidding and to form an emotional bond.


Narcissistic men use manipulation to control others. They use narcissistic manipulation tactics like gaslighting, silent treatment, or shifting goalposts. Manipulation by a narcissist leaves you feeling insecure, anxious, and confused.


Narcissists may be abusive to the people in their lives, from spouses, siblings, children, and employees. Narcissistic abuse can be emotional, verbal, sexual, financial, psychological, and even physical. The severity of abuse can vary from person to person and gets worse over time.

Are narcissists born or made? Find out here. 

How to Deal With a Male Narcissist

When dealing with a male narcissist, remember that you can only control your behavior, not his. Attempts to control the narcissist will only frustrate you further. Here is how to deal with a narcissist.

Remember you are not to blame

Narcissists thrive on blaming others for their perceived wrongdoings. Hearing constant criticism can affect your confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth, which is what the narcissist wants. Always remind yourself that this person has a disorder, and you are not to blame for their actions.

Avoid confrontation

A male narcissist hates criticism and is hyper-sensitive to it. When you criticize the narcissist, he gets defensive. He may lash out to hide his deep-rooted insecurities and low self-esteem. If you need to tell the narcissist anything that borders on criticism, be gentle and avoid sounding judgmental to prevent matters from escalating.

Set boundaries

A narcissist has no empathy, nor does he realize when he is being inappropriate. To protect your mental well-being and personal space, ensure you set healthy boundaries, be consistent, and ensure he knows the consequences of crossing those boundaries.

Is my boyfriend a narcissist? Here are all the telltale signs.


Practice self-regulation

The narcissist looks for emotional reactions from people and feels good when he gets this reaction. He can say infuriating, outrageous, hurtful, or false things to annoy and force you to react. By regulating your emotions and staying calm, the narcissist will get tired and leave you alone.

Know when to exit

If you have a male narcissistic partner, sometimes leaving is the best option for your physical and mental health. If you feel unsafe or have experienced narcissistic abuse, whether physical or emotional, leaving that toxic and narcissistic relationship is the first step towards recovery.

Prioritize your own needs

Dealing with a narcissist is emotionally draining, and self-care is vital. Do what makes you happy and care for your emotional and mental well-being. Seek help from family members and consider seeking mental health therapy from a professional who will help you cope with the stress of dealing with a narcissist.

Can a Male Narcissist Change? 

People living with narcissistic personality traits can change. However, they must desire to adjust their behavior and commit themselves to getting help. Getting a narcissist to change is an uphill task. Rarely do they accept they have a problem as they feel superior and better than everyone else.

The narcissist’s traits of self-centeredness and arrogance make it difficult for the narcissist to understand why they should change. As an incurable mental health condition listed in the DSM-5, NPD is difficult to treat, especially since people with NPD rarely acknowledge they need help. Here are some signs that tell you if a narcissist can change:

Intensity of the narcissism traits

Narcissism exists on a spectrum, and those at the highest end have NPD. Others may have narcissistic traits but fall on the lower end of the spectrum. The further up the person is on the spectrum, the more difficult it is for them to change.

Self-awareness levels 

For the narcissist to change, he has to have emotional intelligence skills. Does he acknowledge his narcissistic traits, or is he blind to them? Is he aware of how people feel when he demeans them? Does he know how to behave appropriately and control his emotions? Self-awareness plays a critical role in recovery.

His desire to change

You can’t force someone to change; it has to be their decision to seek help. Unfortunately, the higher in the spectrum the narcissist is, the less likely he is to admit he needs help. The narcissist feels he is better than others, and asking for help is admitting weakness. If the narcissist shows a desire to change, then there is some hope for him.

Male Narcissist: How Growth Gals Can Help

Our aim at Growth Gals is to inspire women to reach their full potential. We also strive to create positive change by giving women the resources to discover their true selves and expand their knowledge base on various issues, such as emotional intelligence, mental health, and narcissism.

Growth Gals helps women overcome obstacles and make informed decisions. We also help them connect with others with similar values and experiences. Subscribe to the Growth Gals newsletter to access helpful guides and resources for women. Learn more about how we can support you and help you learn more about the male narcissist.

Male Narcissist: Conclusion

Narcissists are highly self-absorbed and arrogant. They crave external validation and admiration from others. The male narcissist will most likely be in positions of power and control, but their lack of empathy means they feel nothing when they hurt others. NPD is a mental disorder that needs a professional diagnosis. A narcissist can change, but only if he wants to change and seeks professional help.

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