That Age Old Problem

 

THAT AGEOLDPROBLEM

Oscar Wilde mentioned in Dorian Gray that everything was possible since he had beauty and youth. I am very much of that mind set and accordingly the thought of becoming old fills me with revulsion. Horrifically I do not have to apply my imagination to this scenario (and to be frank I would not do so) because I need look no further than my Uncle Robert. He stands in front of the mirror and rants at the cruelty that is reflected back at him. His withered frame a reminder that he is no longer the uber mensch he has always maintained that he was. (He certainly seemed that way when I was a child. I do not remember the details but I do remember his stories about his adventures and achievements. They seemed spectacular and exotic. So tantalising). Now he realises that the charm which he once exuded has worn thin and does not have the allure it once had.

Every day brings a physical or mental insult and he realises that he is becoming a burden on those around him. He will not accept this transition with any grace. Indeed, he refers to his peers as old men but not ever himself. He regards himself as far younger, indeed, I often hear him repeating the things which I say. It is evident to me as the autumn of his life envelopes him that he wishes to remain reflected in my summer sun.

The tricks,the smoke and the mirrors that he once deployed with consummate expertise have deserted him or is it that a lifetime’s exposure to them have enabled those who were on the receiving end to create some kind of immunity to them ? Do they now see through the magic he once was able to weave about him? His deceit and bile are more evident that ever and I know he rarely receives visitors these days, they seem to think that there is little point in being subjected to his put-downs and insults.

His razor-sharp mind has become dulled, probably addled from the excessive alcohol he regularly indulged in (and probably still does) and the noble features have become craggy and distorted. He cannot summon the charm and sophistication to lure people into his world and instead has to rely on provocation, savageness and acidic accusations. His potency has been exhausted and try as he might to scramble away, he is sinking inexorably towards mediocrity and averageness.

I rarely see him but he regularly telephones me and I indulge him allowing him to rage down the telephone line about his injurious state arising from his dilapidated condition. It is worth listening as some of his fury contains choice, vintage lines which I write down for later use. Those barbed words when allied to my youthful charm and brilliance will work marvellously.

Uncle Robert never considered what would happen when madame time outstrode him and his current condition serves as a salutary lesson to our kind. Narcissists do not generally age well. Fortunately, I have been able to see into the future and I can ensure that I do not fall victim to Uncle Robert’s fate, but then, I have always been cleverer than him haven’t I?

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48 thoughts on “That Age Old Problem”

  1. You know that scene in Mary Poppins, the I Love To Laugh part when they’re having tea on the ceiling, and as soon as they start bringing up unhappy things, their tea table and them sadly deflate down to the floor? I started off laughing tonight with Malice, and all these other stories, JMs Letter, Shades, Puppet, just ruined the fun! Nobody likes aging. It’s something we all have to face and deal with. All Narcissists ever do is lie and pretend, if anyone’s got a handle on the age thing, it’s got to be them. Maybe Uncle Roberts alcohol caught up with him. Older men still delight women with their sense of humor, some still dance even. My beautiful mother who’s getting dementia, has arthritis and other things, still stays slim, fixes her hair, wears makeup, and I’m sure she sees herself as she looked when she was younger.

    1. Then again maybe she’s getting dementia because she’s losing it all. She was a workaholic, and doesn’t work anymore. She used to fuss and fight and torture my cerebral brother who was looking after her, before he passed away from a heart attack. The two of them sounded horrible, the names and things they would say to each other. I don’t know how she keeps it together now, other than ordering the dog around and sometimes she slips out and drives though we tell her not to. She’s so stubborn.

  2. I became acquainted with my recent narcissist “friend” right before his birthday. He is approaching middle age. His age was one of his favorite topics of conversation and he had a running joke with the group we were with about how incredibly old he was, which of course resulted in repeated reassurances (some from a very beautiful blonde woman) that he was not old but in fact very attractive. Later I found myself reassuring him as well. He is indeed very handsome and youthful looking . . . and he finds ways to make sure he hears about it, too.

  3. Narcissists lose it when they start aging. There is no such thing as aging gracefully for them.

    Ex-affair partner did and does crazy things to try to maintain a youthful appearance. She cut and styled her hair like mine when she was involved with my husband, it’s creepy to look at those pictures but they also make me laugh because no matter what she did, she wasn’t ME.

    She’s five or six years older than I am, and obsessed with her appearance. She’s had multiple breast augmentations and facial procedures, and just recently had butt implants. Pretty radical surgery for someone over 60 but she’s got an unhealthy obsession with looking different than she does. I have no doubt it drives her insane to see my curvy ass in tight jeans and my naturally youthful appearance.

