General chatter - People that need to always disagree...




GlamourGirl827
11-01-2013, 10:10 PM
There's a family member in my life that seems to LIKE to argue, or at least likes to always play devil's advocate. I don't even think he knows he's doing it.

No matter what the topic, question or comment, he must point out the opposite idea, he always conveniently has an disagreeing opinion...he cannot just agree and support someone.

Even in situations that aren't opinions, per say, he creates unhappy feelings. Go to him about a problem with a friend, and he's pointing out that you are at fault. But the real kicker is, flip the story around and he picks a NEW opinion, that again, puts you at fault. He will change his ideas, opinions, thoughts on something to take the side that leaves you feeling most challenged and unsupported.

Venting about a rough day at work? He will point out that you are lucky to have a job.
Saying the neighbor girl is wearing a nice shirt, he'll disagree. You say the shirt is ugly, he points out you are judgemental.
There's no winning.

Tell him you are mad at a friend, and you are being petty. Ask for support and all you get is your behavoir picked apart and insulted, like a holier than thou attitude. Ask for basic advice (should I pick a red or balck sports car) and he say yellow...OR that sports cars are a usless status symbol, and a waste of money....Tell him A he says Z...

He's not the only person I've dealt with like this. Some people seem to naturally want to cause inflamation in a conversation rather that harmony. Only they *think* they are sharing their honest opinion...but after a while a pattern shows, that their opinion is driven by disagreeing...

I'm not the only one that notices this. Its very off putting.

Like I said, I think this person truly thinks they are sharing their honest opinion, but why is their opinion always so unsupportive and disagreeable?

Does anyone know anyone like this? Its to the point that those of us in this person's life can predict what he will say in various discussions!

Why do people do this? What is their motivation, to want to fight, or at least rain on other people's day? Why is it so hard for them to just say "A red sports car would be nice" or "Sucks your friend is mad at you"...And the worst part is he thinks he's giving his opinion...so why is his opinion always such a downer!!

Disagreement happens, but there comes a point when its obvious that the opinion giver thrives on disagreeing with the speeker...its really causes problems. It makes it hard for me (and others) to talk to this person, and they are family that we don't want to avoid. :(


TheSecondHalf
11-01-2013, 10:19 PM
Some people are just contrary. I think it's driven by a need to feel smarter than everyone else. If the majority thinks X, I must distinguish myself by saying that Y is true. I know a few of these in real life and there are a handful on every forum. When a topic comes up, I can usually tell in advance which posters are going to disagree and it just smacks of being difficult and obnoxious.

LovesToTravel
11-01-2013, 11:23 PM
Yeah, I've got a couple of people like this in my family. My husband and I tend to tactfully refer to folks like this as having a "strong personality." It's sort of a code phrase for "lovely person, but they can be a real pain in the you-know-what so don't take them too seriously" ;)

I have a hard time explaining how I handle it, I guess because I have to switch things up so much to keep up with them and all of their opinions about anything and everything. It's a combination of avoiding topics of conversation that I know will get me all prickly, changing the subject, holding my ground when I feel that it matters, calling them out when they're being especially obnoxious, ignoring certain comments, and extracting myself when I'm just done. I think the biggest help is reminding myself that they are good people that have qualities I like and keeping a sense of humor; there is a certain ridiculousness to it when they keep it up for a while and I start to feel like I'm in a sitcom. :dizzy:

And, y'know, taking them in small doses. It can get exhausting after a while to talk with someone who enjoys turning everything into a debate. (At least I think so!)


PatLib
11-02-2013, 10:40 AM
Best way (for me at least, LovesToTravel handles the situation more like my sisters do but they aren't around as much as I am) to deal with this people is strangely is to simply to agree with them and remain quiet. I know that is totally unfair but people who behave this way really are doing it to get your attention and engage. It's not really about being right so much as the are narcissistic personalities.

When you agree they can no longer control the conversation because you essentially ended the conversation. And you don't necessarily have to agree agree, you can say things like "you have a point" or "I never thought about that way." But ending the conversation like that is actually more upsetting to them than to fight or insult them but they can't actually continue the conversation because then they look crazy.

However, do not blatantly ignore them, they will start conversations on topics that genuinely upset you. Be friendly and nice but don't ask for advice. They will see something is off and but just say everything is fine if asked. Lying sucks but narcissists will simply tell you that you are overly sensitive and emotional and that you are the problem and you really can't have honest conversations with people who don't validate your feelings.

I have several relatives like this and it has taken the entire 30 years of my life and this the best way I have figured out. I should point out that this person does care about you but some personality issues like this make it hard to show it in a positive way. To have a healthy relationship with them unfortunately sometimes you do have to hold some of yourself back.

