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to not know if im oversensitive?

(34 Posts)
sbear22 Fri 23-Jan-15 10:59:45

I have always been told that I'm 'over sensitive'. If something has upset me, DM tends to laugh and say I need to toughen up and stop being so sensitive. I know I'm fairly emotional but don't know whether it's too much or I'm just normal.
For some background here, DM and DB made fun of me in a certain way for years and years (even when I moved out it didn't stop). Last year I realised how much the teasing upset me, and that it was not okay and I told them enough was enough. Of course I got laughed at and told to stop being over sensitive. In the heat of the moment I snapped back 'If you need to tell me I'm over sensitive, then you're being over offensive. Calling someone over sensitive is how bullies justify their behaviour to themselves.' This was met with silence and I just went home. Although I never got an apology this seemed to work and they haven't done it since.
Yesterday, DM made a comment about how much I was eating at my birthday meal. I am 22wks pregnant and I have always struggled with my weight, so having to gain weight is quite emotionally straining for me, although logically I know that I am supposed to gain weight with pregnancy. I just got up and went to the loo, and had myself a little cry. I did not tell her that she'd upset me, I knew it wasn't meant offensively, but I could not help but feel upset. I had no plans to tell her I was upset by the comment, I just needed to have my little cry and be done with it. She followed me to the loo, obviously having noticed that I was upset, and started shouting over the cubicle to stop being so ridiculous and over sensitive. I told her that shouting at me was not helping. She then kept saying to me all day 'are you in a mood with me' which was annoying. Now she's off with me and I think she's expecting me to apologise for getting upset.
I feel that if she'd followed me and just said 'Sorry spiderwoman I didn't mean to upset you' then it would have been ok, even if she'd not followed me and shouted at all this would have been fine. But she seems to think I'm in the wrong because I am too sensitive and get upset too easily.
AIBU to think I was not in the wrong? AIBU to think calling someone 'over sensitive' is justifying being 'over offensive'? Am I just over sensitive?

sbear22 Fri 23-Jan-15 11:06:22

spiderwoman = sbear22 oops smile

BeautyQueenFromMars Fri 23-Jan-15 11:10:45

People who don't like to admit they've been offensive tend to use the 'you're oversensitive' line, IME.

It's definitely not being oversensitive to get upset at comments about weight/food consumption, especially if you already have issues in those areas.

It's definitely not you, it's them.

YANBU flowers

RosyAuroch Fri 23-Jan-15 11:11:26

I don't think you're over sensitive.

Most pregnant women are acutely aware of things like weight gain and appearance.

There is also something in what you said about "being over offensive". Namely that you and your DM have different comfort levels. I don't think there is necessarily a definitive line which divides the "over-sensitive" from the "just sensitive enough" and another one that divides the "just sensitive enough" from the "boorish".

It's a fluid thing, and the sensible thing is for people to be aware of different people's comfort zones and not belittle them about where they are.

Some people are naturally more introverted, but there is nothing wrong or right about this, it's just how it is. If you are introverted, it can be helpful to understand what strengths this brings, and also to be aware of strategies that can be useful when around more outgoing/robust people.

By the way, "Quiet" by Susan Cain is a really good book on that subject.

WorraLiberty Fri 23-Jan-15 11:11:42

I think in this case you're absolutely right.

But I wouldn't say it's always the case that telling someone they're over sensitive is justifying being over offensive.

Some people are super over sensitive and it's very hard work, having to tread on egg shells around them, knowing that a simple throwaway remark can upset them...whereas most other people wouldn't bat an eyelid.

But that doesn't seem to be what's going on here, so you were right to speak up.

Discopanda Fri 23-Jan-15 11:12:41

People don't realise how much their words upset people. Your DM should really know better than to mention anything weight related if it upsets you, especially when you're pregnant.

Discopanda Fri 23-Jan-15 11:13:30

FWIW, when I was 8 weeks pregnant with my first and hadn't told my family, my mother's delightful brother asked me "Why have you got so fat?". I was a size 12 at the time.

LadyLuck10 Fri 23-Jan-15 11:16:05

In this instance I think yanbu because comments regarding food are rude. It's difficult to say whether you are truly an oversensitive person. I agree with worra as I do know someone who is like this and it's just hard work. Funny enough they find offense to a lot and end up being oversensitive.

