Matt S August 8th 2016
In my last article I wrote about thoughtfulness versus thoughtlessness and made the distinction between those two actions and the outcomes of both. I left you with the thought about how you might deal with someone who was deliberately thoughtless and selfish in their behaviour.
So did you have any thoughts on how you may react to a person who is deliberately selfish and intentionally thoughtless?
What do you do about these people?
It may depend on why this person is deliberately thoughtless and selfish. Have they been someone who has been deeply hurt in one of life’s circumstances and they have become very bitter and angry and tend to take it out on all those around them and themselves most of all. You have no doubt heard of the old man or woman (and not necessarily old) who lives reclusively in a ramshackle home. This person is always the one that the local kids like to tease and play pranks on because they get such an angry reaction from them. This is the person who appears to be walking under a small storm cloud even when the weather is sunny; this cloud just seems to follow them around. This is the person that never has a nice word to say, does not smile and is often critical in any forced social interactions.
This kind of person is the one that may respond to a consistent, firm but kind, loving gesture from someone brave enough to stand in their path. When you tell them that you know they are hurting (and you may even know of their circumstances) you need to consistently ride through their grumpiness and treat them with respect and courtesy. This may after a time get them to trust you a little. Then of course you can do the best thing for them and that is pray that God will stand firmly in their way.
How do I know this works? Because I have been this grumpy, angry, bitter person at times in my life, and I know that it took someone to acknowledge the real reason I was like this, and to tell me that things can change. I also know that God can and does change your circumstances if you ask him to and then be ready to accept that change that God brings.
So what about the person that is deliberately thoughtless and selfish in a way that is manipulative and careless. I’m talking about the person that may present initially as charming and pleasant but then changes as you get to know them. They seemed kind and attentive to start with then gradually it all seems to become about them and you are left feeling that your interactions are lacking in some way. They always seem to want something from you and little or nothing seems to be coming back the other way. If you raise an objection to their behaviour they minimise your objection or become incensed that you would even dare to question their integrity. They may berate you at times for the smallest thing, and then expect you to drop everything and attend to their needs all within the same sentence. They don’t hesitate to lie to you and then later deny it. They just leave you with your head spinning in three different directions all at once.
I’m not talking about those folk (and this happens with all of us) where we are just having a grumpy time and a bad day and some selfish, self absorbed behaviour. I think we all get this as part of our human condition. I’m talking about those individuals who just don’t care who they trample on to get what they want. I bet you will know someone like that. It may be a parent, or a spouse, or a friend, or a sibling, or a work colleague or a new acquaintance or Church member.
So how do you, (and I want you to think about this) deal with these people. This is not a test by the way. Do they drive you nuts? Do you put up with their behaviour because you think that this is the best thing to do? Do you tell them to “rack off” (and a few other choice words that come to mind) because you have just had enough of them and their selfish behaviour and their lies and deceit? Or do you just quietly extract yourself from their lives and disappear into the background?
Their behaviour if you really look at it is just plain evil at times. The thoughtlessness is not just that they don’t see you or think of others, it’s just that they don’t care about anyone but themselves, and they often don’t care that you know it. If you mention it to them they will either ignore or dismiss you. They may give you a strong tongue lashing to refute what you say or they may just smile sweetly but you can see the anger and the retribution brewing their eyes. They may take advantage of your good nature, or good Christian values in order to gain finances, goods and services and most importantly your love and admiration. Unfortunately for you after that initial whirlwind of promises and flattery you will get little or nothing returned to you.
It seems impossible to make a real connection with these people and although they can be charismatic drawing in people around them with seemingly well placed kind words. They seem to know in a predatory way how to stroke people and see their weakness and unmet needs, but woe to the person that crosses them. You will find yourself in a special earthly hell unless you are able to escape them or stand up and confront them.
I am certain that many reading this article will be able identify someone that they have encountered who fits this description. So in my next article in this series I am going to identify this type of person from a psychological mental health perspective and discuss this a little more. Until then God bless you all in whatever you are doing in your day.