The Aging Narcissist: What To Expect From Narcissistic People When They Get Old

Aging Narcissist Expect From Narcissistic People When Get Old

What happens to an aging narcissist? Does karma finally catch up to them? Or do they start realizing how they have abused others? Let’s take a look at the fate of an elderly narcissus.

The aging narcissist

Aging is a natural part of life and all of us have to go through this as we progress through the developmental stages of life. With age comes new found maturity and wisdom that enables us to navigate life experiences better. But what happens to the narcissist? Can they lie, manipulate, and cheat their way out of old age? No, they can’t. Despite how manipulative they might have been in their youth, narcissists also get old like the rest of us. And it can be really challenging for the aging narcissist to adjust with old age.

Narcissists want to be the center of attention. They desperately crave praise, approval, validation, and admiration from others. However, with the passing of years, the flow of praises seem to vanish. As our society is obsessed with beauty and youth, life can get seriously bad for the elderly narcissist. They start to question their own worth, feel vulnerable, and tend to give in to their insecurities. The “self-enhancing qualities can become a problem when such individuals must confront the passing of the years after their supposed prime of young adulthood,” explains Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D., Professor Emerita of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. As they struggle with old age, their social standing becomes weaker and things start going downhill for them.

Read also: Why The Narcissist Devalues You? 5 Reasons You Should Know

They become less narcissistic

Fortunately, for most narcissists, their toxic traits tend to wane with age. Although, this might not be true for all narcissists. According to a recent 2019 study released by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, specific personal relationships and career choices can lead to less narcissism in certain individuals by middle age. The study, which spanned over a 23-year period, from young adulthood to midlife, found that “narcissists become less narcissistic with time,” writes author Kyle Schnitzer.

The researchers primarily focused on 3 crucial aspects of narcissism in an aging narcissist:

  • Entitlement 
  • Leadership
  • Vanity

The study analyzed around 500 participants from the time they started college at the University of California Berkeley till the narcissists were 41 years of age. The researchers used survey questions to assess the narcissistic traits of the participants. The study states “Participants who were in supervisory positions showed smaller decreases in leadership, and participants who experienced more unstable relationships and who were physically healthier showed smaller decreases in vanity from young adulthood to middle age.”

An aging narcissist with higher levels of vanity during their youth ended up in toxic unstable relationships. They were highly likely to get divorced and have fewer children by the time they reached middle age. However, they experienced good health in general. However, narcissists with high levels of entitlement at age 18 were less satisfied with life and experienced a lot of negative events by middle age. The researchers found that merely 3% of participants had higher levels of narcissism during that time.

The study concludes “The findings suggest that people tend to become less narcissistic from young adulthood to middle age, and the magnitude of this decline is related to the particular career and family pathways a person pursues during this stage of life.

Read also: The Narcissist’s Family: The Roles Cast by the Narcissist

Lower narcissism, higher loneliness 

Another 2018 study revealed that “narcissism levels may decline over the lifespan of an individual.” Lead researchers Gregory L. Carter and Melanie D. Douglass found that an aging narcissist tends to show remarkably lower levels of narcissism. However, they experienced high levels of loneliness when compared to participants in middle age. They observed that the level of narcissism determined the association between loneliness and age. The study explains “Narcissism was lower in older-aged participants compared with middle-aged participants. Age was negatively correlated with, and negatively predicted narcissism, but was positively correlated with, and positively predicted loneliness.”

11 thoughts on “The Aging Narcissist: What To Expect From Narcissistic People When They Get Old”

  1. Last year, I figured out my live n loser was a sociopath and I allowed him in my home to spare me from my abusive narcisstic mother and sister and stalker.Art saved my life!

  2. My father is a narcissist and his tendencies got worse once my mum passed away. Both were in their 70s at the time.
    He has definitely worsened over the last 6 years. Now in his 80s I can see he is lonely but his behaviour is so toxic, he is hard to spend any amount of meaningful time with. It’s so difficult but better days will come as we keep an eye on him and his new wife.

  3. I think my mother has gotten worse since my sisters death, drug overdose last year. I did not figure out this till last year. I thought it was me and if i would of known, i could of saved my sister. Everything has come to light in the past year. Wow what a wake up

  4. Unfortunately this hasn’t been my experience. My narcissist parent has become more and more narcissistic with increasing age and bitterness. The loss of my other parent – a very empathic loving person – has also ‘exposed’ the very extreme narcissistic behaviour. As the attention the narcissist gets wains with age i’ve seen them act out with more and more manipulations. Classic example is texting an adult child who hasn’t responded to a text in a couple of days from their dead parent’s phone to get attention, even if negative. Just cruel. 🙁

  5. We have one in our family. I decided not to continue to be a target. No communication what so ever, and my life is the best it’s been in a long time. Of course there have been sacrifices because of it, but it’s worth it. This person is in their 40’s, sadly I probably won’t be around to see their implosion, but just the thought of them becoming miserable makes me smile!

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