Tag Archives: age

Do Narcissists Change As They Age?

I’ve read so many times that narcissists never change, but I have to disagree with this.

 

Narcissists can change for the better, because with God, all things are possible.  This is quite rare, but it’s certainly something to hope & pray for.  (I believe in hoping for the best but preparing for the worst)  It happened with my husband’s father- he improved so much.  I don’t know why he changed, but it was wonderful.  He was caring & kind to my husband instead of his usual behavior- critical, bossy & generally nasty.  Unfortunately though, he later developed dementia, & returned to his old ways.  (Dementia & Alzheimer’s can exacerbate narcissistic tendencies.  Sadly, this is quite normal.)  After his wife (a covert narcissist) died in 2016, he returned to his much better behavior.

 

More commonly though, narcissists do change as they get older, & they get much more devious & creative.  They have to change because as they age, they have to use different tactics if they want to remain in control.  In my teens, my mother was a very intimidating & imposing figure.  When she screamed at me, as she did so very often, I was always afraid she’d physically hurt me.  If she tried this today at age 77, I wouldn’t be so intimidated.  How could I be?  She is much older & frailer now.  Screaming at me now wouldn’t have the desired effect, so she has changed her tactic from screaming to speaking in a soft tone & saying the most vicious things she can come up with.

 

Narcissists are smart- they know what will be the most effective way to accomplish something they want to accomplish.  They are experts at reading people, as they have to be to figure out the best way to use them.   They also are smart enough to realize what worked well for them when they were 35 most likely won’t work as well at 75, & they must adapt accordingly.  Besides, their children aren’t as easily pushed around at 40 as they were at 10.  They have to find new ways to manipulate them if they wish to continue using their children.

 

Many older narcissists also like to reminisce.  They like to talk with you about the past.  Often it’s the usual narcissistic rhetoric- bragging about their great accomplishments at work or the vast numbers of people they’ve helped.  But, narcissistic parents also can do something very hurtful- brag about the amazing childhood you had.  My mother has done this many times.  She talks about all the great things she did for me when I was a child.  Some things were simply a parent doing what she should for a child, & some things never happened at all.  When this happens, it used to hurt me a great deal.  She was invalidating & denying abusing me!  Instead she made me look like a screw up who needed her.  Finally though, God showed me something that has helped me tremendously.  This behavior is a coping skill.  Dysfunctional as it is, this is how my mother copes with the guilt she feels for being so abusive.  Rather than take responsibility & apologize to me, she reinvents the past to make herself look like a good mother.  She also even tries to get me to agree with her stories, in the hopes of convincing herself & I both that the stories really are true.  Once God showed me this, it made perfect sense to me.  I no longer was so hurt by her stories, because I knew they weren’t a personal attack (even though they may feel like it sometimes).  I knew instead they were a dysfunctional coping skill.  It is her right to use that skill if she wants.  It’s also my right not to validate her stories if I am so inclined, & I never do validate them.

 

Just be forewarned, Dear Reader.  As your narcissistic mother ages, she may not mellow out like many folks do.  She may seem a bit easier to handle in her golden years because she isn’t screaming, but don’t be fooled- just because she isn’t screaming or physically abusive doesn’t mean she isn’t still capable of hurting you a great deal.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Caregiving, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Growing Older

I read something interesting recently.  It said if you have a negative attitude about growing older, it can increase your chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Tomorrow I’ll be 45 years old & am wondering when & how this happened.  lol  Not necessarily that I feel old, but it seems like I just turned 30 last year.  Time speeds by so fast!

 

It’s also rather scary because of the things I have seen.  Older folks’ bodies failing them, loss of independence, losing friends & loved ones.  It can be scary thinking that one day not so far off, that could be me.

 

Rather than indulging in that kind of thinking, dreading & fearing getting older, I’ve decided to think of getting older as a new journey.  I’ve also decided to embrace the good things that come with getting older.

 

Many older people have a certain comfortable way about them.  They realize that their many years have given them plenty of experience & wisdom.  They aren’t the naive young men & women they once were who trusted the wrong people or who had no idea what to do in a crisis situation.  The comedian Christopher Titus once said something along the lines of people who have been through some stuff know when things are about to hit the fan, you step to the side of the fan.   It’s very true!  Having plenty of experience is a good thing & grants you a great deal of wisdom you can’t gain from books.

 

This experience also grants them a certain freedom.  Freedom to enforce healthy boundaries with no guilt, freedom to wear what they like without caring what others think, & freedom to be completely themselves, without apology.  This freedom is a wonderful thing!

 

Just because you aren’t 22 anymore  doesn’t mean your life is over.  Sometimes, it’s only beginning.  Joyce Meyer didn’t start preaching until she was in her 40’s, I believe.  Laura Ingals WIlder, author of the “Little House On The Prairie” books began her literary career at 44.  Morgan Freeman only became a well known actor after his role in “Glory” at age 52.  Colonel Harland Sanders started KFC at the age of 65!

 

And, if you’re worried about losing your looks, forget that!  Look at Salma Hayak- she is in her late 40’s or maybe even 50, & stunning.  Kim Basinger, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christie Brinkley & Valerie Bertinelli are all over 50 & I think even prettier now than in their younger days.

 

If you’re worried about losing your looks, learn ways to take care of yourself to age gracefully as these beautiful women have.  I’ll share my skin care secret with you so you can start there if you like.  I exfoliate my skin often, at least a couple of times a week with a scrub I make myself from equal parts ground oatmeal (I grind it into a powder in the blender), corn meal & salt.  I do this in the shower- put some of this mixture in my hand, mix it with water, then rub it on my skin for a few moments & rinse.  I follow this with a good moisturizer after the shower.  In the winter, my skin gets extremely dry, so I need to use a heavy moisturizer.  The rest of the time, I use another concoction I make.  I make very strong green tea & add olive oil to it.  About 1 part olive oil to 3 parts tea.  You can adjust the ratio but be aware- too much oil can leave your skin feeling greasy.   It absorbs quickly & leaves my skin feeling soft & looking glowing.

 

There are some definite perks to growing older.  Why not decide to embrace them today?  Even if you are reading this & young, it’s never too early to make this decision.  xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health