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Need feedback - Not sure how to handle this?
June 8, 2005
1:24 am
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angel4U
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Here's a prime example of where I get stuck with what to say to someone. Need to know your thoughts ...

I called a friend tonight that I have known for quite some time to see if she wanted to join me and some others for an upcoming outdoor concert. This friend used to hang around in the same social circle, but moved quite a distance and so I don't see her too much anymore.

I learned through conversations that she has been keeping her distance because she wants to get married and didn't feel like she could find anyone in this social circle. Mind you, although she can be nice, she seems to have a whole other guarded side and seems to gets stressed about things quickly and has little patience ... while I on the other hand happen to have alot of patience (sometimes too much! ... =) She also has called her self obsessive-compulsive, and has told me that she gets hives and is constantly obsessive about what foods she can and can't eat, about how the body works (gets into details I have no clue about) and labels people with all sorts of psychological jargon. Now that I think about it, trying to get into a deep conversation was never anything I seemed to be able to do with her ... she would get freaked out and stop me and say "I can't handle this" ... ?????????????? .. (and I'm not talking anything crazy, just dating stuff and things like that that most girlfriends talk about together.) She seems to be ok if it's in her field of knowledge (where she seems to push her ideas out onto you), but anything real (especially emotional) seems to be out of the question.

In the midst of the conversation tonight we spoke of one of the guys in the group that I recently decided to distance myself from. She jumped on me right away and said that her friend asked her if she was discouraged with me for still hanging around with this guy (meaning she had been talking about me). Then she said "I can't believe you even talk to him ... I think he has some social disorder." Mind you, this guy has been in the same social circle that I have for more years than I have, and all of us have known eachother for a long time (longer than I have known her). I am one of the big social coordinators of the group, so I have to be really careful about not excluding people, and to be honest with you, I personally felt no reason to exclude him when it came to a group outing. He's not a mean person at all, and many people like him. But he does seem to crave constant attention from women and can get clingy/dependent ... and lately I have discovered that he gets snippy when he feels he is being rejected. Everyone knows him, and he would never harm anyone (even she said this). His behavior can be annoying sometimes more than anything, so I usually just ignore it. I actually talked to him about it not too long ago because I felt like he was getting too dependent on me, and he says he knows it's because he is very insecure right now. But he seems to now be going down a self-destructive path and he hasn't been a very good friend to me, hence, why I am backing off. The only experience I know she has had with him was one time about 6 years ago or so when he wanted to date her. He kept calling her (sometimes 3x a day) and I guess she freaked out and stopped taking his calls. She has seen him since, and there doesn't seem to be a problem. Although she did mention that he came out to her and kept asking her about her new hairdo (over and over). I really don't see him doing this, except maybe in a funny way to get her attention. Like I said, annoying but nothing that can't be controlled simply by asking him nicely to stop.

After she questioned this one, she started questioning me about other people I know, too ... critiquing people that I talk to/dated and basically judging me for it. She was very short and direct (like she was one-upping me), and when I tried to go into any conversation or explanation from my side, she stopped the conversation abruptly and said "STOP, WE HAVE TO STOP TALKING ABOUT THIS. I CAN'T HANDLE IT. I AM GETTING NEGATIVE VIBES."

I said "Wow, this really bothers you. Are you ok?" Right away she turned it back to me and said "you can't seem to let go of these negative people and keep talking about them". I said back "I didn't even bring this up, you did. And you questioned me so I was sharing with you my thoughts." She said "Oh, well I can't handle it" ... and then went on to judge me (or more what seemed like criticizing) more.

We changed topics to school, and I get to hear a dozen questions and "her" view of what I should be doing. I was getting annoyed but stayed calm and finally got my view in. And I tried to keep my demeanor positive (God only knows why) and said "hey, once I get my degree we can swap knowledge with eachother since you are more in the education field and I will have the PT (Physical Therapy) experience." She snapped again right away and said in a defensive tone "I also have knowledge of the body, M".

I don't get this ... her behavior to me was off the wall. I found it to be controlling, judgemental and defensive. But get this, at the end of the conversation she confirmed when we woulld talk again about plans we made earlier in the conversation.

I hung up the phone and said, huh??? And why do I event take this crap from people! My feelings right now are that I do not want to be with this girl, and I want to call her in a few days and tell her I won't be able to make the outing.

Is her behavior not bizarre?!?! And how could I have handled the conversation previosly. I seem to be the one to always try to keep it positive when people get like this, and hang up feeling like I wish I would have just put them in their place. i don't though, because my experience with people that get like this is that any confrontation seems to bring on more defensiveness from them.

HELP!!!!!!!!!

June 8, 2005
1:48 pm
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kathygy
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angel, the first thing I would do is take a deep hard look at myself and see if there is any truth in anything she said about me. Secondly, I would not talk to her again. I surround myself with people who love, support and nuture me. She doesn't do any of that. The minute I felt judged by her I would said I'm feeling judged and I don't like that. I would stick to 'I' statements and would have gotten off the phone from her. I would not have stayed on the line as long as you did. Very early on in the conversation I would have gotten off the phone. This woman is not someone I would want to have as a friend. She doesn't know how to be a friend.

