28 thoughts on “How Narcissists Exploit Cancer and Every Other Ailment

  • March 16, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    Dear Lenora, how many times did you want to dump that bucket onto mr.little-lite-sleeper’s head? Had an in-law, ms.little-lite-sleeper who was always going on about her latest ailments…her poor husband! Ugh. i feel harsh at times because when people launch into long verbal paragraphs about their aches and pains, i exit as quickly as possible. People who moan and groan like that are sickening.

    • March 16, 2016 at 9:56 pm

      LOL. Wish I’d thought to dump the bucket, Sue! But what always puzzled me was why Mom was allowed bathroom privileges…but I wasn’t. The word “degradation” cross the mind. Thanks for commenting!

      ~ Lenora

  • March 17, 2016 at 12:49 am

    As the loving child you did what you could. Above and beyond actually.
    I despise the idea that a person must endure and kind of abuse because it’s their “duty”.
    I hope you take solace in the fact that you were a fantastic and loving daughter to a man who didn’t even deserve one such as you!

    Breathe freely wonderful daughter. You did your JOB perfectly!

    • March 17, 2016 at 9:26 am

      Thank you so much, DeeDee. I tried…but never felt good enough. There was always “something” they criticized me for, but your comment made me feel a lot better about myself. Thank you!

      ~ Lenora

  • April 27, 2017 at 5:47 pm


    At first (when he was diagnosed) I felt bad as if all the cursing I did when I was upset began to play out, I was guilty because I’m always at fault, or everyone makes it seem so – I’m deprived of feeling human emotions because my pain I’m expected to be polite yet I’m not worthy of pain.

    In my culture once an elderly (man) is told there’s abnormality in their system, you have to walk on eggshells around them, they grieve and morn every freaking moment while you take it in from one ear and take it out from the other. Cancer is deadly especially considering how it slowly kills you and the impact treatment has, my heart goes out to the victims, but in this household everything’s changing, instead of ignoring his complaints and listening to him boost his ego, you have to go with it mostly because his heart hurts and he’s more fragile than ever – the whole world dances around that person.

    Before he was diagnosed; while tests were taking place and the venom was first spreading through his blood, he could walk around without much of a fuss, did his things… you know the way a narc is, but it seems after the diagnoses it will take a toll on everyone in the household, because he has a ‘small heart’. I feel like he’s going to be demanding and I feel awful for being this way,I’m just further opening my cold heart. I feel bad because he’s going through pain, he did what he could by doing me ‘favours’, and then making me feel like I owe him my life – I don’t need rides to school, but he insists, refusing to let me have my sense of liberty and freedom (outside of the internet) and afterwards uses it against me.

    I don’t know if I’m patient enough for God’s trials, but gosh I hope he enlightens me.

  • September 30, 2017 at 2:55 am

    Thank you for sharing your amazing, saddening, uplifting life story. It clicked with me,particularly the bit about wanting to be ill then it’s like birthdays and Christmases together when it happens.

    My husband is a narcissist, the product of a narcissistic mother. He has just been diagnosed with cancer. I’ve noticed he is enjoying it, revelling in the attention and now believes he has a free pass to be as bitchy as he likes to me. One of his classy comments, “It’s been all about you, you’ve been the centre of attention, now it’s my turn” Errrm! Would this be because I have Lupus! Centre of attention?? I’m pretty much housebound and barely see a soul day in day out. No self pity but a fact! It’s dawned on me, he has been envious of my incurable condition and now he is delighted to have his own! As if it’s an illnesses podium and he wants first place and the trophy. I am still handy as a way for him to procure attention/pity, he has this ‘sick’ wife, poor him!
    He’s going to have competition. His mother announced she’d caught Lupus off me. Not that it’s possible but why anyone would want to have it puzzles me. I’d give it away in a heartbeat! His mother was pumping him for his symptoms. He thinks, mummy cares. I’m thinking by next week she’ll be off for tests. This will be interesting, it’s prostate cancer!
    You are a survivor, an inspiration,a strong person and most definitely good enough. <3

  • November 30, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Lenora, I can’t thank you enough for posting this with such honesty and courage. Growing up I would burn with shame when my abuser would use my medical conditions to garner sympathy and servitude.

