Social Question

nebule's avatar

How do you deal with people that you simply can't criticize because they react so badly?

Asked by nebule (16446points) May 3rd, 2013

I am talking about the type of person that thinks they are completely justified in everything they say and do, to the point where they actually hurt people really badly. The trouble is the person is so messed up that if you dare to tell them they are out of order they take it really personally and are likely to slump into depression and not speak to anyone for ages…and basically make everyone’s life hell. How do you deal with people like that?

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41 Answers

Pachy's avatar

You’ve really answered your own question. You don’t deal with them. As my old granny used to say, “Mind your own back yard.” ;-)

YARNLADY's avatar

I can think of two ways; one is to ignore them completely and only speak when spoken to, the other way is to pretend they are not acting up and continue to talk to them as if they weren’t.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I tend to ignore people like this. I have no time for people with closed minds.

jca's avatar

My criticism is not mandatory, so I don’t push it on people unless they ask. If someone is so crazy I will have minimum, contact with them anyway.

Blackberry's avatar

It sounds like you’re screwed either way. This is just me, but I think this person needs a reality check. Who cares if they get depressed.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t criticize them. I also don’t marry them or work for them or have them working for me.

serenade's avatar

I depersonalize their reaction and recognize that their behavior is just them dealing with their own suffering. Maybe they need to experience this a few times to learn how to deal with it productively. One of you has to eat the bad feelings that arise out of their behavior. Why should it be you? If you can resolve that you’re not the one responsible for either extreme of their behavior or mood, then you can safely assert your sense of normalcy in the situation and simply let them deal with their own manifestations of ego.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I avoid people like that just as I would the plague. Life’s too short to waste on assholes. If they keep getting in my face I tell them that exact same thing. They don’t come back too often.

nebule's avatar

Thanks guys and girlies, I suspected that many of the answers might emerge as they have; that is to say don’t let them in your life or avoid them as much as possible. This could be difficult, but I hear you. I also completely associate with what @serenade has said, even though it is difficult in practice. I feel desperately sad about the whole matter. But life is like that sometimes.

blueiiznh's avatar

These kinds of people and attitudes make it a waste of time and energy to deal with. I avoid them like the plague.

rojo's avatar

It sound like a situation where you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. If it were me, I would say something to them and chance sending them into a funk. Kind of a vindictive thing but why should I suffer if they do not.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I had a sister like that. We walked on egg shells around her. We were always afraid she’d commit suicide or something.

zenvelo's avatar

This is where the concept of boundaries is important. You sort of described my ex. She can rant on and on, but when she starts in on criticizing the kids I tell her she is out of line and to stop it, that I will not listen to her if she keeps talking that way.

Setting a clear boundary puts a limit on her; if she crosses it, we all ignore her until she begins to respect it again.

keobooks's avatar

My mom is halfway like that. She doesn’t bully or attack people, but she is HYPER sensitive to criticism – even extremely mild stuff like pointing out that she stepped on your foot. It makes it hard to have anything but a shallow relationship with her because it’s hard to make sure you never ever even hint around that she’s done something wrong.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Commit them? :)

If you’re criticizing them, why would they not take it personally?

KNOWITALL's avatar

I usually stay quiet, then if it continues I communicate with them, to make sure they realize how I’m feeling. At that point, if it continues, I try one last time to communicate, and then extricate.

Speaking for myself, I’ll admit I hate criticism BUT if someone can PROVE I’m wrong, I can accept it with good manners usually, if it’s delivered in a way that is not nasty. One of my ex’s told me “Don’t make me afraid of your moods.” and it really made me grow up. :)

Dutchess_III's avatar

@livelaughlove21 Sure. It’s meant to be taken personally, but some people just can NOT handle any kind of implication that they’re doing something wrong. Instead of feeling stung, and a little embarrassed, they go into full scale violent denial. They just rant and rave and scream and blame other people. You have a huge emotional explosion that encompasses everyone around them…and nothing changes.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Dutchess_III There’s a difference between constructive criticism (maybe if you tried to say it this way John would understand what you mean), instead of “you’re a foul-mouthed beeyotch”.

keobooks's avatar

My mom is the way @Dutchess_III describes. She flips out and goes nuts no matter how nicely you try to word anything. Even if it’s something incredibly small and incidental. Even if you didn’t mean it in a critical way.

Once my mom got into a fender bender and my stepdad simply asked “What happened?” and she went ballistic because she felt under attack and simply noticing the damage on the car was far too critical of her driving skills for her to take.

For some people there is no gentle or nice way to word anything that may be even slightly critical and things that weren’t even meant to be critical will be taken that way.

Coloma's avatar

You don’t deal with them, you swat them away like a Mosquito and stay out of their way.

Coloma's avatar

I dropped an insecure and hypersensitive friend a few years ago. The woman was always upset about something and constantly misconstrued everything I said, and everyone else too. lol
Bah…be gone!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Is THAT why I haven’t heard from you @Coloma!

