Simple Answers Are Often The Best Answers

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.

 

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17 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

17 responses to “Simple Answers Are Often The Best Answers

  1. My mother always wanted a detailed explanation of my decisions. Then she’d pick apart my rational for making them to either criticize my choices or manipulate me into doing what she wanted. It took me a long time to see that, but once I did I was able to break the habit of explaining everything I did and every choice I made.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I have always over explained myself to others until this year. I’ve actually realized a huge part is my brother who I am starting to realize is very manipulative and controlling of me and everyone around him. He’s even harder for me to say no to and disappoint than my covert narcissist dad because he’s more aggressive. This article is spot on with how people react. I never knew until recently that I don’t have to give anyone an explanation for anything I am doing.

    Liked by 3 people

    • That seems to be a part of growing up with narcissists. You feel obligated to over explain everything. :/ I’m glad you learned you don’t have to explain yourself!

      Liked by 2 people

    • My GCB is a very successful businessman. He could sell ice to Eskimos and he has an answer for anything I say. Trying to talk to him about important things, especially our CNM, is futile and frustrating. He sees even personal matters no differently than he does a sales pitch. He’s not overtly mean like our father and I’ve never heard him raise his voice. He’s a typical salesman, very charming and engaging, who always has to get to “yes”. And he strives for consensus, which he’ll never get in our dysfunctional family. So instead his goal is to get everyone to simply stop complaining, which means that he enables the dysfunction.

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  3. As I was reading this, I thought about how I really hate to ask anyone for anything. Beyond asking my husband to get something I need at a store, when I know that he is going there anyway, I just can’t ask for things. But narcissists, on the other hand, don’t hesitate to ask for even the most outrageous favors — and then they get so upset and angry when you say no.

    I’m just sitting here now, shaking my head at the memories of some of the most ridiculous things that narcissists have asked me to do — and how upset they got when I couldn’t or wouldn’t. Crazy!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Crazy indeed.. but it makes sense if you think about it from their perspective. The rest of humanity is just here to serve them, so why would they have a problem expecting people to do whatever they ask? You just expect your screwdriver to do its job & don’t thank it for tightening or loosening that screw. That’s how narcissists are with people. Disgusting as that is…

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes! Many years ago I dated a man who owned a plumbing business. He had a great personality. Funny, smart, flamboyant. And narcissistic all the way, although I did not realize it, because this was years before I learned anything about narcissism.

        This guy was the type who would flip flop from love bombing me until my head was spinning, to being “too busy with business matters” to call or keep dates, for weeks at a time.

        One day near the end of that crazy relationship, he said to me “Well, I do know that you are a person, and not just like one of my tools that I leave on the shelf in my shop until I need it…”

        it shocked me when he said that, because I had never suggested such a thing. But later, when I thought about it, I realized that this was how he had been treating me all along — like a tool he kept on the shelf until he needed it.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. ibikenyc

    Hub-boy.

    I am only just starting to even be aware of this.

    The worst part of it for me, so far, has been the dawning realization of how much and often I pressed other people in this way because I honestly had no idea how. . . “inappropriate” it is.

    One good — but very painful — part of this awareness has been seeing my reflexive / unconscious practice of making sure I have a good story waiting in the wings for him about everything.

    An excellent example is that, when he “washes” the dishes, more often than not they have dried food left on them. I figured out a while ago that I could just tell him that I’d gotten soap on them when moving them to make room in the drainer for the ones I was washing. So far I haven’t had to use that one; it’s been months since I’ve been caught re-washing his stuff.

    Even so, I am a nervous wreck when I wash dishes. It’s infuriating.

    I look forward to being able to use all my emotional and mental energy on myself!

    Liked by 1 person

    • When you’ve been exposed to this type of thing for so long, it’s natural to expect it. Unfortunately!

      Hopefully he won’t catch you either… best to avoid the unnecessary drama. I really think they do such things to draw us into a fight & make us do their job. “Nothing I do is good enough for you!” Then they can stop doing the dishes (or whatever) & you feel bad for having too high standards. Ridiculous as that is!

      Liked by 2 people

      • ibikenyc

        Incredibly, I hadn’t thought of that angle. DUH. In his case, he does do stuff to his own standards, but he usually throws in something like “You’re free to do it again if it’s not good enough for you.” I am of course standing there thinking, “Not on a BET, #$&*wad!”

        With the dishes, I usually manage to wash the ones I use, and I just assume all the flatware needs to be done over. We haven’t eaten together in literally years, so that’s not a problem. When I put away the dry stuff, I put his away as is, dried-on food and all.

        The bathroom is another story. I’ll spare you the saga. I’m look forward also to being able to vacuum whenever I want / need to.

        Liked by 1 person

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