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Help me help my relative with her anger and attacking

(12 Posts)
Holesinwalls Thu 30-Mar-17 01:00:54

Asking in reference to a relative of mine: I feel if I go into the backstory then I'll get bogged down in the detail, but just wondered if you could tell me what this is:

Someone who is dissatisfied with their life, resentful and angry at people, morbidly obese, binge eats, but can never explain exactly why or get their feelings out. When pressed in a compassionate way, to explain what is wrong and why they are angry, or just to talk about their feelings, they attack and ridicule the person asking for being pathetic and wanting to talk about feelings, sometimes using random or past things that have no relevance to the conversation ("well you said this to me last week and I hate you for it,") or just being downright nasty ("you want me to talk? I'll tell you something - everything you stand for is pathetic,") mocking, imitating, and sometimes if I stand my ground they can become quite physical (smashing plates, pushing, slamming doors.)

There just can't ever be a back and forth conversation because the person is obviously angry, sad, resentful, fed up, depressed, stuck in a rut, but there is absolutely no way of helping them. And trying to help them is actually met with being attacked.

What tactic am I supposed to take in this situation and what is going on?

AssassinatedBeauty Thu 30-Mar-17 01:06:45

I don't know what you mean about what tactic you can use. Maybe you could try being kind and helpful, listen without questioning, be positive about her/him and be genuinely interested in their life?

If the person doesn't want to seek help for any issues they might have, I think there's very little you can do to make them or cajole them into it.

PenelopeFlintstone Thu 30-Mar-17 01:11:48

Not everyone likes talking about their feelings. It's embarrassing, especially with someone they know. Maybe an unrelated person could help? It's possibly too painful to talk to you about it. She might not want to cry in front of you, for example.
Perhaps you could add fun or company to her life without seeking answers? Just be a bit of light in her life. I appreciate that can be very hard going though.

OnceYouAreReal Thu 30-Mar-17 01:18:33

Don't push them to talk if it makes them so angry. It's obviously not something they are comfortable with.

How about just letting them know you are there for them should they ever feel the need. In the meantime just be kind and loving in a non pressured way.

But also make it clear in a calm way that you will not stand for abuse and that you they have hurt your feelings.

SandyY2K Thu 30-Mar-17 01:21:54

What tactic am I supposed to take in this situation and what is going on?

Leave them alone would be my response. The last thing I expect is to be ridiculed when trying to help or show concern.

That would make me keep my distance from the person TBH.

MichaelSheensNextDW Thu 30-Mar-17 03:15:53

This person is responding to you with abuse, therefore prioritise keeping yourself emotionally and physically safe. Do they have a mental health diagnosis?

Out2pasture Thu 30-Mar-17 04:29:31

another one to suggest a mental health issue.
no tactic, suggest they speak to a professional, some people just don't recognize their own feelings (can't tell the difference between sad and mad or between frustration and depression).
the anger is probably a defense mechanism to stop people from getting close and hurting them.
please don't try playing psychiatrist.
but I suppose you could try using feeling words during your encounters "this embarrasses me", "i feel overwhelmed" in a hope they will begin to open up/explore their own feelings.

hesterton Thu 30-Mar-17 04:43:18

The way I would react would vary depending on whether this person was my child or my sibling/parent. The latter would lead me to move towards low contact and a withdrawal of active voiced concern.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 30-Mar-17 07:05:08

There is no tactic that can be employed to help someone like this so I would back right off now. You need to employ higher and more rigourous boundaries. Ultimately the only one who can help the person you describe here is that very person. You cannot help anyone who does not want to be rescued and or saved.

It is not your fault this person is the ways they are; you did not cause them to act like this or make them this way (their own family of origin did that lot of damage to them).

You are probably one of the few, if any people now, to actually bother with this person and you are being hurt in the process. You are not their therapist (you're also way too close to the situation anyway to be of any real use, not that this person wants your help or support anyway) or emotional punchbag after all.

I would look at your own reasons for trying and or persisting with this person; do you yourself have rescuer and or saviour tendencies?. Why are you doing this?.

Isetan Thu 30-Mar-17 07:52:19

There isn't a tactic that can be employed to help someone who doesn't want your help. This is who they are and until they're ready to be different, that's how they'll stay. If who they are bothers you that much then the only recourse you have, is to limit your time with them.

People are allowed to mess up their lives but it doesn't mean that you have to standby and watch.

shirleycartersaidso Thu 30-Mar-17 08:01:07

There isn't a tactic unfortunately - if they don't want to talk about it that's it until they want to. Have they had counselling?

blueskyinmarch Thu 30-Mar-17 08:05:33

It sounds like this person has something buried deep down within themselves. They cannot talk about it as it is so deeply buried and repressed and they deal with it by being angry, rude and on the attack. This all stops anyone from getting close to them. The more you press, the more they will go on the offensive. There is nothing you can do until they decide for themselves that they want help. I would withdraw a bit and make sure you keep yourself safe emotionally and physically.

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