I'm enjoying the gamma posts. They explain a lot of behaviors I'd noticed without being able to put them into a coherent frame. I really liked the parenting advice today. It sounds like solid generic parenting advice since all kids indulge in that behavior to some extent. The points concerning the need to be right even to the point of turning a petty matter into a full blown argument or social embarrassment sound very familiar. I'm curious how you would deal with a gamma-type in your immediate family who has no apparent inclination to change.This sounds more like an Omega than a Gamma in some ways, but the attitude she describes is pure Gamma. However, it seems to be very hard for some people, especially women, to accept that not only is it beyond their ability to change another adult, it is neither their responsibility nor their right. FC's brother is content with his life as it is. It may not be what he ideally wanted, he may not be all that he thought he could be, but obviously he is content with it. If he wasn't, he would do something about it and he would be grateful and heedful of advice concerning how to change it.
My brother has a very pernicious habit of asking for advice on his life which clearly reflects a fear of changing, being wrong, and taking real risks. He lives with my parents, is in his 40’s, and has never had a girlfriend. He asks for advice about "his problems", and then picks apart your opinions on his circumstances, tells you all about why your advice won't work for him, and why your opinion is wrong. This especially seems to happen while we are having drinks or just watching a movie, generally having a light, good time. It basically pisses all over the evening.
This is a particular thorn in the side for me because I'm aware I’m needy. I instinctively want to fix people. I feel pained for him and his missed life. It's a conversational bait and switch that caught me for years but now that I recognize it, I don't know how to respond to it because a large part of me would like there to be some response that would wake him up. Engaging him on this topic at all just seems to feed into his sense of rightness. Is there any way I could shut down these types of behaviors and still try to nudge him in a better direction? Or maybe I just need to accept I'm not equipped to do that?
What he is doing when he asks for advice about his life is simply making himself the center of attention. He doesn't want the advice, he has no intention of changing anything, he just wants everyone to talk about him. FC can either oblige him or she can reject his attention-seeking, but regardless, she needs to stop taking his pretensions seriously. Of course he talks about "his problems", what else does he have to talk about? His property taxes, his kids, or his wife? He doesn't have them!
FC also needs to stop feeling pain for him and his "missed life". He hasn't missed anything he really wanted. He is leading the life he has chosen. God has granted him that privilege and FC needs to do so as well. The man is in his 40s. He's not going to change now. The time to intervene was when he was 9, not more than three decades later. He has constructed his Gamma delusion bubble, now let him live in it in peace. No one is equipped to change a man so strongly rooted in his ways; even if her parents threw him out of the house tomorrow it is unlikely he would modify his attitudes in the slightest.
My practical advice would be to stop offering him advice and to simply offer sympathy if she is in the mood to put up with his narcissistic preening, and to tell him that she's not interested in hearing the same old song and dance if she is not.