When someone demands to feel important…even if they aren’t

Children at play

Image via Wikipedia

by Madeline Laughs

We all have someone in our lives that has an overwhelming, suck-the-air-out-of-the-room NEED to be the most important, end-all, be-all, can’t-live-without-their-presence person on the planet. Whether it’s some obscure talent they perceive themselves as having, their higher education level or, for no other reason than they just think they’re better than the rest of the world, they DEMAND our attention and undying servitude and respect. The world literally revolves around the breath they breathe. Their shit definitely does not stink, in fact, we should feel privileged to even smell their farts. They are the divas and the drama queens, the Princes and Princesses, the Gods and Goddesses that give our mere mortal insignificance a truer, deeper meaning and we should be thankful they deign to let us gaze upon them for we are so unworthy.

Okay, enough with the sarcasm. Now down to business. 

My way of dealing with this type is to simply not deal with them, but in some cases you actually have to get your hands a little dirty because they’re hard to avoid. Here’s a little secret about this type of personality; they are still children. Oh yes, their bodies have aged, but their minds, their temperaments and their way of dealing with the world, has not matured beyond an adolescent.

The best way to deal with this type of person is the same way you deal with a small child.


“Say please and I might let you have one.”


“You may have a cookie when you say please.”


“You can stomp your feet all you want. Unless you say please you will not get a cookie.”


“Why will I be sorry?”


“Okay you do whatever you need to do to make yourself feel better, but when you’re ready to speak to me again make sure one of the words is please along with an apology for behaving so badly.”

Right about now is when the tears start falling and the lack of love they perceive you’re showing them is expressed through snot and a squeaky voice. That’s all it really is. A perception that they are not loved enough and are not the most important being on the planet, which is what some children display as rebellion when they feel the least bit insecure or threatened.

When an adult displays this same type of behavior it has become part of their psyche and it is a valuable coping mechanism for them. This is the way it has always worked for them in the past. Combating this behavior in an adult can be aggravating, but sometimes you just have to find a way to deal with them that doesn’t cost you your own sanity.

Unless a child has been properly parented, they can grow up to be a needy and demanding adult.

The big ongoing problem is that no matter what you do, or how often you play by the rules they put in place for the continuation of your relationship with them, they will never be satisfied with the way things are. As soon as you think you’re off to a new start with them, they will find something else to be unhappy about. There will always be one more thing they “need” in order to remain fulfilled. That’s the rub…the hole in them can never be filled, therefore you will always be producing something to fill it up again and again and again.

If it’s someone I truly care for, I will unconditionally play this game until I have had enough. I might take a break for a while to heal myself, but I will go back and mend as much as I can, until I need another break. Knowing what’s happening helps make this a little less frustrating.

It’s when it happens to people that have no idea what pathology they’re dealing with that it can seem endless and, sometimes, even pointless. That’s when you might find yourself making a decision to end a friendship. Make no mistake, the friendship could end even if that is not your intention. The “most important person in the world” may also have an all or nothing mentality. We can all hope that pulling back for a bit to recuperate from their consuming behavior might make them take a look at how badly they’re behaving, but that’s not always the case.

When an adult needs to be the most important person, they can and will take steps to make it all about them. They will even do so at your own peril. If they have to discredit you or step over you to get what they need, they’ll do without a shred of remorse.

When children do it they show no remorse either. Have you ever watched a group of 3 year olds play? If one of them has a toy the other one wants to play with, the kid will just go over and take it. They toddle off with the newly acquired toy while the other kid sits there screaming and crying. They never even look back. They don’t care. They got what they wanted.

Well that is what you’re dealing with.

Here’s my advice to you. If you don’t have to have a relationship with this person then by all means, don’t. But if you have to find some way to deal with them then treat them the same way you treat a child. Show them the boundaries. Ask that they respect them. If they don’t, then just don’t play the game with them until they do. There is no reason to be tortured over the game because trust me, they’re not feeling your pain at all. Remember that it’s all about them, it’s not about you at all. You’re the kid left screaming and crying on the playground.

When it’s all about them they look no further than the end of their own nose and since you don’t live on the end of their nose, you’re not on their radar unless you’re giving them what they want. Once you stop giving, or once they get what they want, you stop existing and they’re off to look for the next person that will make it all about them.

An adult exhibiting any of these traits is hard to change and most times they never do change. You have to learn to adapt. Everyone to them is disposable and replaceable. Their charming personality will win them new admirers, but relationships with someone that is not committed to worshiping them are always short lived.

When someone demands to feel important, even if they aren’t, tell them that the cookies belong to you and that you’ll give them to the people that are important to you and not to someone that demands to be important.

About Madeline Scribes

A writer with a sense of humor. If anyone can laugh at life, it's me.
This entry was posted in All kinds of Advice, Personal Boundaries Primer and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to When someone demands to feel important…even if they aren’t

  1. Michi says:

    This one hits a chord! I’d never known that an adult could behave like this (until recently), and after spending way too much time trying to mend and cater, I ended up walking away. It took me a good while to “heal” (during which numerous emails were received, trying to pile on the guilt for “walking away”), but the truth is that there’s only so much rudeness any one person can take under normal circumstances. Cutting ties can be difficult, but sometimes necessary to maintain an emotionally rewarding (not draining!) circle of friends.


  2. ranton2011 says:

    As a hillbilly, I must first tell you that I am honored to have my work attached here as a related article, may I add that there is an obvious Karmaic (is that REALLY a word, I hope so, I am trying to not look too hillbilly here) reason that I got led here at this very moment. I must admit though I am afraid that you may have installed a couple of cameras in my home car, and perhaps have implanted a microphone in one of my fillings, because every word of this very post is my life at the moment! Thank you!


  3. GregZ says:

    I think you hit the nail on the head Madeline! 🙂


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