Social Question

Rangie's avatar

What would be the purpose, of a person to deliberately berate, belittle, correct and criticize you in public?

Asked by Rangie (3656points) April 18th, 2010

I had a sister-in-law that took too much delight when, she could loudly berate a waiter/waitress, in front of everybody in the restaurant. She didn’t seem to have he ability to say anything nice to anybody.

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32 Answers

earthduzt's avatar

Because she’s an asshole. No but seriously, sounds like she’s got some major insecurities and has to do that sort of thing to make herself feel better and more important. As the old saying goes, misery loves company so to make another person feel like crap just because she does is what she wants, makes her feel better…she needs some help. (can’t stand people like that)

rebbel's avatar

We don’t have the same brother, eh?
My sister-in-law did exactly the same, in the same situation (some years ago though).
The closest i can think of, is that she was insecure really and by belittle someone else could feel a bit more superior.
Probably thought that we (the other family members) would be impressed by her attitude and that we thought more of her?
I am interested in what others have to say/explain this weird behaviour.
Good question @Rangie .

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

I had to take a Interpersonal Communications class last year and it was taught by a woman who thought public embarrassment was a “win-win” situation. It a delusion that people convince themselves of and it makes them feel superior to engage that kind of attitude.

Rangie's avatar

@rebbel Thanks, this woman just passed away, ALONE. How can anyone be that hateful to a perfect stranger? But she did this to everybody everywhere.

Rangie's avatar

@py_sue How was it a win-win situation. who is the winner?

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

That’s the way people like that feel good about themselves.

phillis's avatar

Is it safe to assume that the person doing the belittling/berating is not doing it in response to a socially inept individual, but as a matter of normal recourse?

If that is the case, these people are sometimes supported in their rudeness and overall disagreeable demeanor by a small gang of rah-rah cheerleader-types who are cheering them on, unseen. Not much you can do with folks like that, as they are firm in their resolve that they are always right. You can’t use reason with these people because they are not reasonable people.

As to why some emerge as front runners, while their cheerleaders are more comfortable behind the scenes, I think that one is easy enough to figure out. The one in front has the greatest need to feel fulfilled by other people. They cannot be happy, just being a “normal” person. They have to trump everybody around them. They don’t want to be “normal”, they need to feel superior to make up for the things they hate about themselves. They never learned how to support and love themselves. They don’t feel any self-worth, so they must rely on others to provide it to them. The cheerleaders are content with a pat on the head from a “leader”. It doesn’t matter who that leader is. Just…..somebody.

filmfann's avatar

I have a coworker who likes to do this as a joke.
Three of us working together. Two in a pit, the other standing at the top. Cute girl walks by, guy at the top begins screaming orders, and threatening to fire us, as if he were a manager.
It’s funny the first time.

Rangie's avatar

@phillis She had no cheerleaders. In fact she had no friends. The sad thing for her is, she could have had many friends. She was funny, smart and active, which I only saw a few times in 35 years. She was in her 70’s but looked like she was 50. She was pathetic and that was so sad, she wasted her life with hatred.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

@Rangie This is the story as it was told to the class. My teacher was using it as an example. She was on the downtown tram. There was a girl painting her fingernails and the smell was too much to bear (I guess) and my teacher told her to stop. The fumes were too much to handle, she said. The girl looked around and everyone was staring at her. The girl got off at the next stop.
My mouth was dropped the entire time she was telling this story. One of the other students asked why she, the teacher, couldn’t have moved farther down away from the fumes. The response was that it was the same air.

phillis's avatar

@Rangie Believe me…..she had supporters.

Rangie's avatar

@rebbel Is your sister-in-law still in the family? Does she still have this same behavior? What do you do when she does this?

rebbel's avatar

@Rangie
Yes, she still is in the family and i see her not so often as i did some years ago, and to be honoust, i haven’t see her do this kind of stuff recently.
But she did in the past.
I was so insecure, shy, and non-assertive at the time that the only thing i did was pretend i didn’t see it or (very cowardly) laugh about it sheepishly.
And be embarassed for human mankind.

