Do Narcissists Get Worse With Age?

If you are currently in a committed relationship with a narcissist, you may think your life is an enduring hell- or at least purgatory. You might wonder if you stick it out, will he get better with age, will he mellow out?  Unfortunately, there is not a longitudinal research study with a definitive answer. One study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (F.Stinson et al, 2008) suggested that pathological narcissists might mellow out, as the characteristics of NPD were more prevalent among younger adults compared to older ones.

However, if a person reads the overly-abundant blogs available on the internet, they appear to be overwhelmingly of the opinion that narcissistic traits worsen as the narcissist ages. There are a few, less common but still published, accounts of narcissists who have indeed tempered their outbursts and learned to control their verbal abuse and constant demands. It is possible that mild narcissistic traits may decrease over time but pathological narcissism doesn’t.

Generally, narcissists don’t get more flexible, empathic or agreeable with age. These are personality traits of NPD and they are highly unlikely to change. Aging is rough on the ego- it increases dependency and vulnerability, usually reduces status (unless you are Donald Trump or Hugh Hefner), triggers regrets, and increases feelings of envy. Thus, it would make sense that a disorder involving the ego, such as NPD, would become exacerbated as the individual ages.  Over the course of time, “child prodigies lose their magic, lovers exhaust their potency, philanderers waste their allure, and geniuses miss their touch”. Time brings the narcissist closer and closer to being average as the gulf widens between his grandiose expectations and his actual accomplishments.

 Why don’t they get better?

In order to “get better” the narcissist would have to confess that his behavior and treatment of others was wrong or inappropriate. The narcissist would also need to admit that they need to change into a more compassionate human being. This will not happen for several reasons:

1) The narcissist is never wrong. “Wrong” or “inappropriate” are words that don’t exist in the narcissist’s vocabulary of self-perception. The narcissist firmly holds the belief that they are right, even if others disagree with them.
2) Compassion and empathy are considered weaknesses. Narcissists regard compassion and empathy as weaknesses because they allow people to be exploited (especially by narcissists). They know intuitively that they can manipulate and control compassionate people.
3) There is no value to the narcissist in being a better person. The narcissist may mimic compassion or empathy if there is something in it for him- something that will lead to obtaining Narcissistic Supply such as attention or others’ esteem. Like the other theatrical acts in his life, this will simply be an actor strutting on the stage for his audience. As the attention fades away, so goes the feigned compassion and empathy.

The Aging Narcissistic Parent

Reading the blogs from children of narcissistic parents, it is clear that pathological parents get meaner with age. They hold their children hostage through brainwashing about obligation, guilt and fear. They continue to manipulate and punish. An online example tells of an elderly, malignant mother who after years of wretched care-taking, further punished her children by leaving all her money to charity, claiming that she would never want to “cripple her children with something as burdensome as an inheritance”. Instead of aging gracefully, the narcissist’s anger increases with time. They are prone to more narcissistic rages against their adult children. They have no difficulty inexplicably cutting off communication. Their lack of empathy for their family becomes evident as their children grow older. When the spouse and children of their current relationship no longer provide reliable Narcissistic Supply, they simply move on to another source to get their fix. Often they will abruptly abandon the old family and jump into starting a new one. Children can be a crucial source of Narcissistic Supply; they adore unconditionally, worship their parents and are submissive (when young). On the other hand, children can take away attention from the narcissist. They can take too much of what the narcissist wants for himself: time, energy, resources, and attention. It is not uncommon for narcissists to view their own children as a threat, a nuisance, an unnecessary evil.

All in all, the narcissist makes for a terrible friend, poor lover and appalling parent…no matter what their age. He or she is likely to divorce many times (if they marry at all) and to end up in a series of monogamous relationships. Narcissists don’t mature with age; they continue to seek revenge for perceived insults, narcissistic injuries, and threats to their superiority. Redeeming a parent-child relationship later in life is highly unlikely; having a genuine, rewarding relationship with an aging narcissistic parent impossible.

Can aging narcissists return to a normal life?

Sam Vaknin, author of “Malignant Self Love” was asked if aging narcissists could return to a normal life if they were given therapy, counseling, or social support. He answered as follows:

“How can a narcissist return to a “normal” when – by the very definition of his disorder – he has never had a normal life and is utterly incapable of one? Narcissists are mentally-ill. Pathological narcissism cannot be”healed”, or “cured”. Only certain attendant mental health problems – such as depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder – can be ameliorated or controlled with medication. Additionally, particularly abrasive, grating, or antisocial behaviors can be modified using talk therapy (cognitive-behavioral being the most successful).

