Old-age Narcissist

Uploaded 8/26/2010, approx. 4 minute read

My name is Sam Vaknin. I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

The narcissist ages without mercy and without grace. His withered body and his overwrought mind conspired to betray him all at once.

He stares with incredulity and rage at cruel mirrors, refuses to accept his growing fallibility and mortality. He rebels against his decrepitude and mediocrity.

Accustomed to being awe-inspiring and the recipient of adulation and attention, the narcissist cannot countenance his social isolation and the pathetic figure that he cuts in old age.

The narcissist suffers from mental progeria.

According to childhood abuse, he ages prematurely and finds himself in a time warp, constantly in the throes of a midlife crisis.

As a child prodigy, a sex symbol, a stud, a public intellectual, an actor, an idol, the narcissist was at the center of attention, the eye of his personal twister, a black hole which sucked people's energy and resources dry and spit out with indifference their mutilated carcasses.

No longer. With all age comes disillusionment. All charms wear thin.

Have you been exposed for what he is? The deceitful, treacherous, malignant egotist.

The narcissist's old tricks now fail him. People are on their guard. Their gullibility is much reduced.

The narcissist, being the rigid, precariously balanced structure that he is, cannot change. He reverts to all forms. He re adopts hoary habits and succumbs to erstwhile temptations.

He is made a mockery by his accentuated denial of reality, by his obdurate refusal to grow up, an eternal, malformed child in the sagging body of a decaying man.

It is the fable of the grasshopper and the ant revisited.

The narcissist, the grasshopper, having relied on supercilious strategies throughout his life, is singularly ill-advised to life's rigors and tribulations.

He feels entitled, but fails to elicit narcissistic supply.

Wrinkle time makes child prodigies lose their magic. Lovers exhaust their potency.

Philanderas waste their allure.

Ingeniuses miss their touch.

The longer the narcissist lives, the more average he becomes. The wider the gulf between his pretensions and his accomplishments, the more he is the object of derision and contempt.

Yet few narcissists save for rainy days. Few bother to study a trade or get a degree, pursue a career, maintain a business, skip their jobs, or raise functioning families, nurture their friendships, or broaden their horizons.

Narcissists are permanently and perennially ill-prepared. Those who succeed in their vocation end up bitterly alone, having squandered the love of spouts, offspring, and mates.

The more gregarious and family-orientated the narcissist is, the more often he flunks at work, leaps from one job to another, relocated erratically, forever itinerant and peripatetic.

The contrast between the narcissist's youth and prime and his dilapidated present constitutes a permanent narcissistic injury.

The narcissist retreats deeper into himself to find solace.

He withdraws into the penumbral universe of his grandiose fantasies.

There, on the verge of psychosis, the narcissist salves his wounds and comforts himself with trophies of his past.

A rare minority of narcissists accept their fate with fatalism or good humor.

These precious few are healed mysteriously by the deepest offense to their megalomania, old age.

They lose their narcissism and confront the outer world with the poison composure that they lacked when they were captives of their own distorted narratives.

Such changed narcissists develop new, more realistic expectations and hopes, commensurate with their talents, skills, accomplishments and education.

Ironically, it is invariably too late. These narcissists are avoided and ignored, rendered transparent by their checkered past.

They are passed over for promotion, never invited to professional or social gatherings, cold-shouldered by the media. They are snubbed and disregarded. They are never the recipients of perks, benefits or awards. They are blamed when not blingworthy and rarely praised when deserving. They are being constantly and consistently punished for who they were.

It is poetic justice in more than one way.

These narcissists are being treated narcissistically by their erstwhile victims.

They finally are tasting their own medicine, the bitter harvest of their wrath and arrogance.

Old age is the narcissist's ultimate punishment and purgatory on earth.

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Raging Narcissist: Merely Pissed-off?

Narcissistic rage is a phenomenon that occurs when a narcissist is frustrated in their pursuit of narcissistic supply, causing narcissistic injury. The narcissist then projects a bad object onto the source of their frustration and rages against a perceived evil entity that has injured and frustrated them. Narcissistic rage is not the same as normal anger and has two forms: explosive and pernicious or passive-aggressive. People with personality disorders are in a constant state of anger, which is effectively suppressed most of the time, and they are afraid to show that they are angry to meaningful others because they are afraid to lose them.

