Aging Narcissist: Exploring How They Deteriorate Over Time

Aging is a natural process that affects everyone, but for narcissists, growing older can exacerbate their already challenging personality traits.

Many of us mellow and become more compassionate and patient as we age.

However, for narcissists, the aging process can often make them even more difficult to deal with as they struggle to maintain their self-importance, control, and influence over others.

Understanding the ways in which narcissists get worse with age can help shed light on their struggles, the impacts on those around them, and the potential treatment options available.

This is especially important for those who have close relationships with aging narcissists, as their behavior may become more toxic and manipulative over time.

Key Takeaways

  • Aging can exacerbate narcissists’ difficult personality traits
  • Narcissists struggle to maintain self-importance and control as they grow older
  • Exploring treatment options for aging narcissists is important for their well-being and the well-being of those around them

Understanding Narcissists

Narcissists crave power and control, and their self-esteem depends on how superior they feel compared to others.

As you encounter an aging narcissist, it’s essential to understand how their narcissism intensifies over time and how specific behaviors and feelings can worsen as they age.

As an aging narcissist, your abilities and control over situations may slip, amplifying negative emotions and behaviors. This could manifest in increased desperation, bitterness, anger, mean-spiritedness, and defensiveness.

You may also experience heightened delusions, paranoia, and isolation, making it challenging to maintain healthy relationships.

It’s important to acknowledge that your feelings of power and control can be negatively impacted as you age, and this may, in turn, affect your overall emotional well-being.

You might feel a chronic sense of sadness, lose interest in your previous hobbies, or even suffer from violent mood swings marked by narcissistic rage.

As you strive to maintain your status and protect your image, remember that these ways of thinking and behaving can have lasting consequences on your connections with others and your own mental health.

Aiming for emotional growth, empathy, and understanding can help you navigate the challenges that come with aging.

Narcissist and Aging

Physical Changes

As you age, your appearance will naturally change, which might be particularly challenging for narcissists.

Their once-youthful looks begin to fade, and they may struggle to accept their new image in the mirror.

This change in appearance can make it hard for aging narcissists to maintain the level of attention they once received, leading to bitterness and frustration.

Psychological Impact

The aging process may also impact narcissists psychologically. Losing their physical abilities, retiring, and facing a loss of purpose can lead to increased challenges in their relationships with others.

As they age, narcissists might find it harder to relate to people their own age, further isolating them and affecting their self-esteem.

This evolving mix of emotions and life circumstances can contribute to a more challenging experience for the aging narcissist.

Narcissists and Relationships

As aging narcissists experience the inevitable challenges and setbacks that come with time, it’s crucial to understand how this impacts the relationships in their lives.

In many cases, they’ll become increasingly difficult to deal with, often leaving their partners feeling emotionally drained.

One of the key reasons why narcissists struggle in relationships is their lack of empathy. They may find it difficult to put themselves in your shoes and understand your feelings.

This can cause them to become more entitled and demanding and less sensitive to your needs and boundaries.

As a result, you might find yourself on the receiving end of more criticism and abuse. This is because aging narcissists tend to become more defensive and rigid, which can exacerbate their negative behaviors.

Their need to control and protect their fragile self-image might lead them to become more aggressive and dominating in their personal relationships.

In the long run, this toxic dynamic can cause relationships to deteriorate, resulting in isolation for the narcissist.

Their inability to maintain healthy connections pushes away friends and loved ones, leaving them lonely and bitter.

Negative Impact of Aging on Narcissists

Dealing with Loss of Control

As you age, your ability to maintain power and control over your surroundings may decline.

This loss of control can be particularly difficult for aging narcissists who have been used to feeling superior in most areas of their lives.

As a result, you may become resentful and even angry when you realize that you no longer hold the same level of influence you once did.

Coping with Declining Abilities

It’s common for aging individuals to experience a decline in physical and mental abilities. As a narcissist, coping with these limitations might prove challenging.

Your fear of losing the traits that once contributed to your narcissistic supply might cause you to obsess over your declining abilities, spiraling into feelings of shame and frustration.