Narcissists rarely seek therapeutic help and they definitely do not listen to advice of any kind. The narcissist constantly consumes (really, preys upon) adoration, admiration, approval, applause, attention and other forms of Narcissistic Supply. When lacking or deficient, a Narcissistic Deficiency Dysphoria sets in. The narcissist then appears to be depressed, his movements slow down, his sleep patterns are disordered (he either sleeps too much or becomes insomniac), his eating patterns change (he gorges on food or is avoids it altogether).”

Dr. Vaknin goes on to cite specific behaviors and feelings that an aging narcissist might display: chronic sadness (dysphoria), no longer finds pleasure in anything (including his former pursuits, hobbies, and interests), violent mood swings (mostly narcissistic rages) attacks) and a compulsive addiction to alcohol, drugs, reckless driving, or shopaholism.

The overall conclusion is that narcissists do get worse with age. Some would say that narcissists just continue ‘being narcissists’ with the exception that they exhibit more depressive symptoms as they age. Others would argue that they have gotten away with their actions for so long that they up the ante by increasing their narcissistic abuse and demands. They have lost their looks, their grandiose fantasies were not supported, their old charm no longer works, they most likely have had several failed marriages and countless failed relationships, their children avoid them… no wonder they are depressed. Some might say that is poetic justice.


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29 Responses to “Do Narcissists Get Worse With Age?”

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  1. czbz says:

    Thank you for the link, Alexander Burgemeester. It’s much appreciated!

    Perhaps another reason narcissists deteriorate with age is because they’ve had several decades to make massive mistakes, from which they never recover. So many narcissistic people seem to get worse by age fifty. They leave their families, ruin their occupations, take giant risks (lowered impulses as they age) and fail in front of an audience of people they cannot face again. So they leave. Drink. Commit suicide. And we minimize their behavior as a “midlife crisis” when in fact, it’s the full-blown manifestation of pathological narcissism (the NPD). And that is why Kohut called someone with a NPD, “The Tragic Man.”

    Any thoughts about the so-called midlife crisis versus the NPD? I haven’t read much about this topic but believe there’s a huge misunderstanding by society. Far better in my view, to consider this behavior as abnormal rather than “validate” it something people do in the 21st century because we’re living longer.


    • Beth says:

      That is exactly what happened to a close friend of mine. Her serial cheating NPD husband got so much worse in 50s. Ended up leaving a 30 year marriage, ruining his career, losing the respect of his children. Besides having new gf my friend found out he is addicted to porn, prostitutes ie.

      • LW says:

        Yes there is a pattern with NPD men and needing to prove themselves with women. It never ends.

      • smb says:

        Beth, That is exactly what my NPD did. He left after 35 years, our family as well as our successful construction business. The hurt and damage he has done to our children and family is unforgivable and unrepairable. He left me broke and the business in a mess. I was taking care of his mother (who had demencia) while he was working out of town and seeing a woman half my age. She is younger than our children! He started drinking heavy again after 15 years. Yes, he is still with her as far as I know. Infact, he just recently married her. She herself is a BPD, a drinker and a gambler. My son told me he heard they were fighting violently. No one here at home has heard a word from him in 10 months. All of his self destruction started after the death of his mother.

    • Jane Doe says:

      This is happening to me now, exactly as described above! Im lost and dont know how to handle it and scared!! I am in Therapy for two months nows and it was only through therapy that I realized for the first time in over 15+ yrs of marriage what I was dealing with! What an eye opener!! I have children in college mutual businesses and its a disaster!! Thanks to these websites and articles I am getting educated but wish I could find education on how to handle a person with these problems and knowing how to prepare for the destruction they could possibly bring to myself and my children and future!

      • LW says:

        It’s great you’re in therapy. My aunt is now about 70 and she just could not get help or walk away from her abusive NPD husband. She’s got to live her remaining years asking herself “what if I’d done something about it…? would I have been happier?” It’s sad – we all try not to mention what we are thinking : that she could have had a much happier life by nipping the problem in the bud early on. Don’t waste another day – make a change in your life, because your NPD friend/partner/spouse will never change. The stats just don’t support the possibility that they will.

