Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Self centredness

(67 Posts)
Mumsyface Wed 19-Jun-19 10:53:44

Is it normal for one to become increasingly self centred and selfish as one gets older?
I watched my mother become so on her eighties and now my husband is doing the same. Is this normal and how does one deal with it?

EllanVannin Wed 19-Jun-19 11:15:07

Don't really know, though not going by my parents or those who I know. If anything, the ones who I do know are far from self-centred or selfish.
Unless this is a sudden change to what they once were I wouldn't look upon it as an " old-age " thing.

yggdrasil Wed 19-Jun-19 11:20:17

I have raised two children to adulthood, and looked after a selfish husband till I divorced him.
My kids are self-sufficient and one is a parent herself.
I reckon this is my time smile

Teetime Wed 19-Jun-19 11:23:53

I wonder if it happens if you start withdrawing form social contact and/or others no longer depend on you for anything.

lmm6 Wed 19-Jun-19 11:32:54

Definitely a sign of age. My mother aged 94 is barely interested in anyone but herself. The conversation is all about her. I think it's normal. Plus they forget things so easily so even if I tell her something she doesn't remember.

Elvive Wed 19-Jun-19 11:37:56

I think there may be some psychology behind this, to do with the aging process and the brain.

A few years ago my mothers personality changed and she became more reckless and self absorbed.

Its terribly sad because the person sometimes is unaware and then you have to make all the decisions and stand up to somebody you hardly recognise.

annsixty Wed 19-Jun-19 11:42:37

I have two , possibly more , friends who have been widowed, they have become very self centred, one to the point of rudeness and arrogance.
I am watching myself carefully to make sure I don't fall into the trap.
My H thought of no-one but himself in his later years but I think that was the Alzheimer's coming on and then taking over. I am sure age and loneliness can do it.
I am hoping that like yggdrasil I can now take time for myself, while considering others,.

Gonegirl Wed 19-Jun-19 11:48:53

I think it's probably normal to turn in on oneself a bit as we get older. We have more to contend with physically. And we begin to realise that time is running out.

Would never equate self-centredness with selfishness though. The latter is never excusable.

grannyticktock Wed 19-Jun-19 11:56:20

I have known a number of old ladies who can seem quite selfish and even manipulative, and I have concluded that it's a sort of self-preservation instinct for some. Living alone and/or aware of becoming weaker and more vulnerable, they concentrate on their own needs and on how best to get others to help them - using charm, persuasion, threats, money or emotional blackmail as necessary. They focus on themselves because no one else does.

I hope I don't end up that, but I can see why it happens when so many old people live completely on their own, often far from family members.

Alima Wed 19-Jun-19 12:29:00

I have never equated self centredness\ selfishness with age. Is it a real phenomenon? In my experience being self centred is a state one is born with. (The particular selfish bar steward I am thinking of right now is relatively quite young).

jaylucy Wed 19-Jun-19 12:34:48

I think as well as getting older, people's worlds shrink, especially if they can't get out much, many of their friends have moved away or died, so they have little else to think about.
Either that or they have spent a lifetime of running around after other people, doing what they want , they see it as time to please themselves!

kittylester Wed 19-Jun-19 13:34:19

Dh and I quite often talk about 'selfish old man syndrome' as we know a couple of older men who definitely have it. His dad did too though he was entitled having looked after Dmil for 15 or so years.

SueDonim Wed 19-Jun-19 13:46:49

I agree with Jaylucy. I am seeing this in my 91yo mother. She views everything through a prism of herself. I do think it's partly because her world has shrunk so much. She lives alone and because she has restricted mobility, she doesn't get out much. She is 100% mentally and has too much time to think, I suspect.

It's hard to know how to help, when transport is an issue for her (I live 100 miles away), and so many friends have died. She is also resistant to joining anything for older people, as she doesn't want to spend time with 'old folk'. It's a conundrum.

Mumsyface Wed 19-Jun-19 13:53:30

It occurs to me that becoming increasingly deaf, having moved two years ago and living in a country where he doesn’t (hasn’t learnt) the language all contribute to making him socially isolated and mentally unstimulated.....

Mumsyface Wed 19-Jun-19 13:54:21

...and thus with nothing to think about except himself

glammanana Wed 19-Jun-19 13:54:33

We often discuss this and hope it will never happen to either of us as we get older but one never knows how you will be affected once you are on your own.
I did have a rather selfish self centered neighbour who because I was married and we coped very well with our life thought I was at her beck and call every time she felt poorly or even needed a bulb changing even though she had family close by she thought nothing of ringing me at 3am to say she was ill and you have to respond don't you even though most times she was calling wolf their could be a time she wasn't....
So pleased we moved

KatyK Wed 19-Jun-19 15:19:23

I think I've become very self centred. blush shock

DillytheGardener Thu 20-Jun-19 08:27:10

My mother in law (was never particularly nice from the start tbh) has become more and more selfish in her 90’s with very little empathy now for other people. As described by another poster all conversations are now about her and led back to her if we dare to deviate to what we or her grandchildren have been up to.

M0nica Thu 20-Jun-19 08:45:05

Many older people find the world increasingly frightening as they reach extreme old age.They do not understand technology, struggle with mobile phones and find the whole pace of modern life and attitudes different. they often find that other people, from medical authorities, to carers, to family treat them with unintentioned but veiled contempt because they are old and slow and do not understand simple things.

I think they end up feeling very frightened of everything and retreat into themselves and think only of themselves as a form of self-protection.

They have my sympathy.

KatyK Thu 20-Jun-19 09:43:34

Well said Monica

Gonegirl Thu 20-Jun-19 09:50:45

KatyK everyone is self-centred. It's the natural state of the "'ooman condition".

So long as you're not selfISH, and I'm sure you're not, you are ok. smile

KatyK Thu 20-Jun-19 10:00:10

Bless you Gonegirl I have severe anxiety and am 'up my own bottom' but no I don't think I'm selfish.

Gonegirl Thu 20-Jun-19 10:06:34

[thumbs up emoji] smile

annep1 Thu 20-Jun-19 23:21:50

Yes. Well said Monica.

sodapop Fri 21-Jun-19 08:19:34

It's not confined to much older people either. I have two friends whose conversation revolves around them and their families. I can have an entire conversation on the phone with one of them and when I put down the phone I realise that not once has she asked how my family is or what I am doing.