    Really, just slap some anti-wrinkle cream on and call it a day. We are all going to age and what keeps us beautiful in the eyes of others is who we are, not how we look. Narcissists don’t grasp this, probably because they think they’re nobody without their endless games and manipulations.

    1. WriteItOut. I’m was left confused by a lot of your post. It required multiple readings. I think that, if my understanding is correct, is that your (still) husband had an affair with a woman who mirrored you? But which way round is it? Really, whom do you perceive the E and the N to be in this dynamic?

      If you husband is an N, then likely she was an E. If so, it is equally likely that he has eroded her confidence to the point where she feels the need to emulate out of a sense of ‘wanting to keep him’. In which case, though I can understand your anger, getting mad here won’t really address the underlying cause.

      If he is an E then this further muddies the waters. He would then either by functioning as this woman’s (presumably) DLS. To do that then he would have a very strong reason to go against his own vows with you. Very strong indeed.

      One of the final options is that as a N he has chosen to couple with is another N. But as you are choosing to self-identify as an E why are you not angry at the abuse that the he has meted out to you and lay the blame at the feet of the real perpetrator? Your husband.

      So either way this piece of salami is sliced, it raises more questions than answers.

      What does come across very strongly, my lovely, is your anger at this woman based on the superficial alone with conversely a lack of anger at your own husband….

      Just my thoughts..

      1. Renarde

        From what I have read, he was not a DLS but IPSS with a dirty empath strain. I would not be surprised if she (the narcissist) mirrored traits of her ( the wife) to help seduce him and/or is using this to catch his attention again.

        One doesn’t need to be a DLS to go against vows made, only has to have a narcissistic trait that came to the fore. Very few empaths will not break this vow, especially if the feel something is missing.

      2. Your statement “just a flawed human, as we all are” seems quite generous, writeitout. I get the impression, with regards to your specific narrative, that it – exclusively – applies to your husband?

      3. I (to my shame) have functioned as a Dirty Empath before. Not proud of it. Would never do it again. I can say however that in my entire life, I have never cheated on another person. So yes, I think we’re in agreement.

      4. I have never cheated since I got married or on my husband while we were dating. I have prior to that. For an empath, cheating is very psychologically painful and I learned that lesson eventually.

      5. Oh, my…the analysis is quite amusing and off the mark. Let me clear up your confusion.

        My husband had an affair with a narcissist. She mirrored what she thought would seduce him, as narcissists do. Whenever I write about a female narcissist, it’s her. This post of HG’s is about how narcissists don’t age well and why, and I responded to that aspect of narcissists specifically that I’ve experienced with this woman who is still obsessing about my husband despite over two years of no contact.

        Not clear on all the acronyms you used but my husband is not a narcissist. He was her IPSS for the time that the affair lasted.

        There’s no anger in my post, I think what you see as anger is my contempt for her, which is well-earned. I’ve been dealing with a malignant narcissist for a long time, and my father was one. If you want to read about the affair and my anger and feelings, I’m blogging about it.

        On this board I’m just commenting as you all are…not trying to work out anything to do with the affair. It’s a unique situation here actually, most people are themselves involved or have been intimately involved with a narcissist. I have to be involved with her because she turned her fury on both of us when he ended the affair, but mostly it’s aimed at me. I’m the controlling bitch wife who thwarted her game. If you’ve been reading HG any length of time, you know that the result of a narcissist being thwarted can be very ugly indeed. So it’s interesting for me to write about it here when HG writes something I can relate to from my experience the past few years. My intimate experience is quite different than most.

        As for being angry at my husband, that was a silly comment. If I were still angry after two years, I would be divorced. Affairs are commonplace, the aftermath of his is not. He had no idea who he was dealing with, she had not yet achieved her goal of getting him to leave our marriage when he ended it, so ALL of the fury and insanity came after their affair. But I’m not angry with my husband, people betray each other in various ways and affairs are only one. Like I said, you can read about it on my blog if you like but please save the analysis and judging.

        My response above is really about the lengths that narcissists will go to in order to maintain a youthful appearance.

      6. WriteItOut, I had a quick look at your blog. You have a post from just a month ago that sounds like you are still trying to work out the aftermath of the affair. I thought from what you have posted here that your H left this woman two years ago and she has been harassing you both since then. I do believe you that she is a narc etc, but I am now also confused as to the timeline, and wondering if some of your anger towards her is because it is still very fresh, or maybe even ongoing. Just for reference to my position in the fuel matrix, I was SIPSS to a MRN with an IPPS, but I did not know about IPPS for 8 months. I stayed as SIPSS (or I went back – I escaped numerous times) but I was never interested in fighting over him and I finally ended it. I did tell IPPS but for complicated reasons that had nothing to do with the actual affair.