    • LW says:

      Someone I know (knew) showed more intense outbursts, exhibitionism, and control tendencies when he hit middle age. The old approach of trying to manipulate people into being friends just stopped working when people got wise to it, and couldn’t handle the veiled threats, guilt trips, and shouting matches anymore. People slowly but surely crept away and now he’s feeling it and taking it hard. The man has put so many years into placing unreasonable demands on his peers that they’re just worn out. The decline has begun. He’s even looking worse; tired, older. The downhill spiral happened pretty fast. It’s sad but I still want to be nowhere near the guy.

  2. aimee kat says:

    This was exactly what I needed to read today! The pain of having a Narcissistic Mother is horrid! She has gotten worse with age.My NMother rages when asked about anything or even slightly confronted. Many of her past evil deeds are coming to light. My NMother has split the whole family apart…pitting child against child. Going on elaborate smear campaigns, while everyone else is busy living their lives. My N.mother cannot stand when her own adult children spend any time together.She has worked harder than ever to hurt her own family.My Narcissistic mother has resorted to abusing mentally and physically her own grandchildren now.She can dish pain all day and if anyone dare question what the hell she’s doing shell ignore you,but there is always a way she tries to get at you…abuse by proxy! My n.mother enjoys the pain she inflicts and acts more innocent than ever. The gaslighting seems to be brushed off easier as just older person…..but truth is she is meaner. Narcissistic people scare me.I just woke up a few years ago-and I am thankful for websites like this-and my own psych doctor! I am trying to stay no contact and hundreds of miles away! Freedom for sanity!

  3. calm says:

    As a child it was confusing that it was consistently difficult to get along with my mother. Constant fights, yelling, scolding, and nothing I could do would consistently make that relationship smooth. Home from college one weekend, my mother was on the phone with her dad (whom she never got along with) and I could overhear the conversation escallating into full blown rage. When the conversation was over my mother experienced amnesia for half an hour. It wasn’t until this time, in my early 20’s, that I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t me who had a problem; but her. It seems perfectly normal for a family member to not get along with someone, but when it is all of your siblings, 1 of 2 parents, 1 of 2 children, all nieces, all in-laws, many friends who have come and gone, one needs to come to the conclusion and to realize that it isn’t you, but someone else.

    This doesn’t make the situation easier. My school of thought is that it is important to not alienate oneself from family, and to support children, parents and relatives through the good and bad times. Continuing to be a party with a relative (mother in this cae) whit NPD is a life frought with not knowing when the next blow up occurs, walking on egg shells, and trying to do the right thing. However, a relationship with NPD is not a winnable situation. It wasn’t until recently that she displayed rage in front of my father. After all, my parents are in their 70’s, and in all this time, my father never saw this rage first hand whe it came to a confrontation with her and me. All her rage eppisodes have always been in private with me so no one else ever saw first hand this behavior. My father was shaken by this behavior.

    In my history, I’ve tried many approaches, and none of them work well or consistently. My experience has shown that NPD has gotten worse with age. It may be a habbit, in which older people with ingrained habbits perpetuate, or they don’t have the ability to control/regulate their behavior as well as they once did.

    The persons with NPD will make someone else upset, shamed, guilty, or some other emotion. In that light, it is the person with NPD that is sick, and I’m not equipped to say if that sickness is psychological or social, but there are some personality deficiencies which inhibit their ability to be fully functional in life, family and occupation; they are handicapped.

  4. gone2wales says:

    Thanks for the information. It helps make sense of it all. I’m curious about how and why NPD starts. My Dad has it, he’s 74 and I’m 44. What could make someone feel no responsibility their actions? Justification? Survival? They seem to have no conscience. I really would like to understand. If we don’t understand , how can we help our children avoid developing it?

  5. Windy says:

    The NPD sufferer I loved committed suicide in the wee hours this morning. I am so sad. He was a very good person, and I can truly say this was an affliction with which he suffered, not a choice he made. I think we need to look more deeply into the causes of NPD. Why do so many NPD sufferer’s have dysfunctional diets, bordering on eating disorders? Why do they sleep so erratically and poorly? My love also suffered with ADHD, and possibly bi-polar disease. He knew all this, he knew he couldn’t change any of it, and he only wanted love. It was so difficult to carry on a lasting connection with him because he alienated everyone – spouse of 33 years, children, siblings, nieces, nephews and me. I didn’t want to be alienated. I hung on with both hands until my nails bled, because I saw what a good person was hiding under all that crap. I thought I could get him to therapy and medication and it would be all better. Now naive! I deserve a firing squad for what I put him through. It wasn’t one-way pain going on. I gave as good as I got, thinking the mirror image of his behavior would stop him. Like he was a dog I was training, or something. People tell me I couldn’t have changed this outcome if I had done everything perfectly, but I’m not so sure. We are all human beings, we all deserve love. NPD is an illness. A very destructive illness, to be sure, and we need to keep in mind that it is destroying them more than it is destroying us.

