I have been asked by a member of the blog to do a post on victims of a narcissist who are over 50. I haven’t read anything about older victims, is there a difference between a younger victim and one who is middle aged? Or do they suffer the same over the same things?
I haven’t seen any articles or studies that pertain to the topic of younger vs older victims of a narcissist and I am unsure how I feel about the topic; I am hoping that writing this post will give me a clearer answer and there is a possibility that I misunderstood the request.
I am pretty sure the person asking the question feels it is harder on the older victim, is there a difference?
I am asking for your input with this post, if you have something to add that I didn’t touch on please add it in the comments below but please try to stay focused on the differences and not get sidetracked into describing your whole relationship. Let’s say that the “younger” victim is under 40 and the older victim is anyone over 40, mainly because I met JC in my early 40’s and I noticed a big difference in my dating style in my 40’s compared to how and who I dated in my 40’s.
Like I said, I met JC when I was in my early 40’s and I noticed I had a different attitude about dating than when I was younger.
I remember plain as day sitting on the couch about a year into our relationship, JC had just stormed off to his shop after another simple conversation turned into an ugly knock down long drawn out fight where I, once again, ended up being wrong. I was consumed with self doubt, confused because we had been able to communicate so well and now it seemed I could not say anything right and I was thinking, “If I, a self confident woman who knows her worth can be made to feel so low how would a much younger woman without the life experience I have, ever survive?” I thought about the much younger woman, the mother of his son and how horrible it must have been for her.
I didn’t know what I was dealing with at the time and still didn’t consider JC to be abusive, I just knew this was not the same man I met and fell in love with. I felt that at my age, with the background I had, I would be able to weather this storm and get us back on track.
Deep down I knew what he was saying about me was not true (that I needed to be on my own and learn to be self supporting; I had been a single mom for years! worked, bought homes, I was the most independent woman I knew. I had been told by previous boyfriends I was TOO independent.
He and his mother had told me how heart broken he was when the mother of his son had left him. He had told me how he came home from a run trucking to an apartment empty except for the dust bunnies. Without warning, her and her parents had cleaned him out, even the storage unit, full of memorabilia from his life of trucking; was empty. He had told me that he had done everything for her, he cleaned, cooked, worked his ass off and I assumed he hadn’t dealt with all the issues and now, being in love with me, past hurts were surfacing. His mom had told me she was afraid of what he would do if things didn’t work out between him and I, he had been so heart broken when T left him. I had promised her that I was not some young girl and I knew what I wanted in life and I knew a good thing when I had it, I was not going to break JC’s heart. Unlike all the other women in his life I recognized a good man and I was going to spend the rest of my and his life showing him how much I appreciated him.
When I was younger I was very independent, fairly high maintenance and I had pretty high expectations of the men in my life. I was inflexible and was focused on certain goals for my life. I had rigid boundaries of what was acceptable from men in my life and I had no problem defending them and kicking a guy to the curb if he didn’t respect them. If I met a guy that I wasn’t immediately attracted to I didn’t give 2nd second chances, why would I waste my time dating someone I wasn’t attracted to. I had been told by friends and my mother that I was too picky, that I didn’t give the nice guys enough of a chance.
Deep down though I always felt like a fraud, that I was being what everyone else expected and not true to me, but I had no idea how to change that, I didn’t know a person could.
I knew I had daddy issues from my childhood and dealt with them through counselling because I felt they were affecting my romantic relationships and self esteem and parenting.
I had an eating disorder I had dealt with and was finally comfortable with my body and sexuality.
I took communication courses in order to communicate more rationally and effectively in my relationships,
By the time I met JC I no longer cared about getting married, my son was at the age he didn’t need me any more, giving me freedom I hadn’t had in 17 years and this time around I was free of the insecurities about my body and role as a woman. I was ready to enjoy life for a change, be more spontaneous, do things for me! JC popped into my life when I least expected it. For the first time in my life I was prepared to take things as they came and go with the flow.
When I met JC, he was charming, exciting, and the kind of guy I probably would have drooled over but not dated when I was younger because I was a single mom who had to be responsible and I was not into dating “players” and I pegged him to be a player. But seeing as I had this new attitude about dating, had found my sexuality and had no responsibility to anyone but myself I remember thinking; “I am going to sleep with this man, I’m a big girl, I can have sex for the sake of having sex if I want to.” Well, to be honest it went more like this, “God, please give me the opportunity to fuck this guy’s brains out.”
What I was not prepared for was him to fall head over heels in love with me. I almost dumped him because he was calling too much, was too needy and I felt like I was being suffocated. But then my friend’s voice’s started ringing in my ears, “you never give the nice guys a chance”, “Let a guy take care of you for a change.” “It doesn’t hurt for a guy to love you more than you love him.”
So I went with the flow, tried to relax and let him take care of me, let him wine and dine me without feeling I had to repay him. I was able to go to his place on the spur of the moment because I didn’t have a little one at home and didn’t have to worry about a baby sitter. I was having fun. I was carefree and I had a gorgeous younger man who thought the sun rose and set on me and loved everything about me.
When I had been younger I had always thought there was someone better out there, there would always be another man. I was a flirt and I had always had male attention but by the time I reached my 40’s I didn’t enjoy dating that much, it was a lot of work. There had been children involved, ex wives and visitation rights and shared Christmas’s, I had done all the cooking and cleaning and carried the financial load much of the time. I was not so optimistic about meeting my soul mate any more. I had loved Kris’s dad with all my heart and when that ended I had never felt that kind of love for any man I dated, I had given up on finding it ever again, until I met JC. I was NOT going to let this one slip through my fingers. He was everything I had ever hoped for in a man and more and I knew another one was not waiting around the corner.