AmantesSuntAmentes Fri 23-Jan-15 11:18:22

YANBU! If you find something upsetting, you find it upsetting, end of. Your feelings are valid!

Your DM may not have been being malicious but she was being insensitive and quite inconsiderate. Then making you feel worse to try to make herself feel better is all kinds of wrong.

Calling someone else 'over sensitive' is just a means of justifying poor, rude behaviour, I agree.

One of my DC is more sensitive than my other DC. On the rare occasions I have upset her, I apologise profusely! Because everyone is different. It's not wrong of her to be more sensitive, I never tell her she's more sensitive! Good parenting is all about treating my DC as individuals and respecting their individual characters, imo.

I'd hate to cause her unnecessary upset and so I'm being judgy about your DM doing it to you wink FWIW, she's the kindest, most considerate and selfless of my dc!

HolyTerror Fri 23-Jan-15 11:28:29

There's no hard and fast rule as to when being upset by something is justified and when not, but nothing in your OP suggests you are a fragile flower wilting and weeping because someone looked at you the wrong way, just someone dealing with the bodily changes of pregnancy and not wild about pointed remarks about over-eating on an occasion you were supposed to be enjoying himself.

I would sidestep the issue of 'over-sensitivity' and firmly but calmly say 'I don't appreciate that kind of remark. Please don't make it again.'

WorraLiberty Fri 23-Jan-15 11:29:32

Calling someone else 'over sensitive' is just a means of justifying poor, rude behaviour, I agree.

But it isn't always, is it?

Unless you're saying that over sensitive people don't exist?

TheCowThatLaughs Fri 23-Jan-15 11:35:25

You don't sound over sensitive, but maybe have been broken down by years of your family teasing you and being rude.
Also, even if someone is being over sensitive for some reason, it would be normal to be sorry that you'd upset them, not to follow them and start haranguing them. Your mum doesn't sound like she's very kind to you.

sbear22 Fri 23-Jan-15 11:36:40

I tried my level best to firmly tell her 'you can't say things like that to me'. she still thinks its my problem. this happened AFTER i'd explained how upset i'd been by comments made by people at work about weight gain (i did not tell my colleagues i was upset, i just moved on from it at the time). i explained to DM i was upset at these remarks although knew they weren't meant maliciously. and she still makes the same sort of remark.
i have no idea where to go from here. usually we're close and texting all the time but her texts were really blunt today and haven't spoken to her since. i have no idea whether to talk to her or not.
thanks for all your replies flowers good to know its not just me.

CleanLinesSharpEdges Fri 23-Jan-15 11:44:10

If you find yourself being upset by a number of people on a variety of subjects then chances are that you are over sensitive.

This doesn't sound the case here though, you've been ground down by years of teasing by two family members. Add in some pregnancy hormones and there you go. Your mum was out of order.

OliviaBenson Fri 23-Jan-15 11:44:31

You aren't being over sensitive IMO. My mum and sister do the same to me- I've had years of it and only after lots of counselling have I realised its them and not me.

My mum also played favourites with my sister as a girl- of course that was all in my head and me being jealous. It is easier to blame me than acknowledge that their own behaviour is wrong. The only thing I can recommend is to distance yourself from them, they'll never change. hmm

AmantesSuntAmentes Fri 23-Jan-15 11:45:18

Calling someone else 'over sensitive' is just a means of justifying poor, rude behaviour, I agree.

But it isn't always, is it?

Unless you're saying that over sensitive people don't exist?

No. I'm saying that everyone has the right to their own, personal boundaries regarding what they find acceptable and what they find upsetting. If I say something to one of my DC, which is bound to cause her upset, then I have been rude and thoughtless. I take responsibility for causing unnecessary upset, I don't blame her for how she feels, when I've (if inadvertantly) caused her to feel that way, iyswim?

Simile Fri 23-Jan-15 11:49:04

If a person was over-sensitive, and their mother makes a rude comment that made them upset, then surely the first thing a mother would do is apologise and that would be the end of it.

You took yourself away from the situation to deal with an upset that your mother created by being rude. Yet your mother then followed you, shouted more rude things at you, and is now annoyed at you for "being in a mood". She is invalidating your feelings. YANBU.