I hope some of this helps and sorry you have to deal with this!

TheSecondHalf
11-02-2013, 12:27 PM
I find things like "I understand that you are trying to be difficult" and "I realize this is how you bolster your fragile ego" do not help the situation, but if you can smile through the melt down that follows, it can be kind of satisfying.

GlamourGirl827
11-02-2013, 09:22 PM
Some people are just contrary. I think it's driven by a need to feel smarter than everyone else. If the majority thinks X, I must distinguish myself by saying that Y is true. I know a few of these in real life and there are a handful on every forum. When a topic comes up, I can usually tell in advance which posters are going to disagree and it just smacks of being difficult and obnoxious.

I think you hit the nail on the head. The family member I"m taking about, as I've gotten older, I can see they have a chip on their shoulder about people thinking they are stupid. I don't know why because they are absolutely not stupid, but I guess they are insecure about it for their own reasons.

And yes, I have noticed a particular poster here nearly always posts something like that. Its gotten to the point that on certain topics I expect them to chime in with their "opinion" which is rarely supportive and usually a bit inflamatory.

At least with the internet, we can easily walk away. Real life, not so much!

GlamourGirl827
11-02-2013, 09:24 PM
Yeah, I've got a couple of people like this in my family. My husband and I tend to tactfully refer to folks like this as having a "strong personality." It's sort of a code phrase for "lovely person, but they can be a real pain in the you-know-what so don't take them too seriously" ;)

I have a hard time explaining how I handle it, I guess because I have to switch things up so much to keep up with them and all of their opinions about anything and everything. It's a combination of avoiding topics of conversation that I know will get me all prickly, changing the subject, holding my ground when I feel that it matters, calling them out when they're being especially obnoxious, ignoring certain comments, and extracting myself when I'm just done. I think the biggest help is reminding myself that they are good people that have qualities I like and keeping a sense of humor; there is a certain ridiculousness to it when they keep it up for a while and I start to feel like I'm in a sitcom. :dizzy:

And, y'know, taking them in small doses. It can get exhausting after a while to talk with someone who enjoys turning everything into a debate. (At least I think so!)

This is what I have been doing. I don't bring up things that really mean something to me. I keep conversations light. I won't vent to them or discuss deeper issues at the risk that they will find some way to further irritate the situation. Its just not worth it.

GlamourGirl827
11-02-2013, 09:32 PM
Best way (for me at least, LovesToTravel handles the situation more like my sisters do but they aren't around as much as I am) to deal with this people is strangely is to simply to agree with them and remain quiet. I know that is totally unfair but people who behave this way really are doing it to get your attention and engage. It's not really about being right so much as the are narcissistic personalities.

When you agree they can no longer control the conversation because you essentially ended the conversation. And you don't necessarily have to agree agree, you can say things like "you have a point" or "I never thought about that way." But ending the conversation like that is actually more upsetting to them than to fight or insult them but they can't actually continue the conversation because then they look crazy.

However, do not blatantly ignore them, they will start conversations on topics that genuinely upset you. Be friendly and nice but don't ask for advice. They will see something is off and but just say everything is fine if asked. Lying sucks but narcissists will simply tell you that you are overly sensitive and emotional and that you are the problem and you really can't have honest conversations with people who don't validate your feelings.

I have several relatives like this and it has taken the entire 30 years of my life and this the best way I have figured out. I should point out that this person does care about you but some personality issues like this make it hard to show it in a positive way. To have a healthy relationship with them unfortunately sometimes you do have to hold some of yourself back.

I hope some of this helps and sorry you have to deal with this!

THIS! I've had this with my family member and the poster on this forum will say this too, that its the other party being sensitive and that the other party cannot have honest conversations without having their feelings validated!

While I don't know the poster I'm referring to well, I do know my family member and I have long suspected some type of narcissistic issue at play, but I'm not sure...Its hard to say, but I do see these unhealthy social communication patterns. The person is someone very close to me that I've been around my whole life. For many years I could not see that their communication was the problem, I thought I was me, always messing up, always being the schlep...As I've gotten older I realized that my unpleasant reaction to their way of engaging was a normal reaction, DESPITE how they turn it around and make it sound like it was me that was the problem. They make it sound like they are sending a perfectly fine message and I am at fault for recieving it and being unhappy about it!

I've noticed over the years that trying to give people that communicate like this some insight is very difficult thouhg, nearly impossible. They truly believe they are just expressing their opinions, and dont see why their way of doing so is so toxic..

