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How do you deal with people like this? Or stop being their target?

(97 Posts)
OnceThereWasThisGirlWho Tue 20-Sep-16 23:52:52

Firstly, the karma thread got me thinking. Especially the posters saying horrible people often seem to get away with it. IME this is true - and it's true because nasty people pick their victims carefully and others think they are wonderful. As if it's all a game, where those they deem "low status" are written off whilst perceived "high status" individuals are brought onside (yes I know I sound like a psychologist!). I mean, I suppose that is human behaviour sadly, but it seems to an extreme degree (?). In the same way with groups, some people get away with poor behaviour because they are "popular" (why the hell are they popular?!) whilst others will be vilified for much less. And then of course these people also get to define the collective "reality" because they will be believed over the "low status" people.

I suppose my first question is, are most people like this? Can I meet nice people who actually form friendships with individuals without all the weird power games?

I've also recently been having distressing memories about an incident almost a decade ago. This incident illustrates something perfectly that I struggle with, and links in to the above. What happened was, I'd moved into a new shared house - one guy rented the place and let out the other two rooms. (Other occupied by bloke never there as always at partner's house). We seemed to get on well, and after a few days ended up sat up late one night chatting about all sorts. He told me about this woman he'd met that apparently his friends were warning him to stay away from because she was a single mother and a bit older than him (hmm). I said don't be ridiculous, sounds fab, blah blah. Within a week they were not only together but inseparable, and he was helping with her mum's shopping and things. The second week, I met her, after a night out - they had also been out and got in before me and we merrily finished off a bottle of wine and seemed to "bond" or whatever. All good.

Following week for no apparent reason I was asked to move out (meanwhile I never saw him as he always stayed at hers). I was shock and asked why, and told it was because of all the late night wild parties I'd been having. Blatent lie - there was nothing that could remotely be construed as a late wild party! Or even any part of that description. It was completely bonkers. He claimed the neighbours had complained. I had no idea how to handle it - he was lying to me, and he knew I knew he was lying. (I checked with the pleasant and friendly neighbours about parties in case someone in the vicinity had been doing that and it was mistakenly attributed to me. They'd heard nothing and were as baffled as me).

But of course, I had to go. He had all the power. Had about 10 days notice (until end of month) The day I left was horrific and the police got involved (in hindsight I was assaulted, by both he and his new partner, but I didn't frame it as such so didn't tell the police). I'm guessing that this guy's new partner was the reason I got kicked out.

The thing is, this is such a bonkers thing to happen that it sounds like I'm making it up. I suppose most people would think that I must be denying having parties, or lying about some other aspect/covering something up. It's frightening, it makes me feel so vulnerable, because I know people can be dicks to me and get away with it. Luckily in this incident my friends believed me because this guy was the "unknown" person, and two of them had called for me the night before I left and he was unpleasant to them.

But this sort of thing seems to happen to me. People are unpredictably really vile, and if it's by someone in the group/known to the group, as the (relative) newbie, I'm the one who gets disbelieved and/or cut out. If it's not by someone known to the group, there's still the issue of appearing to be making stuff up/being a "drama queen" because, to put it bluntly, this amount of bizarre crap should not happen to one person. There's so much I wish I could tell someone but I just can't.

People seem willing to believe horrible lies about me, and I always seem to be the target for controlling bullying types. I was "wendied" and cut off from someone I'd thought was a good friend (male) when they got a girlfriend. (She was verbally and physically agressive to him and controls who he sees). Another friend who was also pushed out a bit (we discussed it), moved away. She recently visitied and suddenly is all pally with this awful woman - to the point of believing lies about me. I just do not understand this, and it is deeply upsetting.

So my second question is, how do I stop people like her targetting me?

Finally, there's other stuff. I have mental health issues - started off as being quite messed up from problems at home and as I got into abusive relationships and had some awful expereinces I seemed to aquire a load of trauma that unleashed itself in my mid 20s even as everything else was finally going well. This didn't exactly help me making friends in the new area I'd moved to. A problem I find is that people write me off, but being friends with the oddballs who accept me either seems to mean dealing with severely dysfunctional people, people I don't actually feel I have much in common with, or those who do become friends and get it together and stop being oddballs who then cut me out because I don't belong in their fab new life (despite encouraging them before!)