      7. SMH, my blog is chronological and on some of the posts I’ve included the date that I’m writing about. My blog starts when I discovered the affair, in 2016. In comparison to your situation, she knew before she approached him that he was married. She knew who I was, because she made sure to find out all about me. Nobody told me about the affair, I discovered it when she posted a picture on social media of an event they were both at. She had been posting pictures for quite some time, no doubt trying to “out” their affair to me and hasten the process of my marital demise.

        Sometimes I feel anger, although that has mostly abated. An affair is one thing; continually being fucked with by a narcissist afterwards is another. I grow tired of her ridiculousness, and of having our friends ask about her behavior which is quite obvious whenever she’s around.

        But what is being perceived here as anger is my frankness and sarcasm. I don’t mind clarifying anything, many people feel ashamed to talk about an affair and of course there are people who are incredulous that I would choose to stay in my marriage afterwards. I feel no shame talking about something that happens to many, many people. My situation was and is also very public because of my husband’s occupation, and the fact that we have to see this person pretty regularly, and that makes it unique along with all of the things that the narcissistic has done to try to destroy my marriage post-ending of the affair. I think that people are interested in knowing how marriages and relationships survive infidelity; throw in surviving a narcissist’s rage and attempted destruction and it’s a very interesting subject.

      8. Ah, I see, WriteItOut. I admire your attitude and the narc angle does make it unusual.

        My MRN is a serial cheater but I don’t think IPPS wants to believe it. It was complicated, as I am sure you can imagine, but we met when I think he was separated because she had kicked him out. The main part of our FR took place during their reconciliation, marital counseling and all.

        Post-escape I warned her as best as I could without getting caught in the crossfire. I don’t think she realizes what her husband is but I am convinced I did the right thing, though I got conflicting advice on here.

      9. People often don’t want to know things that are so painful. I’m a person who wants to know because I don’t want to live a life built on lies. His wife probably doesn’t want to know. It’s always iffy when an affair partner is the one who tells the spouse because it can be seen as trying to break up the marriage for your own reasons. Mostly people will not thank us for sharing this type of information.

      10. Yeah, I know. I did it anonymously and did not follow the outcome but I sort of did a half-assed job of it and have no idea what happened. I did say that the affair partner (me) was the one to halt the relationship (true) in order to what? I don’t know. Have her believe me with as few exchanges as possible. I think she thought that it had only happened once and that he wanted to reconcile (he did but not for her hoped for reasons). Flipping your mindset from a one off to a serial cheater must be difficult. In any case, in the end I said DO NOT let him gaslight you, though I did not use those words. Maybe eventually it will sink in. Anyway, not my circus or my monkeys anymore. I did the best I could at that time and with the resources I had.

      11. @WriteItOut

        In Good Ol’ Blighty (apologies if you are also from the UK), we have an excellent expression. It is thus; ‘When in hole, stop digging’.

        Indeed, you have cleared up an enormous amount of confusion here. Thank you for your exposition and clarity. A few things though…

        Not clear on all the acronyms you used…

        Oh God, I’m confused again! I thought you said you were a long time reader…

        …but my husband is not a narcissist.

        I think we’ve all gathered that. I’m inclined to agree.

        I think what you see as anger is my contempt for her,

        Yeah… I see it as anger but who am I to disagree?

        I’m the controlling bitch wife who thwarted her game.

        [Shuffles papers on desk to fill in the now awkward silence]

        As for being angry at my husband, that was a silly comment.

        I quite agree. It was a very silly comment indeed on my behalf. I am now on the blower to a good friend of mine who will administer the correct punishment. The day a spouse becomes angry at their cheating partner? Heaven forefend! Well it’s just not on! Dammit! it’s just not cricket! Apologies.

        Like I said, you can read about it on my blog if you like but please save the analysis and judging.

        Love to. I do have War and Peace, The Red and the Black (I am told it is the finest novel ever published in French) and learning Portuguese to get through first. I promise your blog is next on the list. Honest.

      12. LOL…are you having fun, Renarde? Because I’m having fun.

        Of course I was angry at my husband when I discovered the affair. But over two years later, I’m not. If one decides to stay in a marriage or relationship after infidelity, they should commit to working through all of the feelings that come with it. Otherwise you may as well divorce, although I realize people stay together for other reasons. I would not so we did what we needed to in order to move past it and have a happier marriage than we had before it happened. It doesn’t always happen that way and I feel very lucky that we were able to accomplish that. We’ve been together for 20 years, I really wouldn’t throw away my marriage without trying because despite the infidelity, my husband is perfect for me and I for him. People fuck up, I can live with that as long as it’s not repeated and we deal with it together.

