It can be frustrating dealing with a spoiled adult who is all give and no take. He acts entitled, expects others to do things for him and is not used to hearing the word “no.” He is self-centered and does as he pleases, regardless of who he affects. Dealing with this kind of behavior, especially on a regular basis, can take a toll on your stress level and even your self-esteem. Learn to stand your ground and let him know that you won't tolerate certain behaviors.
Imagine life through her eyes. Consider how she may have grown up to better understand why she acts the way she does, suggests business and communications consultants Brian Salter and Naomi Langford-Wood in "Dealing With Difficult People in a Week: Teach Yourself." If her parents did everything for her as a child, she may expect others to do the same for her in her adult life. Her attitude of entitlement can also be a result of insecurity and attempts to protect her self-esteem, says marriage and family therapist Neil Rosenthal in response to a question on HeartRelationships.com. Keep in mind that she takes any negative criticism as a personal attack and rejects having to face the reality that she's not always right.
Acknowledge his feelings. You don't have to always agree with the spoiled adult, but validate his feelings to show that you understand and have heard his point of view. An insecure, spoiled adult will be on the defense and will be less likely to listen to what you are saying if he feels attacked. Show some sympathy and understanding to put him at ease, Rosenthal says. Although you are acknowledging his feelings, don't apologize if you are not to blame.
Establish boundaries and refuse to enable her behavior. While it’s important to sympathize with a spoiled adult, it’s also important not to make excuses for her. Tell her what you will and will not tolerate, says psychotherapist Beverly Engel in “AARP The Nice Girl Syndrome: Stop Being Manipulated and Abused -- and Start Standing Up for Yourself.” Keep your voice and body language assertive, but don’t get into an argument. Omit any personal blame or criticism from the conversation. Make it clear that you do not agree with her and try to leave it at that. Arguing may be a waste of time.
Stress that he must take responsibility for his own feelings. He may play the victim when you refuse to accomodate his spoiled behavior, says psychologist John B. Arden in "Stop Spoiling That Man!: Turn Your Needy Guy Into an Equal, Loving Partner." After you have acknowledged his feelings, make it clear that you do not feel sorry for him. Tell him in an assertive, but respectful, tone that you are not to blame for how he deals with his own emotions. Walk out of the room if he refuses to listen or continues to yell. This will show him that his attempts to blame you for his feelings do not work with you.
- Dealing with Difficult People in a Week: Teach Yourself; Brian Salter and Naomi Langford-Wood
- AARP The Nice Girl Syndrome: Stop Being Manipulated and Abused--and Start Standing Up for Yourself; Beverly Engel
- Setting Boundaries With Your Adult Children: Six Steps to Hope and Healing For Struggling Parents; Allison Bottke
- Always be consistent with enforcing boundaries.
- You won't be able to change a spoiled adult. Focus on what you can do to minimize her effect on you and control your reaction to her, but don't expect to change her.
Sarah Casimong is a Vancouver-based writer with a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She writes articles on relationships, entertainment and health. Her work can be found in the "Vancouver Observer", "Her Campus" and "Cave Magazine".