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Dutchess_III's avatar

Why do some people get offended SO easily?

Asked by Dutchess_III (39544points) 1 week ago

Do they go looking for offense?
I have a younger sister who I virtually never talk to. When we do talk, she does all the talking, and it’s all about her, and if I trying to contribute in some way she just kind of says, “Mmmm,” then turns the light back on herself.
And I have to be REALLY careful of what I say because she gets offended at the drop of a hat. Either she takes it wrong, or simply didn’t understand, either way then she’s indignantly righteous, angry, and that ends the conversation.

So when we DO talk I’m very quiet, stilted and cautious, which is not conducive to a warm relationship.

Needless to say, I can’t even fathom what she’d have to say if I insisted on monopolizing the whole conversation and making it about myself. I guess there would be hell to pay for my selfishness.

Why does this happen?

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28 Answers

dxs's avatar

How dare you…

Dutchess_III's avatar


Dutchess_III's avatar

Do you think it’s a form or narcissism?

longgone's avatar

When people get loud and react angrily, that’s often because they aren’t feeling heard.

Validation can do a lot in these cases. I’ve used it to turn really tricky situations around.

^ Observe how I am not validating you in this answer, but rather providing a solution.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But sometimes it’s imagination. They aren’t being heard the way they WANT to be heard. It’s frustrating all they way around, trying to find the magic words and ways to stop someone from getting upset. No matter what you do, you do it wrong.

longgone's avatar

^ You’re right, I totally know what you mean. That’s so difficult, isn’t it? With some people, I feel like I’m constantly treading on eggshells.

Dutchess_III's avatar

With my sister I’d try to just listen, without much comment, and once I said, “Gosh I’m sorry,” and she got mad!
She yelled, “What are you sorry about?! You didn’t do anything wrong!”
And another time she’d totally accept your commiseration. You just never know.

mazingerz88's avatar

People get offended easily when they’re bitter about something? Or maybe when they think there’s an injustice taking place.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But their whole entire life?

mazingerz88's avatar

Entire life. Perpetual grudge?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, with my sister it’s been since she hit puberty.
Mom was much the same way.

KNOWITALL's avatar

For me, a person who is so fragile that they can’t face ANY challenges to their beliefs, should state their opinion to a mirror.

We have a lot of people here that don’t seem able to process the fact that they could possibly be wrong, let alone admit it and try to learn something. I’m guilty of it at times myself.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Maybe because they care about what we say on principal? Is easyier not to give a dam and ignore for some people.

Kardamom's avatar

Some people can’t allow themselves to be “wrong” or to consider another position, or to weigh all of the facts, some of which they are missing, or don’t want to acknowlege, because it would make them (in their own opinion of themselves) look foolish, stupid, or as if one of their lifelong beliefs has been a waste of time.

It’s easier to cry victim, and act offended.

I am referring to people that get offended on a regular basis, not someone who feels offended (justly) because someone attacked them.

Unfortunately, some people feel “attacked” when they are presented with facts, or more information that they hadn’t known about before, or that goes against the currently held beliefs (that for whatever reason, are extremely important to them).

tinyfaery's avatar

I think for many people who seem easily offended, we are assuming that what they are offended by is just one instance. Maybe they had a day filled with people being assholes to them, or even a lifetime. Just imagine that all day you heard something negative about yourself and then out of the blue, in an entirely different context, you hear it again. Maybe it’s just the last straw.

We make a whole lot of assumptions about people’s behavior when we really we have no idea what they are experiencing.

josie's avatar

An inflated sense of entitlement.
A version of narcissism.
Deferred maturity.
Self pity.

Nothing good.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@tinyfaery It’s pretty easy for me to overlook someone being offended if I don’t know them. I’m referring to people in some aspect of your life that gets offended over and over, no matter how much you try to adapt yourself to make them happy.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Like I would love to have a relationship with my sister, but it is so exhausting. In order to not offend her I pretty much have to lie.
She’s an artist and she recently reached out and said she wanted to start selling. She is not at all comfortable with computers, so I offered to help her out, to make a FB page and manage it. She said something about payment me and I said, “No. I’m more than happy to do it because you’re family and I have the skills to do it!”
.......Wrong thing to say…....

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Sometimes the response is completely justified and you just don’t see it and other times it’s for “reasons” other than what the person is taking offense to. Sometimes I wish people would just grow thick skin as they have never had real problems and people around them have enabled this bratty behavior over the years. Other times I see serious trauma in people with thin skin. It can be hard to tell which is the case at first. Hardest to tell, you’re actually in the wrong.

JLeslie's avatar

There isn’t a single simple answer.

I find people who have been abused, or perceive themselves as abused, have a very low threshold for emotional discomfort. It’s like a PTSD of sorts. This includes mental abuse. If they always felt like they were being verbally beaten down or dismissed, they are trying to come to their own defense before you (or whoever it is) does more damage. It’s a self defense.

I would also say insecure people can be easily offended.

Fearful people tend to be easily offended.

People with trust issues tend to be easily offended.

When it’s fsmily sometimes it’s just a dynamic that has developed charged with emotion. It’s like when I would babysit my niece and nephew they behaved. Not because I was fantastic, but because they were rarely with me. On the other hand with their mom, they constantly challenged her and caused some havoc. They might be able to listen to advice and ideas from me with less emotion than listening to their mom. It’s just the position in the family.

Lastly, sometimes it’s people who they themselves are judgemental are quick to feel judged. They are projecting. Like when the cheating husband doesn’t trust his wife. Well yeah, he believes people cheat, because he is a cheater.

There is a Q right now about regarding how we think, and how it affects our lives. Most people on that Q agree that how we control our thoughts and view the world really matters. I think this is also entangled with taking offense.

Sometimes, the person is trying to help the offender. They aren’t so much taking offense, but telling the offender they are screwing up. Like when a student from U. Mich who was visiting at State said to her boyfriend after I said hello to them while waiting for an elevator, “people are so nice here, people at UM aren’t friendly they’re all a bunch of Jews,” and I told her the what for in a very nice way, I wasn’t offended, I just think she’s an idiot. She was being offensive, and if that isn’t her intent she needs to rethink and learn she sounds like an idiot and a bigot.

raum's avatar

I would guess that a lot of this can be attributed to the fact that you guys are family.

My family can really push my buttons. :/

kritiper's avatar

Because they take everything personally.

jca2's avatar

I agree with @JLeslie. There are so many reasons. Also mental illness.

Dutchess_III's avatar

What do we do? What is the best thing we can do? I care about my sister, and I wish we could be friends, but no matter how I try she ends up hurt and misunderstood.

jca2's avatar

If I have a friend or relative like that, I try to avoid them at all costs. I know it’s your sister, you love her, you probably want to see her at family events, but if it were me, I’d be really nice to her but not get into any deep conversations. I’d stick to hello, how are you, oh that’s wonderful, oh how nice, and then I’d move on to talking to other people.

kritiper's avatar

I have a friend who plays devil’s advocate to everything you say, and defends everyone who is criticized, whether he knows them or not, or is familiar with the subject or not.
What a PAIN!

kritiper's avatar

And they are SO insecure!

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