Also you were absolutely right to call them up on the teasing that has gone on for years. Good for you. It never ceases to amaze me that people who do the teasing think it's ok to make people feel like shit then invalidate their feelings by saying they are over-sensitive.

WorraLiberty Fri 23-Jan-15 11:49:27

Yes but what I'm saying is, what if it wasn't 'bound' to cause her upset?

What if it was just a normal remark that wouldn't upset anyone else, but she was just being over sensitive at the time?

Of course you'd feel awful that she got upset and you'd apologise, but it wouldn't mean that you had behaved poorly or rudely if you pointed out that she had been a bit over sensitive.

HolyTerror Fri 23-Jan-15 11:53:24

Who decides what counts as 'over sensitive', though? There isn't some kind of objective scale. Any thread on here that begins 'AIBU to be offended/upset about...' gets a huge range of responses, from 'yabu, toughen up, dopey' to 'Christ, YANBU, that's outrageous.'

I think the OP, given that these aren't isolated instances, and the remarks are made by immediate family, has a perfect right to say 'We're not discussing my sensitivity any more. I am simply saying I will no longer tolerate your sniping about x.' If it continues, reduce contact, so your DM or whoever gets the hint that her behaviour has consequences.

Simile Fri 23-Jan-15 11:53:43

No it's a shit thing to say to someone. If someone tells you they are hurt by your comment, listen, apologise and explain that you didn't intentionally mean to hurt them. You don't dismiss their feelings by telling them they are 'over-sensitive'.

neighbourhoodwitch Fri 23-Jan-15 11:54:21

They sound rude and I don't think you are being oversensitive.

Having said that, you may, like me, be a 'Highly Sensitive Person.' In her book of the same title, Elaine Aron estimates that 10% of the population are highly sensitive.

Nothing to do with your post particularly, but you may want to look at her brilliant book anyway:


CrapBag Fri 23-Jan-15 11:55:35

YANBU. I find when my family get together I am always the one who gets teased etc, especially by my dad and grandad then my nan will join in and say things she doesn't usually when we are on our own. DH seems to do it too. Basically they all have a personality transplant when in a family group and it fucks me off being the butt of their jokes. Some stirring/gentle teasing is normal but it often goes beyond that.

It was the same at school, kids knew they'd get a rise out of me so they would try and i would end up snapping. I am sensitive because I have low self esteem but I am NOT over sensitive, I can take a joke but it's when it carries on and on. People should never pick on you and I bet they wouldn't like it if it was done to them.

It's always the same type of people who claim others are oversensitive. Idiots who can dish it out but not take it.

AmantesSuntAmentes Fri 23-Jan-15 12:01:49

Of course you'd feel awful that she got upset and you'd apologise, but it wouldn't mean that you had behaved poorly or rudely if you pointed out that she had been a bit over sensitive.

To me, it would. I would consider that rude, poor behaviour, because it would be a surefire way to invalidate her feelings and cause further upset, by making her feel she was in the wrong for feeling as she feels (on top of already feeling hurt).

BauerTime Fri 23-Jan-15 12:06:11

The constant teasing is not on unless you are comfortable with that sort of 'banter' and give as good as you get. That is how it works in my family but some people often can't quite believe the things we say to each other.

However, the comment about eating is difficult to judge. If someone said to me when pregnant something about packing it away, eating for two etc I'd have agreed and not read anything more into it. BUT If they had said 'crikey you probably shouldn't eat that bun as your arse is getting massive' then I'd have clocked them one.

When I was pg my dad called me fatty once I had a bump. I'm definitely not fat and it never occurred to me that he was being mean, he was making a joke about my growing belly. But if I was upset he would have stopped and apologised if necessary.

I have a tendency to say things that, if I think about it afterwards, may have been taken in the wrong way but there is never any malice in them. Although if I knew someone was particularly sensitive I'd try to think before I spoke a bit more around them.

JohnCusacksWife Fri 23-Jan-15 12:08:03

One of my DDs is what I would call over sensitive. She gets very upset and defensive about anything she interprets as being the least bit critical of her. Personally, I think it's my role NOT to indulge this behaviour and try to teach her to toughen up a bit and not be so ready to take offense where non is intended. It'll be a hard old life for her if she doesn't.

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