Read time: 14 minutes
This man-child is different. He has a job. He can think for himself and have accomplishments. He acts normal and have responsibilities just like everybody else.
But beyond the perception that people have of him, those closest to him or live with him, know the uncomfortable truth that he has a problem: he’s still a child and a maladjusted one.
Being around him mostly involves tension. Being around him involves sacrificing your honesty to appease him for the sake of peace. He conditions everyone to apologize to him. He is that forcefully proud of himself. His needs come first compared to others. If it’s convenient for him even though inconvenient for others, it’s okay.
A man-child is usually someone who’s referred to as lazy or irresponsible along with many other traits that define someone is still a boy in a man’s body. A major leech in a lot of fronts with the extended adolescence. The difference with the new man-child is he is at least functional. He’s the more functional narcissist. He can at least support himself and others if needed. But when it comes to dealing with testing life issues, he is not that different from the typical man-child. He is still needy and controlling but on a more advanced and subtle level.
Imagine a kid running around and expressing his or her fears about an imaginary monster. A parent who lacks the tolerance would just scream at that kid to shut up instead of letting the kid go through the emotional process of understanding what he or she is seeing.
As a product of obligation, the intolerant parent would just the shut the kid up.
As a product of genuine care, the parent would empathize, clarify to the kid what is happening and give a sense of assurance or support.
As a product of obligation, the kid would be forced to skip the whole emotional process and arrive at the solution or the end. He’ll have to act tough even though deep inside he’s still scared. He’ll act with bravado even though it’s just all air and pride. It then becomes shameful to feel; to be wrong; to be scared; to make a mistake; to admit mistakes. The perception is it’s shameful to be vulnerable. The kid would grow up to be focused on the end “solutions” but missing the bigger point; or missing the raw ingredients. It’s mostly temporary patches or cover ups. The kid would be disconnected socially even at the presence of many. There’s not that much genuine interaction but mostly superficial ones.
As a product of genuine care, patience and empathy, the kid would have a better grasp of things because he or she went genuinely through the emotional process. The kid developed genuine resilience. The kid grows up to get it. The toughness is genuine. Pride is healthy. Unassuming. The kid grows and learns to think critically without judgement, be it to others or to oneself. The kid understands what a genuine connection is. The kid grows up to connect well with others and doesn’t have to make up stories to make himself or herself look good. He or she is well in sync with reality.
A lot of opinion comes into play on how to take care or discipline a child. What’s contentious is the issue of spanking. The uncomfortable truth is evidences are overwhelming and shows spanking doesn’t work. Findings show it works as a temporary fix and often backfires. It contributes to their aggression or frustration and forms part of their false bravado to hide their hurt egos. It doesn’t encourage critical thinking for it is a by product of surrender and full submission. It reinforces fear rather than respect and genuine understanding. The deeper meaning why the kid is acting a certain way in the first place is missed. According to Dr. Phil, there are many ways to discipline a kid but spanking or acting with control and force doesn’t solve a lot. It confuses the child as well.
It tells us that if a kid is too stubborn such that there is no other recourse but to spank then you may need to seek help for your kid. Mental issues are now being acknowledged and properly realized. More importantly, the whole spanking debate distracts many of problems that exists with the parents, especially if the parents are just pretending and the kids have become just obligations; and the parents themselves have major emotional issues.
Of course, this is not to say we should stop disciplining monster brats. We live in a culture that places little value already on caring for infants and small children. Unlike cats, we can’t simply leave kids behind. But we have to admit, spanking is an easy fix. There’s still a big dissonance with just the fact that spanking harms the development of the brain. Even those who claim to still turn out fine or “learned better” are likelier to have temper, self-esteem, relationship, and depression issues. There’s always a price for anything.
Authoritarian parenting is a big contributing factor in breeding personality disorders such as narcissism. Even with praising, permissiveness, indulgence on the other end won’t fix it. Most simply carry out outdated family traditions thus it’s something a lot don’t pay attention to, making it harder to spot and address this new man-child. It’s when you get to know one up close that you’ll start to see your light is being dimmed. It’s trickier because this time he’s not an adult acting like a kid, but he is a kid acting like an adult. He is practically a closet narcissist.
