Tár: A Perceptive Insight into How a Female Narcissist Behaves

Fione Spence Black Belt Mindset Coach

An Introduction to Female Narcissists

When it comes to female narcissists, as with male narcissists, it’s often hard to recognise the signs until it’s too late. That’s why movies like Tár (2022) can be a great tool to help you identify the traits of narcissism and how they may be impacting your life.

When I first watched the movie Tár, I couldn’t help but notice how the main character, a renowned orchestral conductor called Lydia Tár (played by Cate Blanchett), exhibited many classic traits of a textbook female narcissist. She had a constant need for attention, validation and admiration and disregarded the feelings of others.

What makes Tár so interesting is that it delves into the consequences of Lydia’s behaviour and how it affects those around her. Watching this movie can give you an insight into how a female narcissist might behave, and how they can leave a trail of destruction in their wake. If you’ve encountered someone in your life who exhibits some of the same traits as Lydia, then this movie might help you better understand what’s going on.

How does a Female Narcissist Behave?

In Tár’, Lydia presents us with numerous examples of how narcissistic women behave. She’s highly focused on her own career and success, often at the expense of others around her. She is devoid of morals, ethics, and empathy and she has fought to get to the top of her profession and will do anything to stay there.

Lydia frequently belittles others, such as the orchestra members, is dismissive of their concerns, and shows little regard for their well-being or opinions. When she also becomes fixated on a young prodigy, she sets the wheels in motion to groom her to become her next lover. Meanwhile, her previous protégé is sending her desperate emails, clearly close to suicide, which Lydia heartlessly ignores.

To avoid spoiling the Tár for you, if you haven’t yet seen it, here are some classic traits to help you identify a potentially narcissistic woman in your life:

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This is a form of psychological manipulation in which an individual or group makes someone question their sanity, memory, or perception of reality through persistent and often deceitful tactics. Hint: Look at Lydia’s relationship with her wife.


Manipulation is a tactic used by individuals with narcissistic personality disorder to control and exploit others, and it can occur in personal and professional settings. Personal relationships may involve gaslighting, love bombing, emotional blackmail, and isolation from friends and family. It may involve taking credit for others’ work, putting down colleagues, and playing favourites in professional settings. Look out for both types in Tár.

Lack of Empathy

Lack of empathy is common in individuals with narcissistic personality disorder, regardless of gender. Female narcissists tend to engage in more passive forms of aggression, such as emotional manipulation, to avoid being perceived as aggressive, in part due to societal expectations of women. Lydia is a highly skilled manipulator in all her relationships.

Young cellist in Tar - the victim of a narcissistic boss

Sexual predation and grooming

Sexual predation and grooming are serious and harmful behaviours that may be exhibited by female narcissists just as much as by males. These behaviours involve the manipulation and exploitation of individuals for sexual purposes, often through the use of charm, flattery, and manipulation.

Grooming is the process of building trust and emotional connections with potential victims to make them more vulnerable to sexual advances. This process can involve the use of gifts, special attention, and other forms of manipulation. Sexual predation, on the other hand, involves taking advantage of these emotional connections to coerce or force victims into sexual activity.


Grandiosity is a defining characteristic of narcissistic personality disorder, where individuals have an inflated sense of self-importance and entitlement. They may exaggerate their accomplishments, demand admiration and attention, and believe they are superior to others. This grandiose self-view may also include fantasies of unlimited power, success, or beauty. However, these beliefs are often fragile, and individuals with a narcissistic personality disorder may respond aggressively or defensively to any perceived threat to their self-worth.

Overall, grandiosity as a narcissistic female behaviour shows up as an exaggerated sense of self-importance that often masks deep-seated feelings of insecurity and inadequacy. Pay careful attention to the opening of the movie for the first hints at Lydia’s grandiosity.

textbook female narcissist, the orchestral conductorcalled Lydia Tár (played by Cate Blanchett) conducting,


Attention-seeking can manifest in various ways beyond just seeking admiration and attention from others. It may also present itself through dramatic and exaggerated behaviour, such as pretending to be sick or injured to garner sympathy or attention. Additionally, attention-seeking may involve interrupting conversations or monopolising.

Some female narcissists with this trait may even engage in risky or attention-grabbing behaviour to elicit a response from others. Overall, attention-seeking behaviour can take many forms, but it is characterised by a constant need to be noticed and validated by others. By the end of the movie, you will realise that Cate Blanchett’s character Lydia Tár has been in every scene!