    • Cindy says:

      That is a sad story. Sorry for your loss. I guess there are two sides to every story but most people don’t take your view point. The N personality takes so much without giving that it’s hard to have a relationship with them, add in all the games and manipulations that it becomes very hard to deal with them on any level aside from just letting them do their trippy thing. Your point is well taken though, and thank you for sharing.

  6. LW says:

    I have just broken off contact with a “friend” of about 15 years who has usually operated this way: he keeps himself surrounded by people with weak personalities who are going to validate every idea he has and simply listen and not respond too much. The only real response to give him is agreement at the very least; praise works too. Laugh at all his jokes, justify his outlandish behavior. That’s the “script”. Trouble is, I’ve outgrown the charade and I’ve increasingly been more vocal in the friendship: sharing my own thoughts and feelings, giving opinions on current issues, even talking about my family. The last time we met I mentioned that I’ve been putting in extra time with my kids (which he hasn’t been able to – or refused to do when his were younger) and of course this sent him into a rage. After he took my innocent comment as an insult, I thought it would come to blows. He shouted a few choice words and I just got up and left. It was that easy. I knew eventually something like that would happen, but I didn’t expect it to happen the other night. Either way, I del lighter than air knowing I don’t have to look over my shoulder knowing that “you-know-who” is going to be breathing down my neck, accusing me of not giving enough attention. To all you folks out there who are in relationships with NPD people who are causing more hurt than help: GET OUT. Just leave. Don’t look back. You’ll thank yourself for it. You are dealing with a formerly abused child who is still a child, but in a grown up body. Have a good life, free from the unnecessary hurt from dangerous people.

  7. Christine says:

    Same, same, same. I was married for 34 years to an unbelievably abusive man. The same dynamic I read in the accounts of others, over and over. I ended up thoroughly beaten down, no self-esteem or self-regard, emotionally wiped out and broken. Some pretty intense pschiatric therapy put all into perspective for me but just because you are off the battlefield doesn’t mean you don’t continue to be affected with what you experienced. Every now and then, after 5 years, I feel the physical and emotional pain his comments about my body, hair, character and personality etc caused, but it’s more balanced now with an understanding of his NDP and that it’s not something I caused, or something I could have cured or even continued to have lived with without the extreme mental and emotional anguish driving me into a sanatorium.
    My former spouse made the end of the marriage as humiliating, excrutiatingly painful and degrading for me as possible. He walked out of our home one day without warning, while I was at work and joined the household of the latest of his women. He told each of our grown daughters of his decision to end the marriage and his reasons why, giving him the opportunity to set up his leaving with more of his ‘poor me’ stories. He asked one of them to call me at my office and ask me to contact him. It was when I called him that he dropped the bombshell.
    There followed a period of utter pain, desperation and desolation. All told about a year. Home gone, house gone, children had long ago been taken onside by him so gone also. All gone. Even the family dog.
    Every now and then it would come to my attention some of the reasons why he had been forced to seek happiness elsewhere, how I had failed him in every which way. And, of course, how hard he had tried in the relationship and the marriage despite my obvious mental health issues and character defects.
    He moved his girlfriend back to our home town after about 5 months, demanded a divorce, married the woman, and began a period of high profile, local hero activities. Glorious attention. Then came the relationship dramas, the breakups and separations, and finally the face-saving relocation to a northern Canadian city so that his wife “could grow her career” as a personal trainer. No sooner were they ensconced in their new home when they separated. No word as to whether or not it stuck.
    I remain estranged from my children, initially feeling that this was an opportunity to recover and become the grown, whole and healthily functioning woman I’d always wanted to be, and awaiting the time when they might want some contact. However, one of my daughters has two small children now and although she electronically sends pictures there remains a distinct coldness, very little verbal or written communication. No contact with the others.
    I could cry when I think of the damage this man has done over the years. I can identify many people in our past that he has crushed or separated us from when they were obviously “on” to him. Our acquaitances were always weak, vulnerable people, those that he was sure he could fool with his lies and stories, and that he could fool with his puffing and huffing and bring on the wafting attention he craved.
    I was always afraid and anxious that the marriage would end badly, that I would lose my children and that he would make sure he left me with as little of our assets as he could. And of course that’s what happened.
    Understanding that there was never going to be any other outcome strangely helps. It was always all beyond my control, there was nothing I could have done except have someone wave the biggest, reddest flags right in front of my face when I first met him.

