14 Ways Narcissists Become More Toxic as They Age

Getting older doesn’t cause a narcissist to be mellow out.

Christine Schoenwald

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Photo by Tamara Bellis on Unsplash

We were almost there — my mother’s house, 300 miles away from our house when outside of Stockton, we were rear-ended on the highway. Our packed car was totaled, but we were shaken, but okay.

The plan had been to stay with my mother for 10 days and help her out. She’s 95, too cranky for a caregiver, and lives alone. But because of the accident and the starting of California’s Safer at Home protocols, we could only stay for a couple of days.

My mother wasn’t happy.

As a clear but undiagnosed narcissist, she managed to make our accident all about her. I’d have thought she'd at least have a little empathy for us because of her phobia of being driven on the freeway.

Instead of understanding, my mother was angry, consumed with only her needs. Before the visit was over, she managed to tell me I was a horrible writer, had no discernable personality, and that I wasn’t a good person.

Unlike fine wine or cheese, narcissists don’t get better with age.

They don’t mellow, become wise, or develop late-onset self-awareness. Their personalities intensify, and without their ability to control others, they become bitter, defensive, and bossy.

When we age, anything masking our true selves fades away, which is certainly true with narcissists. They can no longer use their beauty or charm to seduce people into doing their bidding, so they have to develop other ways.

Aging isn’t easy for anyone, but narcissists never seem to make peace with it.

On the Narcissist Family Files blog, journalist, Julie L. Hall writes, “Since narcissists nearly always refuse to take responsibility for their actions or circumstances, they grow bitter and feel victimized by life, blaming others for their disappointments.”

Like any older adult, a narcissist may have an untreated mental illness or dementia affecting their mental state and behavior. Since there isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of dementia, red flags can be overlooked when dealing with a narcissist.

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Christine Schoenwald

Writer for The Los Angeles Times, Salon, Next Avenue, Business Insider, and Your Tango Christineschoenwaldwriter.com