Monday, December 9, 2013

What Happens When Narcissists Grow Old?


Do female narcissists mellow with age? It doesn't appear that way, as reports from various nursing homes indicate that bullying is a huge problem. There isn't much written about this, save for a few scattered articles. A couple of years ago, though, a New York Times blog described in painful detail how some residents are abused by their peers.

Much of this was done through relational aggression. This involved socially isolating certain people. When confronted with this behavior, the perpetrators refused to change, or even admit they were at fault.

One poster on the blog left a message that her elderly aunt was shunned, although she didn't let it bother her. What did she do to warrant this kind of treatment?

Her "crime" was spending time, over the holidays, at her niece's house. Because some residents weren't able to leave, they wouldn't speak to her when she returned.

This was by no means an isolated incident. Social workers and activities directors are well aware of the epidemic of relational aggression among the elderly. It just underscores the sad fact that meanness has no upper age limit.

Flickr photo by quinn.anya

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