Impact on Self-Esteem

As you notice your abilities dwindling, your self-esteem may take a hit.

Struggling with vulnerability and accepting your limitations is a natural part of aging, but as a narcissist, these experiences may lead to what’s known as a “narcissistic injury.”

This is when your sense of self-worth is significantly impacted, making it even harder for you to navigate the challenges of growing older.

Struggling with Vulnerability

Aging can make anyone feel more vulnerable, but vulnerability is even harder to accept for narcissists. As you start facing your limitations, you may find it difficult to admit that you need help or support.

This reluctance can lead to feelings of loneliness, as you may push away those who could offer you assistance.

Accepting vulnerability and understanding that it’s part of the aging process can be an important step in coping with the negative impacts of aging on your life as a narcissist.

Aging Narcissists’ Influence On Their Environment

Manipulative Tactics

As narcissists grow older, they may become more adept at using manipulative tactics.

They might use their age as an excuse, playing the victim card to control and manipulate people around them.

This may lead to them becoming more abusive, both emotionally and physically.

They might become more isolated due to their dependency on others, making them even more dangerous.

Victim Mentality

Aging narcissists can start to develop a strong victim mentality as they feel their world changing around them.

They might frequently play the role of a “perpetual victim” and seek validation and attention through their exaggerated stories of personal suffering.

As a result, they can become more rageful, grandiose, and less empathetic.

Disturbance in Family Dynamics

Family members often become the primary targets of aging narcissists’ outbursts and manipulation. Scapegoats may be chosen within the family, leading to unhealthy dynamics and tensions.

Additionally, the sense of victimization by the aging narcissist can create an atmosphere of dependency where they demand constant care and attention, leading to family members feeling overwhelmed and helpless.

Impacts on the Mental Health of Aging Narcissists


As you age, it’s common for narcissists to experience an increase in depression. This may be due to the realization that they are losing their youthful looks and abilities, or feeling less important in their social circles.

The aging process can lead to a “narcissistic collapse,” where their inflated self-image becomes increasingly difficult to maintain.

This collapse and a decline in social status or power can result in feelings of hopelessness and depression.

It is essential for aging narcissists to address these feelings by seeking professional help to maintain their mental health.


Paranoia may also set in for aging narcissists as they begin to feel threatened by changes in their lives.

This paranoia can manifest in various ways, such as becoming overly suspicious of others or developing unfounded beliefs that people are out to get them.

Unfortunately, this paranoia can further damage their relationships and contribute to feelings of loneliness, which in turn can exacerbate existing mental health issues, as depression.

It is crucial for aging narcissists to recognize these symptoms and seek therapy to address these feelings before they become too overwhelming.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), as defined in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), is a personality disorder characterized by a persistent pattern of grandiosity, a constant need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others.

As you age, some aspects of NPD may worsen, while others may become more manageable.

For example, the grandiosity and need for admiration may diminish due to the natural aging process.

However, the lack of empathy may persist or even intensify as aging narcissists struggle with worsening mental health concerns like depression and paranoia.

As a person with NPD, it is vital for you to be aware of these potential changes and take proactive steps to maintain your mental health.

This may include seeking therapy from trained professionals who can guide you through the aging process and help you work on maintaining healthy relationships.

Remember, mental health is not a one-time task; it requires continual care and attention throughout your life, especially as you age.

Facing Mortality

As you age, facing mortality becomes an inevitable part of life. For an aging narcissist, this can be especially challenging.

A natural decline in health may be accompanied by emotional turmoil and fear of the unknown.

Unfortunately, for a narcissist, this fear may trigger certain negative behaviors.

When confronted with their mortality, a narcissist may react with denial or defiance. Such an individual may refuse to accept the reality of illnesses, including dementia or other age-related conditions, exacerbating their decline in health.

With the inevitability of death looming, an aging narcissist may also feel a sense of resentment and bitterness. These negative emotions can manifest in various unpleasant behaviors, causing them to be more irritable and pushing away their friends and loved ones.