I'm in my early 30s now and want to give up tbh. Im so sorry this post is so long, I keep crying. Just finally - I know someone will mention it - I'm waiting for an ASD assessment, however I can read nonverbal cues quite well (apparently - obvs I wouldn't know!).

Secondly, I saw a therapist for about 18 months. It really helped with self confidence and boundaries, but the world the therapist lives in seems to be different from mine. Hence me being sure there's something I'm doing that makes me a target. Also, having boundaries and self worth means I draw the line sooner with people and stand up for myself more, which obviosuly doesn't go down well. I feel so stuck, if I'm nice to people they walk all over me, if I calmly put down boundaries or stand up for myself they go bonkers as if trying to force my hand, or simply cut me off.

Any advice welcome, thank you.

springydaffs Wed 21-Sep-16 01:22:09

This is precisely the stuff to work on with a therapist over a long period of time. You say you have experienced a lot of trauma bcs of historic/childhood abuse and ime that stuff takes quite a bit of work to put it to bed.

As for the landlord, he was just a dick. Practically everyone on this board will have had experience of a monumental dick at some point in their lives.

From what you've said, you seem to take these weirdos personally as though you are somehow inviting it. Or to put it plainly, that there is something wrong with you. I can't agree. There are dicks on every corner. True, some people get more than their fair share of dicks and dickish behaviour but it's more often than not the luck of the draw.

I have had a similar history to yours and I can relate to what you report happens to you. The difference is I no longer take it personally. I have had so many outlandish things happen to me but I just let these incidents flow on by: someone being a dick.

Obvs there is a correlation between a troubled past and a troubled present but perhaps it's that we have a heightened awareness bcs of what we've suffered. I know that when dicks start getting to me it's a sign I need to do some work on myself bcs I'm getting threadbare.

Fyi I had years of therapy and my mh is something I keep a close eye on - I have a healthy respect for it and will guard it. Interesting that you suspect you may be ASD bcs the effects of trauma can look uncannily like something on the spectrum. Or a personality disorder. Or this or that. But probably the effects of trauma.

So don't take dicks or dickish behaviour personally. They are ten a penny. Keep working on yourself, you have a lot to give xx

minatiae Wed 21-Sep-16 01:30:11

I am somewhat similar.

I am attracted (not in a romantic way, but as in a sort of these-are-the-people-I-seem-to-get-on-with way) to narcissists and narcissists like me a lot because they see the weakness in me that they can exploit. Normal people also tend to dismiss me as weird. I have been lucky enough to find some who don't though and those weee friendships that I let build up over a long time.

OnceThereWasThisGirlWho Wed 21-Sep-16 01:49:13

I am kind of hoping they say it's "just" trauma not ASD. Because then I might be able to fix it. The thought of going through life this lonely is horrific, I can't do it. I don't know how to meet normal nice people.
I feel like it must be me because I did try to hard to please before and was kind to people and understanding to the point of being walked all over. If I stand firm people just slag me off more though. It's not just them, it's all the other who just go along with them for a quiet life.
Someone stopped speaking to me recently because they couldn't seem to understand that if someone pays you to do something you should do it, or at least let them know you can't. Especially when they offered you first because they knew you needed the money! <rant over>
I just feel like I'm always having to analyse and second guess myself in case I'm accidentally putting mself in the wrong.
Sadly I can't afford therapy atm.

Broken1Girl Wed 21-Sep-16 01:52:07

I had the same reaction to the karma thread, the people who screwed me over got away with it, that I attract these dicks/ allow myself to be treated like crap.
Helpful post springy, maybe most people just don't let it get to them.

OnceThereWasThisGirlWho Wed 21-Sep-16 01:52:50

Sorry, I mean with the situation I alluded to, because I wouldn't back down and apologise for being pissed off about it, she stopped speaking to me.

I just feel frightened and wary of everyone now. How many years do you have to know someone to trust them?

OnceThereWasThisGirlWho Wed 21-Sep-16 01:54:20

The karma thread did make me try to find the guy on facebook actually. grin
I couldn't remember his surname though, dammit!