  • March 4, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story! I can only wish for you to be strong and know your worth. I am going through the exact same thing. I was raised by a narcissist father who claimed that he wanted to kill himself on a daily basis. He would buy a rope and tell me and my mother that he is going to hung himself and close the door so that we would worry that he has killed himself. When we called the neighbors for help, he would open the door and pretended that nothing happened. He try to stab my mother and me with a knife so many times, and this all started when I was around 5 years old. About 2 years ago, he was diagnosed with cancer and his wish finally came true. He would post on Facebook that he was dying; he would send pictures of his stitches from his operation to everyone he knows. I paid for a part of his treatment and my mother was the one who was physically caring for him. He used to insult her and try to shock and kill her. Then, she filed for divorce before she could not live with him. Then, he started posting on facebook that she is a dishonest person who abandoned a dying man. He was also saying that I should not have been born. So, the only thing I wanna say is try to keep your sanity and it will all be OK.

  • November 21, 2018 at 7:28 am

    Thank you fir your story. My mother is a narcissist, she has been cancer free for 7 years. But continues to go to the doctor’s trying to get them to tell her that her cancer is back. She has now told her family and friends they really feel she has cancer again and she will find out more in January. Sad thing is I was at the same doctors appointment and that was not what was said at all!! She has no cancer!

    So frustrating.

  • February 9, 2019 at 11:28 am

    I’m glad I found your article, even after almost 3 years of being published. For years my husband has been faking illnesses or having a legitimate illness but exaggerating its effects. For almost a decade it seemed every weekend he had the “flu” so he justify just sitting around eating and watching TV.

    My husband developed orthopedic issues and had to stop working. He also had a couple outpatient procedures in the following year. He said the pain was so great he couldn’t walk or drive. For 9-10 months I drove him everywhere, sat in with all doctors appts. and surgical procedures. I did everything even the home maintenance/repairs that a man will often do. I developed my own health issues (I believe stemming from stress) and had to go on disability for 10 months. My husband really played the part well of an invalid, dressing poorly, not grooming himself. Then he came into a small amount of money, and bought a new car. Once he had the new car, it was amazing how well he could get around by himself. A couple of women even showed interest in him and so his appearance changed for the better. I was no longer giving him the N supply he needed. During this time his kidneys failed and he started dialysis. The dialysis clinic offered a new source of narcissistic supply, he seemed to enjoy engaging with staff and creating drama there. As with your father and his sleep issues, we too have to walk on eggshells so not disturb my husband’s sleep, but if he can’t sleep he has no problem banging around the kitchen at 4am. Yes, it is amazing how the narcissist can exploit an illness.

    I was lucky enough to witness the grace my father had during the end of his life so I know what “normal” should look like. He had Alzheimers and ureter cancer. He would kindly apologize when he lost track of his thoughts and memory, and always thanked his caregivers (and truly meant it) not a fake thank you and seldom showed anger. Thank you very much for writing truthfully about the nasty details you’ve had to endure.

  • February 28, 2019 at 11:38 pm

    Finding and reading this post and the comments is a blessing me. My sister is a narcissist, and diagnosed recently with stage 4 melanoma. She already had all the personality issues including OCD. She now has something that she can dwell 24/7, and it’s her life, her full time occupation and she seems to love it. It gives her the attention that she would not have otherwise. She lashes out at the ones who are the closest to her like myself and her daughter, and she cannot be on good terms with both of us at the same time. Once she is “in” with one of us, the other has to be lashed out at and gotten rid of. It has been a constant with her all of her life. When I had cancer and was going through chemo 15 years ago, she was so cruel to me, I had to get therapy in order to cope with and get past the hurt. I do not envy the daughter who is taking her back and forth for treatments 100 miles away, and helping out some, BUT NOT staying with her. The two of them have been astranged numerous times before, and for years at a time. I hear that she has been so mean and cruel at times at the cancer center, she’s had the nurse backed up against the wall, and her Dr. won’t even look her in the eyes. Unbelievable and sad for a sick, person who is going through cancer treatments, but it has not mellowed her at all. I do not think that anything will ever change her disposition. I have suggested to the daughter that my sister needs mental help, but then it’s doubtful that she would ever admit to that and get help. Thank you for this site. I now know that I am not alone in this.