Rangie's avatar

@rebbel oh my. You sound just like me. I was painfully, shy and would never think of drawing attention to myself,by saying anything to her. When she would do it to me, I would just sit there with nothing to say. It got so bad, it began to affect me physically. I was on the verge of tears all the time, didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything. I didn’t know why. I went to the doctor in our little community where everybody knows everybody. The doctor knew I was her sister-in-law. He probed, until I finally said I was having a problem with her. He said, I can imagine. His advise was, If you can do something about it, do it. If you can’t do anything about it, get rid of it. He said (knowing her as she was one of his patients) this is one of those get rid of it situations. I stopped talking to her for 20 years. My health improved immediately.

eden2eve's avatar

People who behave this way, especially to total strangers, have anger issues, and issues with self esteem. And this can be a great way to get attention.

They also may have some disorder in their personalities that cause them to believe that others are impressed with this behavior.

This is similar to a “bully” syndrome, because they choose people to abuse who will probably not protect themselves. They might choose a waiter or waitress because they would be unable to respond in kind out of fear of losing their jobs, and because they would lose a potential tip. IMHO, this is disgusting, and should be challenged.

Did the people who were with her think about letting her know that they didn’t approve of her behavior? If not, they were partly responsible.

Rangie's avatar

@eden2eve nobody said anything. Not her husband, not my husband, and I tried one time. I was on the receiving end of her wrath. Which continued for weeks. I never challenged her again, until 25 years later.

Rangie's avatar

I think people like that are lonely, filled with hate for someone or something in their past. They are trying to resolve it by belittling others. The only thing they accomplish is to show the ugliness they hold inside their body.
What do I do about it? I let them know what I think and then erase them.

rebbel's avatar

@Rangie
Good for you!

Rangie's avatar

@rebbel you know the funny thing is, she spent $1000’s of dollars to redo her face tummy and what ever else. Yes, she was very pretty, but when she opened her mouth with her insults at people, she became ugly all over. Moral of that story, money can’t buy everything. I never did see an isle at the store saying “Personalities on sale”. She sure could have used one of those.lol

Rangie's avatar

@Trillian, I am waiting. I just know it is going to be funny. I am ready. hit me.

phillis's avatar

Bahahahaha! Trilly really can come up with some good ones :D

Trillian's avatar

I believe the idea that people think that there is an invisible section cheering them on. I’ve seen enough people doing this kind of display and they always look around as if in seeking support, like “Do you see what this person did to piss me off? Isn’t she/he an idiot?” They are so busy looking around that they don’t seem to notice that most of the incipient hostility is directed at them for making a scene.
I think that these people are intrinsically un-socialized and have an inability to pick up on and process social cues. And the classic things that go with it, inappropriate and disproportionate anger response. At a guess, I’d say that she was neglected as a child, and may also have grown up in a single parent/low income home.
Sorry @Rangie, no funnies right now. This is a topic which always interests me. I think that lots of inappropriate adult behaviour can be linked back to poor childhood dynamics.
I want to address this in another thread, but I don’t have all my references handy.
@phillis, awwww, shucks. Thank you.

Rangie's avatar

@Trillian let me know what thread, I would love to read it. I am also interested in what makes people do these things continually, even though they don’t get a positive response.

eden2eve's avatar

@Rangie, I think it’s admirable of you to be the only one to stand up to this idiot. And disgusting of your husband for not defending you when she retaliated. But of course he already showed himself to be a person who isn’t honorable himself. It’s good that you chose to erase her, and that you realize which persons are wrong in this scenario.

Rangie's avatar

@eden2eve I have always abhorred hypocrites. If someone is wrong (including my husband) I will not stand up for their honor. Honor has to be deserved, and in this instance his was not. He knows that is how I am and understands. His excuse was, he didn’t want to start something with his brother and create something. Ha, sorry no excuses for bad behavior or lack of good behavior. I certainly expect him, to expect more from me if the situation was in reverse. I love him dearly and if I had to choose his worst fault, that would be it.

Rangie's avatar

@Trillian Thank you for the information. I will be there.

plethora's avatar

Sociopath is the term that fits this woman nicely. See “The Sociopath Next Door”, by Martha Stoudt, PhD.

Trillian's avatar

@Rangie Ok, here’s a funny for you. It is not well done to speak ill of the dead, so I won’t call her an asshole. But you can look at this, and see if it applies.

Facade's avatar

It gives people with low self-esteem the false idea that they are making themselves look/feel better by belittling others.

YARNLADY's avatar

Personality Disorder, plain and simple.

JeffVader's avatar

People who are not good & decent often like to undermine those around them, especially if they feel this person is better than they are. Basically, people who are ugly on the insdie do this.

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