Social Question

Feta's avatar

Why are some people persnickety without reason?

Asked by Feta (930points) May 27th, 2013

I’m very laid-back. I don’t care how someone does something as long it works and everyone’s happy.

But a problem has arisen between me and my dad’s wife.

My dog has been climbing out of her fence because she prefers to be on the lead where my dad’s wife’s dog usually is.

Her dog doesn’t like to be on that lead anyway, I put my dog there and put her dog where my dog usually is and it was fine.
Neither of them tried to escape today.

But she got home and saw my dog on her dog’s lead and went out and moved my dog and then brought hers inside.

I get yelled at all the time for putting my dog on her dog’s lead. Even though it doesn’t cause a problem.

I just don’t understand why if the new dog situation is working…why does she care that my dog is where hers usually is?

And I know loads of people like this. Nothing is right unless it’s their idea or their way of doing it. Even if the other person IS right.

Any insight on to why some people so anal about stuff like this?

I asked her why and she couldn’t give me a good reason. Just because she said so.

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32 Answers

woodcutter's avatar

Some people just like things the way they like them. If you take it upon yourself to make changes that effect them, you don’t really have a reason coming if they object to your modification. There is a reason why you didn’t discuss the deal with them first?

Pachy's avatar

Well, they may have (or think they have) reasons—they just don’t know how to tell us what they are.

Sunny2's avatar

It’s the opposite to being laid back. Some people just need to be, or at least feel, like they are in charge. You can fight back or you can stay laid back and accept her for what she is. You’re not going to change her. You can stay away or you can do it her way when she’s there. I’d stay away as much as you can if i was in your shoes.

Feta's avatar

@woodcutter I didn’t discuss it with them because it’s her dog, but I basically take care of them. I play with them, feed them, walk them, take them out. She barely looks at the dogs.

I honestly didn’t think she’d even care, but for some reason she does. Everything has to be her way.
I did try to discuss it after the fact and she ignored me/talked over me and just didn’t really discuss it at all.

She says she’s so controlling because her dad was controlling over her as a kid and now she feels like she has to be in control. I see that as an excuse. If you recognize the problem, fix it.

@Sunny2 I can’t stay away. I have to live here because I’m a minor. But she’s always on my back because I don’t do things her way.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

This isn’t about the dogs. She’s putting you in your place in her mind. You probably have three options: Live with it and deal with it however. Or go to Dad and ask for his advice. Knowing Dad is going to take her side. Or third, seek her out and try to understand each other.

dabbler's avatar

I think it’s because their teeth hurt.

Inspired_2write's avatar

I agree with Adirondwannabe in that she was putting you in your place, that of a subrordinate.
This was a power play between the two of you.
You placed your dog in the lead thus implying importance.
Hers was then considered NOT important.
Maybe you should have addressed your solution BEFOREHAND?
Could have avoided a lot of tension which is brewing in this relationship where the step mother is feeling threatened ( or possibly you) with her husbands daughter?
It can take years before step parents are even remotely accepted by their step
children, if at all?
Step parents have to STAY out of the diciplining and leave it to the natural parent only.

Kardamom's avatar

If I were you, I would have a private talk with Dad. Give him several real examples of how she has treated you unfairly or made you feel bad. Don’t say, “Jean always has to be right!” and don’t say “Jean is always mean to me!” even though you know this woman is ridiculous and un-reasonable. If you word it like either of those two examples, your Dad will feel like he has to defend her.

You need to sit down with him privately and say something like, “Dad, I’m trying my best to be a good daughter, but sometimes I feel like Jean is purposely trying to make me look bad or to make me look like I’ve done something wrong (insert 2 real examples here) I don’t know what to do to fix this situation, do you have any advice?

If your Dad can’t or won’t help you (by talking to Jean which is the only thing that will help) then all you can do is know what buttons of hers not to push, stay away from her as much as possible and move out, the second you turn 18. Is it possible for you to move in with your mother or another relative until you turn 18?

Judi's avatar

Blending families is always hard. How long has she been in your life? How old are you?

peridot's avatar

That’s an uncomfortable situation, at best. Some people like to be—or at least feel—in control, at the cost of household harmony. If you do a household task, you will do it incorrectly—but if you don’t help out, you’re lazy. Talking to such people directly doesn’t help; they’ll either insist nothing’s wrong, or blame it on something in the past that has nothing to do with you (as you experienced). Hopefully @Kardamom‘s advice will help, but you might have to chalk this up to an example of “sometimes humans aren’t sane”.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Another possibility is that the step mom is trying to build a case against the daughter to have the husbands TOTAL attention?