Wannabeskinny
11-03-2013, 09:23 AM
Sometimes people have a hard time being empathetic because it makes one vulnerable. I don't know your family member but by how you describe him it maybe that he's scared of getting close to anyone. Empathizing with people brings you closer to them but by criticizing you're keeping an arms length, does that make sense? Not sure if I'm expressing it right. Without knowing this person it's hard to know how to deal with him but my motto is always be direct and say "do you realize that you disagree with everything anyone ever says? It's a little annoying." Or maybe that will make him say that you're too sensitive in which case I'd say "I'd rather not speak to someone who is constantly trying to 'get my goat'." And from then on I'd probably use sarcasm and realy "you're probably right, as always" or "you disagree? that's shocking" or "wow, thanks for your super insightful insight" or "let me guess, you disagree?" or "don't you ever get tired of being sour?" or "don't you ever get tired of being disliked?" or "do you need a hug?" oh gosh it's so much fun to think up of sarcasms I don't want to stop. But seriously though, even sarcasm won't work to stop him, it will just amuse him but it may alleviate some of the hurt of his blows. I think the only way to really stop a person like that is to be truly vulnerable and say to them in private "you hurt my feelings so much, I'm scared of being around you because you always make me feel really bad and really stupid." This is the total opposite of what he'd expect, he is after all trying to cocoon himself from vulnerability and saying something like this is so in his face, he's expecting anger and yelling and friction, not sadness.

As to the poster you're passively aggressively referring to, you either have to let it go or reach out to him/her in a PM and tell 'em how you feel. It's not appropriate to call someone out like that, I'm sure lots of people are reading it and saying "is she talking about me??" and that's not fair to everyone. It's like junior high school girls whispering about the fat girl in the locker room. What purpose does this serve other than to alienate? And remember that this is a forum, there are may personalities. Just because you don't like how someone responds does not mean they are not valid. And if someone makes you feel bad you either have to ignore them or tell them how you feel, don't go around talking about them and antagonizing them like this.

Jacqui_D
11-03-2013, 10:40 AM
Although not anywhere close to the extreme you describe with your family member, my hubby will often play the devil's advocate. It bugs me when I just want support and instead get the opposite point-of-view. I'm used to it now but sometimes I think it's inappropriate and feels like he's blaming me for feeling the way I do. I know it's just his way of attempting to help me, to "fix" things by trying to get me to see the other side so that I won't be so bothered by it. But I'm an intelligent person. I do consider the other side. Relationships are like playing a game of chess. You have to consider the other side to understand where they're going. Sometimes, though, I just want to have my opinions and feelings supported, period. My DH is trying to help though. Your family member, on the other hand, just sounds contrary and I do think it's an attempt of his to appear superior. That's indicative of a low self-esteem in my opinion.

PatLib
11-03-2013, 11:23 AM
As to the poster you're passively aggressively referring to, you either have to let it go or reach out to him/her in a PM and tell 'em how you feel. It's not appropriate to call someone out like that, I'm sure lots of people are reading it and saying "is she talking about me??" and that's not fair to everyone. It's like junior high school girls whispering about the fat girl in the locker room. What purpose does this serve other than to alienate? And remember that this is a forum, there are may personalities. Just because you don't like how someone responds does not mean they are not valid. And if someone makes you feel bad you either have to ignore them or tell them how you feel, don't go around talking about them and antagonizing them like this.

I agree, weight loss is a sensitive issue and I think on this forum we tend to be a little more aggressive with our opinions especially since we hidden behind a computer screen.

I know for a fact I have rub people the wrong way on the topic of diet pills because I just think they are worst things in the world. I am pretty sure I have been on a couple of people's ignore lists. It's better to do that just so that you don't create animosity with someone you don't even have a problem with! :hug:

happynottsgirl
11-03-2013, 11:50 AM
I understand what you mean and had the same problem with a relative of mine.

My solution was to stop confiding anything in him, since it would always bring negative reactions with him alleging me to be party at fault. Stopping my conversations with him created distance. I had to first realize that I deserved nothing less than respect from him in the same manner that I respected him. I thought about the situation and concluded that I would never behave towards him the way he had behaving towards me. The distancing has worked, and whenever I see that he is trying to go back to disrespecting behavior I do not react, since I owe him no explanations whatsoever.

And the following is what I concluded to be at the root of his behavior:

He has been married for several years now with children. And comes from a culture where the mother-whor* complex is prevalent. I concluded there must have been tension in his marriage, but as his wife is 'sacred' as the mother of his children he would be highly disinclined to express anger towards her if there are issues. So he was using me to take out his repressed anger.

