Opinion: Narcissistic Parents Refuse to Recognize They Need to Mature

Walter Rhein

Image by Walter Rhein

My narcissistic father refuses to take anything seriously. When I tried to discuss important issues with him, he’d often start to laugh.

My father sees himself as “the good time guy.” He considered everything an opportunity for humor.

In his mind, he behaved this way because it was entertaining. He would say, “I’m trying to lighten up the mood.” In truth, his purpose was to mock anyone who disagreed with him.

For many years, I behaved the same way. I thought I had an obligation to break the ice in any social gathering. It took me a long time to realize that my behavior was unproductive.

Sometimes, situations are serious and humor isn’t appropriate. The ability to respond with jokes to all situations is not a healthy coping mechanism.

My father used to laugh at conflict in our own home. If somebody approached him with a complaint, he’d dismiss it and leave. He didn’t address the complaint. He didn’t respect anyone’s feelings or opinions.

Once he left, the discussion was over.

But just because my father left the room didn’t mean the complaint went away. The problem still existed. Most of the time it was up to me or my mother to resolve the issue.

As a young man, I didn't possess the wisdom to handle these responsibilities. I did my best, but I did not have the maturity or life experience to provide good solutions.

Meanwhile, my father did whatever he wanted.

As a child of a narcissistic parent, I learned that my father was setting me up to be a scapegoat. He pushed me into a pseudo parental role.

Today, he blames my failures in that role for the problems in our family.

A mature person would have never made his child take on those responsibilities. My narcissistic father felt he had a right to goof off whenever he wanted. Even today, he refuses to recognize the pain he caused everyone in his life.

Maturity involves taking responsibility for your actions. My narcissistic father exists in perpetual adolescence. When I attempt to discuss this issue, he throws a temper tantrum.

My narcissistic father responds with juvenile jokes when I try to discuss anything with him. He refuses to take issues seriously. His actions are frustrating and manipulative.

I don’t feel it’s appropriate to respond to all situations with humor. Sometimes people need to be taken seriously. Some beliefs should be respected and revered.

My narcissistic father is like a little boy who refused to grow up. He believes that the kind of mischievous fun you experience as an adolescent is the best kind of fun in the world.

My narcissistic father refuses to mature as a human being. He refuses to see nuance in behaviors or beliefs. His opinions are simplistic. He mocks anything he doesn’t agree with.

My father’s worldview allows him to make quick decisions. However, those decisions are not always right. His worldview limits him in ways he can’t recognize.

In the end, my father’s narcissistic insistence that he never has to grow up has cost him all the best things in the world.

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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI

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