Just was wondering about this today, because I thought of it out of the blue for some reason:
Is feigning illness a common tactic used by narcissists to garner sympathy and/or to get the focus off of someone else and onto them when they feel somebody else is receiving more attention than they are, or just when they feel like people should be paying attention to them in general?
My narcissistic mother has never done this (she's always preferred locking herself in rooms and threatening to kill herself or whining about problems, both large and small, on public forums like Facebook), but my narcissistic ex-boyfriend was a pro at it.
He claimed to be "hypoglycemic" and to have "chronic joint pain" that was so debilitating he couldn't move (once I had to physically carry him out of a Walgreens--incredibly humiliating for me, and painful, too, because he's a full-grown man, and I'm tiny and not very physically strong. He also missed a lot of work because of it). Almost every other week I was taking him to the ER because his "joint pain" was so bad.
Also, he would have fainting spells caused by his "hypoglycemia." Usually he would start "feeling faint" or even straight up "pass out" (I'm pretty clear now that he was faking it every single time) when we were in a situation he didn't like (hanging out with my friends instead of his, when he wasn't getting his way, or when I was leaving to go home or to school). Also, usually he would start "feeling faint" and claiming that he "needed to eat something" while we were out and in close proximity to a restaurant, and the episode would generally end with me buying him a fairly expensive dinner in order to keep him from fainting on me (the episodes frightened me at first, and then as I got used to it I would just buy him food because I was embarrassed by the mere thought of having to deal with it in public).
During the whole four months that we dated, it felt like he and I were locked in a "sicklier than thou" war. I am diabetic, and if I legitimately felt weak or disoriented because my blood sugar was low, you could bet that a few days later, if not the next day, he would have a "fainting spell." If I had a headache or my allergies were bothering me, he would instantly start claiming that his joints were bothering him and I'd have to help him out to my car and take him to the ER.
While this was clearly drama queening and a play for attention on his part, I'm wondering if this is typical NPD attention-whoring behavior, or if this was unique to my ex.
He was addicted to Xanax and god only knows what else, so most of the time when we were in the ER, I suspect he was just trying to get some drugs, because usually the doctors wouldn't prescribe anything and he'd be pissed when we left. The one time a doctor gave him a script for some Oxycontin or some other similar painkiller, he said as we were leaving the hospital that his "faith in the medical profession" had been restored. Another possible reason for this kind of behavior that I can see is that both of my ex's parents work or have worked in the medical field--they actually met while working together in a hospital, so maybe coming from that kind of background, my ex became fixated on medicine and illness as a kid, or maybe he just learned at an early age that faking sick was a great way of getting people to notice you.
Any thoughts from other narcs or from non-narcs who've experienced something similar?