Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Have you ever had to deal with a person whose insecurities caused them to interpret comments or events in a negative way, when there was absolutely NOTHING negative about it?

Asked by Dutchess_III (38148points) April 22nd, 2014

Kind of like people who think you’re talking about them when you’re discussing the weather. I’m kind of dealing with that now. Seems like I just step into it every time I turn around.

Have you ever dealt with a person like that?

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41 Answers

Coloma's avatar

Yes, an old friend of 15 years that I finally dumped in 2010 because her neurotic insecurities ( possible borderline personality issues ) became too much.
She was a very beautiful woman but so insecure, could never be without a man, dozens of relationships, 2 failed marriages and it got to the point where she freaked out at the most benign comments, advice, attempts to change her thinking.


I had her try a new lipstick I had bought and told her it was a good color for her. She accused me of “criticizing” her makeup.

After the breakup of a 5 yr. relationship when she was on a rampage to find a new guy I suggested she take a break from relationships and learn to enjoy her own company, maybe take a vacation, forget about men for the first time in her life.
She accused me of wanting her to spend all her money on a vacation! WTF!

I once made a joke about “not too bad for a couple of old broads ” when we were hauling around furniture and staging a home for sale.
She flipped out that I used the word “old” . Well….at 50 something you ARE more old than not old and excuse the fuck out of me for being comfortable with cracking a joke about our age. Sheesh!

She had no problem getting extremely pissy and hysterical with me over the tiniest little things and I finally told her that she was emotionally abusive and that I was done.
Of course she took great offense at that TRUTH, and became extremely pissy. Well…if the abuse shoe fits wear it!

While I understood her issues I was tired of walking on eggshells around her all the time. Goodbye high maintenance “friend.”

thorninmud's avatar

As a mod, All. The. Time.

“Could you please correct a couple of typos?” somehow becomes an effort to repress freedom of speech. Go figure.

Dutchess_III's avatar

LOL @thorninmud! But you guys are SO picky! So I spelled HIPPA wrong! It’s not even a word! :D

The person I’m dealing with has a son who is behavior disordered. She jumps on him for everything! I mean, she just looks at him and gets mad. She honestly feels that if he isn’t doing something wrong at the moment, he’s getting ready to, so she makes the preemptive strike.

I watch him a few hours a week. Due to the fact that I’ve had years and years of experience and training in dealing with many different kids, and they have no idea where my buttons are, I had the upper hand after the first couple of times I watched him. Very few problems after that. (Actually, he thinks maybe I’m a leetle bit dangerous somehow. He just doesn’t know how, and doesn’t want to find out! LOL!)

I actually enjoy watching him. We have fun. When she picks him up and asked how he was and I say, “He was fine. We did this and such. We had a lot of fun,” she almost bristles with defensiveness, like I must be lying, because I describe a kid she doesn’t know.

Judi's avatar

My oldest sister is crazy that way. My first husband was also. I never realized how crazy it was until my first husband died and I was on my own. I don’t understand when people are constantly looking for hidden agendas and thinking I mean something I didn’t say. Especially family. It seems so simple to me. I would never ever say something to intentionally hurt the people I love and if something came across as hurtful then we need to talk and clarify things.
I do get in trouble because I often take what people say at face value. I don’t catch sarcasm sometimes (especially when my kids were little) and am often thrown for a loop when someone back stabs me.
That totally crazy misinterpretation seems to be a symptom of bipolar in my family at least.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Judi I can relate! It’s like…“WHAT???”

GloPro's avatar

People will compartmentalize you into the perception they have of you all the time. It is so frustrating! I do it, too, we all do. Some people are just calmer to react to being misunderstood or calmer in reacting to the person they are misunderstanding.

Once someone is constantly misunderstanding you or believes they know how you think when they don’t, I believe your relationship is beyond repair.