@KNOWITALL—what @keobooks said.

Berserker's avatar

Wow, you just described my roommate so accordingly, it’s almost scary. She’s exactly like that. She can do no wrong, and everything she does is justified in accordance to some fact or ideal she makes up.
If we don’t act like her, she tells us that, pretty much, we don’t know how to properly live. I mean it’s so ridiculous; if I don’t enjoy a type of food she likes, she says, literally, that I don’t know how to properly eat or appreciate taste. She’s one of those people who thinks her tastes and opinions are fact. If I debate against her or disagree with something, she gets genuinely upset, angry, she has fits for like, hours, and won’t talk to me for hours, sometimes even a whole day.
She’s a know it all who thinks she knows so much that her own speculations and opinions do not ever need to be verified. You should hear some of the things she says sometimes, it’s gotten to the point that I seriously think she’s a little crazy.

However I’ve lived with her for three years, and I’m used to it. I don’t put up with her hissy fits, and I just say whatever I want. I used to be careful around her with what I said, stepping around eggshells and shit. But she will never respect the views and ways of others, so I don’t really see why I should be careful. I’ll smile and nod when I’m tired, making her believe she’s right about everything, which she believes she is. Otherwise, I’m just myself. There is no point in changing yourself in order to please someone’s ego. I’m also not shy at all in telling her to fuck off when she’s having a fit or is being rude to me because I think Lost is bullshit. Usually I ignore her, because I realized long ago that she loves hearing herself talk, so when I don’t show interest, she quickly leaves me alone. She learned that I will NOT be stepped on, and prodding me when I’m clearly not interested will only result in me not humoring her, which puts her in a bad mood. It’s some kind of unspoken sickly bond we have with one another.
If I do agree with her though, she’s the most pleasant person in the world. I don’t care that she’s self centered and rude, and in fact, I’m not trying to say that I’m an angel compared to her. But you can’t criticize her, yet she criticizes everything and everyone all the time, and my method for dealing with this is staying out of her way, but holding my ground when she steps in MY boundaries. However this is based on the fact that I want to be happy in the place I live, rather than respecting someone. Clearly, I’m an asshole myself, but at least I keep it to myself. Not that this is what it looks like on here, badmouthing her to no end haha…but I honestly appreciate the chance to unwind, even if this wasn’t really the point of this question.

Although it has to be said, she’s a roommate, and we actually get along fine most of the time, despite what I’m writing here. However, I do not really consider her a friend, so I have no problem telling her to eat shit when she pisses me off. I should probably get a roommate that I consider a friend, but the financial settup we have here works for both of us, and we’re usually on our own sides of the apartment, anyways.

Don’t know if this rant helps, I mean that probably depends on your relationship with the person. If they’re a friend or family member, it must be harder to deal with than an acquittance or roommate.

nebule's avatar

I’m having a blue light moment…forgive me peoples I’m struggling

Inspired_2write's avatar

Say” you may be right….then again you may be wrong”, everyone is entitled to there opinion
whether we agree with it or not, right?

Dutchess_III's avatar

They are the same people who say, “I feel like eating Chinese? What sounds good to you?” You learn to say “Chinese,” no matter what you really want, or you have a temper tantrum on your hands.

@Inspired_2write What do you mean I may be wrong?? WRONG about what?? You just think you’re so damn smart!!! Of COURSE everyone is entitled to their own opinion! What a stupid thing to say! (That would probably be the response to that statement.)

Inspired_2write's avatar

Does this person take everything personally?
He/she sounds like that they take it as a personnal attack?
( insecure).
Do they not take anyones opinion into account?
I have an older brother who has a University Degree who talks simular to what you are saying above, so I know what you are dealing with.
My older brother thinks that BECAUSE he has a Degree that ONLY He is smart?
I now do not answer when he yells or swear or otherwise trys to intimidate me..I still stay with my original comment whether he likes it or not.
He has lost a friend of 45 years because of this very behaviour.
I ignore his anger , and continue to talk in a calm manner and slowly he calms down, then talks calmer too.
He is getting older and feels ‘shut“out from the intellectual community I guess.
I always say to him ‘well thats my opinion, take or leave it”.
If he then says the regular ‘leave it” then I say “Ok, Bye”.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Oh yeah I forgot to mention..So how does HE/She know what you think if he does
not let you talk?
Say” one cannot know what another thinks until one lets the other have his say”.

Kardamom's avatar

Haven’t yet read anyone else’s responses, but on Monday, I finally, for the first time, had to block someone on Facebook. She was a big conspiracy theorist, and a rude user of people. It took me a long time to really believe that she was like that, but after she hurt a couple of people that are friends of mine, I couldn’t take her sh*t anymore and I not only unfriended her, but I blocked her, because her negativity was actually making me feel sick to my stomach.