June 8, 2005
2:12 pm
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angel4U
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Thanks for the response, kathygy. The conversation lasted only about 10 minutes, and seemed to go back and forth with her going "oh" like she understood, and then dug right back in (like she had to prove her point to me that she was right and I was wrong). I've known her for awhile, and I have to admit that I have seen this in her before ... but not this strongly. So part of me wants to confront her, and the other part is saying to myself "why, anyone that talks to me like that is not worth it". I really do not talk to people this way at all, and am getting tired of people that think they can.

I think the reason why I didn't say anything right away was because it did make me angry and I was worried I was going to snap back at her. And the way she was acting, I can only see things getting worse.

Where do these people get off acting like this? What is wrong with them??? I truly do think some people see the stable side of me, and push it because they don't have it in them ... maybe that's why I don't want to let them see they got to me ... because I don't want to give them that satisfaction.

June 8, 2005
2:21 pm
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lollipop3
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Angel,

You say that you've seen this behavior in her before but not this strongly. Is it possible that she has always been this way and it's you that is different now?

I've found that with myself lately. I say things like OMG...was he/she always like this....and the fact of the matter is yes...they were, I just didn't notice. But now that I am more healthy I can see things that I never noticed before.

Just a thought.

Lolli

June 8, 2005
2:35 pm
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angel4U
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fyi - I am finding that I have alot of perfectionistic, judgemental, people in my life that come off as controlling. I hate to say this, but many are single professional women and men over 40 (as I myself am) too, and they are over-achievers. Which is probably why I have given them some slack (I have been around much of this type of opinionated behavior over the last 9 years, but truly never liked it). I find myself constantly having to brush things off or put some distance.

I just met a new friend and she recently said to me: It is so refreshing to talk to you because you don't tell me what to do, you allow me to think for myself and make my own decisions. I said "I do what seems to be effective for me". She also hangs around with another friend of mine that goes from one end of the spectrum to the other ... from being opinionated and controlling to being overly nice.

I think it's time for a change, which I have already started making! The first is to never share anything personal about myself with these people as they use that as an attack against me, or at minimum, to tell me (and others) how I "should" be doing things. Hmmmm, just the kind of friends you want to have, isn't it? UGGGHHH! Is there any way of working with these kind of people besides walking away? I have been in management and had to deal with all kinds of people, and one of the things that was stressed was to try to work with everyone no matter what so I think I learned this from that. But do I really have to work so hard in my personal life? or maybe as my sister recently said, why work with them ... just go out and find other people that you enjoy being with and not have to be on guard with all the time.

Sounds like a better and much easier (and less stressful) plan to me ... =)

June 8, 2005
2:43 pm
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angel4U
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lolli - I think there is A LOT of truth in what you just said! I have been doing tons of introspection over the last year, and have really been doing some weeding out of what I have discovered has not been good for me. These are people that I have tried to get along with (especially because of the large social circle that I belong to), it's just not working and I am thinking that life is too short to keep trying.

And honestly, it has been a breath of fresh air each time I find someone that has a more stable, compassionate nature to them (just like all of you!).

I am now wondering "why did I waste so much time!", but I guess it's all a learning experience, and you don't know something until you try it ... =)

June 8, 2005
3:16 pm
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angel4U
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Hey Amazed, I remember you talking about the "question" concept and not closing the door. Any ideas on how to handle these things when they first come up? I am finding that most people do just walk away and never question, while I on the other first wonder what's going on with them, and then ask. And it's NOT working very well with some of the people I am mentioning here, as they do nothing but defend and resist any discussion. It's as if they HAVE to be right, and make me wrong in the process ... I see it as stemming from their insecurity, but also see it as a form of verbal abuse. And it certainly makes me feel as if my needs and feelings are null in void to them.

June 8, 2005
3:26 pm
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2bstrong
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Hi angel--

You are so good at telling the details of a story! I'm terrible at that, so I always appreiciate it when someone takes the time to explain.

I agree with kathy's first post. What is up with the judgement? I sensed in your story a lot of insecurity on her behalf, too. What is the root of judgement? Envy? Jealousy? Personal insecurity? Lack of self awareness?

I would step back from this person.

June 8, 2005
3:56 pm
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angel4U
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I have no clue, that's why I asked her. But she seemed to get more defensive and pushy about her points. I sensed she really could not handle/understand the idea that I even talk to some people, without even knowing some of the people she was judging me talking to (and without letting me really share with her my thoughts).

We are really different too, though. I am more open to many people, while she is more guarded and seems to like one-on-ones more. And I usually give people a chance until they do something that causes me to walk away from them. I am finding that most people are not like this, so it does get difficult at times.

But when she continued when we changed the topic to school, she really threw me for a loop. So there may really be something more to this as far as jealousy, insecurity, etc. and have nothing to do with what she is complaining about. It's almost as if she is paranoid or something.

As lolli said, she has been like this in the past too (just tenses up and stops conversations for no reason), but I have just let it go as an insecurity of hers. It's just too bizare for me though, and since she's not talking, I guess there is nothing else to do but walk away.

Thank you all for the support ... i wish you all were live & in person so we could all hang out! Life would be much simpler ... =))

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