When your average person experiences something that could be drastically life altering or even life ending, they are shaken up badly by the entire experience. Your average person may use the terrifying ordeal as a motivation to make positive changes in their life, such as working less hours or spending more time with their loved ones. They look at life differently. They become more appreciative of people & tell them how much they are appreciated.
This doesn’t happen with narcissists.
Narcissists think so differently than mentally healthy people, it makes sense that they also won’t respond in a normal way to such events.
A narcissist diagnosed with a deadly disease, for example, may complain a lot about it. They may feel sorry for themselves a great deal. They will look for pity from others.
A narcissist who survived a potentially deadly accident or terrible health scare often fails to see that they were blessed to survive & have this second chance at life. Instead, they may act like they are too good to have died in that way.
In an elderly narcissist who is getting more frail, the entitlement attitude becomes even more obvious than ever. Elderly narcissists often expect their spouses & adult children to take care of them 24/7, even doing things that the narcissists are still able to do. They use their failing health as an excuse to get out of doing things & a way to manipulate their families. Some have been known to take too many or too few medications to make themselves sick in order to gain attention.
In situations like these, narcissists may feel similar fear & terror everyone would feel. The difference is they don’t admit to these feelings. Instead, their sense of entitlement & grandiosity comes into play. They feel entitled to have their families, neighbors & doctors swarm around them to take good care of them.
And, if the narcissist in question recovers from a serious illness or survives a potentially deadly accident, don’t count on him or her changing. Narcissists don’t process things like healthy people do, as I mentioned earlier in this post. They won’t be inspired to make good, positive & healthy changes in their lives. In fact, some narcissists seem disappointed that their health problem has improved since it means they no longer are able to be the center of attention.
Witnessing such behaviors can be shocking, even when you know quite a bit about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It’s impossible for a normal, functional person to grasp fully narcissistic behaviors. They’re so drastically opposed to functional behaviors, it’s often impossible for a non-narcissist to wrap their mind around such things. If you feel this way upon witnessing a narcissist act in their totally dysfunctional way after a crisis, you’re not alone! My mother has had heart surgery twice in her life. The first time she seemed to have changed, but it didn’t last long. She was back to her overt narcissist ways in no time. The second time, there wasn’t any change, not even for a day. Witnessing both times was very difficult for me because it made no sense. Then having my own brush with death in 2015, it became even more mind boggling.
While I often suggest trying to understand what makes narcissists tick as a way to help victims protect themselves from accepting the blame for the problems in the relationship & predicting what the narcissist will do, in this area, I say give up. There’s no way to understand this bizarre behavior. Chalk it up to one more extremely dysfunctional way of thinking on the narcissist’s part.
Lastly, if you experience some sort of health scare, bad medical diagnosis or close call of some sort, I don’t recommend telling the narcissist in your life if you can help it. The vast amount of concern the narcissist has for herself won’t be showed to you. If the narcissist has experienced the same thing or knows someone who has, she WILL invalidate you. They had it worse, you just need to suck it up or take a pill. This sort of thing is why I never told my parents about my brush with death. When in such a situation, you don’t need their toxicity. You need compassion & gentleness, which are 2 things narcissists lack.