Dutchess_III's avatar

What was her reasoning?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Inspired_2write Step parents should stay out? LOL! Well, guess someone forgot to tell that to me and my husband 33 years ago! Why on earth should a step parent “stay out” of the discipline?

Inspired_2write's avatar

I asked her why and she couldn’t give me a good reason. Just because she said so
was your last two lines.
So what was the reason that she gave you?

Inspired_2write's avatar

Because they are always perceived in the wrong by the step child.
Much better to get natural parent to disciple.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Nevermind. She couldn’t give you a reason. Sorry. Didn’t read far enough.

Is that a fact, @Inspired_2write. How many step kids have you had?

Seaofclouds's avatar

Some people need to feel control in all aspects of their life. Depending on how long you have been a blended family, it could be that she is still adjusting to the new arrangement. If it’s been a while, there might be more to it than that. It’s hard to say without knowing more about your family dynamics.

Some step-parents (not all) feel like they are in a competition with the children for the other parents attention/time/etc. This can lead to conflicts between the family members. It sounds like you could start by talking to your dad about it and then maybe having all of you sit down together and discuss things.

Meraxes's avatar

I’ve met plenty of people like your dad’s wife, and sometimes it’s just easier to minimize your interaction with them.

My guess is that people like this feel powerless over some large aspect of their life, so they try to control the small things. Your dad’s wife is a newcomer into a family that’s already established, and she might have other issues that make her feel out of control. So to feel sane, she compensates by being irrationally controlling over minor shit like dog issues. She’s probably also trying to hide her feelings of powerlessness- she wants to command respect and assert authority, because she doesn’t feel respected or authoritative.

That doesn’t mean what she’s doing is right. It’s totally wrong and it’s a huge pain in the ass for the people around her. But there’s probably a human explanation behind it, and if you can understand where she’s coming from, maybe you can suck it up and be the bigger person. Later on, she and your dad might be grateful that you were so mature and reasonable.

Dutchess_III's avatar

How is your relationship with your dad?

Berserker's avatar

Nothing is right unless it’s their idea or their way of doing it.

To my understanding of this world, which is admittedly very little, this is spot on. I usually ignore such people, or try not to get in their way. However, I am in a situation where this is easy for me to do, as I’m an asshole and I really don’t care who gets offended by me. Seems very different for you. I can think of two things, one which has already been offered; talk to your dad about this. The wife seems kind of hopeless from what I gather, so I suppose speaking to her seems out of order. Hopefully your dad can help, most especially if you actually take care of both dogs a lot. Maybe he can help to get his wife to see reason a little.

That, or find another place for your dog. You could probably get it through to the dog that where you put him will be his place, whether he likes it or not, and he’ll probably get accustomed to it. He’ll be no worse off for it I’m sure, if you treat him right, and it seems that you do. A bit of training and tough love, perhaps. Make him understand that your side of the fence is his side of the fence, and he has to stay there.

She says she’s so controlling because her dad was controlling over her as a kid and now she feels like she has to be in control. I see that as an excuse. If you recognize the problem, fix it.

Agreed. If she knows what the problem is and what caused it, it’s pretty pathetic that she uses this as an excuse for not fixing anything. She seems to be aware of it.
If I was in your place, I’d leave her alone and let her have her way, but I would bite if she stepped on my territory. Again, easy for me to do, perhaps not so much for you, as you’re a minor under someone’s care. Hopefully you find some kind of solution, though.

As to why some people are like this…well eh there could be millions of reasons. Giving themselves worth, giving themselves power, a way to deal with fear and insecurity…or perhaps they’re just plain stark raving mad. Haha. I don’t know. Wish I did.

SuperMouse's avatar

I think you might want to pick your battles here. If leaving each dog on their own lead is going to keep from rocking the boat, it is a fairly minor issue so why not just leave it alone.

As to your question, some people have spent most of their lives feeling horribly out of control. Sometimes these people try to feel in control by micro-managing every thing they have even the slightest control over. It is super easy for someone without these issues to say “it’s a problem so fix it”, but not as simple in practice. They are dealing with lots of issues that you might not even be able to imagine so try to cut her some slack here. Also, I like @Kardamom‘s idea of discussing this with your father.

