Testosterone and Narcissism
by Benjamin Bunting BA(Hons) PGCert
Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.
If you’re in a relationship with someone who has narcissistic personality disorder, it might feel like they’re always trying to get their way. But it’s important to remember that their behavior is a way for them to protect themselves from feelings of inadequacy.
If you want to change your relationship, you’ll need to do some work. Here are a few tips to help you:
Narcissists believe they’re better than everyone else
Narcissists are self-obsessed, egocentric people who focus on their own image and success. They believe they’re better than everyone else and expect others to give them everything they want and need.
Their grandiose views of themselves often lead them to achieve positions of power that reinforce their exaggerated sense of superiority, which can be especially gratifying when they succeed in the public eye. The problem is that this self-glorification often masks underlying fears about inferiority and feelings of shame.
Consequently, they use distortion and fantasy to protect themselves from feeling vulnerable or disadvantaged. Hence, they will spin stories about unlimited success, power, brilliance, and ideal love that make them feel special and in control of their own lives.
When others criticize their unrealistic sense of superiority, they’ll go into a full-blown rage. This rage may be directed at the other person, or it could be aimed at themselves.
They’ll also try to manipulate the other person into thinking they deserve what they’re getting. This is called “love bombing” and it’s one of the most common signs of narcissism.
In general, narcissists aren’t good at building long-term relationships because they have a short attention span and can’t keep a relationship going without constant food for their ego. They need a steady stream of praise and recognition to maintain their inflated sense of self, and they often surround themselves with admirers who will do this for them.
Marcissists don’t believe in reciprocity
New research has found that narcissism moderates the relationship between testosterone and generosity in men. In a 2022 study published in Hormones and Behavior, researchers found that men with low testosterone tended to be more generous than men with high testosterone and higher narcissism traits.
Narcissists believe that they deserve special treatment, and that they should get what they want without any consideration for other people’s feelings or needs. This is a belief that can be damaging to relationships and causes people to react in ways that don’t make sense.
A narcissist’s lack of empathy can also cause them to exploit others, which is called interpersonal exploitation. They use a sense of entitlement to take advantage of others, and they’re often willing to break the rules to get what they want.
For example, a narcissist may take credit for a significant accomplishment you made outside of your relationship. This can be a tactic to show you that they’re proud of you, but it’s also a way for them to feel more powerful in your eyes.
Narcs can be especially resentful when you reach milestones in your career, such as a promotion or a raise at work. It’s common for narcs to be jealous of your success, and they can use counter complaints and other passive-aggressive tactics to make you feel bad about yourself or discourage your efforts.
These tactics can be incredibly frustrating and hurtful, but they’re a sign that your relationship isn’t working out. If your narcissist is exhibiting these behaviors, it’s time to move on.
They feel threatened by others
Narcissists tend to feel threatened by others, even if the person isn’t directly attacking them. This makes them more likely to react in ways that are harmful to themselves.
For example, if they are threatened by your attempts to change their behavior, they might step up their demands in other aspects of the relationship, distance themselves, or try to manipulate you into giving them up.
This is why it’s important to make a plan that will help you maintain your boundaries. It’s also important to understand what will be the most challenging parts of enforcing these new rules, so you can prepare accordingly.
The first thing you need to do is identify the specific behaviors and reactions that are unacceptable in your relationship with the narcissist. Then, decide what changes you want to see in the relationship.
For example, if you want to change the way your narcissist treats you, you may need to take steps to strengthen your self-esteem. This could mean finding meaningful work, volunteering or activities that give you a sense of purpose and accomplishment. It might also mean letting go of things that don’t serve you, such as spending time with someone who makes you feel inferior or unappreciated.
They expect favorable treatment
Narcissists often have an exaggerated sense of self-importance and expect to be praised and recognized by others constantly. They may even go out of their way to make sure they get this attention by positioning themselves and monopolizing the conversation.
