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It took my mom dying to realize how fiercely she was fighting the ravages of this awful curse. I don't know your childhood with your parent. But what you may think is narcissism is a desperate attempt to maintain their agency. This is progressive. It affects the brain with each stage and not Well, for you, as caregiver, nor them as sufferers. Just think about that. How hard would you fight?

It affects both. For each person in the dyad, the mirroring process is disrupted. Some people spend a lifetime trying to get that back on track.
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Reply to mikkimball0664
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I don’t know. Maybe my perspective is different because I have a severely disabled son. Seeking and accepting help has not only made it possible for me to keep him living at home - it has made me a better parent and Rainman a happier, healthier individual.

I honestly believe if I was aware that I was loosing my facilities - I would seek professional help and make sure arrangements were in place to see that I continued to do whatever I had to - to remain as mentally and physically sound as possible.

But maybe, that’s just me.
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Reply to Rainmom
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Anosognosia and confabulation are common, expected in dementia. Is it narcissism? No. Disease? Yes.
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Reply to Segoline
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@polarbear

How did I lose you? If I lost you. I've lost others too.

You know what cognitive camouflage is? Putting on best behavior in front of med professionals, family. Is it sundown? In some probably. In others no. One person's experience with dementia, is one person's. Doesn't mean true for all.

If you personally, are aware you are losing your faculties, what would you do. And think about that.
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Reply to Segoline
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Elders get self centered like so many have opined. Being self centered and being a narcissist are worlds apart. It may seem like narcissism, but it is really not. It is a desperate attempt to hang on to what they know is sliding away.
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polarbear Jul 9, 2019
Segoline - you lost me. Maybe an example will help. To me, they may be different causes/reasons, but the symptoms are very similar.
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To me, narcissism is not black and white, either or, but rather it's actually on a sliding scale. One end is altruism and the other is narcissism. Somewhere toward the narcissism end on that scale are selfishness and extreme selfishness.

The world of most of the elderly is so small that it consists of only them and their needs, so that's all they think and care about. Even if they weren't selfish before, they tend to become that eventually. Sad. We, too, have to be on guard so that we don't become them when we get old.

For those small percentage of people who were born narcissistic, they will just get worse (if that's possible) as they get old.
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Depending on which study you read it is currently estimated that 3-10% of the population are true Narcissists.

Here on the AC boards there are hundreds of posts referring to their loved one as a Narcissist. However, the numbers - the actual percentage math just doesn’t support this. Not everyone has a Narcissist in their family. Although, I have wondered at times - that there actually is a true larger percentage of individuals caring for an individual with Narcissism here. Maybe that’s in part - why they wind up here.

Still, I wonder why so many give that diagnosis to their loved one. Those, that is - who don’t have an actual diagnosis from a certified mental health profession.

Ive read the articles, looked at the symptoms - ticked the boxes as they applied to my own mother. And, in truth - I can’t say she fits the description of a full fledged Narcissist.

Fact of the matter is - some people are just plain ole self centered. Selfish and self involved to their very core - without having the mental/personality disorder of Narcissism.

So - again, I wonder... why so many describe their loved one as a Narcissist. To me, at least - having this actual disorder can almost “excuse” the way they behave. For instance, you can’t really blame an individual with Schizophrenia for the voices they hear, can you? It’s a mental illness.

Does one being a Narcissist make it easier for their loved ones to excuse and/or accept the way they’ve been treated - by said person? Is it a way of saying “It wasn’t me. It wasn’t my fault that my mother (whom ever) treated me so badly”?

Well, guess what? It wasn’t your fault. Period. Whether your loved one is/was a bona fide Narcissist or just completely selfish and self centered - it not your fault. You do/did not deserve the pain and heartbreak that these type of people inflict on the people around them. And, for whatever reason (I’m sure there are lots of them) these folks especially seem to target and hurt the individuals around them that do the most for them - care for and love them perhaps more than the
other people in their lives. It’s as if - they do because they know they can.

Maybe its Narcissism. Maybe its selfishness. Maybe it’s the fear of aging, decline, and death. Personally, I can’t give my mother a clinical mental illness pass. I can’t say it was aging - she was self centered all her life. But I can say - it wasn’t my fault. And - if you’re suffering at the hands of an individual who can’t see beyond their own wants and needs - it’s not your fault either.
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It is hard to see when you are in the midst of it, isn't it. It's such a good observation. We live and learn, and do it the hard way. We are all different and our gifts and our flaws are unique to us. I am glad that you still learn from the Mom you had, as my bro and I speak always of the things we realize now, later in life, and feel lucky to have had our parents live long enough to realize how smart they were while they were still alive. Hope you are healing, and that you continue to learn from Mom should bring you some peace, and should help others.
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