There are many variations of this new man-child but there are common signs that will be glaring. Here are fifteen of them:
1.) THE LACK OF TOLERANCE
With the lack of emotional maturity and many unmet needs, he blows up from time to time. He’s impatient when you call him out on his behavior. Wives often cite that he would blow up when kids are left alone with him. He’ll constantly point his fingers at his kids. Others note lack of patience just hearing a baby cry. He is just not emotionally equipped. His fuse tend to break because he has no good reference of tolerance himself. His needs tend to get in the way as well. Being someone who doesn’t go through the emotional process, he gets paranoid and anxious too.
The lack of tolerance leads him to be easily threatened by the views or opinions of others. When he hears the opinion or views of others, or simply encounters a totally different perspective, he sees it automatically as a form of judgement or challenge. He sees anything that could shame him as a threat. It has to be his way. It has to be a perspective that matches his world-view for that is all he can cope with.
2.) THE STRAW MAN REASONING
If this is not the most subtle tactic, it’s definitely one of the best he loves to use.
He’ll constantly replace one thing with another; an issue with another; a subject with another.
If you speak up, he’ll replace it with you being disrespectful, whiner, or a betrayer.
If he asks you to spy on someone for him, which he’s not supposed to begin with, and you end up bringing it up with the parties concerned because you must, he’ll say it wasn’t in your place in spite of the fact he put you in that place.
To straw-man is to create a totally different premise or “false enemy” which can easily be defeated but of course as defined, it’s not even the original premise. It’s a decoy brought by substitution or replacement.
The argument becomes a different argument for the sake of arguing, your ego or worth will be stroked that you’re forced to give reasons to refute him but he’s just stringing things along with no solutions. It’s an effective distraction to frame that you are wrong.
Another example is if you don’t feel well in going out, he’ll say you don’t care.
If you’re renting a house, he’ll say you had a foreclosure.
If you’re tired of the conflict due to his behavior so you spend more time somewhere else, he’ll say you’re shutting him out.
If you’re not sorry about something (where you really shouldn’t be), he’ll say you lack remorse and make a case that you’re the one who’s messed up and not him.
If he is giving facts and it turns out his facts are wrong, he says he is just sharing his opinion.
Holy dudes and dudettes, this is straw man and distortion to death at its finest.
The following is a chart I used previously on some typical distortions or straw men used by a narcissist.
Advanced straw man examples.
3.) THE FAKE (OR FORCED) TOUGHNESS
The famous “I don’t give a fuck” or “I’m the alpha dog, bitchez!” attitude. It actually means the other way around. If you don’t know, you don’t know. You can only pretend. The toughness is an overcompensation or a front to cope. Or a forced self-assurance in an impending obstacle, eager to get over it. Or it can be at times, as the word the TV series Criminal Minds have used: hypervigilance.
It is also his prolonged game face that he has gotten so used to. He’s indifferent because deep inside he’s still the scared child forced not to care. Or simply unable to process the pain he must face. He can be soft or show emotions but will be full of denial and self-pity.
4.) HE IS DISCONNECTED FROM THE PEOPLE AROUND HIM
If he is the boss, his employees don’t have the genuine respect for him. The people that know him will try to avoid him. If he is married, his relationship with his in-laws is highly conflicted more than the usual. His girlfriend, partner or wife is the perfect victim. The codependent partner would be someone with a low sense of self-esteem, too weak to challenge the dream fantasy she thinks she’s living and has been promised. If you have encountered one, you probably have gotten the sense that it’s all air when you talk to him. You won’t feel any sense of genuine connection. It’s all forced and superficial understanding but missing a bigger meaning. The disconnect continues due to his lack of empathy and lack of congruency.
