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  1. #1
    Nips away your dignity Fluffywolf's Avatar
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    Default "You can't possibly understand what I'm going through" defensive mechanism.

    I hope you understand my question, here goes.

    I don't understand why people use this defensive mechanism when someone is inquiring about someone elses problem. But still so many people use this 'arguement' when they're trying to change the subject or don't with to talk about their problems.

    Why is it so hard to just say "I don't want to talk about it.". But so easy for people to say someone degrading and offensive as "You can't possibly understand what I'm going through". Indicating they do not have any faith in the other person's ability, and most likely only make them feel even worse about even inquiring in the first place.

    Why do people try to isolate and distantiate other people when they're coping with problems? What are they afraid off?

    You talk to them about it or you don't talk to them about it. Are they afraid they might receive help and solve their problems? Do people really enjoy feeding on their own problems so much?

    I have many questions regarding this issue. I wonder if anyone can point me somewhere or explain to me why people with issues often resort to these types of defensive stances. If they don't wish to hurt or involve other people. They can just say "I don't want to involve you, it's my problem, I'll deal with it. Don't bother.". But no, they agressively try to distantiate themselves. "You can't understand.", "You're only making it worse.", "You're not helping, I hate you.", etc.

    Where does that come from?
    ~Self-depricating Megalomaniacal Superwolf

  2. #2
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    Why do people try to isolate and distantiate other people when they're coping with problems? What are they afraid off?

    You talk to them about it or you don't talk to them about it. Are they afraid they might receive help and solve their problems? Do people really enjoy feeding on their own problems so much?
    In my personal experience: there are certain people I refuse to discuss my problems with because I need whoeverís listening to have a very specific brand of patience. For what itís worth- I donít see it as a shortcoming in the Ďcertain peopleí I refuse to talk to so much as I see it as a shortcoming in myself. When Iím upset, the worst thing someone can say to me is that Iím being too sensitive- because I usually already know Iím being too sensitive. It just exacerbates the problem and makes it even harder for me to calm down.

    And really, (as a side note that may or may not apply) as someone who is often on the other end of this, I can tell you this much: it frustrates the holy hell out of me when someone absolutely insists on being Ďthat personí I can talk to, and then he/she gets really impatient and starts throwing accusations about how Iím being Ďtoo sensitiveí. I donít have any problem with Ďsensitivityí being annoying to some people, quite often I can get annoyed with it in other people myself. But if you canít take the heat- donít insist on being in the kitchen.

    Why is it so hard to just say "I don't want to talk about it.". But so easy for people to say someone degrading and offensive as "You can't possibly understand what I'm going through". Indicating they do not have any faith in the other person's ability, and most likely only make them feel even worse about even inquiring in the first place.
    My advice: tell the person how that whole Ďyou canít possibly understandí bit makes you feel, why it offends you. This is the most important part to remember- DONíT do it in the heat of the argument. Do NOT say this while the person is still upset. Say it sometime when there is no conflict going on. It will take on a much more constructive tone, instead of sounding critical or accusatory, and the person will be far more open to listen.

    Also: if you want to be Ďthat personí he/she can talk to- itís really a much better idea to bring this up during a calm moment as well. Ask- calmly- what you could be doing differently that would make him/her feel better when he/she is upset.

    I hope this will be somewhat useful.
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

    5w4 sx/sp Johari / Nohari

  3. #3
    @.~*virinańČo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Kinda hard to make a blanket assess.

    Lots of potential reasons here. Maybe they're immature and distancing themselves, or they just don't want your involvement and can't just say that because it leaves them feeling bad/non-open.

    Or maybe they find your persistence annoying and not very sensitive at all in the past, so your insistence on helping comes across as hubris to them and leaves a bad taste in their mouths.

    Or maybe they've already been through it before with others and been snubbed/misunderstood enough in the past that they recognize the signs, they realize how arduous a task it is to explain their situation to someone, and they just don't want or can't make the investment, especially if odds of your being able to help are slim.

    (Not saying any of these are true, it's what I brainstorm as just random options as I sit here.)

    Kinda hard to tell here, and the reason(s) should drive the response.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    ‚ÄúPleasure to me is wonder‚ÄĒthe unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.‚ÄĚ ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  4. #4
    Nips away your dignity Fluffywolf's Avatar
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    I totally understand your point. But I wondered more about why people offensively tell others off, instead of telling them off without 'side effects'. I understand being frustrated about people insisting. But then it happens after telling them not to talk about it in a normal way.

    In my experience many people also use offensive opinions and remarks in order to distantiate themselves from a person right from the get go. And I just don't understand that behaviour. It makes me feel like they are threatened or afraid in ways I just don't comprehend. And their response is quite illogical to the point of borderline dumb.

    If someone tells me to back off in a normal way, I can totally respect that. If I have a clue of what is going on, I might throw in a one liner or two but after that I'd drop it. But I've also known people that radically sever ties with others that attempt to care or relate to them. And the reason they do that is just oblivious to me. If they just want to be alone, tey can just say so, no? Why use an offensive method to make people go away?

    That's the point I'm thinking about. Just the aspect of distantiating themselves without clear reason with methods that only cause more harm then good. Maybe it's just lack of common sense. The spur of the moment. Seemingly the easiest way out of a situation without thinking about the repurcussions. I never seem to have it myself though, so why do others? The more I think about this, the more I also end up on generalisations and misconceptions people may walk around with. Still, it's a 'harsh way out'.

    Why is it easy for me to tell people my thoughts in a normal way without resorting to being offensive, while it is hard for some people? And why is it easy for them to just be offensive, whilest that seems much tougher and harder for me to do?



    By the way, my aim is to try and understand, and possibly be more effective to reaching out to these types of people, the type that seem 'unreachable' because they simply don't allow someone to reach them and even go through great lengths avoiding it.


    edit: Jen, I'm rarely if ever persisting myself. Still, a "Don't bother, I can't be arsed with other people right now and don't feel like discussing it." would be a much better solution than getting furious and offensive. Which many people seem to do. If they say this and the person insists. Sure, get frustrated. Then they are just frustrated because the other person isn't respecting their wish. I can understand those reasons. I'm aiming at the people that are offensive right away. And I know quite a few of those. :P
    ~Self-depricating Megalomaniacal Superwolf

  5. #5
    Obsession. Lethe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffywolf View Post
    I hope you understand my question, here goes.
    Sure. The following replies reflect my personal views, and I speak for no one else but myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffywolf View Post
    Why is it so hard to just say "I don't want to talk about it.". But so easy for people to say someone degrading and offensive as "You can't possibly understand what I'm going through". Indicating they do not have any faith in the other person's ability, and most likely only make them feel even worse about even inquiring in the first place.
    I am feeling too vulnerable to allow another person to help me. I get the best ideas when I'm thinking on my own and having other opinions increases the existing clutter of my thoughts. At this point, I don't have the energy to concern myself with someone else's grievances. It's best I remain in isolation until I create a semi-solution.

    I will only say, "You can't possibly understand what I'm going through", if someone insists on helping me. By then I have already warned them that I do not currently appreciate any insights of theirs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffywolf View Post
    Why do people try to isolate and distantiate other people when they're coping with problems? What are they afraid off?
    In a state of vulnerability, I refuse to argue about perception, why I'm wrong and how I "should" handle things. I want things to go my way, period. Solitudes permits myself complete control over my life. Only I will understand what works or doesn't work for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffywolf View Post
    You talk to them about it or you don't talk to them about it. Are they afraid they might receive help and solve their problems? Do people really enjoy feeding on their own problems so much?
    Afraid? No. Frustrated? Yes. They are wasting my time. I can solve problems much faster alone. If I require additional input, like Z Buck McFate, I will be very clear about the specific brand of assistance I seek.

    ========================================

    Now I speak for the majority:

    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffywolf View Post
    I have many questions regarding this issue. I wonder if anyone can point me somewhere or explain to me why people with issues often resort to these types of defensive stances. If they don't wish to hurt or involve other people. They can just say "I don't want to involve you, it's my problem, I'll deal with it. Don't bother.". But no, they agressively try to distantiate themselves. "You can't understand.", "You're only making it worse.", "You're not helping, I hate you.", etc.

    Where does that come from?
    It comes from an instant defensive (survival) reaction to the situation. There are countless reasons as to why a person would resort to those verbal expressions. Understandably, these are difficult to hear and perhaps notifying the individual about them can help amend their choice of language in the future. Remember, they're feeling wounded and their mind is only focused on subduing the acute pain. Once the pain tranquilizes to a manageable level, they will be more open to your suggestions. Fixing subconscious knee-jerks takes more focus, discipline, self-awareness and introspection than what is available upon individual agitation. Emotional disruptions can easily cloud reasoning, if not handled properly.

    *Edit: Z Buck McFate's right on the mark again.
    "I cannot expect even my own art to provide all of the answers -- only to hope it keeps asking the right questions." -- Grace Hartigan

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    Quote Originally Posted by OneWithSoul View Post
    Looking into the eyes of a [Ni user] is like peeking through a portal into a parallel universe.

  6. #6
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    I wondered more about why people offensively tell others off, instead of telling them off without 'side effects'.

    Why is it easy for me to tell people my thoughts in a normal way without resorting to being offensive, while it is hard for some people? And why is it easy for them to just be offensive, whilest that seems much tougher and harder for me to do?
    When itís phrased like this, I can actually relate to your side of things more. I have very little patience for people senselessly lashing out. I can handle calmly listening to copious amounts of ďIím in painĒ- but Iíve got a short fuse with people who say things to cause pain whenever they are feeling it. I donít understand that either.

    I just know that whenever Iíve tried to uncover Ďbetter ways to deal with each otherí while thereís no argument going on, while Iím on good terms with someone- I find out a lot of helpful information/suggestions to use as soon as things turn ugly again.

    There are also just those people, though, who donít want to work on being more reasonable- even if the topic is approached on a perfectly calm, conflict-free day. If youíre trying to be a friend (or whatever) to someone like that then you have far more patience than I do.

    Hopefully someone who can relate to that will come along and have something more helpful to contribute here for you.
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

    5w4 sx/sp Johari / Nohari

  7. #7
    Obsession. Lethe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffywolf View Post
    Why is it easy for me to tell people my thoughts in a normal way without resorting to being offensive, while it is hard for some people? And why is it easy for them to just be offensive, whilest that seems much tougher and harder for me to do?
    Your instincts just happens to be more socially acceptable than theirs. Undoing your knee-jerks (by becoming offensive) is as equally difficult for them to undo their own (by becoming less offensive). Real change takes time and energy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffywolf View Post
    By the way, my aim is to try and understand, and possibly be more effective to reaching out to these types of people, the type that seem 'unreachable' because they simply don't allow someone to reach them and even go through great lengths avoiding it.
    Heh. For me, I'm a solo adventurer. Nevertheless, I can sense your disappointment and irritation, so best way to reach out is to simply be there when they need you most. They will respect and trust you for understanding. [If I dare tell anyone about my issues, it means I'm highly comfortable and trusting of their judgment. And I *know* they could handle my sensitive side with extreme care and precision. Trust is something a person must earn, it's not an entitlement.]

    When they ask you for your opinion, use that signal to your benefit.
    "I cannot expect even my own art to provide all of the answers -- only to hope it keeps asking the right questions." -- Grace Hartigan

    Enneagram: Tritype - 1w9, 5 (balanced wings), 2w3; Overall Variant: So/Sx
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneWithSoul View Post
    Looking into the eyes of a [Ni user] is like peeking through a portal into a parallel universe.

  8. #8
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    The world revolves around the ego. For some people, when something is troubling them, it feels that the specific problem is the only thing that is in their world and they are the only ones feeling like that. They can't detach themselves from that. It really feels like there is no-one else who can understand this.

    The defensive mechanism might actually be a cry for help in disguise. They want to solve their issues but they are afraid. As it was mentioned before, it's about being vulnerable. Some people see being vulnerable as a sign of weakness. And they try to be "tough", independent, capable of solving their own problems without asking for help when they indeed want help. It's frustrating to deal with and they mask it with being offensive about it and closing up.

  9. #9
    Habitual Fi LineStepper JocktheMotie's Avatar
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    Personally, the only time I've experienced this mechanism is when my personal thoughts, advice, or analysis clash with what the person already has in their mind. It becomes far easier to distance themselves from the truth [or lack thereof] in my statements if they tell themselves that I cannot possibly understand what they're going through, because if I did, I wouldn't have said such things or think the way that I do.

    It also gives the person who has this problem verification that their own analysis and position in regards to the situation is the best one, and yields the most insight into the problem. It allows for someone to keep the illusion of control and justification in further actions.

    Granted, the above situation is the only manner I have experienced it. Personally, I don't go to people with problems if I can't give them enough information for them to understand in the first place, so I don't ever find myself in the opposite position.



  10. #10
    Obsession. Lethe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sky is BLUE! View Post
    The world revolves around the ego. For some people, when something is troubling them, it feels that the specific problem is the only thing that is in their world and they are the only ones feeling like that. They can't detach themselves from that. It really feels like there is no-one else who can understand this.
    Then there's also a lacking desire to share their deepest feelings with others.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sky is BLUE! View Post
    The defensive mechanism might actually be a cry for help in disguise. They want to solve their issues but they are afraid. As it was mentioned before, it's about being vulnerable. Some people see being vulnerable as a sign of weakness. And they try to be "tough", independent, capable of solving their own problems without asking for help when they indeed want help. It's frustrating to deal with and they mask it with being offensive about it and closing up.
    Nearly forgot about the ones who say what they don't mean.

    If Fluffywolf is facing one of these people, then he could offer help by announcing that he's here to listen to them whenever they're ready. After a few more rounds of the same lines, the responsibility should now be in their court. It's not fair to expect other people to withstand someone's mind games. If they need help, they must make at least some effort on their part. Otherwise, Fluffy's permitting them to use him as a doormat for an ego-booster. He should decide ahead of time where his limits are, in addition to telling the said individual about them.
    "I cannot expect even my own art to provide all of the answers -- only to hope it keeps asking the right questions." -- Grace Hartigan

    Enneagram: Tritype - 1w9, 5 (balanced wings), 2w3; Overall Variant: So/Sx
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneWithSoul View Post
    Looking into the eyes of a [Ni user] is like peeking through a portal into a parallel universe.

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