OnceThereWasThisGirlWho Wed 21-Sep-16 02:08:31

springy The difference is I no longer take it personally. I have had so many outlandish things happen to me but I just let these incidents flow on by: someone being a dick.

When you are lonely and see almost no-one day to day (yes I've joined an evening class) then it's not just about letting it go - it's a horrible oppressive reality you're constantly trying to block out. I was scraping by; I had people I had fun with, but I was blocked out. I don't belong anywhere.

Broken1Girl Wed 21-Sep-16 02:24:45

I was tempted to look up a few twats on Fb after that thread, and hoping they'd be single and working as toilet cleaners grin

thehugemanatee Wed 21-Sep-16 02:27:55

I would suggest that you try not to feel oppressed by loneliness. You're not alone in being lonely, loads and loads of people don't have friends or family. It doesn't mean that there's anything wrong, it's not a personal failing! It's hard to make friends as we get older. A lot of people have long standing friends and family around and are happy enough with what they've got that they don't have the time or inclination for new people in their lives. It's not because you're not a nice person or that they think you wouldn't be a good friend, they're just not particularly looking for new relationships. Think about it that way and it's easier to not take it so personally because unless you're a giant jerk -/ which I'm sure that you are not since jerks don't think like you are thinking now -- it's not personal at all.

All sucks for us lonely lot. But embracing it is healthier than resenting it. Get out and do more, whether it's classes like you've mentioned or just going for walks, to restaurants, museums, anything you enjoy. I like my own company much more when I do things I like instead of not doing anything because I'm too busy focusing on not having anyone to do things with (which I've wasted a lot of time doing). As I get older I realize more and more that I can fill my time with things I enjoy and that I don't need to have another person around enjoy them.

Basically I'd work on learning to like your own company. If it bothers you that you don't have someone to tell when you've had a good day or a bad day etc, you could journal or blog or post on here to feel some kind of sharing. I journal and blog. It's more helpful than it sounds like it would be.

Hang in there!

Charlesroi Wed 21-Sep-16 03:04:29

Broken1Girl I doubt they'd be toilet cleaners - that's an honest days work. Letting agents? grin

Good luck with the classes OP, you'll find your circle.

springydaffs Wed 21-Sep-16 09:44:19

What you have to remember is the majority have no interest in being honest with themselves. So when you step up with some honesty you're out.

RavenclawRemedials Wed 21-Sep-16 09:52:24

I think there can be 'red flags' in developing friendships as well as relationships, which you just learn to accept as part of the process in the early stages if you're not clued up. IME one of these can be full-on long chats and intimate disclosures on your first meeting. I read something interesting recently which suggested that most bullies 'groom' their victims with love-bombing first. Also, your efforts to be nice and kind may be backfiring on you by making you look like a pushover. It's always wise to spend some time observing people and how they behave before getting emotionally or socially involved.

I have noticed that if I really like people at the start they tend to disappoint me and go flaky and unreliable further down the line because I do too much of the running without realising it. Are you allowing people to overstep your boundaries because you desperately want to be their friend? Personally I wouldn't have touched that rental situation with a 50 foot barge pole no matter how friendly I was with the landlord. Maybe personal boundaries and spotting decent people are what you need to work on.

Albadross Wed 21-Sep-16 10:02:11

I have borderline personality disorder and your story sounds very similar to mine. Over the years I've been cut out of people's lives for the most ridiculous reasons and I'm also having a bit of a resurgence of those memories too. I don't know what the answer is - my therapist says that people pick up on vulnerabilities and that because I'm pretty insightful I often pick up on theirs, which not everyone is happy about.

Albadross Wed 21-Sep-16 10:04:52

Sorry should've also said as has been mentioned - BPD shares a lot of similarities with ASD

Albadross Wed 21-Sep-16 10:14:59

Oh and I second enjoying your own company, only recently I've started to crave time alone because I just want to decompress from all of it.

My ex-psychiatrist, who ironically enough himself did a similar thing to me, said as soon as I'd given him the history he knew straight away it was BPD - trauma building on trauma. So much that you do tend to over share when someone comes along that seems engaged and that begins the familiar cycle again.