I figured I had been in enough relationships to know how to have a good one, I had worked on all my issues, I had given up thinking I could change a man, I knew he was not perfect, but he was perfect for me and I for him. We had both been hurt in the past and we were ready to have mature equal relationship and appreciate the good thing we had found when neither one of us had expected it.
When I was younger I walked away from guys just because I didn’t think they were good daddy material or we argued too much and I didn’t want to raise my son in that environment; now I only had to worry about myself and I was confident I could overcome anything, especially for the love of my life.
AND, he had never been loved like I loved him, he had never been accept exactly the way he was, he told me, “He had thought he was in love before, but I had taught him what real love was.” and I believed him.
This was the second half of my life and I could not believe my good fortune to have met this wonderful man who totally understood me, who was able to talk openly about his feelings and discuss things calmly and honestly. We never argued, ever, he never got angry about anything, I had never met a more even tempered man in my life and I vowed to never take him for granted, (like all the other women had).
I had been married before but I had never been as committed to making a relationship work as I was to making it work with JC. That is why getting married was not a priority to me, my love for him went beyond any kind of vows or legal documents. It took until I was in my 40’s but it was worth the wait.
I am sure that if I had been younger I would not have stayed with him past 6 months, even if it broke my heart I would have put my responsibilities as a mother first, I would have still thought there was another one just around the corner and I would have been naive enough to believe I was right to be judgemental. I also had never been in an abusive relationship so was confident at the ripe old age of 43 I would never be in one.
I think a lot of older victims are widows or have attained significant wealth and the narcissist drains them of their life savings. I wouldn’t call myself lucky but I had financial security when I was younger, by the time I met JC I had lost everything I had worked so hard to attain due to the economy and to my last husband who didn’t like to work. I lost my good credit rating and much much more to James. I think I would have left him sooner if I would have had my own home but I really felt I had nothing to lose by staying with him a little while longer. I had no idea that narcissists existed, let alone that they get their strokes from destroying people, not just bleeding them dry financially. He had no reason to be with me other than love and that confused me.
I have often thanked the powers that be that I was not younger when I met JC because I couldn’t have kids by the time I met him and to me sharing a child with a narcissist would be the worst living hell and you are stuck with him for at least 18 years, have to fight for custody, suffer through parent alienation, fight for child support and a barrage of other tactics they use to destroy the victim.
Yes, many older victims end up penniless and homeless and it is harder to recoup at an older age simply because you have less time and are less employable. So a younger victim may have an advantage there but as much as I struggle financially now, largely due to being with JC; I do not consider financial my biggest loss.
One of the biggest losses is my health, but I can not prove without a doubt that I would not have gotten sick anyway.
I have to say that my greatest loss was of who I thought I was, the loss of my confidence, my self esteem, and identity.
BUT, putting myself back together was the greatest experience, I had not been living authentic to my core self and if JC had not torn me down to nothing I never would have done the work necessary to find out who I am and that can be done at any age. I think an older woman is more apt to put the work into self discovery and healing than a younger woman simply because they don’t have kids to care for and they have lived life and want better than what they have had. They want to be the best they can be without a man but a younger woman is more inclined to seek out another man to fix the damage done by the narcissist. The younger victim is still expecting “the one” to ride up on his stallion to save her.
I am grateful to be older because I went through most of my life oblivious to narcissists, I dated some assholes but I also dated some really great guys and had a hell of a good time during my younger dating life. I smile thinking about all the fun I had in my 20’s and 30’s; I know there are men out there who aren’t disordered, I believe in love and I look back with no regrets. Well, maybe one regret. I regret not learning who I really am, discarding the crap that was never mine to carry and living true to myself, sooner. I wish I could have gone through my 20’s and 30’s as sure of who I am as I am today. The questions is, would I have been ready for the lesson?
Have I made up my mind about the differences between a young victim and an older victim? Every time I think I have made a decision and the older victim has it worse then I think of what the younger victim goes through, but as soon as I change my mind I think of JC’s present target and I feel so sorry for her. Here she was a young widow, still in her 40’s, her husband had made sure she was set for life and would never have to worry financially. Steady rental income coming in, investments, a home paid for and the love and support of her and her husband’s family. Then she met JC and he swept her off her feet, she was his soul mate, he was so blessed to have found her after all the psycho bitches he had bee with and she swallowed it hook line and sinker. Now she has no security. She has sold her home, moved away from family n friends, invested in property with JC and she can’t walk away, not without losing a lot of money. It certainly is incentive to “give it one more try”, or stay a little longer in hopes of recouping some of her losses. And she would be thinking she has invested 5 years into this relationship, she is now in her 50’s, she isn’t likely to meet another man she loves this much, she feels she better make it work or spend the rest o her life alone and he does love her, it’s just his psycho ex’s that cause the problems. I think a younger woman would be more apt to walk away.
I think the difference between victims varies person to person and whether they are willing to do the work to heal properly or not. One thing is certain, being the victim of a narcissist is not fun, it can totally destroy a person or it can build a person up and make them a better person for the experience. It is all in how the victim views it and what the victim values.
I will never regret meeting JC because I am so thankful I got to meet the real me at some point in my life,
How about you? I am still on the fence, does a younger victim have it easier, what are the differences you se between the two?