GlamourGirl827
11-03-2013, 11:58 AM
Sometimes people have a hard time being empathetic because it makes one vulnerable. I don't know your family member but by how you describe him it maybe that he's scared of getting close to anyone. Empathizing with people brings you closer to them but by criticizing you're keeping an arms length, does that make sense? Not sure if I'm expressing it right. Without knowing this person it's hard to know how to deal with him but my motto is always be direct and say "do you realize that you disagree with everything anyone ever says? It's a little annoying." Or maybe that will make him say that you're too sensitive in which case I'd say "I'd rather not speak to someone who is constantly trying to 'get my goat'." And from then on I'd probably use sarcasm and realy "you're probably right, as always" or "you disagree? that's shocking" or "wow, thanks for your super insightful insight" or "let me guess, you disagree?" or "don't you ever get tired of being sour?" or "don't you ever get tired of being disliked?" or "do you need a hug?" oh gosh it's so much fun to think up of sarcasms I don't want to stop. But seriously though, even sarcasm won't work to stop him, it will just amuse him but it may alleviate some of the hurt of his blows. I think the only way to really stop a person like that is to be truly vulnerable and say to them in private "you hurt my feelings so much, I'm scared of being around you because you always make me feel really bad and really stupid." This is the total opposite of what he'd expect, he is after all trying to cocoon himself from vulnerability and saying something like this is so in his face, he's expecting anger and yelling and friction, not sadness.

As to the poster you're passively aggressively referring to, you either have to let it go or reach out to him/her in a PM and tell 'em how you feel. It's not appropriate to call someone out like that, I'm sure lots of people are reading it and saying "is she talking about me??" and that's not fair to everyone. It's like junior high school girls whispering about the fat girl in the locker room. What purpose does this serve other than to alienate? And remember that this is a forum, there are may personalities. Just because you don't like how someone responds does not mean they are not valid. And if someone makes you feel bad you either have to ignore them or tell them how you feel, don't go around talking about them and antagonizing them like this.

I agree w/ calling someone out on their behavoir in real life. It doesn't always work, but I have found it to be the most likely action to work. Its does seem that people with this tendency dont handle critisism well though, and calling them out on their behavoir can backfire because they are unable to face any of their shortcomings. I don't know the psychology behind it but it does seem to tie in with a low self esteem in my experiene.

I disagree that anyone on this forum would think it was them unless they have a guilty conscience and know they more often than not disagree or fail to offer support in exchange for giving thier (inflammatory) opinion. I think we all disagree at times, and we might offer a disagreement that particularly upsets an OP, but there is one poster that I've seen change their opinion just to play devil's advocate, which is the same thing that my family member does. If you think that's passive aggressive, then fine. I've expressed to this poster before that they do this and I see they have no intention of changing this type of ( what I see as toxic) behavoir. A PM from me will only result in them denying and fighting about it. And I really have no interest in that. .. Honestly, they probably don't even know its them I'm talking about because if they realized the behavoir, wouldn't they take steps to stop?

Also, on the topic of passive aggressive, wouldn't comparing what I said to junoir high, be passive aggressively calling me immature? That question is not rhetorical, I'm curious if that would be considered passive aggressive.

I can tell you, when you prase something that way, it does not draw the reader (myself) in to understand or consider your point of view, it pushes them further away because it is kind of insulting, though not directly calling a name.
On the topic of being honest, I think you have good advice that gets lost because you deliver it with these very small digs. I dont think you intend to do that, but I've seen people on here react poorly to your responses because of this. When they call you out on it, you often blame that they dont like to be disagreed with, and that you have the right to your opinion,rather than realize that you contributed to the issue by not communicating it considerately. I have spent many years learning how to properly express my opinions without offened people. I actually just posted about this recently, because I still have work to do! But I have found that I can express the same opinions most of the time, with very different results simplely by changing the words I use. :) But like I said, I'm still working on it!

Patlib There is a difference between disagreeing at times, and making it such a habit that you offer different opinions or advice on the same issues just to stay in the role of the opposer, or to give a unsupportive reply.

GlamourGirl827
11-03-2013, 12:48 PM
I do want to say my intent was not to alienate anyone or even originally to bring up any poster. It was to vent somewhere about my family. Thr family member I refer to is my dad, and its very upsettintg that he is like this. My mother is not present so he is my only parent figure. Aside from ,me having to unlearn some uneffective communication (especially during arguing) I want him to be someone I can go to to feel validated and heard, which I don't.

This is just something I want to vent about now and again. I didnt come here to post about anyone on the forum. I just read the reply about people being like that online too and ran with it.

Ruthxxx
11-03-2013, 12:51 PM
Time to close this thread then.