Judi's avatar

I think Ii put the transcript of a text I got from my DIL on here after I said happy birthday to my son a day early. I was the worst mother in the world and will never be around my grandchildren. That was a year ago in June and she hasn’t spoken to me since. WTF?

dxs's avatar

Oh yes. There is one person I know who thinks that pretty much everything is about her. I said something in a joking, casual way, and she thought it was a passive-aggressive approach to give her a message about her personality. Then I have to deal with that person getting upset about it with me and you won’t believe how much I hate “dramatic” people. I remember having the conversation with that person: she went on this whole spiel, listing various other things I said and how she “knew” that it was about them. Of course even if I deny what she said (which is the truth), she’ll think I’m lying. I also can’t stand people who think they’re always right.
I was shitless…that person needs to stop thinking about herself.

jca's avatar

Yes. I call it “crazy” and I distance myself from the person, when possible.

bolwerk's avatar

The OP’s question seems to describe most people.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Some are much worse than others @bolwerk. Much worse.

The person I referred to is my daughter-in-law. She has some awful communication skills too, and causes a lot of confusion because of it, all of which she takes personally.

It really worries me that it could cause some unrelenting hard feelings and festering anger for no reason. :(

zenvelo's avatar

Yes. I was dating a woman last fall, and every time I mentioned wanting to see her just to talk she would tell me how she had anticipated my breaking up with her and that she just knew I would break her heart.

I finally had to point out to her that her continued focus on that had become a self fulfilling prophecy.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Did you just call me fat?!

@Dutchess_III So I spelled HIPPA wrong!
Ahem, HIPAA. :)

AshLeigh's avatar

Yes. A friend of mine does this constantly, and it drives me nuts.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@livelaughlove21 I know. In fact, I asked them to let me back in to fix it.

Cruiser's avatar

Yes. I lost a friend here for that exact reason.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@thorninmud LOL! You made me choke on my English Muffin with your message!!

@livelaughlove21, trust me. HIPPA ‘as been fits!!”

Darth_Algar's avatar

I was raised by one. I honestly have as little as possible to do with her now.

downtide's avatar

No, but I have been that person. For years – no, decades – my self-esteem was so totally non-existant that I couldn’t believe that anyone would possibly have anything nice to say to or about me. I assumed any time they did, they were speaking out of pity or veiled malice.

Berserker's avatar

That’s what my mom is like. Everything is always about her, and she always has to find something in what you said that she can turn around at you, and make you feel bad. Reproaches, criticism, accusations, it just never ended with her. You’re always the bad guy.

My mom is not a stupid person though, and she’s manipulative, so anything positive I can say about her behavior, is that what I’m talking about here that she does, it’s quite an impressive skill really. Especially as she can always take what you say, and out of nowhere in two seconds, make it about her. I’m sure glad I didn’t inherit that. Or at least I hope not. I say she is aware of it and does it on purpose, but I don’t really know, and to be fair I haven’t seen her since I was 15. But she drove me mad with this when I was a kid, she drove my dad mad, and after him, she drove her boyfriend mad.
I have no idea if this is due to her self esteem, but she seemed to be a sponge for negativity. Trying to cheer her up or give her compliments never worked, she pretty much always thought I was up to no good haha.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Yes, and here is what I learned from it. Remember The Golden Rule? Do unto others as you want done unto you. It doesn’t always work, does it? This is where The Platinum Rule comes into play: Do unto others as they want done unto them.

The latter is impossible until we get to know that person. If respect exists, then it is just a matter of customizing the interaction to meet their needs while being sincere. If it becomes too exhausting to deal with on a regular basis, then it is probably time to distance oneself from that person. Hopefully, someone else will come along and aid in guiding them to their path of self-assurance

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s hard to distance yourself from a family member, especially if distancing yourself from them means you have to distance yourself from other beloved family members. In my case that would be my son, Chris and his kids. I don’t think I could live without Chris in my life.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It is understandable how you feel. Anyone in your position surely must feel the same way. Mom did. She saw the insecurities that my SIL brought to her marriage with my brother and kept silent. They divorced after 23 years of marriage and three children.

Mom explained to me that the SIL had emotional burdens stemming from her childhood. While it is improbable to change the behavior based upon a stable and supportive environment, that was all that she could offer. This may be one explanation as to why the ex-SIL is still occasionally in touch with Mom. May you build the same bond with your daughter-in-law.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m going to have to figure something out. I KNOW it goes back to her mother.

SpatzieLover's avatar

These types of people are toxic and I rid myself of their presence as swiftly as possible.