Is there a difference between Narcissistic Men and Narcissistic Women?

While both men and women can exhibit narcissistic tendencies, there are some differences in the way that these traits may manifest.

One potential difference between male and female narcissism is how societal expectations and gender roles can influence the expression of narcissistic behaviour. For example, men may be more likely to exhibit grandiose behaviour and assertive dominance, while women may use more subtle forms of manipulation and attention-seeking to achieve their goals.

Another potential difference is in the way that narcissism may be related to other psychological issues. Some studies have suggested that women may be more likely to experience shame and low self-esteem, which can contribute to developing narcissistic tendencies. Conversely, men may be more likely to experience feelings of anger and aggression, which can also be associated with narcissistic traits.

However, it is important to note that while there may be some differences in how male and female narcissism are expressed, the underlying psychological mechanisms that drive narcissistic behaviour are largely the same. Both male and female narcissists tend to have an inflated sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy, and a strong desire for attention and admiration.

Overall, understanding the potential differences between male and female narcissism can be helpful in identifying and addressing problematic behaviour. However, it is important to remember that everyone is unique, and individual experiences may vary. There are many great movies featuring examples of male narcissism, such as The Wife.

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An example of a Male Narcissist in the movies

In 2018, I saw the movie “The Wife,” in which Glenn Close plays the wife of a narcissist (Jonathan Pryce). “The Wife” left me thinking about the complex and often damaging effects of narcissistic behaviour in romantic relationships and the workplace. In fact, I was so intrigued by the topic that I wrote a blog piece about it, 7 Key Narcissism Flags for ‘The Wife’, exploring the topic of narcissism and how it can impact those around us. If you get a chance to watch the sensational Close and Pryce in The Wife look out for the narcissistic tendencies listed above.

In addition, The Wife also highlights another key narcissistic trait that links to grandiosity – taking Credit.

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Taking Credit

Taking credit for the accomplishments of others is a common trait among individuals with narcissistic personality disorder. Narcissists often have an exaggerated sense of self-importance and may believe they are responsible for the success of others, or as in the case of The Wife; they may take credit for others’ achievements, presenting them as their own.

By downplaying the contributions of others and overstating their own involvement, male and female narcissists gain admiration and attention from others. This tendency to take credit for the accomplishments of others is a form of grandiosity and can be a sign of deeper insecurity and a lack of self-esteem. Recognising this behaviour and holding individuals accountable for their actions is important to ensure a fair and just work environment.

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The Impact of Narcissistic Women in the Workplace

Are you working with a female colleague who seems to have an inflated sense of self-importance?

Do they demand excessive praise and recognition, manipulate others to get what they want, and show little concern for the needs of their colleagues or the organisation?

If so, you may be dealing with a female narcissist.

When you look at how narcissistic women behave in the workplace, they can be just as harmful as their male counterparts, but their behaviour may manifest in more subtle or manipulative ways. You may witness a toxic work environment, low morale, resentment, and mistrust among co-workers due to constant demands for special treatment and privileges.

Furthermore, you may observe bullying behaviour, where female narcissists use their power and influence to intimidate or undermine others. They may also avoid taking responsibility for their actions and blame others for their mistakes, resulting in a culture of fear and blame-shifting that stifles collaboration and innovation.

In extreme cases, you may even witness female narcissists engaging in unethical or illegal behaviour that puts the organization and everyone associated with it at risk.

Recognising and addressing these harmful behaviours is essential to create a safe and healthy workplace for all. If you’re experiencing this kind of behaviour, know that you’re not alone, and there are steps you can take to protect yourself and seek support (keep reading for some tips on dealing with a narcissist at work).

Traits of a narcissist woman in a relationship

Have you ever been in a relationship with a woman who seemed to care more about her own needs and desires than yours? If so, you may have been dealing with a female narcissist.

Here are three common traits narcissist women commonly display in relationships for you to look out for.

