Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Plight of the Aging Narcissist

Soon, when I have some extra time, I'm going to spin-off a new blog about dealing with narcissists. Until then...

My adoptive dad called the other day from the assisted living facility I forced him into two years ago.

The people he called his friends, mostly made at church after amom died, quickly stopped calling him. None visited. An old friend of amom used to call him, but he gave her the brush off because, he said nastily, she talked about herself too much. I know what this means. She was either not sympathetic enough or she insisted on having her fair share of the conversation. This is intolerable to him.

I am now his only contact with the outside world.

Having distanced or discarded or infuriated most of the people he's come into contact with, the aging narcissist is a very lonely person.

I can sense adad's loneliness snaking across the phone lines, but there's nothing I can do about it.

When he calls, I imagine dialogue on a page.

Adad: Nina? The reason I sound so sleepy is that damned nurse keeps waking me up to give me my medicine. I have no idea why she can't give it to me earlier like a normal person. But she hates me and has it out for me. I have no idea why.....

Nina: (I resist pointing out that it's because he called her a fat assed, ugly, lazy fool) Oh, that's too bad-

Adad: (interrupts) This place is going downhill. The food is terrible and all they've got now is second class workers....(and so on)

Nina: That's too bad. Do you think-

Adad: (interrupts) It rained all night here. I really loved listening to the rain. It didn't thunder, though. We finally got the rain. I didn't think we were going to get it. Those weathermen always exaggerate. They kept talking about a big storm. But it was no storm. Just some rain.

--Silence--I'm waiting for him to finish. He's run out of things to say.

Adad (peevishly/aggressively): Well? How are you? How is Bob? How are the girls?

Nina: Everybody is good. The storm hit really hard here. Poor Bob got stuck-

Adad (interrupts): That's nice. Some idiots here decided to run out in the rain and they all got wet....(and so on)

That was an actual conversation by the way. I thought I'd entertain him with the story of my husband nearly getting blown off a train platform, but nope.

Sometimes, adad will pause, then say, "Tell me something!" because I've given up talking and I'm just waiting for him to start up again. I gave up talking years ago. Maybe it's more accurate to say I never talked at all. This is what my husband says. That adad dominated every conversation and I just sat there and nodded. When he visited, I had to shut myself in my bedroom with a pretend headache just to get away from his constant chatter.

So now there he is, lonely, practically begging for me to talk, but I can't...because even when I do, he'll interrupt and not let me finish. Yet he longs for contact. Some reassurance there is another warm body on the other end of the line. Reassurance that he is not alone. So to keep the conversation going he'll say, "Tell me something! Anything!" But he's incapable of listening. He's incapable of connecting to others in the most basic, human way.

The best thing about putting him into the assisted living facility is confirmation that he is an extremely difficult, self-centered person. The head nurse says he's one of neediest, demanding residents they have. To boot, he's a troublemaker. And a loner. If he can't be the center of attention, he retreats in childlike fury to his room. This was all music to my ears. I was not the crazy one!

26 Comments:

Blogger Celera said...

I've thought for some time that as we age, we either become more balanced, or we become more extremely ourselves, if that makes any sense. Many older people become a sort of caricature of the person they were when they were younger.

So I guess there can be some justice in life, in a way.

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Blogger Kyrie Eleison said...

LOL. Boy does THIS conversation seem familiar. A sure sign you are dealing with a narcissist = you never get to say hardly a word. They really are completely disinterested in what you have to say and a piece of work, aren't they?

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