Tag Archives: immature

Childish Behavior In Narcissistic Parents

Many covert narcissists tend to behave like children in some ways.  I believe this is because they want to be coddled & taken care of like little kids.  Not that everyone doesn’t have that urge to be cared for sometimes but they really take it over the top.

Do you know if the covert narcissist in your life is behaving childishly?  Here are some ways to identify their childish behavior.

Childish adults don’t control their emotions normally.   Healthy adults have a good perspective.  Sure they get angry or sad sometimes, but it’s proportionate to the situation at hand.  Childish adults aren’t this way.  They get angry easily or cry at the drop of a hat, & their reactions are very disproportionate to the situation.

They lie.  Granted, all narcissists lie.  Childish ones however will lie even easier than their more mature counterparts.  If they’re in a situation where they are uncomfortable, childish narcissists will lie to get out of it.  Maybe they don’t want to attend their child’s Christmas play at school, so they say they have a headache in order to get out of it.

Blameshifting/blaming.  Another thing all narcissists love to do is shift the blame to their victim rather than accept responsibility.  Again though, childish ones do it even faster.

Excuses.  When a normal adult is confronted about something, they accept responsibility without making excuses.  Childish narcissists don’t do this.  They make up excuses, often really lame ones.  As one example, my late mother in-law was a covert & childish narcissist.  She used to snoop through my purse if I left her alone with it in her home for more than a moment, like if I went to the bathroom.  At one point, she left $40 in it.  I told my husband this isn’t her trying to bless me- it’s hush money so I’ll let her keep snooping.  As I listened from around the corner, he talked to her about staying out of my purse.  She whined about having “alllllll this cash just lying around” & said she had to get rid of it.  She didn’t mean any harm- she was just trying to get rid of some of that extra cash.  Lame excuse, no?

They feign incompetence.  Any adult who wants to be treated like a child will pretend they don’t know how to do things.  They may try to do something & do it really badly or break something, so the people in their lives get frustrated & just do the task for them.

Everything is a crisis.  Not every problem is a crisis, but childish narcissists act like they are.  If they have a crisis, then they can call on someone (usually their adult children) to run to their side to fix the problem.

Parentification.  Narcissistic parents are often very good at parentification.   This is when a parent treats a child more as a partner than a child.  The child is supposed to listen to the parent’s problems, often about such inappropriate topics as the parent’s marriage or sex life.  The child is supposed to take care of the parent’s emotional needs (cheer the parent when she’s sad, calm her down when angry, etc) & sometimes physical ones as well (such as cooking for or doing the laundry).  If both parents are narcissists, often the covert narcissistic parent will also expect the child to protect that parent from the overt one.  The child ends up very protective of that parent, not only with the other parent, but in general.  When that child grows up & gets married, if his new spouse has any complaint about the childish parent, the adult child will defend that parent to the spouse, often to the spouse’s surprise.  Excuses are made, the spouse is shamed for daring to be upset with the parent & more.

To deal with these childish behaviors in your narcissistic parent, don’t indulge them.  If your parent wants you to do something you know she can handle on her own, let her.  Tell her you aren’t able to take care of it but you know she can handle it just fine.

If she calls, complaining about  a crisis & you know it’s not really a crisis, put it in perspective for her.  Use cold logic.  Let’s say she’s upset because her mail hasn’t been delivered yet & it’s 2:00.  It usually arrives by 10, so she is upset it’s not there.  You can (calmly) say things like, “Mom, it’s still early in the day.  It’s the Christmas season & the post office is really busy this time of year.  They get behind sometimes.  If it doesn’t arrive by 6, contact the post office in the morning.”  Logic is a wonderful tool with narcissists.  They can’t say anything when the facts are completely clear before them.

Use logic when she lies, makes excuses or blames, too.  You can say things like, “I really don’t see how Susan doing that could make you behave that way.  It doesn’t make any sense.  Besides, I’ve known Susan for 10 years, & I’ve never known of her to do anything even remotely like that before.”  When you use logic, always stay calm & state the facts clearly.

If your narcissistic behavior acts childish with emotions, such as having a temper tantrum for not getting her way, treat her like the bratty child she’s acting like!  Tell her you aren’t going to talk to her until she calms down.  If you’re on the phone, tell her you have to go.  Use another phone to trigger your call waiting, so that way you can tell her your call waiting went off- you have to go.  (it’s not technically lying- your call waiting did beep!)

