The Impatience of Narcissists
IMPATIENCE! The word jumped off the webpage at me on that memorable day when I first read a list of narcissistic traits. Yes! Heck yeah! One particular narcissist of my acquaintance embodied impatience. It manifested itself in so many scenarios.
Impatience in Household Errands
If there’s anything that’s below a narcissist’s paygrade, it’s household errands. They seem to resent their valuable time being spent on anything so trivial as shopping. It seemed like nary a week went by when I wasn’t upbraided, scolded or criticized during our weekly family grocery trip. Either I packed the cart wrong or I packed the grocery bags wrong…like it matters!
In retrospect, I was merely the scapegoat who caught the brunt of the narcissist’s irritation at having to waste one of their precious evenings purchasing the food they ate. Small wonder then that they delegated all household shopping to me for thirteen years starting the day I got my Driver’s License. I even recall doing their grocery shopping when I was coming down with stomach flu, choking back the waves of salty nausea and vomit in the check-out lane, getting home just in time to bring in the groceries…and finally throw up.
Impatience in House Upkeep
But nowhere does narcissistic impatience rear its ugly head more than when their precious time is intruded upon by house upkeep. Lawn mowing. Car repair. Blocked pipes. You name it, they resent it.
Unfortunately, I was the obvious choice to be volunteered as The Helper. Time after time, I was traumatized by narcissistic temper tantrums complete with the quintessential red-in-the-face look, the cuss words uttered from between gritted teeth, the running around in a frenzy searching for the right tool. Most of my memories of these fits of rage are inextricably linked to a gray damp basement and the unmistakable smell of sewer gases escaping through blocked pipes. And that is why my first home was a zero-upkeep townhome!
Impatience in Doctor’s Offices
As a kid, I got sick a lot. Colds, flus, sore throats, ear infections and Strep throat often landed me in the doctor’s office. Sitting in the waiting room beside my silent, morose, distracted ride, I felt terrible about being such a problem. About taking up their precious time and taking them away from their important career. It made me feel like a burden. This had the effect of making me rabidly independent. To this day, I hate when anyone does anything for me. It seems to contradict the natural Order of Things. I serve other people; they should never serve me. I can’t stand the False Guilt!
Impatience in Art
“C’mooooooooon!” The ultimate cry of narcissistic impatience. “C’mooooooooon!” If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times. “C’mooooooooon!” It wasn’t a word. It was a sound. The sound of utter disgust. The sound of a narcissist at the end of their tether because I was too unskilled, too relaxed, too slow, just too-too for them.
Nowhere was this impatience more noticeable than in the sphere of music. Any wrong notes, anything less than perfect pitch, any fumbling about while attempting to play by ear, and sooner or later the narcissist would lose his patience. “C’mooooooooon!” As if it matters. Art for art’s sake…or not.
Impatience in Waiting
“As soon as the car drives up, you need to be out the door. Don’t make them wait!” If I heard it once, I heard it a thousand times. Narcissists must not be made to wait…not a minute, not a moment, not a second. It’s not enough to get your shoes and coat on after they drive up. Heck no! You gotta be already suited up, standing at the door, sweating in your coat before they drive up. Nothing else will do.
Naturally, I just accepted this with a nervous, uptight grace. Making anyone wait filled me with dread. Life was to be led with a clenched-up stomach and a knot in your gut. Like a cat on a hot tin roof.
This was antithetical to my nature. I’m a slow person. Always have been, always will be. As a child and teen, I couldn’t and wouldn’t hurry. Meanwhile, the narcissists vowed to teach me to hurry if it was the last thing they ever did. I vividly remember being a teen and both narcissists standing at the end of a hallway yelling at me to “hurry” merely as an experiment, just to see if they could make me do it. As there was no reason to hurry, I didn’t. And, of course, got yelled at for not being “obedient.” Thereafter, I learned to hurry.
Un-Learning Hurry, Hurry, Hurry
Fast-forward fifteen years. “I’m gonna find a way to make you relax,” my new husband declared, “even if it takes me fifty years to do it! You’re like a cat on a hot tin roof. Relax! Lower those cortisol levels. You’ll live longer. Take your time. I don’t mind waiting.” Well! That threw me for a loop. Apparently, normal people don’t mind waiting. But, just as it took time to learn how to hurry, it’s taken time to un-learn it as well.
And the same goes for you. Are your stomach muscles knotted? Do you feel all keyed-up? Are you nervous, uptight, jittery? You can thank narcissistic impatience for that.
It took time for the narcissist to “larn” you your bad habits and it’ll take time unlearn the bad habits they taught you. But take hope! It can be done!
Normal people don’t mind waiting. It’s just part of life. No one’s time is more important than someone else’s time. After all, time is what Life is made of…and all our lives are equally important.
Know someone who’s rabidly impatient? They just might be a narcissist.
Thompson, L. (2017). The Impatience of Narcissists. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 20, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/narcissism/2017/05/the-impatience-of-narcissists/