    • Linda says:

      My husband was just like Christine’s husband. He was violent abuser, abused the children and an alcoholic. The 3 adult children have bonded with him and after being severely hurt by them, I have finally decided to disown them for my mental health. I was the one who filed for divorce after 45 years and he has such rage that I left a superior man like him. I am almost divorced now and finally learned that he damaged me badly but life goes on and I am getting a lot of good therapy. This is the best thing I have done.

  8. Maryanne says:

    Yes, they get worse with age! I’m 48, my mother is 82. She’s currently in an assisted living facility. I’m so relieved to know after years of narcissistic abuse from her and much counseling with pastors and psychologists that I’m not the one with the problem! I left home the day I turned 18 because of her. I had a wonderful father and if it weren’t for him I don’t think i would have turned out to be ok. My mother would always need to be the center of attention with my dad. She would always tell me and my only sibling, my sister, that she always comes first with our dad. She always had to have her hair done once a week, have the best clothing & shoes money could buy, wouldn’t never be there to help us be involved with any activities, would never spend time talking with us or helping us with lifes problems, never let our friends in the house, etc. Much of the typical things narcissistic mothers do. She was simply only there, from what I recall, and the things I ever remember her saying to me was you can do better than that… no matter what I ever did. She, on the other hand was the opposite with my sister… the trouble maker who in her eyes, I’m learning later in life, was her narcisistic supply & today still is. My sister will kiss her ass for anything, but not me. I was a good daughter, made good grades, graduated early from high school and have now 3 children 29, 25 and 18 yrs. old. I’ve been married 30 yrs. and am pretty much the one making sure she gets proper care, do all of her errands for her and all the while my sister finds excuses why she can’t do much of this for her. Oh and by the way, my father died of cancer when he was only 52 and my mother blamed me for it saying i caused his cancer because of the stress i caused him when i moved out! In her mind she thought stress causes cancer… wrong… his smoking 3 packs a day caused his cancer! Needless to say she messed me up bad, I’m the best mom i can be to my kids hoping and praying everyday they won’t ever feel about me the way i feel about my mom! Because of the fact she is so self-centered she shows very little interest in my kids and they never want to visit her! She has dementia and wound up in this facility on Medicaid, because she gave all the money she had to my sister & her 2 daughters… Wow, she’s miserable and as strange as it may sound, I don’t think she’s happy unless she’s miserable. I have no relationship with her, i only do what i do to honor my dad. He would do it for her if he were alive. Blessings to all who can’t escape a narcissist… but if u can run as fast as you can away from them… they won’t miss u anyway :/

    • Kiki says:

      Right on the money! Get out…they do not change as they don’t know they are narcissists. Everyone else is the problem. I ended a long term friendship of twenty-five years, we lived in different states so I wasn’t really exposed to her “bad” side until my life seemed better than hers (in her mind). As long as you remain an equal (or lower) they will let you be, but when their insecurities arise you will become a target to destroy. It isn’t even worth a discussion once they turn on you, just walk away. Delete, avoid, and never speak to again as they will try to reel you back in. Once you do it, oddly enough a huge weight has been lifted that you didn’t realize you shouldered.

  9. EJ says:

    I have recently separated from my partner who definitely has some of the traits of NPD. Over the past 13 years I have been to hell and back and I have to say he has definitely got worse over time.

    He has alienated everyone around him he has no friends apart from a couple of work colleagues and he speaks to his parents about twice a year. He doesn’t care about anyone.

    He had a very difficult first marriage with an extremely controlling woman who caused the breakdown of the relationship with his parents and sibling and also resulted in him losing friends.

    As a result this has made him into what he is now. When I first met him his phone was full of girls numbers and I should have run a mile but i was smitten. About a year into the relationship I found out he had been texting other girls but nothing had happened with them – I ended the relationship but he begged me to take him back and I did.

