Grumpy old men: narcissists in old age.

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It’s been said narcissists grow worse with age. As they lose their looks and mental acuity and become less sexually desirable and more unemployable, they lose the ability to attract the supply they need to feel like they exist. Most will fall into deep depression and a few might even commit suicide. Growing old and having to confront one’s own mortality is the ultimate narcissistic injury. The only thing they have left to obtain supply is their advanced age itself.

Some will become the stereotypical “get off my lawn” grouchy old man or woman, demanding their entitlements (or what they think are their entitlements) be met, no matter how unreasonable. They don’t bother with “charm.” They don’t even try to hide their self-centeredness or contempt for others anymore or make any attempt to be “nice.” They’ve given up playing the games they used to attain supply when they had their youth, looks, and health. They know they have nothing they can use anymore to attract respect, admiration, adulation, and attention, so they just demand and yell and cuss and bully other people to get it, using their age as an excuse to be mean.

get_off_mylawn

These are people who reach the age of 70, 80 and 90 and are still emotional 3-year-olds. They are filled with hate for the world and for what has been done to them to make them that way (unresolved childhood trauma), for what they have become, and regret for what they never could be. They project their self-hatred onto anyone who crosses their path.

I read this description of what one old narcissist was like. It’s sad but all too true. I’ve known people like this. I see my ex becoming one.

I’ve seen old narcissists. I used to see a 72’ish guy at the grocery store. It was awful. He would angrily force himself to the front of the line. Each person he pushed in front of and angrily exclaimed “I only have 3 things” was as much a source of supply as the supply I would extort through more elegant means. He was down to the point of just taking it. The more people acted startled and offended, but withheld their protests due to his age and frailty, the more he felt he existed.

He would reach the cashier and then insist that the price is wrong, putting the cashier in the position of holding up all those kind folks he cut in front of. It’s not his fault they’re being inconvenienced. Then he’d demand a new “shopper/loyalty card” to get the discounts — why saying “I don’t want it, throw it away.” Too important to be bothered with carrying a card like everyone else. Probably some long-held criticism that stores should just charge the same price for everything and not do the “member price” gimmick. Something he could criticize in the past, now something he could incorporate into his bitter existence.

He would then contemptuously instruct the cashier to take the coins from his hand because his fingers are knurled from arthritis. Projecting onto the cashier his own contempt for his body failing his grandiosity. As he walked away, he would throw his receipt on the floor as if he had been intentionally offended by receiving it.