This isolation can further amplify their distress.

Aging narcissists may also experience a heightened fear of death as they grapple with their own declining abilities. This fear can drive them to become increasingly desperate in their attempts to maintain control and preserve their cherished self-image.

So, as you observe an aging narcissist in your life, it’s essential to understand that the fear of mortality may exacerbate your behavior.

Recognize the signs, have patience, and find support for yourself to manage the challenges posed by the narcissist’s reaction to facing their mortality.

Treatment Options for Aging Narcissists


You may find therapy helpful for addressing and overcoming narcissistic tendencies. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can guide you in recognizing harmful thought patterns and behaviors, offering you tools to modify your thoughts and responses.

Engaging in psychotherapy, where a therapist can help cultivate wisdom and compassion, may also facilitate progress toward a healthier sense of self and relationships. Remember, seeking therapy is not a sign of weakness.

In fact, it demonstrates your commitment to personal growth.


While there isn’t a specific medication to treat narcissistic personality traits, medications could be effective for managing symptoms related to anxiety or depression, which can accompany narcissism.

If you experience these symptoms, consult with a healthcare professional who can assess your needs and suggest appropriate medications.

Balancing mental well-being with medication often leads you to be more receptive to therapy and can aid in overcoming negative behaviors stemming from envy and self-centeredness.


As you’ve seen, aging can significantly impact narcissists and cause their narcissistic traits to worsen over time.

As they face the reality of aging, denial might be their first reaction, unwilling to accept the changes their body and mind are going through.

In the process of aging, narcissists might become more manipulative and self-centered to cope with the loss of their youth and perceived superiority.

Unfortunately, this can make them difficult to be around for their loved ones.

It’s important for you to understand these changes and to provide appropriate support if needed.

Maintaining good mental health as one ages is crucial in dealing with these challenges.

As someone interacting with an aging narcissist or someone who might be dealing with narcissistic tendencies, recognizing the signs early on can allow for a smoother and healthier adaptation to the changing circumstances that come with age.

It is essential for you to approach this topic with a friendly tone and understanding attitude.

Always consider the feelings and emotions of the individual involved and help them navigate this difficult time in their lives while setting appropriate boundaries to protect their own well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do covert narcissists worsen as they age?

Yes, covert narcissists can worsen as they age. Similar to other types of narcissists, they may become more extreme versions of themselves due to a lack of independence and narcissistic supply.

This can potentially lead to increased manipulation, bitterness, and isolation.

How does aging affect female narcissists over 50?

Aging can also affect female narcissists over 50. Female narcissists may become more insecure and defensive about their appearance, accomplishments, and relationships as they age.

This may increase volatility, competitiveness, and manipulation to maintain their perceived self-image and status.

What occurs when a narcissist’s life falls apart?

When a narcissists’ life falls apart, they may resort to extreme measures to regain control and maintain their sense of superiority.

This can include shifting blame onto others, engaging in destructive behaviors, and lashing out at those around them.

Narcissists may also have difficulty accepting responsibility and may seek new sources of narcissistic supply.

What are the long-term effects on a narcissist?

The long-term effects on a narcissist can include worsening narcissistic traits, increased isolation from social connections, and a potential for more damaging behaviors.

As they age, they may become more stubborn and rigid, making it difficult to adapt to life changes and prone to emotional distress.

How does dementia impact a narcissist?

Dementia can exacerbate a narcissist’s negative traits and behaviors, as cognitive decline affects their ability to maintain their self-image.

This can lead to increased agitation, defensiveness, and confusion.

Additionally, the combined impact of narcissism and dementia can make it challenging for caregivers to provide adequate support and understanding.

What challenges do narcissists face in their 50s?

In their 50s, narcissists may face challenges related to aging, health, career stability, and relationships. As they confront these challenges, their narcissistic traits can be intensified, leading to increased denial, defensiveness, and exploitation of others.

This can impact their ability to maintain healthy relationships, resulting in increased loneliness and dissatisfaction with life.

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