    About 5 years down the line we ended up having a child, it hasn’t all been bad we have had some amazing times but he craves the attention of other women and after leaving him twice and returning, I found out 4 years ago he was having a full blown affair, this completely crushed me i moved out and my family refused to have anything to do with him ever again. He cried and begged for us to go back and 6 months later we did. I could not forgive this and things between us were horrendous he had changed to the point where he was a stranger absolutely cold no and filled with hatred. At this point I made the decision to move 80 miles away (he was still messing around on his phone). Us moving really hurt him he cried for weeks and begged us to stay but we left. However I have still been seeing him he has been coming to our house always turning up for school sports days, concerts, fairs etc and we have been on holiday together.

    However he sent me a text obviously meant for someone else and I have now discovered he is on a dating website and seeing who knows how many girls. He hAsnt spoken to our child for 2 weeks when I confronted him about the dating website his question was ooooh are you on there too? We’ve had no contact now for 3 days and he does not care about the pain and carnage he has caused. At least I am away from him and don’t have to witness it. But his behaviour and self worth is definitely getting worse – he is in his 47 years old and is a good looking guy with a great physique and thus is what he uses. I thought he would have grown up by now but he is worse than ever and to put himself On a website where my friends may see him – he obviously doesn’t care an ounce about me!!!

    He never ever used to be as cruel as he is now and now it appears yes abandoning outer 8 year old child too!!

    Luckily I have more than him as I have friends and family abc as much as he’s tried to put me down he hasn’t succeeded!!! I’m better than him and I know it!!! Still hurts like hell though as he’s destroyed our family and left me as a single mum without a care in the world while he seeks his thrills from cheap women!!!!

  10. Eric says:

    I think one of the reasons NPD’s age poorly is they live a fantasy that they must expend tremendous amounts of energy maintaining & then even more to manipulate those around them to reinforce this. They also have the truth as based upon real events that runs parallel that must be internally held in check too. The rest of us basically have a realistic version of truth that is simply remembered.

  11. annie says:

    18 months ago I left a 32 year marriage with the encouragement of my adult children after years and years of craziness and control and sadness. I’m hear to say they NEVER get any better and most definitely seem to get worse with age. l have been left with next to nothing he let our business run down no one will work for him because of his npd friends have abandon us as did most family members. He made it impossible for anyone to be around him. Most people don’t understand what this mental illness is so they think he is just a a……hole. Things are a bit lonely for me now however I was probably more lonely when we were together from being isolated. The good news is my family has come back to me and I can actually do things like just going to the shop without the horrible consequences. Sadly my kids have been affected from having a narcissistic father especially my 27year old daughter who is terrified to have a relationship with any man as a result of seeing him drunk and abusive every single night of her life. I strongly suggest if you are in a npd relationship…..RUN…..don’t wait until your in your mid 50s and a lot of your life has passed you by. It took me that long to build up my broken self esteem to leave….things are finally getting better.

  12. grace says:

    Thanks for all the sharing

    I strongly believe that ndp give out a certain vibe that can be picked up easily when u meet another one the 2nd time.

    It happened to me
    I was able to detect and discern smhw when he was next to me for the 1st time
    The kind of strange presence made me really uncomfortable

    Then all the self-centered reasons and self-preoccupation plus pretension just such a put-off

    He thot he was charming
    He only want to attract attention
    No substance of gd character
    Only outward vanity
    Hollow on the inside

    Simply too scary for any investment of relationship

    At the end the regrets, pain and sorrow , nightmares and destruction will only lead to severe depression and many other psychological/emotional issues

    Dont be deceived and dont give your heart and life away to ndp
    Their charm is harmful and will ruin you.

  13. Diane says:

    At age 65, the question I am asking is not whether the narcissist improves or declines with age but whether the “victim” ever learns to stop being the enabler to these characters that other people with firmer boundaries would not give the time of day. Most of my close friends–the women I admire–would not spend five minutes with the men who I have allowed to make me miserable. At 65 I am seeing a 73 year old man who has temper tantrums and stops talking when I ask a question he doesn’t particular like (“What time do you want to go to the movie?”

    Discovering these posts and pages and pages of insightful analyses of the narcissists and his feeding habits, has opened doors of understanding not only about them but mainly about myself. I knew I seemed to be a magnet for toxic relationships. But couldn’t figure out way. Thought it was because I was chubby as a good and didn’t know my father.

