How do narcissists treat you when you are sick?

When you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, you quickly learn that it’s all about them. At least, that’s how it goes in their minds.

But what happens when you need the attention on you? If you’re feeling sick, you likely cannot tend to the narcissist’s every need. 

Now, it becomes about you, but the narcissist won’t stand for that. Did you forget that it’s all about what they need?

When you’re sick, the narcissist has no time for your whining and crying. You better suck it up and shut up, because they don’t care.

Based on who they are as people, you can expect narcissists to show the following behaviors when you’re under the weather.

Common narcissistic treatment when you’re sick 

The narcissist doesn’t suddenly become a good person just because you’re sick. So, you cannot rely on them to show you care and concern.

Instead, they’ll pull some or all of the following tricks out of their pocket. 

Total lack of empathy for your experience 

Narcissists lack empathy in general, and it’s no different when you’re sick. The narcissist simply cannot identify with your needs, because they’re so wrapped up in their own. 

This means they cannot see that you’re feeling nauseous and fatigued. All they can see is that you’re too under the weather to cater to them, which angers them. 

Based upon their lack of empathy, you can expect the narcissist to minimize the seriousness of your illness. They also won’t care about your feelings during this time, and they’ll probably lash out at you for being so lazy. 

Selfish behavior

Selfishness is the narcissist’s middle name, so of course you can expect them to be self-centered during your time of need. Rather than being concerned about you, they’ll be concerned about themselves. 

How can you possibly expect them to go on when you’re in bed all day, rather than tending to all of their needs?

The narcissist may even go so far as to play the victim, whining and moaning about how your sickness is affecting them. 

Extreme irritability 

Since the narcissist only cares about themselves, they’ll become pretty irritable toward you when you’re sick.

They will still expect you to wait on them and care for their needs, and when you can’t do this, they will be angry. 

They may call you names, tell you how inconvenient your illness is, or become inpatient with you, asking how long they can expect you to be down and out. 

Gaslighting you

You probably already know that narcissists are gaslighters, and it turns out they’ll do this to you, even when you’re sick.

In times of sickness, gaslighting might look like the narcissist telling you you’re faking your illness for attention. Or, they might tell you that you’re exaggerating, and it’s not as bad as you think it is.

The bottom line is that they want to invalidate your experience, making you feel out of line for feeling bad in the first place. 

Pretending to care

While the narcissist will generally have disdain for you when you’re sick, they may have moments in which they pretend to care. This typically occurs when they have an audience, because appearing like a wonderful caretaker makes them look good to other people.

So, when they think it will give them some positive attention, the narcissist may go out of their way to be a doting partner during your time of sickness. They’re hoping for attention and praise, which boosts their ego.

When you’re behind closed doors again, expect them to withdraw their care and concern. They’ll go back to being dismissive and degrading, because they no longer have anything to gain from acting like they care. 

Taking advantage of an opportunity to manipulate you

Exploitation is the name of the game when you’re dealing with a narcissist. These folks are great at sniffing out your areas of weakness and taking advantage of them to get what they want from you.

When you’re sick, the narcissist will make a big deal about how much you’re inconveniencing them. They’ll also make you feel guilty for interrupting their life with your moment of neediness.

Their goal is to manipulate you into thinking that you’re in the wrong for having gotten sick. They expect you to pay them back for having dared to come down with an illness.


So, expect them to throw this in your face down the road. They’ll remind you how useless you were when you were sick, hoping you’ll feel guilty and give them some extra special treatment to compensate for it. 

Giving you the cold shoulder

If the narcissist doesn’t take advantage of a perfect opportunity to berate you while you’re sick, they’ll simply ignore you. After all, you’re useless if you’re too ill to act as their personal servant.

Rather than caring for you like an adequate partner would do, they’ll give you the cold shoulder. They might go out and have fun without you, or entertain other people since you’re no good to them.

Sadly, they’ll feel no remorse for their behavior. They think they’re entitled to have all their needs met. If you’re too sick to cooperate, it’s not their fault you aren’t following the rules! 

Offering conditional care

Narcissists view relationships as transactional, so if they do show you any care or concern during your illness, they’ll make sure they get something in return.

They might offer to serve as your caretaker, but they will definitely keep a tab. They’ll expect to be able to leverage their “kindness” at some point in the future to get favor out of you.

Rest assured, whatever the narcissist asks of you in return will far exceed the level of care they’ve provided you during your time of need. They’ll give you the bare minimum, while expecting grandiose treatment in return. 

The bottom line: The narcissist doesn’t care 

Regardless of how they act when you’re sick, the truth is that the narcissist doesn’t care about your illness. They aren’t genuinely concerned for your well being, and they aren’t interested in offering support during this time.

The narcissist is likely upset that you’re under the weather, because it means you cannot devote yourself completely to catering to their every demand. They’re likely to punish you by using manipulation, gaslighting, or insults to make you feel guilty.

If they show any semblance of care, it’s because they have something to gain from it, such as looking good in front of others or using their care as an opportunity to leverage a favor from you.

What’s most important is not to upset yourself with unrealistic expectations. If you expect the narcissist to be genuinely loving and attentive, you’re going to be disappointed. 

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