One of my stories is very much like that of @Coloma‘s .

I was so glad to be done with the drama and emotional energy expenditure when I kicked said “friend” to the curb.

Coloma's avatar

@SpatzieLover I have always known we are soul sisters. :-)
Seriously…I am not easily offended, feel I communicate well, ASK for clarification if I am confused, but some people are just beyond “communicating” with. Points finger at head and pulls trigger. lol

Coloma's avatar

@Judi We’re soul sisters too…jeez….you are such an unworthy mother, how DARE you wish your son a happy birthday a whole day early! Wonder what would have happened if you were a day late. haha

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

You may be right. At this point, it doesn’t matter who is to blame. As long as your son is happy and the children are growing up in a stable environment, it’s just a matter of finding the right way of communicating with her that fits her needs.

Mimishu1995's avatar

Yes! I know one person. A 16-year-old Mimishu1995.

She suffered from a lot of stress, pressure and conflicts, to the point that she had developed several hedgehog’s spikes, always at the ready. Anything said to her, jokes or not, were perceived to be attacks, and she had to put the spikes into use immediately. She sometimes made people sick because of that, but she absolutely had no choice.

Come on people! View those over-defensive people in a different angel! If you all have negative opinions on them, you will certainly hate 16-year-old Mimishu1995! Those people could have suffered so much stress or been ridiculed, isolated so much that they have to be over-defensive. That’s just a defense mechanism. Some people, like the Aspies, cannot distinguish between a joke and a serious saying and interpret everything literally, so they become over-defensive. Have a little sympathy toward them please.

SABOTEUR's avatar

My late wife was like that. I tend to speak quite specifically to minimize any possibility someone might misinterpret what I say. I often found myself reminding my wife of this fact when she’d inevitably attempt to “read between lines” that didn’t exist.

My eldest daughter was like that too. The final incident (she committed suicide 2 weeks ago) occurred upon receipt of my wife’s will. After my wife passed away, I accessed her email and discovered she made a payment to for a will. Upon inquiring to the site about the will, I was informed they needed the necessary legal documentation to release what my wife paid for.

Well I received the document (it wasn’t legally a will) after my wife was buried and discovered we made a few decisions contrary to what was stated in the document. Immediately upon receipt of the email (with attachment), I forwarded it to each of my daughters. Wasn’t long before I heard the most hideous scream I’ve ever heard outside a movie. My eldest daughter was on her cell while checking her email. I ran up the steps to see what the problem was, to hear my daughter cry


Judi's avatar

I am so sorry for your loss @SABOTEUR. My heart is aching for you right now. It’s actually taking my breath away.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Mimishu1995 Both of the Aspies here in my home can and do take and make many jokes. Overly defensive people are only hurting their own chances of making true friends.

Toxic people tend to tell you exactly how they’ll treat you, by how they treat themselves.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@SpatzieLover I was just talking about some people who are over-defensive not because they are toxic…

SpatzieLover's avatar

Again, people who are over-defensive are only hurting themselves. They have self awareness work to do to overcome their own issues. They’re letting their ego stand in the way of meaningful relationships.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Mimishu1995 Sympathy isn’t really the problem. The problem is her behavior is liable to split the family up.

I mean, when Jaden was here the other day he was hanging out in the RV with Grampa, and he commenced to crawling around under the couch (which also pulls out into a bed.) Perfectly fine with us. It’s what kids do. Rick and I were telling Jenna about it and laughing, because we told him there were alligators and spiders under there. Jenna, however, started glaring at Jaden like she was going to kill him for being so bad…and we were laughing about it!
Chris didn’t bring him over yesterday. Often he doesn’t because he’s a groundskeeper at a huge retirement home, and he can take Jaden to work, so that wasn’t unusual….but I also couldn’t help but wonder if Jenna maybe said she didn’t want him over here because we let him do things like crawl under couches.


thorninmud's avatar

Oops! answered wrong question!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Good thing you fixed it. Would have had to flag it otherwise.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@Dutchess_III @SpatzieLover Don’t tell me you all hate me…

Dutchess_III's avatar

LOL! @Mimishu1995 Silly girl! Of course we don’t ALL hate you! :}~

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