@Inspired_2write, I could not disagree more with your statement that discipline should be left up to the parents and step-parents should have nothing to do with it. I value you my husband immensely as a co-parent to the three boys I brought into our marriage.

Feta's avatar



I asked her again yesterday and she finally told me why.

She said its because she doesn’t like my dog and she doesn’t like for my dog to be on her dogs lead because she said its disgusting that her dog has to walk around in my dogs shit.

So I pointed out that they the dogs don’t care and she said she knows but it’s “different”.
I mean her literal words were that her dogs shit is better than my dogs shit. And she wasn’t even joking.
My dad was right there and agreed with her.

Anything pertaining to me or
my past life “disgusts” her. I brought my dog here when I moved.
She can’t stand my mother ( which I can’t either because she’s abusive ) but I can’t talk about my mom or my brother or half sisters or memories I have of my life with my dad before her in front of her because it upsets her. She actually got upset that I met my own grandfather ( he lives far away ) before she did. Because she thought she knew more about him than me.

She has told my dad that she hates my brother and thinks he’s disgusting and greedy and now my dad doesn’t like him because he’s spineless and just agrees with her on everything.

I don’t know. I swear they used to be cool about 3 years ago and then they started watching Fox News and worshipping the
Book of Revelation.

They think I’m going to hell because I’m a disgusting, dirty, hippie, liberal. I asked them if they thought I was going to hell
and they said yes unless I accept Jesus Christ as my savior.

I feel like I’m in a nuthouse living with deranged, irrational, Christians. Sorry for the rant.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Feta It sounds like she is slightly off her rocker and and a bit jealous of her husband and the life he had before she entered the picture. You best bet at this point is to do as she asks. Odds are good you will not be able to reason with this woman and attempting to do so will only cause more problems. Keep your head down, try not to take her dysfunction personally, and do your best to adhere to the rules. I am sorry you are having to deal with this.

Judi's avatar

Oh @Feta. I’m so sorry. It’s hard to fight the nuts once they have drunk the Kool aide. I just feel like I have to say this. Don’t judge Jesus by the right wing nuts that say they follow him. He was a radical socialist liberal, not a war mongering tyrant.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Wow. Well, as for the dog crap issue, it’s simple. Just clean it up everyday. Both dogs.

My dad married his 2nd wife when I was about 22. She’s only 8 years older than me. My mom came in from Seattle to my sister’s wedding (we’re in Kansas) and his wife got totally bent because the photographer instructed my mother and father to pose on either side of my sister. She couldn’t bear the idea of them being together, no matter how casually. It’s insecurity, plain and simple. The kind of insecurity you experience middle school. Unfortunately some people never mature out of it.

How old are you and how soon can you get out?

Inspired_2write's avatar

One, and I stayed out of his fathers parenting style.
I assume that it also depends on the ages of the step child.
In my case the boy was 14 yrs old.
We got along fine.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Looks like the answer is starring you in the face….get out while you can save your sanity.
Find a relative that may take you in?
Go to a counsellor for further advice…tell them that you NEED to leave this family problem.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It most definitely depends on the age of the child. My oldest was 18 months old when I met her, her dad and I married when she was about 2½.

Far different story than my dad marrying his wife when I was 22.

SuperMouse's avatar

Well mine were 13, 12, and 9 when their step-dad entered the picture and we definitely co-parent all the way. His kids were all in their 20’s when we met and while I do give my opinion on their choices. My own dad remarried when I was 30 so I don’t even consider his wife my step-parent.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@SuperMouse Exactly. My dad’s wife got a kick out of talking about “her” grandchildren (my kids) when I had them in the 80’s….it annoyed the hell out of me. She’s young enough to be my older sister. She isn’t jumping for joy about being a GREAT gramma now, though! Heh.

On the other hand, she never had any kids so I kind of feel bad for her because I think she would have liked some. My mom said once “Well, if she wanted kids she shouldn’t have married your dad because he was through after the first one!!!” Which made me feel like crap, because I WAS the first one. I have two younger sister.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Dutchess_III I have a hard time treating my husband’s grand kids (he has 6 with another on the way) as mine. I adore them all, but I just can’t wrap my mind around being a grandmother!

My dad’s wife has five kids of her own and my dad has pretty much forgotten his own six in favor of hers. I can take the old man or leave him so it doesn’t really bug me.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That’s sad. My ex did the same damn thing. He has a daughter who is about 2 months older than his oldest grandson. My kids had a really hard time with it, but they’ve managed to recover. Except for our oldest.

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