As part of the disconnect and the respect he has not earned, in addition to his need for self-importance, dictatorship is a consequence. He can only dictate or impose. He doesn’t know how to push people without being pushy. He can only trust himself to a point the trust with others is compromised or missing. He says what he wants and that’s about it. Follow or obey. There is no compromise. Often or a lot of times, he’ll use intimidation or aggressiveness. He is right and you’re wrong.
6.) HE IS SECRETLY ENVIOUS AND INSECURE
Watch out for comments he makes about others. If he is the type who tends to put you down when you have something new or is simply happy, don’t second guess, cut ties as soon as you can. He will obsess about the love life of others, cars, financial situation, flaws of others, make up stories about anyone and many more because he is that big of a loser. He loves character assassination because he is that insecure and envious of others. The falsified stories, the gas lighting, the straw men, the constant mischaracterizations, the self-serving sugar coating, the smears and many more; anything, you name it, he’s going to use it. One day you may just get a call from someone you don’t know, due to the lies he has been spreading, asking you why you are such a monster.
7.) HE CAN’T DO HONEST CONFRONTATIONS
Avoidance is one of his coping strategy when there is an impending exposure of his true nature. A threat to his ego. He’ll find ways to have a one on one controlled confrontation to give him the chance to create different stories and protect his ass. He is calculating, controlling and strategy focused. But in the heat of the moment, he can’t speak from the heart. He’ll need time to think of the best lines to downplay the situation.
This man loves to count. I mean seriously, he’ll count the stuff and many things he’s done and inflate them further to make a case for himself. He’ll have no problem pointing them out. He is very demanding from others but when it’s time for him to give his due, you’ll have to fight him where you don’t even have to. And it’s not surprising because he grew up deprived of genuine connection that he ends up relying on his contributions, possessions or whatever source of power he has.
“I took care of you”, “I spent for you”, “I gave you everything you wanted”, “This is my house, you’re being disrespectful” are some of the famous expressions he would give (especially after a being dumped or found out). But of course, it only reveals more about his true intentions.
9.) THE UNSOLICITED ADVICE
This is a classic and one of the most commonly complained. He’ll even make the claim that it’s up to you if you want to take the advice or not. He’ll even preach to you to take things with a grain of salt, as if, seriously, you need to be taught. He’ll hurl in whatever he wants to say.
Unsolicited advice can be used as a form of abuse. It is a form of controlling or classic characteristic of passive-aggressive behavior. The man-child does this for it helps give him a sense of superiority or importance while putting the person not needing advice down. But more so it allows the abuser to constantly condition the other person to have no self-worth. This is one of the most subtlest psychological tactics but can be very harmful in the long run if it persists. This is why if you have ever felt annoyed, irritated or have gotten angry when you’ve been on the receiving end of an unsolicited advice, it meant a part of you is protecting yourself from this psychological take down.
Another reason is since he can’t empathize with the wall or pain another person is facing, he himself can’t imagine it if he’s in the other person’s position. He utterly lacks empathy. He’ll just find some quick fix. This is why when giving advice, it is important to meet where the other person is at and not where you are.
For example, he’ll preach about making money and being practical. His need to pontificate and shame people who are struggling for change is evident (people switching jobs or entrepreneurs sacrificing for a higher purpose). It’s very easy to preach about making money and the unsolicited advice misses the point of finding purpose or developing a sense of genuine identity in having a job that is loved. It’s practically his way to justify his status quo but he is still stuck in his own shallowness and emptiness.
Another classic example is giving dating advice. Being pretentious he feels he is so cool. Instead of understanding someone is going through a major life change, he focuses on the issue of dating. The issue is not the lack of love life. The issue is the person is going through a major life change. A life change could be recovering from an illness, plan to travel in search for a new home or simply needs time. You address the life change as dating is not even the problem.
These are some of the many disconnects unsolicited advice create.
10.) IT’S NEVER HIS FAULT
He can’t take responsibility for himself thus it’s never his fault. He will even expect you to pull him out when he’s doing something wrong as if he’s some helpless child (ironically, because he really is).