Navigating relationships is incredibly difficult for me too and some of the stories people have told about me... Well, yes they just sound completely made up frankly but everyone lapped them up.

I do have a few friends I've had for most of my life and they reassure me that it's not me. They're actually normal too!

OnceThereWasThisGirlWho Wed 21-Sep-16 14:52:41

thehugemanatee Basically I'd work on learning to like your own company.

I'm actually fine with my own company. When I had an active social life I actually had to factor in time to just be alone and do nothing (another reason I suspect ASD). I'm a part time student with the Open University too. I have pets, I garden, I do creative stuff. But I do miss people still - mainly laughing over silly things. I get my fix of serious discussion on the feminist board here grin (oh, and that is lovely, to discuss feminism without men stepping in to mansplain!) Actually not having to please others is a nice side-effect of being alone - I worry that it just means I'm an intolerant bitch though! But it also feels a bit like a clean break, and new people will meet me as I am now, rather than people I origninally meet a few years ago who got used to me being less assertive.

springy What you have to remember is the majority have no interest in being honest with themselves.

I'm not sure what to think of this because of who said it, but someone told me once that you can tell when you meet me that I don't play power games and am honest, which freaks a lot of people out.
And a few people over the years have told me I have an air of innocence or naivety about me - they say this once they've got to know me and know it's not true! halo Also now I think of it, it's not happened for a while. Hopefully my vibes woo are changing.

Ravenclaw IME one of these can be full-on long chats and intimate disclosures on your first meeting.

Interesting. I went backpacking several times during my 20s, for up to six months. (Still am the type to only go abroad less often but for longer/on the cheap!) As a solo backpacker, you spend time with so many people from all over the world. But you know people for a few days/a couple of weeks, and those who are also longterm tourists tend to be in a very thoughtful phase due to being away from their normal life for so long, and experiencing different cultures. Conversations can therefore be very serious. You may also do very bonding type activities like climbing mountains together. So it's the friendship equivalent of a really full on one-night stand! I thrive in this environment (backpacking in general). Although I do miss having people who know me and wish I could have the same communal atmosphere permanently in England (with the weather of the tropics, but we can't have everything... grin) I think I may have accidentally trained myself with all the wrong social skills (maybe good for some jobs though?). I used to be very shy before I travelled.

Personally I wouldn't have touched that rental situation with a 50 foot barge pole no matter how friendly I was with the landlord.

Why, specifically?
When I say we "seemed to get on well" I mean he had a lot of interest in the room (due to the area) so we had met once before he decided. Then when I moved in, we seemed to get on.
I will never live with men again (barring a DP I suppose).
Having said that, I didn't have a choice as I was having to leave a homeless hostel the following day and had only got this place in the nick of time. But I'd have chosen it anyway.

Albadross Navigating relationships is incredibly difficult for me too and some of the stories people have told about me... Well, yes they just sound completely made up frankly but everyone lapped them up.

There was a thread on here the other day, where the OP thought it was "wanky" to descibe someone as havong a "bad energy" or something. A poster said they thought people did this when they were trying to justify not liking someone for no apparent reason. IDK, it just seemed to ring true for me. Like people decide they don't like you and then are happy for any excuse to justify it, hence being eager to believe crap. (OTOH they will dismiss stuff about those they like). So they are picking up some kind of vibes from you, or picking up on vulnerability, but instead of arousing compassion it arouses fear/hate. Or something.

Thank you for all the thoughtful replies. smile

RiceCrispieTreats Wed 21-Sep-16 16:05:23

Don't blame yourself so much.

Everybody has had run-ins with arseholes and users.

Arseholes and users particularly like to play their powergames with nice people (who want approval), because they see them as pushovers.

Nice people (who want approval) take it particularly hard and personally when this happens, because they were only being nice after all, why couldn't the nasty person just be nice back?

There's no explanation other than: some people like to be dicks, particularly to those who they think they can exploit. It's not a failing on your part. But it is worth defending yourself against (exactly as you are doing, with therapy around personal boundaries, and then a lifetime of practice), as these people will never play by your rules of if-I'm-nice-to-you-then-you'll-be-nice-to-me,-right?

