Usually when someone passes away normal folks reach out to the loved ones extending condolences and offers to help out, be there for them in their time of need or simply to reassure them they are loved. But a narcissist has no idea how to properly feel sympathy, or empathy, so their contact will be a little less consoling and a little more about how the death in your life affects them, than it does you.
A narcissist will make it all about themselves.
I know that sounds kind of awkward and socially unacceptable in the most extreme way, but I have seen it happen too many times to wonder anymore if there’s some truth to it. It happens! Every time I have heard the insane comments or witnessed the self centered behavior, I have inwardly cringed. I always wonder what they’re thinking, or if they’re thinking, before they voice these thoughts that make the hair raise up on a person’s arms. It’s creepy!
From refusing to acknowledge the living once they realize the person has nothing to leave them in the Will, to smashing a rock on the deceased’s vehicle because the person’s family refused to let them have it, they just have no idea how to behave with any class or decorum if there isn’t something in it for them. Instead of celebrating the life that has just passed, they want everyone that is grieving to pay attention to THEM and what THEY are going through. Some of them act like they only care about the material possessions left behind, or about looking like they are the ones grieving the most and therefore they are the ones that should get all of the attention. Honestly, some of them make me wonder if they would stand at the Crematorium and exclaim, “OUCH! I got a blister!”
I’m not saying that posting your memories is being narcissistic. It’s how a narcissist posts their memories that might be totally different from anything you have ever seen. There are many different brands of Narcissistic Condolences. Here are a few examples of the ones I’ve seen.
There’s the Who Needs Him? I’m Here!
“I’m sorry your friend died, but hey! you still got ME!!”
Seriously?! Now is not the time to remind someone that you are still alive. I’m pretty sure they already know that. If you feel this is something you can not wait to tell your grieving friend, then perhaps tell them privately. At least that way you’ll only look like a self centered asshole to just one person.
There’s the There Might Be a Will Read Today!
“I heard you were going to be at the funeral, so I hopped in my car and drove right over because if he left you something in his Will, maybe I’ll get something too.”
When someone’s life ends it’s not a free-for-all lottery of their material or financial remains. If the only reason you attend a funeral is to find out what you’re getting, then stay home. If the deceased left you anything, his lawyer can call you.
The OMG! He Was My Bestie!
“OMG! I am so sad he’s gone!! I am going to miss him so much! I think I want to be a pallbearer! When is the service for him? Oh…I can’t make that. I’m scheduled for a mani-pedi.”
If you can’t cancel superficial plans in order to pay your final respects, then I’m going to guess that this person was not your bestie, or even someone you gave much thought to.
How about the Let’s All Ignore the Dead Guy and Remember What a Great Person I Am!
“I will remember only the stuff about him that doesn’t reveal how truly shitty I was to him while he was alive. I want everyone to know what a great time we had together, even though I haven’t spoken to him or had anything nice to say about him in almost four years. Besides, all that stuff doesn’t matter now. I mean, well, he’s gone, right?”
So someone died that you were a real shithead to? Now is not the time to make amends. Especially if you plan to make those amends to the friends and family grieving. It’s inappropriate, and quite frankly, if they knew you were a shithead, then their opinion is unlikely to change. If you are truly remorseful about your bad behavior then make your amends privately, in a prayer, you say to yourself. Leave the bereaved alone. They aren’t interested in hearing it.
Or the I Read The Eulogy You Wrote About Your Friend and I Have Some Corrections About Your Feelings and How They Pertain To Me.
When someone is taking the time to remember a loved one, the last thing they need is someone that wants to correct them about how they are feeling. Who cares if they spelled a word wrong, or you don’t think they are being sad enough, or they didn’t mention you in the Eulogy. It’s not about you!! You should not be correcting anyone about how they reference their grief, their feelings of loss or how they are choosing to remember someone they miss.
Or this one…
“I haven’t seen or talked to him in about twenty years, but he used to love it when I wore my hair like this.”
Um, that’s nice? I wasn’t even sure how to take this one, or what I can even say about it because it is just too ridiculous to even try to process it.
On the flipside of this. I remember sending my condolences along when an old friend of mine took her own life. At the time I lived too far away to attend the memorial service. It was before there was an Internet, so my sympathy was sent in a card. The mother of the deceased pulled aside one of my friends at the service to show her the sympathy card I had sent and told her “My daughter never liked her anyway.”
That afternoon my friend called to tell me how beautiful the service was, and to deliver the mother’s message. It was news to me because my friend had never shown me that she disliked me and had kept in touch with me over the years. I was surprised that this was what the mother chose to share that day, of all days.
Was what the mother did inappropriate? I told myself and my friend that day that this was a mother that had just lost her child in a tragic way. Perhaps this was grief talking, or maybe she really felt the need to remind me that I wasn’t liked. I will never know. My grief wasn’t about the mother, even though I felt sad for her. It wasn’t about being liked. It wasn’t even about being remembered as a friend. My grief was about the loss of a life that was much too young to be gone.
Yes, they are certainly a different kind of condolence.
There is a right way and a wrong way to pay your respects. The keyword here is RESPECT. I found a helpful link in case anyone is wondering the proper etiquette for times like this.
The one thing I can console myself knowing is that hopefully the person grieving the loss is so absorbed and cushioned by their own wall of loving memories of the person they lost, that the Narcissistic Condolences will never be loud or obnoxious enough to penetrate it.
If you are a narcissist and any of these platitudes sound familiar, please consider keeping your thoughts to yourself next time. Or visit the link I provided here and at least pretend to be bereaved, or that you feel something for another human being’s life that isn’t all about you.