    These posts are helping me understand that I was drawn to these characters because was was unable to fully know and embrace me. I am unique, beautiful, funny and a terrific cook. I have no more time to spend with people who take pleasure into trying to kill my joy.

    Knowing and loving yourself is the best way to rid yourself of these blood sucking

  14. Jane Bartels says:

    Do they get worse with age? Yes, they do. My mother is 94 and the amount of venom she spews is unbelievable. However, I went NC for years ago and IF I hadn’t done so, I think I wouldn’t be here.

    And….the family influence of a pathological narcissist affects ALL other members and of course we have that well known issue of Golden Children and a Scapegoat. The Golden Children become narcissists in their own right when they are trained by the Parent Narcissist. It’s really a dead end for these GC but they don’t recognize it. They never really achieve independence, emotionally and intellectually. They are so infused with fear of rattling the old bat (and having her rage turn to them) that they are slaves within this context. The scapegoat? Well, I was one for 60 years, but I did develop a painful independence…always being told that I was ‘inferior’ by the Narcissist and her budding narcissists

    I had to work that issue out over the years and peel the stinky onion!

    Elderly narcissists have no REASON to change: in fact, the wiring is so twisted by their constant and uncritical behavior that they just stew in their own juices: fantasies of battles they never fought, victories they never had. They really rewrite history and this is part of the syndrome of Narcissism.

    And they lie.

    What can you do? Nothing. You must leave these broken people to themselves and their (dwindling) narcissistic supply. Save yourself. Run.

    And don’t expect a death bed confession or apology. Expect only more abuse because even death (which my mother is very, very afraid of….) will not bring any change in their disorder.

    Narcissism is a mental illness. We can clean it up in many ways to ‘excuse’ it, but it is not something you can change or cure.

  15. Rose says:

    My NPD ex-boyfriend’s addiction is to Meetup. They never include this one in the list of addictions, but it’s his biggest and main one; it allows him to go to many different events in many different groups where people don’t know of how cruel he really is. He can pass himself off as kind, gentle, charming, when he is anything but.

  16. Rose says:

    My comment didn’t go through before, so I’m trying again:

    My recent ex, a pathological narcissist, has as his addiction going to meetups. No one mentions this when talk about addictions of the narcissist, but it works perfectly: he can go to frequently to many different events in many different groups, duping people who don’t know his true cruel nature.

  17. Heli says:

    I know they monsters. I know hey can not be help… but my love is dragging me back to one of them already 18 years through pain, misery and emotional devastation, forcing me to pity her… Maybe I am a masochist, maybe thats what they call insane loyalty, but in the end this feeling of love saves me from being finally ruined and gives me strength to overcome the destruction of that grief… Five years of studying the subject of Social Personality Disorders says my Narc cannot be help. Period. But my undying love for her keeps dispatching hope. Pretty sick, is in it?! ; ))

  18. Heli says:

    I know they are monsters. I know hey can not be help… but my love is dragging me back to one of them already 18 years through pain, misery and emotional devastation, forcing me to pity her… Maybe I am a masochist, maybe thats what they call insane loyalty, but in the end this feeling of love saves me from being finally ruined and gives me strength to overcome the destruction of that grief… Five years of studying the subject of Social Personality Disorders says my Narc cannot be help. Period. But my undying love for her keeps dispatching hope. Pretty sick, is in it?! ; ))

  19. Gábor says:

    I have lived with a narcissist (a psychopath) for 18 years, and I thought I may add my 2 cents here.

    I think even this article is “too kind” with Ns. Even though I lived with a psychopath and not a “simple” narcissist (there is a difference, Narcissists just don’t care about hurting people while getting supply, while psychos even enjoy it), but the narcissistic element is the same.

    IMO Narcissists can never “return” to a normal life, because they never lived one. As a matter of fact, normal, to them, is what they do. To exploit, use, hurt, and manipulate human beings.

    Even talking about a narcissists “changing” or going to therapy, even talking about the possibility that a narcissistic “father” or “mother” is changing, is an illusion.

    We tend to see them from our human perspective, which is misleading. I did the same for years, I was mad at him, when I realized what he is, I was shocked, I threatened him, intimidated him, until I realized that I am not talking to a human being.

    They are emotionless, heartless robots. Everything else we see in them is a projection of our own or other human beings’ qualities.

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