Her FB friends have been dropping like flies

I never wanted to get on FB in the first place, simply because I feared people acting like her, but fortunately for me, and my very strict screening policy, I don’t have anyone else like that in my friends list. The only reason I friended her in the first place was because she was an old “acquaintance” and she started dating a good friend of mine. Big mistake. She crapped on him, then accused me of promoting persecution against her. Actually, she just sucked, and a bunch of other friends warned me, but I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt : (

augustlan's avatar

My mom is like that. (She has borderline personality disorder, which is probably why she’s like that.)

We once had a very minor disagreement on the phone…she hung up on me and ended up in a psych ward (the first time), suicidal over it. I was so upset, falling all over myself apologizing, rushing down to visit her, etc., and walked on eggshells with her for a long time after. I was in therapy at the time, and my therapist gave me quite a revelation. She showed me just how manipulative my mother’s behavior really was, basically putting me in the position of ‘keeping her alive’ by never making her unhappy again. An impossible task, to be sure.

The therapist also bet strongly that my mom wasn’t actually suicidal at all, and was just attention seeking. This turned out to be true, btw. The next time it happened, I remained calm and refused to jump through any hoops for her, and my mom never pulled that shit again.

So basically, what I’m saying is this: See it as the manipulative behavior that it is and refuse to be drawn into it. If you can manage it, remove yourself from this person altogether. It took me several more years to finally walk away from my relationship with my mother, but I finally did (for many reasons, not just this one). Best decision I ever made, in terms of my mental health.

Inspired_2write's avatar

@Kardamom @augustlan
So sorry, I did re read all above.
You are both correct in walking away from people that treat you with disrespect.
If one cannot reason with another than the ONLY recourse is to leave.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Inspired_2write re: ”@Dutchess_III Oh yeah I forgot to mention..So how does HE/She know what you think if he does not let you talk?
Say” one cannot know what another thinks until one lets the other have his say”.”

You’re trying to apply logic to illogical behavior. It doesn’t work.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My daughter has always been like that. Fortunately she’s calming down quite a bit.
Once, when her son was about 2, he was toddling about with a plastic spoon in his mouth. I reached over and took it out of his mouth. I didn’t say anything, wasn’t thinking anything in particular, I just did it.
My daughter became VERY upset, said, “He’s fine Mom!”
I’m going “I was just afraid he’d fall and….”
She cut me off, snarled “He’s not gonna fall!” and took her son and stormed out. She was still angry with me 2 weeks later and didn’t come to my wedding. Yeah. Like, “Whaaa?”
Apparently she took it to mean I was suggesting that she was a bad mom or something, and nothing was farther from the truth.
She’s not that bad any more though.

Kardamom's avatar

@Dutchess_III The crazy acquaintance that I just dropped from Facebook sounds exactly like that. She would fly into a rage about the most innocent of things and she thought that everybody was persecuting her. Now she probably thinks I’m persecuting her even more by blocking her, when in fact, I just couldn’t take her crap anymore.

It must be way worse when it’s your own family member : (

Dutchess_III's avatar

And the one you raised, at that!

Kardamom's avatar

@Dutchess_III How do you handle that?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, I just have to let it run its course and burn out. There is no explaining, no reasoning. Even apologizing stirs the dying embers back into flames. So I just hold my breath and…wait.
I inadvertently insulted her on Facebook today. I wrote a parody of tattoos and mothers. I thought it was funny ( @WillWorkForChocolate saw it.) I didn’t mention her name at all, but since she knew where it originated from she got REALLY upset and outted herself (@Luckyguy was named in particular!) But…she isn’t as bad as she used to be so it blew over pretty quickly. I just respected her wishes and removed the post. And waited quietly.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

That actually was funny!

My sister-in-law is like that. We walk on eggshells around her because of it. I’m having a very hard time keeping my mouth shut about some things regarding her new baby, like, “Oh my God, his head! SUPPORT HIS HEAD! His head is flopping around everywhere, WTF are you doing????” <sigh> She gets ugly defensive if I ever criticize anything, so I told my husband that he and his mom really need to step in and say something to her when it comes to things like that.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I thought it was! But, I mean, my son has the VIN of his 78 Pinto running down his forearm, and Aden’s stepmom has her two sons AND Aden’s name tattooed on her foot and Corrie has Boo’s baby footprint tattooed on her shoulder and it’s all good. anyway, Adens step mom including Aden’s name on her foot is what started it all. I thought that was OK, but Cor didn’t know how to feel about it so, man, it was like all a true story! Anyway. I took it down. :(

nebule's avatar

Thank you all x

BostonSahara's avatar

This sort of thing basically ruined the end of my last and most important relationship. Due to low self esteem, my ex, who is confident and kind in many ways, does not take any criticism well at all, and really struggles to discuss her feelings. I could feel a strain of tension/loathing towards me due to a few relatively minor life circumstances, and suggested she see a therapist, for example. Having been in therapy myself (for the benefit of the relationship, oh the irony), I knew it would help but she took everything personally. It all blew up in a minor argument, she accused me of all sorts that I had learned not to be true about myself and very sadly, that was that.

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