A person who is immature is essentially self-centered. They are dismissive about your problems because, for them, nothing and no one exists or is important outside of themselves. Of course, what goes along with this is that they are difficult and inconsiderate.
They are demanding. They don’t care if they wear you out; to them, you are just a thing to be used for their own ends, whether psychological or material. As long as they get what they want along these lines, they don’t care about your well-being. So the demands increase the more you cave in to them.
The first thing to do is to recognize this is happening. When you bring up a legitimate concern of yours and they dismiss it with no regard, as if your problem is not a problem at all, you know they have no regard for you and that they operate primarily from ego. It also doesn’t matter how their ego operates. “Caring” for the group is often just an expansion of ego, to the detriment and disregard for those outside the group. You are either lucky or unlucky in that regard, depending on if you are part of the group. Care is not divisive and the ego-centered person is always divisive; this is the crux of what they are.
Dealing with them, then, first involves awareness, seeing the immature person for what they are and for what they do. Then you can act. If you can avoid them, do so. They will take you for every last drop of dignity and energy and time and won’t care what effect it has on you. If you can’t avoid them, call them on their behavior. It is much scarier to think about confronting them, often, than actually doing it. But you’ll be better off once you do. Either they have an ounce of awareness in them enough to see what they’re doing and leave you alone or you will have threatened their cloak of goodness by exposing them and they’ll run in terror. At the very least, you’ve taken action.
If there is any kind of official sanction on them, as in a job setting, seek official help. Sometimes this is available, sometimes not.
The important thing to remember is that the immature person is unaware and either in a fantasy world or just miserable. The crux of the misery is self-centeredness and you can bet that on some level the immature, inconsiderate, person is miserable. Their fantasies are temporary and that bubble is going to burst eventually; it might be in old age, when they are helpless and have to face it or they might wake up before-hand. The natural response is to call them out, because you are aware enough to see their disease and poison, and action is always necessary when awareness is heightened and you can clearly see a problem that is destructive.
Featured image: Sam Wolff, Flickr. Some rights reserved.
By Erich von Stroheim (screenshot) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
So, to summarize, you must:
- recognize the behavior of the difficult person. This also means being fully aware of your own behavior. If the person is rude to you and you know you’ve done nothing to warrant their assault, then you can see it’s them, not you.
- avoid them if you can. There is no point getting sucked into their game and being worn out by it. They are energy draining, live like vampires off of the life of others.
- if they are unavoidable, you might try directly confronting them about their behavior. Some people, especially self-centered people, are unaware of their behavior. Sometimes they need a little nudge, maybe they’ll stop doing what they’re doing once you’ve made them aware. Or, at the very least, you’ve exposed them, and it’s unlikely they want to be exposed; most people don’t, and someone trying to mess with you really doesn’t. It could be enough to get them to stop, being found out. You might want to choose your tactics wisely. Sometimes a sarcastic remark is enough to snap someone out of their rude behavior; something along the lines of “Wow, you’re being real nice!” They will be urged to look at themselves, probably something they rarely do, all of a sudden. Or you could just spell it out for them, I mean in detail, what they are doing. You might even want to write down their behavior (if this is a person you have to deal with regularly) and why it is offensive and what it is they are doing to you. Question them on it, ask them why they are doing it. No more putting you on the defensive, it’s their turn.
- if possible, seek help. If at work, go above their head. If what they do is illegal, call the cops. If it is someone working at a business, tell them you like to give reviews on Yelp and you’re unlikely to give their establishment a good recommendation. People are usually scared of that kind of thing.