Today, I’m going to talk about what you can expect from the narcissist if you get sick with COVID-19. Plus, I’ll share practical tips on how to deal with managing your day-to-day life if you do. Watch video on YouTube.
Since we are in the age of a pandemic, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about what you can expect from the narcissist in your life if you do happen to come down with the virus. This reminded me of something that happened to me when I was 15 and came down with a serious case of mono.
And no, I didn’t get it in the way you might expect – I got it because I was physically exhausted and wasn’t sleeping like a normal human. Long story short, I ended up being alone at home for several days due to circumstances beyond my control – which, to be fair, were somewhat understandable (since my grandfather was in the hospital after a heart attack and my illness would be a danger to him). Still, in hindsight, it seems that some sort of arrangement could’ve been made to make sure I wasn’t alone.
But on the plus side, I was allowed to stay on the pull out couch in the living room, and I appreciated that because I needed to stay in bed and there was no TV in my bedroom. We didn’t have the internet back then – nor did we have our little handheld computers at our fingertips like we do today. So without the TV, I’d have been bored out of my skull.
Now, when he diagnosed me, my doctor had warned my parents that I needed to be careful not to fall as it could cause significant damage in my fragile state – something to do with my spleen exploding, or something like that. The doctor also told my parents that the illness would make me dizzy and might need a little help getting around – I assume because the dizziness might make me fall, increasing the danger of the exploding spleen, or whatever he’d said. But rather than giving me access to the only downstairs bathroom available in the house during the time they were gone, which was in their bedroom, the parent locked their bedroom door as they left.
This meant I did end up falling a couple of times as I had to go up and down the stairs alone to use the bathroom. At one point, I laid on the floor for several hours, feeling unable to move. I mean, maybe I was being dramatic like someone would later imply. But it didn’t feel that way at the time. On the plus side, my spleen didn’t explode and I’m here to tell the tale.
Anyhoo, as you might imagine, remembering this story, along with these questions from clients, viewers, listeners and readers got me to thinking. What would happen if I got the coronavirus and was still married to my toxic ex?
I mean think about it. Say the worst has happened and you’ve been diagnosed with the coronavirus. To complicate things, the only person available to take care of you is your narcissistic spouse, partner or parent. Well, that’s exactly what we’re talking about today – what you can expect from the narcissist if you get sick with COVID-19 or any other illness. Plus, tips on how to deal if you do. So, let’s get started.
What can you expect from the narcissist when you have COVID-19?
As you probably know, a narcissist only cares about themselves and what is good for them. They lack any concern for others – even, and often especially, those closest to them. And during the COVID-19 era, the spouse of a narcissist has an extra thing to worry about. They already know that their narcissistic husband or wife does not care about them and will only pretend that they do as long as it serves them. Sadly, the same goes for adult children of narcissistic parents.
Narcissists always look out for themselves first so of course, they might take care of you if it would in some way benefit them. But in general, what could you expect from a narcissistic spouse, partner, parent or caregiver if you ended up with COVID-19 (or any other ailment for that matter)?
You probably already know that it doesn’t bode well for you. But let’s break down as to why a narcissist would likely make your life miserable if you happened to come down with COVID-19.
1. Narcissists Clearly Aren’t Caregivers
Not everyone is good with caregiving, and not being a good caregiver doesn’t mean someone is a narcissist. Being a caregiver requires an extreme amount of patience, not to mention the ability to be nurturing and empathetic. You already know that narcissists don’t have those qualities. And let’s not forget that the defining quality of a toxic narcissist is the lack of empathy – and that means it would not occur to them to get their sick spouse a cup of tea or some tissues when they need it. Non-caregivers who aren’t narcissists would still be able to do that simple task. Narcissists would imagine they were being treated like servants if you’re sick, which is why they will avoid helping you if at all possible.
2. Narcissists Want Nothing To Do With Responsibility
Narcissists may be responsible at work because they want to protect their image, or because they like money. But behind closed doors at home, they tend to avoid responsibility – especially emotional responsibility and personal responsibility. They don’t want you to expect too much of them, and since they don’t see you as a whole person (but as an extension of themselves), part of them thinks you’re faking it anyway. This idea, subconscious or otherwise, can be how they justify treating you badly when you’re sick. And don’t expect them to do your chores or handle any of your regular responsibilities during your illness. They’ll let stuff pile up and become unmanageable, all the while complaining at you for not doing it. Instead, they’re far more likely to be focused on the fact that they worked hard all day, which will justify their own need to rest and not take care of you.
3. Narcissists Need to Be the Center of Attention
Not only does the narcissist not care about you when you’re sick with COVID-19, but might even actually feel slighted by the fact that you “caught” the virus. Just like they’ll be jealous and offended by the attention you give your kids or your work, they’ll feel like you’re asking for (and maybe getting) too much attention for your illness. On top of that, you may not be able to deliver your usual levels of service and narcissistic supply. This will annoy and frustrate them. So, like the emotional toddlers they are, the narcissist will do something to grab the spotlight back – whether they pretend to be sicker than you, or they cause some other kind of unnecessary drama, before you know it, your own illness will be placed on the back burner in favor of whatever the narcissist is hooting and hollering about.
All this does is leave you feeling abandoned, alone, and unloved. Even though your illness, you’ll start to blame yourself for it. Even though you’re sick, you end up having to take care of yourself.
So what can you do if you are sick with COVID-19 or any other illness and you’re dealing with a narcissist? Outside of staying healthy (or leaving while you’re healthy and connecting with more caring people), here are a few tips that can help.
- Prepare as far in advance as possible. Set yourself up with a little sort of “survival kit.” Stock up on cold medicine, immune support help, tissues and anything else you like to have around the house when you’re not feeling good.
- Plan to order your groceries to be delivered and consider getting some frozen or prepared meals to keep the family fed.
- Do your research and find out what you can do to stay healthy and what to do if you do get sick.
- Talk to your kids, if they’re old enough, or a friend, extended family member or neighbor about helping you in the case that you do become ill.
- Take your vitamins, get enough sleep and take care of yourself. Don’t forget to stay home as much as you can (or at least avoid unnecessary social situations) for now, and if you do go out, be careful: always practice social distancing and wear your mask.
The question of the day is: have you ever been sick and only had the narcissist to care for you? How did it work out, and what suggestions could you offer to our fellow survivors to help get through it if they do become infected with COVID-19 or any other ailment? Share your thoughts, share your ideas and share your experiences in the comments section below this video, and let’ s talk about it.
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.