MotherOfMinions Wed 21-Sep-16 18:50:20

Could anyone show me the link to the Karma thread please? It sounds like something I'd find interesting, especially as I often End up in similar situations to Once

Myusernameismyusername Wed 21-Sep-16 18:54:11

I recently worked with someone who full out bullied me. She took all my weaknesses which I had made into strengths - patience, compassion etc and tried to destroy me with them

I was her boss

So I got my revenge by leaving for a new job and in the process leaving her with all the work she never learnt to do when I was her boss and I hear now she is struggling with it all mwahahahaha

LovesPeace Wed 21-Sep-16 23:08:45

People are, by and large selfish shits.

As I get older I find myself ditching friends to be alone more. Alone is lovely; no drama, no conflict no "me me me' people.

I may buy a dog, too. grin

springydaffs Wed 21-Sep-16 23:41:02

Great thread. Thanks for starting it Once (tho of course sorry you are currently going through it).

Pp is right - they are so many lonely people out here, you are far from alone with that! One book I read on loneliness said to think of all the lonely people where do they all come from and take solace from the fact we're not alone with loneliness! I can think of a few on my street. Yy it would be great if we got together.. but it's not as simple as that.

We all want to connect properly with others but, frankly, it's a jungle out there - for a whole host of reasons, not just selfishness but eg real insecurity (on many levels); the way our society is structured (eg the standard is a very thin band of people who tick all the socially acceptable boxes eg married, children, good job, good family, good physical and mental health etc etc) and we'd do well to bear that in mind and take steps to protect ourselves! But I forget all that and go out there all casual and human and get smacked in the face (yet again). I honestly think I deserve it - on one level - for not being alert.

Because what we most often get is other people's stuff. And when it's other people's stuff it comes across with great force. Ouch! Not us but them. Disastrous if we blame ourselves on top.

I was going to say you can't afford to NOT have therapy. It's out there, cheaply, you just have to dig. For some of us it's also not an added extra but an essential. And I've been Ms Impoverished for a lot of my life so I'm not one of those who thinks you can find a spare £200pm, surely. In the meantime read all the books, do all the (free) courses. There's a lot out there.

springydaffs Wed 21-Sep-16 23:43:23

Basically you have to cobble it together yourself. That is therapy, in all its forms.

OnceThereWasThisGirlWho Thu 22-Sep-16 03:38:47

Erm, I'm on ESA and Housing Benefit atm. Due to being under 35 I'm expected to rent a room, but I actually live alone, so have a £28/week shortfall in my HB. I really cannot afford therapy atm. PIP appeal in the pipeline but not looking hopeful.
And I really, really need to keep living alone for now. What a stabilising factor that has been. I don't have DC btw. (Trying hard not to think about it but eek tick tock etc)

Wrt ticking boxes etc... I find that aspect so hard. I mean, I'm an unemployed mental, who'd want to know me if they look to tick boxes? But equally if I'm accepting of fellow erm, "social undesirables" then the dysfunction gets to me. I seem to be a weird mix of dysfunctional and functional - I have always been clean and tidy, eat healthily, etc, actually quite sensible in many ways. Idk, what I'm trying to say is I can deal with someone who's depressed or struggling or needs to talk or whatever, but not people who are apparently mainly functional in those areas but the dysfunction is apparent elsewhere in a less self-aware way. Like stoner male friend living in filth but great in other ways, intelligent conversation etc. He sorted his act out, with me metaphorically cheering from the sidelines... only to cast me aside because I didn't fit in his shiny new life. hmm

I must say it pizzles and frustrates me that I am fairly sensible, plan ahead etc, yet walk into crap. Yet others do the most ill-advised things and get lucky and it's all fine. Someone I know has really done karmas work for them, so many things could go wrong. But they won't! Mind you when lucky/amazing things have happened to me I feel like I've accidentally cheated fate so maybe it's confirmation bias... grin

OnceThereWasThisGirlWho Thu 22-Sep-16 03:39:23

pizzles = a mix of pissed off and puzzled, obvs grin

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