        “I’m the controlling bitch wife who thwarted her game” is exactly how she sees me. I have this in her own words. I think that this is something that she believes because to believe that the whole affair was just make-believe time and he actually doesn’t love her (I believe he thought he loved her at that time, I have no doubt that she is able to pour on the charm as HG has described so often) is not something a narcissist can accept. So you may perceive that I’m angry but I’m just quoting her. I mean…we are talking about narcissists here, right?

        I truly don’t care who does or doesn’t read my blog, but if people start questioning me about the affair that’s a good resource since I’m writing about it. Maybe people can stop feeling so invested in the fact that I stayed in my marriage and stick to the narcissism? Or not. I am not overly sensitive and don’t take things personally here so ask away.

      13. I always have fun when I write!

        No, I don’t judge you for staying. I also conversely try not to judge others for having affairs. Who am I to know what goes onto between two people?

        I’m in a bit of a funny one. I’m in an open relationship…by agreement. This was an important step for me as it was time for me personally to explore polyamoury. As time has gone on through, the thought of having two men just doesn’t appeal. It’s just not me.
        My partner is bi and I’m fine with the other men. It doesn’t bother me and I enjoy the tales of his exploits. I’m encouraging him to write about it. He says he wants too.

        I was joking about your blog. I will read it.

        I am not going to read War and Peace though.

      14. I don’t care about people having affairs, except for the part where people get hurt because that isn’t what was agreed to. I don’t hold anyone but my husband responsible for relationships he has with other people.

        We are not in an open marriage and neither of us want it but I agree with you that everyone gets to choose for themselves. Polyamory and bisexuality was interesting to me when I was younger, but I’m like you, I discovered it wasn’t for me. Everyone deserves that chance, to figure out what makes them happiest and where they fit.

    2. I have a question for you. It was your husband’s affair partner that’s the narcissist? And am I understanding that you stayed with him after the affair? Are you certain that it’s her and not him that’s the narcissist ?

      1. It seems to gall people that someone would stay in a marriage after an affair. This is not the first time it’s been asked here. So why are you asking? Are you upset by people choosing to work things out? Are you irritated that someone would stay after an affair and then choose to talk about it? People have affairs all the time. People do lots of ill-advised things all the time, like stay involved with narcissists.

        You can trust that I’m certain that I’m not married to a narcissist.

      2. Lori’s questions are fair ones and are pretty neutral in terms of Emotional Writing – i.e is question based. I perceive no emotional inferences in her question. Maybe a bit much to be so quick to attack?

        Thoughts?

      3. Did I attack? Are my questions attacks but hers are not? I think neither are attacks but hers are pointed and I believe she’s asked them before.

        I’m very interested in Lori’s answers and not to attack her. Just to clarify. I think that there are really interesting conversations prompted by HG’s posts and I’m not interested in a comment war, but I’m definitely interested in good conversations. I hope she responds.

    3. WriteItOut,

      I am not over 60, though some day we all will be. But I was IPSS and am 7 or 8 years older than IPPS and 5 years older than MRN, so I am taking a bit of offense at your age bashing!! I could sit here and tell you how I look younger than both of them because I hit the genetic lottery in terms of aging and body type, but I won’t go there. I just want to say that your H’s IPSS might well be an N but that has nothing to do with her appearance or her age. Lots of gorgeous young people are obsessed with appearance and surgically modify their bodies, and our culture tells older women that they are not attractive simply because of their age.

      1. SMH, I’m not age-bashing. I’ll be 58 next month. I’m narcissist-bashing. She’s a malignant narcissist. She tried to destroy my marriage and my husband, and me. Don’t take anything I say about someone who is not actually you personally.

        We all get those messages about how it’s best to look younger. I am bombarded with them like anyone else. Narcissists are unable to live with the inevitability of aging, it’s very unhealthy to have repeated procedures and surgeries chasing youth.

      2. I agree, WriteItOut, but it is because she is a narc not because she is over 60. In any case, another way to spot a narc!

      3. I mentioned her being over 60 because her behavior is outrageous for someone of any age, but I know it really galls her to be unable to stop the march of time. I’m totally insensitive on the subject of age, I’ll be there soon enough.

      4. In total agreement. You could happily shave 10 years off my own age (43) and I could pass muster. Indeed, age fakery happens so often on dating sites as to be a joke (A GEN I know has been variously 45, 50 but he’s really 52). I fully enjoy whipping out my driving license and having my real age down on my profile.