When someone doesn’t meet their narcissist’s needs, they may react with rage and try to control the other person. This can be done in a variety of ways, such as by threatening or denigrating the other person to mutual friends and acquaintances.
The narcissist may also be jealous of their coworkers, and they may try to manipulate them into leaving their jobs. This can lessen their competition for a while and allow them to focus on their own personal goals.
While this may seem to be beneficial, it can lead to a lot of frustration and anger for the other person. It also makes it difficult to develop and maintain healthy relationships with the narcissist because their needs and wants are always coming before yours.
This can prevent you from getting to know your partner on a deeper level, and it can limit your chances of ever having a meaningful relationship together.
This is why it’s important to recognize when a relationship has become narcissistic and how to stop it. Understanding your role in the narcissist’s behavior can help you take a stand against them and challenge them to change their way of relating.
They lie about their accomplishments
When narcissists are put in positions of power, they often misuse their authority to take advantage of others. This is a type of power abuse called “socially toxic narcissism,” which can have serious effects on a person’s mental health.
For example, people who have this type of narcissism may brag about their accomplishments or exaggerate how great they are at their jobs. This is because they want to get attention and gain recognition for their work.
They can also be manipulative in relationships. They lie about their behavior and hide their true feelings from others.
Another common way that narcissists lie is when they claim they’ve never done something that they actually have. This is often a sign that they haven’t lived up to their standards or expectations, but it can also be a way for them to protect themselves from criticism.
This is why it’s important to identify signs of narcissism early on in a relationship. This will help you avoid an unhealthy, controlling relationship or an abusive one.
They put others down
Narcissists don’t feel empathy for other people and may exploit others for their own gain. They also use deception and distortion to maintain their false fantasy world, which protects them from feelings of shame and emptiness.
Researchers of a 2016 study found that the endocrinological profile of a person could contribute to "dark personaility traits", with high levels of testosterone being associated with higher levels of narcissism.
The aforementioned study by Czarna, et al., reveiled that Narcissists moderate the association between testosterone and generosity in men. This is because narcissists have high pro-self orientations, which means that they see themselves as eternally good.
The researchers also found that testosterone and narcissism were correlated with the probability of endorsing a prosocial value orientation (i.e., generosity and cooperation). Specifically, high narcissists were more likely to endorse a prosocial orientation than low narcissists.
This research supports the theory that narcissism modifies hormone-related behavioral outcomes, such as testosterone reactivity and mate preference. It also suggests that narcissism is not strongly reflected in body cues, but rather is displayed through facial and behavioral patterns.
This makes it important for people to identify narcissists quickly, so they can avoid being put down by their behaviors. To help you do that, try to focus on your own values and motivations. Look for meaningful work and interests, and try to get involved in volunteer opportunities that make use of your talents.
Conclusion - Narcissism Moderates Testosterone and Generosity in Men
A 2022 study finds that narcissism moderates the relationship between testosterone and generosity. It also found that narcissism is related to men's social value orientation.
People with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) have an inflated sense of self, superiority and grandiosity that they believe is justified. They also have high levels of anxiety and depression.
These traits are usually the result of a psychological wound they suffered from when they were children, such as neglect or abuse. Oftentimes, they are unable to see the damage that their behavior has caused and are resistant to change.
You can help to break these negative behaviors by setting healthy boundaries. For example, you can tell them to stop snooping through your possessions or stealing your ideas. You can also ask them to not give you unwanted opinions and advice.
The best way to protect yourself from narcissists is by knowing your true self and having a strong sense of self-compassion. This will make it easier to reject unfair criticism and projections, because you won't have to focus on what you think they think of you or what they're trying to achieve in your life.
This can be particularly difficult to do in a relationship with someone who is in denial about their narcissistic traits. However, if you are persistent and you are committed to a healthy relationship with this person, you can make it work. The key is to learn when it's time to walk away from the relationship and to not make excuses for their bad behavior.