Regarding parentification behaviors… this is a tough one.  I honestly never found a way to stop my parents from doing it.  Saying, “It hurts me when you talk about Mom/Dad like this” doesn’t work with narcissists.  The one thing I found to be the most effective was to change the subject, especially back to my narcissistic parent.  Since narcissists love to talk about themselves, let that work in your favor.  Granted, you may not want to hear the latest gossip spoken about during her last bridge club but it sure beats hearing about 1,000 reasons she thinks your dad is a jerk!

There are ways to cope with childish behavior in narcissistic parents.  These suggestions are the best ones I’ve found.  Also don’t forget to pray.  Asking God for help is the smartest thing you can do.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

Passive/Aggressive Behavior

Do you know someone who is passive/aggressive?  Passive/aggressive behavior is when someone is upset with you, but rather than try to work it out, they deny being upset.  Instead, they do things to hurt or anger you.

 

Over a year ago when my parents came to my home, my mother wanted me to do something for her.  As usual, she ordered me to do it, rather than asked.  For the first time in my life, it ticked me off.  I’m her daughter, not the hired help & I don’t like being treated as such.  So, I responded with “since you asked me so nicely, of course I’ll do it.”  She didn’t say anything, but apparently it sank in.
A few days later, my mother called me, wanting me to look something up on my computer for her.  Rather than her usual demand, she asked me nicely, so I looked it up.  Small victory for me!  I quickly realized though that she wasn’t happy about asking rather than demanding, because she became passive/aggressive.  Her hearing isn’t the best, but she also uses that when it benefits her to do so.  While I was on the phone with her yesterday, about every other sentence at first was “What did you say?  I can’t hear you Honey!”  (Interestingly she only calls me Honey when she is playing deaf, which is how I know beyond a shadow of a doubt what she is up to.)  I was practically screaming into the phone before she suddenly heard me.  However, as the conversation went on, her hearing suddenly became better.  I could speak fairly quietly & she heard me.  Why?  I think partly because I let her ramble on- she gained her narcissistic supply, which pleased her- & partly because she felt that she had satisfactorily let me know she wasn’t pleased with being forced to ask me to do something rather than demand it.

 

During the conversation, my mother also slipped in snide comments about how much she hates scary movies/books.  She doesn’t understand how anyone can like such awful things!  Why was this mentioned out of the blue?  No doubt because she knows I love scary movies & stories.  This is a way to scold me for my “poor choices” without directly doing so.  A way to say I’m wrong without using those exact words.

 

There are other ways a person can exhibit passive/aggressive behavior, such as:

 

  • being sarcastic.
  • withholding praise, affection or intimacy.
  • giving the silent treatment.
  • running late.
  • either not getting around to doing something asked of him/her, or doing it very poorly so you are forced to do it yourself if you want it done right.

 

Does any of this behavior sound familiar to you?

 

A lot of people are passive/aggressive.  It’s a very common phenomenon with narcissists, but I think with non-narcissistic people as well.  It’s a very immature type of behavior, & since there are a great deal of immature people in the world, it’s no wonder it’s quite common.

 

So how do you deal with a person who behaves this way?

 

First, you need to be able to recognize it.  If you don’t recognize passive/aggressive behavior, you’ll end up enabling it.  You’ll ask the person what is wrong, try to make them happy, do what they seem unable or unwilling to do.

 

Next, refuse to play along.  If the person wants to behave badly, that is his/her choice.  If someone is constantly late when you are supposed to get together, tell the person that the next time they are late, you will do whatever you are supposed to do together without that person.  Then follow through on it.  Or, if the person is obviously upset, ask what is wrong.  If she says nothing is wrong, let it go.  Don’t try to pry it out of her- she is an adult & can behave as such if she wants to resolve the issue.

 

Be happy.  Pretend not to notice the other person sulking.  Go on with your day in peace.  It will annoy the other person that her behavior isn’t working as she wanted it to, so she may give up on it.

 

Passive/aggressive behavior is very common on social media.  Vague posts about how “some people” behave or think just after you had a disagreement on that topic, or posting things showing a person is for something you aren’t or vice versa are all too common.  Social media is great, but it can be a useful tool for narcissists & passive/aggressives.  When these things happen, ignore them.  Obviously the person posting what they have wants to make a point without discussing it with you in an adult manner.  Opting to try to discuss it with them would most likely only frustrate you.  Just ignore them.  Unfollow or unfriend them.

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism