Several times, especially in recent weeks, I have been put in an awkward, discomfiting position when out socially. One minute I will be feeling at ease among friends and then one person will start behaving badly – disparaging and insulting others, being antagonistic, even spiteful, and completely shattering my sense of calm.
This person absolutely refuses to accept that they might be in the wrong, instead reacting angrily to criticism and blaming anyone and everyone around them; the phrase “chip on the shoulder” comes readily to mind. I’m starting to wonder if there’s some psychological problem behind these personality traits – the Wikipedia entry for narcissistic personality disorder includes the following:
Narcissists have such an elevated sense of self-worth that they value themselves as inherently better than others. Yet, they have a fragile self-esteem and cannot handle criticism, and will often try to compensate for this inner fragility by belittling or disparaging others in an attempt to validate their own self-worth. It is this sadistic tendency that is characteristic of narcissism…
But this speculation does not address the issue at hand, namely that this person is causing an increasing amount of ill-feeling and upset. I know that I’m reaching the limit of my patience in dealing with this person’s demands and prima donna antics, and I’m far from the only one feeling this way.
I find that I am dealing with the stress caused by this person’s behavior by switching off from these interactions – I have become increasingly emotionally detached as a form of self-defense. While I still care, I am no longer willing to be subjected to this kind of bullying behavior.
7 thoughts on “Losing Patience”
Hi Ben, I have had similar experiences too. A couple of times I found out that the person was going through a really hard time and they were behaving badly because of it. But those two people who did that had pretty sudden personality changes. I've also known people who behave in a rather BPD way and I'm sure a couple of them were. I could not tolerate it and had to separate myself from them completely. I do not like watching someone hurt others and I don't like it when I'm being treated poorly by someone like that, either. I'm not really good at handling that kind of situation so I back away from it quickly. I hope that whatever is going on you'll find out and figure out what to do that is best for yourself. It's too bad that this person is giving you and your other friends a hard time. Take good care,Bird
It is my experience that people with a chip on their shoulder are usually small (in height) and their chip stems from that.
An uncannily perceptive comment…
Thank you Bird. One aspect of this that makes it particularly difficult is that I have known the person in question for some years and, although they have always been outspoken, there seems to have been a shift over recent months to downright rudeness and antagonism. Trouble is, as I wrote above, their unwillingness to accept that the problem even exists.
i have a family member that told me all my life "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" – but this same person only criticizes and ridicules everyone around them – many years ago i decided to either try to change the subject, interject positive comments or just get up and walk away – i even avoided family get-togethers for a number of years – apparently they only feel 'tall' when they beat someone down in order to stand on top of them – so sad…
Hi there.I have been reading your post for a few months since being diagnosed and really enjoy it. I've started blogging about being aspie, having hepatitis C, being a parent and an academic at http://aspiehepcat.wordpress.com/. If you want to have a read I hope you find it interesting/entertaining and sorry if this looks like spam. I do really enjoy your blog – I think you express a lot of the emotional aspects much better than I am able toall the bestaspiehepcat
I recommend reading Nonviolent Communications by Marshall Bloomberg. I will give you more tolls for dealing with challenging people.