Narcissist's Constant Midlife Crisis

The midlife crisis is a much-discussed but little understood phenomenon. There is no link between physiological and hormonal developments and the mythical midlife crisis. The narcissist is best equipped to tackle this problem as they suffer from mental progeria and are in a constant mid-life crisis. The narcissist's personality is rigid, but their life is not. It is changeable, mutable, and tumultuous. The narcissist does not go through a midlife crisis because they are forever the child, forever dreaming and fantasizing, forever enamored with themselves.

Narcissistic Rage and Narcissistic Injury

Narcissistic injury is any threat to the narcissist's grandiose self-perception, and the narcissist actively solicits narcissistic supply to regulate and sustain their ego. The narcissist is caught between their habit and frustration, leading to disproportionate reactions to perceived insults. Narcissistic rage has two forms: explosive and passive-aggressive. The narcissist's aggression is directed outside and inside themselves, and they often become vindictive and harass those they perceive as sources of their frustration.

Narcissist's Pathological Space: His Kingdom

The pathological narcissistic space is a geographical area, group of people, or an abstract field of knowledge in which the narcissistic pathology reaches its full expression and effectiveness. It is a territorially expanded false self that is achieved via sources of narcissistic supply. The existence of the pathological narcissistic space is independent of the existence of sources of narcissistic supply. The pathological narcissistic space constantly consumes and drains narcissistic supply, and it generates negative narcissistic accumulation.

Narcissists: Their Professions, Jobs, and Vocations

Narcissists are over-represented in certain professions, including teaching, the clergy, show business, corporate management, medicine, the military, law enforcement, politics, and sports. They gravitate towards these professions to construct self-enclosed spaces where they are divine, god-like figures with a coterie of fans, admirers, followers, and devotees. Narcissists are dangerous in these professions as they lack empathy and ethical standards, and are prone to immorally, cynically, callously, and consistently abuse and misuse their position. Their socialization process is often disturbed, perturbed, and this results in social dysfunctioning.

Narcissist’s Collapse, Narcissistic Supply The Nuances

Narcissistic collapse occurs when the narcissist cannot secure narcissistic supply. There are two types of collapse: total collapse when there is no narcissistic supply and partial or transitory collapse when the narcissist secures supply but is not happy with it. The collapse is triggered by disruptions in the process of eliciting narcissistic supply, and the narcissist needs both primary and secondary supply to avoid collapse. The collapse is a bridge and dynamic element in the narcissist's personality.

Narcissist’s Losses Are His Life

Loss is a crucial aspect of the narcissist's life, serving as an organizing principle and a means of transformation. The narcissist's self-destructive behavior and manipulation of external objects are driven by the need to induce change in their internal environment. Losses are both intentional and evoked by the narcissist, who uses them to engender victimhood and manipulate others. The narcissist's fear of losses leads them to preemptively bring them on, ultimately sacrificing reality for the appearance of life.

Cyber (Internet) Narcissists and Psychopaths

The internet is a paradise for narcissists, as it provides an endless supply of attention and false identities. Narcissists are prone to internet addiction as it fulfills their emotional needs, but they are not interested in expanding their horizons or fostering true relationships. The internet is an egalitarian medium, which discomforts the narcissist as it lacks a clear hierarchy. However, the internet may also be the closest that the narcissist gets to psychodynamic therapy, as it allows them to project their experiences, fears, hopes, and prejudices onto others.

Potemkin Narcissists: Fake It Till You Make It!

There are two types of narcissists: Potemkin narcissists who derive ample narcissistic supply from mere appearances and narcissists of substance who strive for meaningful careers and creating things of value. Potemkin narcissists cultivate a following by emphasizing their alleged distinct character traits and create an empty brand. They are not interested in people except as instruments of instant gratification and sources of narcissistic supply. Narcissists of substance are concerned with leaving their mark on the world and creating a body of work of lasting value. They are workaholics and in relentless pursuit of fame, celebrity, and glory.

Narcissist's Routines

Narcissists have a series of routines that are developed through rote learning and repetitive patterns of experience. These routines are used to reduce anxiety and transform the world into a manageable and controllable one. The narcissist is a creature of habit and finds change unsettling. The narcissist's routines are often broken down when they are breached or can no longer be defended, leading to a narcissistic injury.

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