He’ll go with the lines “Why didn’t you say anything?” or “Why didn’t you pull me aside?” forgetting he’s already in a grown man’s body. If he’s caught or is pressed onto a corner, he will just downplay the whole situation. If not, he will find a scapegoat to guilt and use more sweet straw man reasoning.
11.) THE UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
Aside from his delusions being part of his narcissism, his massive need sets him to expect a lot. Your efforts will never be enough. He will have a difficulty bridging the gap between his expectations and the reality.
The classic example is in a workplace where laying out the facts and reasons is conceived as making excuse which is why it’s draining to be one. The big disconnect can’t be reconciled. He’ll complain like a literal child, shame and criticize when things don’t go his way. Thus the lack of leadership. Thus the dictatorship.
He’ll even behave as if he owns you. One common expression he uses is “I’m so disappointed.” He uses disappointment as if he’s owed something. There’s no other way to put it, he’s literally claiming the situation and making everything your fault.
From: Toxic to Love
12.) HE’S DRIVEN
This new man-child can find success. He can be some famous athlete or celebrity buying a 20 room mansion. A high ranking executive who can buy it all. He can be a good provider and play out as a good father. He can be that politician trolling around, pandering on the insecurities of others. As someone who’s broken, he can only hold on with what he’s good at: his functionality, contribution and his resources. He is driven but ego driven.
13.) HE’S SQUARE
He’s square. He’s too linear or too binary. He can be robotic. He can be very methodological. Do this, do that. Solutions here, solutions there. Nitpick here, nitpick there. It’s all about perfection. The logic to death. Logic here, there and everywhere. Step 1, step 2. Eliminate all threats. Expect the worse. Procedure here, procedure there. Point A, point B.
Or at times, as a lot of women would say, he’s “just safe.” He can project some emotions but you’ll feel the depth or complexity is limited. Or there is a big mismatch between his words and emotions.
There must be no such thing as failure. There is no such thing as rejection. He behaves as if he can solve everything. At times, he projects that there’s is so much “winning” with him that you may get bored of his “winning.”
SpongeBob Squarepants himself knows better.
14.) VICTIM PLAYING
Playing the innocent is one of his strongest suits for it is how he survives. For someone who doesn’t have that much left, he’ll cling to what he has no matter the cost. Since he can’t take responsibility or accountability, he’ll blame everybody else except himself. He’ll find a scapegoat. And to add to the mix, he’ll play the victim.
15.) SELECTIVE MEMORY
Memory recall is said to be better when emotions are involved. Suppressing emotions does affect memory, leading to more mental blind-spots and the lack of clarity or awareness. The theory of narcissism is said to involve the fragmentation of the sense of self and it can become so damaged that one ends up misremembering and seeing only his internal version of events instead of how they really happened. This is one reason why a narcissist is often said to have a bad memory because it helps protect their known sense of self. He basically reinterprets the reality to fit his vision of it. The selective memory or the cherry picking. He’ll only remember the things you did wrong and not the many things you did right. If he didn’t like it (especially what he did), it didn’t happen.
For someone who is emotionally disconnected, it only gets worse the more he doesn’t make any effort to dissect, process or articulate his emotions and go through the pain. The more he won’t be able to tap into the genuine emotions that he needs to get an honest view of things. Or the genuine feel for a reality that needs to be confronted.
It becomes a vicious cycle of indifference and denial. But it is the avoidance of the accumulated pain only covered up with emotional highs (buying gifts, a new car, vacations, travel, parties) until it all blows up as things unravel. He can’t empathize for he can’t empathize with himself, with the truths and pains he’s unable to reconcile and face.
“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
― Frederick Douglass
It’s known that the left brain controls logic, while the right brain controls emotions. Even though this brain split is not always definite, the point remains that you’ll miss a big part of your brain working, if logic is your “only answer to everything”. Thus, the many consequences of this neglect.
“Logic is absolute!” It’s more like someone is constipated. Amirite?