5 Ways Narcissists Get Worse With Age | Know What To Expect

If you thought aging gracefully was in every narcissist’s future, think again.

Over time, you’ll find their amplified entitlement seemingly knows no bounds, their manipulation techniques become more refined, and any semblance of empathy begins to decline sharply.

They develop a heightened sensitivity to criticism, and their need for control escalates to new heights.

1. Amplified Entitlement

As they grow older, narcissists often exhibit an increased sense of entitlement, expecting more from those around them without offering anything in return.

This amplified entitlement can lead to significant challenges, particularly in their relationships.

As you observe this behavior, it’s crucial to understand its impact on both the narcissist and those in their orbit.

One of the most pronounced outcomes of this entitlement is social isolation.

Friends and family may distance themselves, unwilling or unable to meet the ever-increasing demands placed upon them.

This isolation isn’t just a byproduct of their entitlement; it’s a reinforcing cycle.

As their social network dwindles, the narcissist may double down on their demands from the few remaining connections, further straining these relationships.

Also, financial exploitation often becomes a concern.

The entitled narcissist might begin to see others’ resources as extensions of their own, leading them to manipulate or pressure friends and family into supporting their lifestyle or bailing them out of financial difficulties.

This behavior not only strains relationships but can also place significant financial stress on those exploited.

2. Increased Manipulation

As narcissists age, their sense of entitlement often escalates into more sophisticated forms of manipulation, impacting relationships even further.

This escalation can be particularly challenging for those around them as it often involves an increase in gaslighting tactics and charm exploitation.

You might find that an older narcissist becomes more adept at twisting reality to fit their narrative, making it harder for you to trust your own perceptions and memories.

This can be a deeply disorienting experience as the narcissist uses their refined manipulation skills to maintain control and avoid accountability.

Their ability to exploit charm becomes more pronounced as well.

They’ve had years to perfect how they present themselves to the world, which means they can be incredibly persuasive and charismatic when it suits their needs.

This charm isn’t used to build genuine connections but rather to manipulate others into compliance or admiration.

It’s important to recognize these tactics for what they are: strategies aimed at serving the narcissist’s interests, often at the expense of others’ well-being.

3. Declining Empathy

One notable aspect of aging narcissists is their often diminished capacity for empathy, making it increasingly difficult for them to recognize or respond to the emotions and needs of others.

This decline in empathy can have profound implications for the individuals directly involved with the narcissist and also the broader social circle that may become increasingly alienated over time.

Here are three key factors contributing to this decline:

  1. Emotional Isolation: As narcissists age, they may become more isolated due to their inability to maintain healthy relationships. This isolation can exacerbate a lack of empathy since they have fewer opportunities to practice and experience genuine emotional exchanges.
  2. Compassion Fatigue: This is essentially an emotional and psychological exhaustion that dampens their ability to feel for others, further reducing their empathetic capacity.
  3. Self-Absorption Intensification: With age, the self-absorption characteristic of narcissism can intensify, leading narcissists to focus even more on their own needs and feelings at the expense of others.

4. Heightened Sensitivity to Criticism

Despite their outward appearance of confidence, aging narcissists often become more acutely sensitive to criticism.

This heightened sensitivity isn’t merely a dislike for negative feedback; it’s a profound fear that drives them toward criticism avoidance.

As they grow older, their self-image becomes increasingly fragile, making any form of critique feel like a personal attack.

This isn’t about slight discomfort; it’s a deep-seated fear that they can’t manage criticism constructively.

This aversion often leads to self-victimization. They may portray themselves as the misunderstood hero, constantly under siege by others’ unjust judgments.

You’ll notice how they deflect blame, insisting that the criticism is unfounded and represents a failure to recognize their true value.

This isn’t just about diverting attention; it’s a defense mechanism to protect their fragile ego from the perceived threat of exposure or inadequacy.

It’s not about excusing their behavior but recognizing the fear and vulnerability hidden behind their seemingly impenetrable facade.

Empathy doesn’t mean tolerating toxicity; rather, it’s about comprehending the complexities of their behavior.

5. Escalating Control Needs

Understanding the complexities behind a narcissist’s heightened sensitivity to criticism reveals another troubling aspect: their escalating need for control as they age.

This need for control often manifests in behaviors that not only strain personal relationships but can also lead to more insidious forms of manipulation.

  1. Increasing Demands for Loyalty: Narcissists may demand unreasonable levels of loyalty and affirmation from those around them. This can lead to social isolation as the circle of “acceptable” people narrows significantly.
  2. Financial Exploitation: Narcissists might resort to exploiting familial or professional relationships to maintain their lifestyle or to exert control. This exploitation often leaves a trail of financial strain and broken trust.
  3. Micromanagement of Daily Interactions: From dictating social engagements to insisting on specific routines, this micromanagement serves to reinforce their sense of control over their environment and the people in it.

These patterns of behavior not only underscore the narcissist’s need for control but also highlight the potential for increased social isolation and financial exploitation as they age.