  • June 8, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    I am so glad I found this thread. My husband and father of my three children (2, 5 and 6) was diagnosed last December with stage 4 Hodgkins lymphoma. Before he was diagnosed we had a lot of issues, mostly due to his lying, cheating and all around mistreatment of me. He really didn’t help out much before with the housework and all of the things I do for the Kids but now he thinks he just has an Excuse not to. Just as I had had enough and was ready to leave, he got the diagnosis. I was torn because I didn’t want to leave someone when they were about to go through such an ordeal and I thought maybe after going through this life changing situation, things would actually change and he would see what was important. During this whole process (chemo two times a month for the past 5 months) he has done pretty much nothing but hide upstairs in a room we have over the garage. I understand that cancer and chemo are very taxing and they take their toll on someone but I honestly think he is milking the situation and is using it as a reason to not have to help take care of our three young kids and our household because he is “sick”. I find it bothersome that he does the things he wants to do but when it comes to his responsibilities, he is too “tired” . He also loves to exploit his illness on Facebook, which is something he didn’t even care to have until he got sick and now he is loving the attention. Everyone treats him like he is some kind of victim and has so much pity for him but they really don’t know the true him at all. I am the one that has done everything and gets nothing. I’m sorry to sound selfish or cold hearted but the whole situation just drives me crazy. I am so stressed out which he knows and doesn’t even try to help. I don’t know what to do anymore. When he does come down and is around us all he ever does is talk about himself and what he’s going through and it’s like every little thing revolves around him. I don’t have anyone to vent to about it because I feel like such a bad person to think that way but honestly it all just drives me crazy. Thanks in advance for letting me vent to you all. Have a great day!

  • September 27, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    Thank you for the article. I am dealing with a husband who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He’s become very mean. Meaner than he was before and I have been trying to figure out what is going on. It has been very difficult dealing with him and I am the sole caregiver. I work full time and I am having a terrible time keeping up with everything. I am getting tired of being told how useless I am and your article has finally pointed out to me that I have been dealing with a narcissist who enjoys talking about himself and this illness has emboldened him to keep telling me how useless I am. I feel bad for others who have commented on here and feel your pain because I know how difficult it is.

    • September 27, 2019 at 4:44 pm

      Hi Sharon,

      My heart bleeds for you. My husband is terminal too…but he’s so positive and upbeat and sweet.

      I’ve recently discovered that we caregivers don’t have to be alone. Oftentimes, the hospital or a nearby city has a Caregivers service. Maybe your church can help you. Also, just being vulnerable brings help and kindness out of the woodwork. I didn’t know until last year that my neighbors are a veritable Store for Health Aids…all freely available to us when we need!

      You shouldn’t and can’t do it all alone. I freelance and being a caregiver is still challenging even tho I’m not working full-time.

      I hope your husband allows his cancer to soften him. Have you pointed out to him that he shouldn’t piss off his sole caregiver!?!

      I’m ever so sorry for both of you!

      God bless!


      • October 1, 2019 at 11:30 am

        Hi Lenora,

        Thanks for your response. I am seeing a social worker and have found a group through a program called Wellspring that caters to caregivers. I’ve given him options but he seems to prefer hanging around and driving me crazy. Anyway its crazy dealing with all this and I do hope that he comes to some type of realization soon.

        All the best wishes for both you and your husband as well.


  • October 24, 2019 at 2:19 am

    The control of the sick Narcissist consumes you like the cancer they are suffering. It’s like I’m suffering, you’ll have to suffer to.

  • November 19, 2019 at 3:26 am

    Wow I am so Glad you have highlighted this situation. My family are going through all of this right now and my moms in a living hell! Nothing is hanging his mindset and I can’t see anything changing unless my dad has intensive psychological therapy to realise how he is being. I very much doubt it will happen so we will all continue to live like this!

  • December 29, 2019 at 11:03 am

    Thank God for this thread! My husband and his first wife (as well as myself) it going through hell. Their only daughter has Stage IV kidney cancer that has spread to her lungs and bones. She has always been a narcissist, and a hypochondriac. She is making everyone lives miserable. She is totally self centered and lashes out at everyone. I know she is scared. But she is unbearable at times. And because she has cancer, we all feel horrible if we have negative feelings. She get’s these symptoms, and we spend a lot of money to get the things that she needs, then days later, she quits using the thing we bought saying she doesn’t need them anymore. She screams at the nurses and doctors, and she will call their office 4 and 5 times a day with “new symptoms”. And of course, when the doctor reads the notes, he tells her to go to the ER. He doesn’t want a lawsuit if what she is saying is actually true. So she goes to the ER all the time. And I feel horrible saying all these things. I want to have empathy for her. I want to sympathise for her. But she is demanding it every second of every day. She plays “the cancer card” every time we say no to her, or if we say anything that she does not like. And that makes all of us feel like the most horrible people in the world when we get upset at her behaviour. I felt like we were the only people in the world with problems like this. Now my husband has moved back in with his ex wife (where the daughter is living), and she is giving both of them hell all the time. And I am alone. (My husband and I are expat’s living in another country.) What do we do? What does her dad and her mother do? I am praying that the daughter shows some kind of kindness. But honestly, she was narcissistic before, but now it has become unbearable. I would take away her illness and take it upon myself in a heartbeat. I don’t hate her, I love her. But unfortunately, during this time I don’t like her sometimes.


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