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Old 01-15-2019, 05:29 PM   #1
Arbie
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Trig Constant, systematic undermining (may trigger)

How many of us have had people in our lives that just can't stand to let us feel good about ourselves, for anything at all?

I was reminded today of something that happened in my first marriage. My then mother-in-law was a member of a weight loss support group. She came home from a meeting happy because at her weigh-in she had shown a small loss from the previous week. (I'll avoid giving exact numbers, just to be safe, because exact numbers are against the rules over at the eating disorders forum.) So she feels good about it. Enter my now ex-husband. "Is that all you lost? That's nothing. I can poop and lose that much."

The loss she showed, had she repeated it the next week, and then again thereafter, would have actually been quite a rapid rate. The important thing is, she was going in the right direction. She was making healthy choices. She had done well.

And I think my ex knew this. I think he saw his mother having a happy moment, and wanted to be a little turd and ruin it for her. Poking pins in people's balloons was the kind of thing he lived for. You can bet he eventually started treating me the same way.

I've often wondered what's happening inside people who don't want to see others happy. What are your thoughts?

I label it abuse because it has a devastating effect on its targets. In my ex-MIL's case, I think she even stopped going to those meetings.
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Old 01-15-2019, 06:46 PM   #2
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That sounds like something my father would do... I don't know, I guess there are people who don't feel good about themselves or certain aspects of their lives, and they can not stand seeing other people succeed. I guess it's a way of projecting their negative feelings onto other people (?) like, they feel better about themselves by putting others down.
When I was a kid and my father had a rough day at work he would come home mock me until I got upset and cried... and then he would smile and laugh at me.
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Old 01-15-2019, 07:06 PM   #3
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A lot of people in my family have been like that. I've got several relatives who could turn just about anything into a put-down aimed at me. And if I got upset about it, of course, that was just me being too sensitive, and I need to learn to take a joke.

Reason for the past tense there is that I no longer associate with them.
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Old 01-16-2019, 04:25 AM   #4
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I think in some cases people are "jealous" either consciously or subconsciously and the only way they deal with it is to cut people down. Others I think knowingly are mean and maybe its just meanness or a mental health issue. Some people get used to having us behave a certain way and when we flip the script by doing well for ourselves or practicing self care we have changed the dynamic for them and they are uncomfortable so they act like a mean asshole.
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Old 01-16-2019, 06:03 AM   #5
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They do that because THEY are unhappy,miserable people....it is an unending "job" because they never feel good about themselves.
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Old 01-16-2019, 06:28 AM   #6
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The way I figure it is this: If I have that mindset, then being able to upset and distress others is a sign of power. If I can ruin your good mood and make you cry, then that means I'm stronger than you. It's the only power I've got, but wielding it feels so darn good, I've just GOT to.

May's father is a good example. He felt powerless at work, and he knew he couldn't get away with bullying his boss or coworkers, or he'd be out of a job. So he came home and bullied his kid instead. If he can show that there is somebody on this planet that he's stronger than, and can get the better of, then he's not the lowest and weakest after all.

I think a lot of these people, if asked why they do this, would say they're just being funny, and they can't help it if we can't take a joke. How many of us here know that song and dance?

Most of the undermining I have faced, cutting me down any time I did well and/or showed any sign of developing self-esteem, came in three forms.

1.) Nitpicking. Focusing on the negative. Whatever I did, it wasn't good *enough.* I once brought home a 99. Not on a test, but as the grade for the entire course. And I kid you not, I was ridiculed because it wasn't a 100. Oh, and my good grades didn't count anyway, because I studied for them. If I were all that smart, I could get straight A's without ever opening a book.

2.) Holding it against me later. Not allowing me to be imperfect. Let me make a mistake, or not be quick to understand something, and here's that good report card actually used against me as a weapon. "But I thought you were supposed to be so smart."

3.) Sarcasm. Do something well, do a chore without being told, use good manners, and I'd hear words and phrases like "for a change," or "finally," or "will wonders never cease," along with negative predictions about how this isn't going to last. For that matter, I often heard those negative predictions before I even attempted it. "Oh, sure. You're going to do what? That'll be a sight to see."

I'm sure this is all connected to the sabotage when I did try to make changes for the better. I've had people fight me every step of the way when it came to quitting smoking and drinking, and now it continues with my attempts to lose weight. I'm told that this isn't unusual. People I know who have also struggled with these things have assured me that they too have people shoving whatever substance they're trying to kick right in their faces. Five minutes after the last time they asked, it's "Are you sure you don't want any? You don't have to be a fanatic, you know. A little bit won't hurt you. Come on, it's a special occasion. Live a little."

They seem determined to want us to fail. Why? Because if we recover, then we're not the low person on the totem pole anymore, and that upsets and threatens their position.
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Old 01-18-2019, 01:42 AM   #7
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Hi Arbie. Some people want to bring you down to their level of misery. I had someone like that in my life. When things were going well for me, she would bring up negative things that another family member did to me in the past, even though it was irrelevant at that point. I learned that it's best to not share any info with people like that--good or bad.
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Old 01-18-2019, 01:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by may24 View Post
That sounds like something my father would do... I don't know, I guess there are people who don't feel good about themselves or certain aspects of their lives, and they can not stand seeing other people succeed. I guess it's a way of projecting their negative feelings onto other people (?) like, they feel better about themselves by putting others down.
When I was a kid and my father had a rough day at work he would come home mock me until I got upset and cried... and then he would smile and laugh at me.
That is typical of pathological people. I've seen the grin before and know what you mean. I'm sorry for what you went through. I hope you are in a better situation now with supportive people in your life.
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Old 01-18-2019, 04:19 AM   #9
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People get used to how we act and how they treat us. when they are not nice people they belittle us with mean comments and sarcasm. When we heal, get better, find our voice and change-we change the dynamic between us and the jerks. And they often do not know how to act. So they double down on the nonsense that worked in the past, hoping to beat you down and break you. The best thing is to ignore them and not take the bait. I was told one time: "What other people think of me is none of my business". If something isnt true than getting upset by it makes it seem true and allowing these toxic people see that I am bothered is like giving them fuel for the fire.
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Old 01-18-2019, 04:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahsweets View Post
People get used to how we act and how they treat us. when they are not nice people they belittle us with mean comments and sarcasm. When we heal, get better, find our voice and change-we change the dynamic between us and the jerks. And they often do not know how to act. So they double down on the nonsense that worked in the past, hoping to beat you down and break you. The best thing is to ignore them and not take the bait. I was told one time: "What other people think of me is none of my business". If something isnt true than getting upset by it makes it seem true and allowing these toxic people see that I am bothered is like giving them fuel for the fire.
Well said, Sarah. What I noticed about the person who tried to bring me down is that she had absolutely no cause for doing so. It's not like we got into a huge argument or I did something horrible to her and she was trying to bring me down in a form of retaliation (not that that would be justifiable either). It doesn't make sense for someone to hate a person without a cause, but I guess that's why the term "pathological" is used to describe this kind of behavior.
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