Matthew 5:37 “But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’ [a firm yes or no]; anything more than that comes from the evil one.” (AMP)
One common sign that you grew up with a narcissistic parent is the need to over explain everything about yourself. For example, if someone asks you to go with them & you don’t want to, you feel you must give them a very valid reason why you can’t rather than say “I don’t want to go there” or even simply “No.”
Maybe this is because our narcissistic parents made us so afraid of upsetting them, we learned early always to have a reason that they could accept. Anything beat facing that scary narcissistic rage!
In any case, there is rarely a valid need to explain yourself, & definitely no need to over-explain yourself anymore. Even the Bible says in Matthew 5:37 to keep it simple. It doesn’t say you should go into great detail. In fact, it says anything more comes from the “evil one.”
I don’t believe that this Scripture means you are evil if you over explain yourself. I think it tells us that if you feel the need to do so, that someone evil or at least influenced by evil is putting that need in you. If you think about it, mentally healthy people may ask for an explanation, but they don’t need a lot of details & they accept it even if they disagree with it. Narcissists, however, require much more. Let me provide an example..
Years ago, my late covertly narcissistic mother in-law asked me if I could do something for her in a few days. I said no because I had an appointment that day. (Granted, I could’ve moved things around & helped, but frankly, I didn’t want to- she was awful to me every single time we were alone.) At this point, a mentally healthy person would’ve said, “Oh ok..” & figured out someone else to ask for help. Not my mother in-law. She obviously was upset I wouldn’t help her & wanted to know what I had to do that was more important to me than help her. She asked what I had to do & I ignored her question. She said, “Are you doing something for your parents?” I said, “No.” She said, “Well, it must be awful important if you can’t help me…” (nice attempt at guilt, no? lol It didn’t work.) I forget the other things she said, but until my husband & I left her home about 20 minutes later, she continually tried to get me to tell her why I wasn’t able to help her rather than simply accept the fact I had something else to do. (On a funny note: Refusing to give her the information she wanted infuriated her. But, she couldn’t admit that without looking bad in front of my husband & father in-law who were in the room with us. It was hilarious to me, watching her get more & more frustrated & unable to do anything about it as I stayed calm. Not sure how I didn’t laugh in her presence, but I held myself together until we were in the car & away from her home.)
This is typical narcissistic behavior- they feel they have the right to know every tiny detail about you when the truth is, they don’t have that right. My no should have sufficed. She truly didn’t care about me or what was going on in my life. She only wanted to know what I was doing that day so she could use the information to criticize me for not helping her (“You think that is more important than me?! That’s so mean!! What’s wrong with you?”) or blab to her whole family my personal information. Is that behavior not evil?
I think it is a good idea to use the reaction of a person to your “yes” & “no” as a gauge to see how safe a person is. Safe people may sometimes ask you why you said what you did, but are satisfied with a simple explanation such as, “I have an appointment at that time & can’t make it.” Unsafe people will respond as my mother in-law did- refusing to simply accept your answer, & doing their best to get you to explain in great detail why you responded to them as you did.