        The only thing really of importance to me is intelligence and sense of humour.

        Oh and having an enormous cock. Obviously. #sorrynotsorry

      5. Renarde, I also love to shock people when I tell them my age. I don’t care about that number. The narcissist wouldn’t tell my husband how old she was, I found out from her public criminal records.

  4. I find it slightly unfair that men – narcs or not – can always grow a beard on their shit as they age and get extra charm and compliments for it. My MRN grew a stubble for his new IPPS, never did it for me when I sometimes asked. I bet he would go to work with a baseball cap backwards on his head if the IPPS asked, and he is 58 now.

    1. Siberian,
      My MRN recently grew a beard as well! When he posted a picture of himself on Facebook the comments blew up. People were saying “look at you with all that facial hair!” and “you look so distinguished” … he’s only 34. The beard makes him look way older!!! I think he looked better before he grew it.

      His appearance has changed so much over the years anyway. He has gone from being really thin to being a bit more chunky. He went from having long shoulder length hair to having short hair. And now he’s gone from having no facial hair to having a beard.

      I wonder if there is an underlying reason for the continuing change in appearance…

      1. FOTS, if we are to believe Mr Tudor (and we are), everything happens for a reason with these people… I guess as soon as my (soon to be ex-) N’s stubble is gone, so is his golden period with the new target.

        He has had trouble with the idea of aging especially after turning 50. Of course 50 is some kind of point of no return to all of us, me included (I’m 55 now), but I don’t fret about it that much, I take it as a reality. After I found out about his affair, he tried to “comfort” me at some point by saying I would eventually find someone else because I was “well-preserved for my age”. I’m not a f-ing bog body! I’m a human being who wants to love and to be loved. But if I don’t find love anymore, then so be it. I have some precious people around me and things to do. That’s enough for the moment.

  5. What will you do differently to avoid the same fate as you age?
    How does a narcissist survive when no longer able to obtain fuel?

      1. Cosmetics line by Tudor: the Psychiatric Clinique, with a touch of jasmine, freshly pressed tears and musty cellar.

        Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    1. It does rather conjure up some intresting ideas about Wilde, doesn’t it? The ‘beast in the attic’? To whom could he ever be referring to? It might also explain why he didn’t take up the offer to flee to France the night the warrant for his arrest was issued. I believe he was doubly concerned about the damage to reputation (facade) and being seen as a coward (facade) but equally, he would have relied on his natural wit and skill in the stand AND coupled with all of that lovely fuel and attention. He would have weighed up the risk involved and then made his decision. Unfortunately for him, he made the wrong one and he chose to stay.

      I digress. Aging.

      In the process at the moment of watching this happen with Patrinarc although, I believe I have seen it happen with others close to me.

      No, as HG observes, they do not age well. Both of the grandparents I am thinking of (one on each side) had very serious health complaints towards the end and had a prolonged and shocking time of it. The other two had underlying health conditions but their ends’ were very quick and very unexpected. OK, so a few swallows don’t make a summer (if that’s the right phrase…)

      I really AM now speculating but it could be very well due to how fuel is being managed. ‘Chunks’ of fuel being gained and then blitzed through rather than the steady stream of natural fuel replenishment that the Empaths’ enjoy. To look at PN a few months ago; you would easily have said; dead in 6 weeks. Now, after his ‘Monte Carlo Power Play’ – the concept that a N would have of making such a huge and high risk gamble on deploying key sensitive information in order to gain massive amounts of fuel (Positive or negative. In this case the unprompted admission of multiple affairs over multiple years).

      Whatever. He has now seemingly made a very good recovery. It’s all back to ‘happily families’ except it’s not and never can be. Some words that are said can never be ‘unsaid’. Not because they are necessarily cruel or malicious but words that reveal the essence of someone elses’ soul. (Or fully confirm it). That they are not what they claim to be; fundamentally kind, thoughtful and altruistic people even if they are having a ‘bad day’.

      Or as PN was observed a while ago, rocking on the end of his bed. ‘How will Jesus judge me for what I’ve done to my children?’ How indeed?

      Fascinating (and brave) HG

    2. The Dorian Gray reference here reeeeealllly struck a chord with me. My piano narc (MRN) always discussed the Dorian Gray story with me. He compared it to the guilt and shame he feels for carrying on with me.

      This makes his self awareness, if any, very eerie.

      I am also convinced that he still moonlights and reads this blog too.

      But that is just me being paranoid.

      I guess his paranoia starting to rub off on me, much like his big vocabulary.

      🤦🏻‍♀️

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