  1. Prioritising their own goals and achievements over their relationships with family and friends, just like Lydia in the movie Tár. This may include working long hours with no notice.
  2. Making selfish choices that directly harm those they love, such as neglecting important family events or responsibilities.
  3. Lying about their actions.
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In romantic relationships, female narcissists may view their partners as extensions of themselves rather than as separate individuals with their own needs and desires. They may use their charm and charisma to manipulate their partners into supporting their goals while ignoring or dismissing their partners’ concerns and emotions. This dynamic can create emotional manipulation and abuse, where the narcissist demands constant attention and admiration while showing little empathy or compassion for their partner’s feelings.

Tár shows how Lydia’s narcissism impacts her relationships with her wife and daughter, causing them emotional distress and ultimately leading to her downfall.

In summary, female narcissists may prioritise their own needs and goals over the needs of their loved ones, leading to feelings of neglect, resentment, and even estrangement from those closest to them. It’s important to recognize these behaviours and take action to protect yourself and your relationships. Shortly we will look at how you can do this but first, let’s go back to the workplace and how to deal with a narcissistic female colleague.

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Dealing with a Colleague who is a Female Narcissist

Here are three strategies that you can use to protect yourself and manage the situation if you find yourself with a partner you suspect is a female narcissist.

Firstly, setting clear boundaries and communicating your expectations clearly and assertively is important. Narcissistic individuals may try to manipulate or dominate others, but by setting clear limits on what you are willing to tolerate and communicating your needs and expectations directly, you can minimize the chances of being taken advantage of.

Secondly, it can also be helpful to document your interactions with your narcissistic colleague, keeping a record of any inappropriate behaviour, such as verbal abuse or bullying. This can be important evidence in case the situation escalates and you need to take action.

Finally, seek support from others, such as HR or a supervisor, particularly if the behaviour is impacting your ability to work effectively or is causing you significant emotional distress. However, it is important to approach these conversations carefully, focusing on specific behaviours rather than attacking the individual’s character or personality in order to maximize the chances of a positive outcome.

Ultimately, dealing with a narcissistic colleague requires a combination of assertiveness, boundary-setting, and seeking support from others. By taking a proactive approach and being mindful of your own needs and boundaries, you can minimise the narcissist’s behaviour’s impact and protect your well-being in the workplace.

Dealing with a Narcissistic Partner

Coping with a narcissistic partner can be challenging, but managing the relationship and protecting yourself from their harmful behaviour is possible. Here are some strategies that may be helpful:

  1. Set boundaries: Narcissistic partners may try to manipulate or control you, so it’s important to set clear boundaries and assertively communicate your needs and expectations. Be firm and consistent in enforcing these boundaries, and don’t be afraid to walk away from the relationship if your needs are not being met.
  2. Don’t engage in power struggles: Narcissistic partners often thrive on conflict and drama, so it’s important not to engage in power struggles or become overly emotional. Stay calm and detached, and avoid playing into their manipulative games.
  3. Focus on your own well-being: It’s easy to lose yourself in a relationship with a narcissistic partner, so make sure to prioritize your own well-being. Practice self-care, pursue your own interests and hobbies, and surround yourself with supportive friends and family.
  4. Seek professional help: If you’re struggling to cope with a narcissistic partner, consider seeking professional help from a counsellor or mindset coach. They can provide you with valuable tools and strategies for managing the relationship, as well as support and guidance as you work through your feelings and concerns.

Remember, coping with a narcissistic partner can be a difficult and draining experience, but it’s important to prioritise your own well-being and take steps to protect yourself from their harmful behaviour. By setting clear boundaries, staying focused on your own needs and interests, and seeking support when needed, you can minimize the impact of their behaviour and move towards a healthier and more fulfilling relationship dynamic.

Seeking Support

If you’re struggling to cope with a narcissistic partner, boss or colleague, know that you’re not alone. It can be incredibly challenging to navigate a personal or professional relationship with someone who exhibits narcissistic traits. But there is support available.

As a mindset coach, I specialise in helping individuals overcome difficult relationship dynamics at work and at home. Part of my program involves empowering you with strategies for managing challenging situations. If you’re looking for guidance, support, and practical tools for coping with a narcissistic partner or colleague, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Together, we can work towards a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling relationship dynamic, whether in your personal life or professional career.

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Ready to Feel Free?

Schedule Your No-Obligation Chat Now and…

Get Ready to Reclaim Your Life

I’m here to help you break free from the grip of narcissism and rediscover your true self.

Click below to schedule your obligation-free chat and take the first step towards reclaiming your power and living a life of authenticity and fulfilment.