If you’re looking for some good examples of narcissists and narcissistic behavior, look no further than Hollywood. Narcissists are often represented often in movies and television shows – and it can be very validating to identify and watch them for survivors of narcissistic abuse.
What is a narcissist?
In general, a narcissist is someone with a high opinion of him/herself. But it goes much deeper than that – in narcissistic abuse situations, the word narcissist refers to a toxic, verbally (and sometimes physically) abusive person who has a marked lack of empathy and may also have narcissistic personality disorder.
Here are 11 examples of narcissists in movies and tv shows.
Narcissists in the Movies
- Devil Wears Prada – Miranda Priestly thrives on keeping her employees and everyone else in the fashion industry in fear of her narcissistic rage. Only briefly do you ever see any glimpse of humanity of her in the movie, and it’s quickly remedied when you realize she has thrown one of her most loyal employees under the bus (by giving her would-be replacement the promotion that should’ve been his) in order to protect her own interests and keep her job at the magazine.
- Mean Girls – The Plastics, all of them, could be classified as narcissistic in one way or another, though the two “followers” may be more codependent than anything. But their leader, Regina George, is clearly a raging narcissist who not only makes her followers tell her how skinny and beautiful she is, but she also has no problem using them to get what she wants. There’s no doubt that she’s certain she is better than everyone else, even her enabling mother.
- Snow White – The Wicked Queen literally orders the death of her younger, more attractive stepdaughter for being – well, younger and more attractive. Looks to me like a histrionic narcissist if I’ve ever seen one.
- Mommy Dearest – This true story about actress Joan Crawford offers a classic example of a toxic, abusive and blatantly narcissistic mother who abuses her two adopted children emotionally, psychologically, mentally, physically and otherwise.
- Dead Poet’s Society – Puck’s father was a bullying, controlling narcissist who ultimately goes too far with his toxic abuse and loses his son to suicide. And if we’re being honest, the headmaster of the school could probably also be called narcissistic since he controls the students through threats and intimidation.
Narcissists On Television
- Will & Grace – Karen Walker – rich, beautiful and blatantly narcissistic. Rarely shows empathy, but the writers seem to show enough of her human side that you don’t quite hate her.
- House – Dr. Greg House – amazing doctor but he talks down to his patients, other doctors and his bosses, and except for a few peeks into a slightly human self, Houe seems to clearly lack empathy.
- Breaking Bad – Walter White is clearly a self-focused narcissist who initially seemed to mean well, but ultimately got so wrapped up in the toxic meth business that he (apparently) ends up dead. More intriguing, though, is the character Gus Fring, who runs a chains of chicken restaurants (among other businesses), which act as a cover for a multi-million dollar drug ring.
- Two and a Half Men: Charlie Harper, Alan Harper and their mother Evelyn Harper. Each Harper brother is self-focused and entitled in their own ways, and it’s clear that their narcissistic mother drove their personality development.
- Gilmore Girls: Lorelai Gilmore may be more of a covert narcissist, but she was raised by an obviously toxic mother and she often appears to show no empathy for anyone outside of herself and her daughter, who, perhaps not surprisingly, she named after herself.
- The Sopranos: Tony Soprano seems to have some serious narcissistic traits, despite certain apparent empathy he displays now and then. In fact, his therapist even noted during one episode, “I thought we were making progress with your narcissism, Tony.” Olivia Soprano also seems to be on the narcissism spectrum.