11

I have a big problem with people that know me.

I do have slight anger issues (like 0-90 in 1 second, and 90-100 in 10), and I know some people (my friends) that would irritate me just for their amusement. I usually give a threat (i.e. if you keep doing that I will pour water on your head) but can't rack up the nerve to do it. You know the reasons.

The problem is, my friends know that, too. So they ignore me and keep on doing whatever they are doing to annoy me and just to see me yell or scream at them. After all that, they point at me and laugh. I don't like this, so how can I change it? Is the problem on me, and if so, how could I change it?

  • 19
    I'm not claiming to fully understand what you are writing, but is there any chance that you're a kid? It seems to me like something younger people would have more fun with. Could you specify your age? Also the maturity of the people involved influences how you deal with them. – Raditz_35 Apr 27 '18 at 7:02
  • If I understand well, you want to know how to make convincing threats, right? – Hawker65 Apr 27 '18 at 12:59
14

People who ignore your complaints and uses you as butt of all jokes all are not worthy of being your friends.

I would advise you find better friends.

Even if you have a real problem (anger issues), a true friend should not view your problems or handicaps as a way to have fun, they should be more tolerant than most people and try to be accomodating.

They are obviously not doing that.

If you want to try and salvage the relationship, I would advise you try to talk with your friends but one by one. A group tend to develop some kind immunity to criticism as they all validate each others behavior.

So try to have one-on-one with each your friends, and tell them something like :

When we are together, you sometimes says things to me which are very hurtful. I don't find them funny at all. Really. Seriously, stop. I've had enough of this.

And if you don't find their reaction satisfactory you can follow up with :

Why are you doing this to me ?

But you might get really disappointed by the answer.

If they are still being hurtful after that, they quite clearly don't give a damn about you. You should then move on.

I wish you all the best and hopefully all of you can work it out.

11

You say that you have a problem with anger management. That's an intrapersonal problem. You also say that your friends, aware of that, are picking on you. So the question is: is there an interpersonal skill that can help restrain / smother their behavior?

The way I see that situation: you are a rubber duck for the childishness of your friends. Anytime they squeeze the duck, it says quack. It makes them laugh. They squeeze again, it says quack. Makes them laugh. Do it again, and again. No matter what your words are, they hear quack.

You've tried setting boundaries, and threatening, with no improvement whatsoever.

What about you picking on them? I mean, change the way the duck answers when squeezed? Make a different noise?

Play the game: they pick on you. You smile and say: "What? Really? Are you sure? Can you do/say it again?". And count. You 1-0 Friends. They repeat? You repeat! "What? Really? Are you sure? Can you do/say it again?". You 2-0 Friends. Repeat again. Laugh inside while counting :)

At some point, you can also make a move towards self-deprecating joke too, and see how they react. Acting like that is not only funny, but is also a form of "non violent resistance". You deflect their actions, and/or have it bounce back.

When they'll be tired asking, puzzled having the same "quack" again (but not the one that used to make them laugh), and realize that you are picking on them, you'll have made a great step inside and outside.

Twisting someone's arguments and using them to your own benefit is a great interpersonal skill, I'd use that strategy, because I did that when facing kind of a similar situation and it worked great.


From comments:

How is picking on the people who pick on you going to improve the relationship?

Replacing anger and frustration by laughs is improvement.

"Friends" find funny picking on OP. They should find it funny when OP bounces back. If not? Then it'll be worth thinking about the friendship.

BUT: you can't let people behave like that and never "strike" back. It's like hitting a person. They say "ouch! it hurts! why did you do that?!" -> because I wanted you to understand what I feel when you do it all the time. With laughs, it's non-violent, but carries the same "back in your face" idea.

  • 1
    How is picking on the people who pick on you going to improve the relationship? – mbomb007 Apr 27 '18 at 19:59
  • @mbomb007 : it'll set boundaries for OP, and make fun for both when their friends realize that OP is improving (by being different). Replacing anger and frustration by laughs is improvement IMO ;) – OldPadawan Apr 27 '18 at 20:04
  • You assume somehow that picking on them is fun. The OP doesn't enjoy when they pick on him, so why should that be something fun for both? – mbomb007 Apr 27 '18 at 20:05
  • they find funny picking on OP. They should find it funny when OP bounces back. If not? Then it'll be worth thinking about the friendship. But, from experience, it worked for me, and people found that I was much more than a rubber duck. – OldPadawan Apr 27 '18 at 20:09
8

The situation you have described is not a problem of being insufficiently convincing. You have three real problems:

  1. You get angry too easily.
  2. You don't behave well when you get angry.
  3. You have friends that are not trying to help you be your best self.

The good news is that all of these things are directly under your control, but fixing them is difficult and will take time and practice.

Learn to recognize when you are angry. One of the most effective things you can do here is read a little about mindfulness meditation and start practicing for 10 minutes or more every day. With time and effort you will be able to control you anger rather than letting your anger control you.

When you do find yourself letting your anger affect your behavior apologize as soon as you are aware of the problem. Be forthcoming with your self criticism. My experience is this elicits empathy, and plays a strong role in improving your own behavior.

As for your friends, work on yourself first, but explain to your friends that you are trying to be less thin skinned, to get less angry. When they start teasing you to get a reaction, tell them "friends, I'm trying to improve my character in this regard. Can't you help me rather than provoke me?" or words to that effect. If they continue to plague you, get a little distance. Don't make a big thing out of it, just go for a walk, sit somewhere else, tell them you realize you have an important appointment, whatever. The goal here is stop practicing bad behavior and to encourage your friends to behave better.

Never ever threaten. If you find yourself threatening someone, you are engaging in bad behavior. If asking people nicely to consider your feelings doesn't work, then get some distance (as described above). If you think it will be helpful you can warn of consequences, but do so politely and be prepared to execute those (nonviolent!) consequences: "friends, I don't appreciate this. I'd rather hang out with you but if you persist in this behavior I'm going to have to leave", or "dude, if you're going to act like that I'm not going to help you with your homework this evening".

In the worst case you may find you have to find some new friends. Some people take delight and joy in making you your worst self. If they are unwilling to change, then they should be avoided.

4

Don't give out empty threats. As you noticed that will only make it worse.

What you should do is take out their fun of getting on your nerves. Depending on what it is that they do to get a reaction out of you there's several ways to respond to make their actions really boring (and thus make them stop doing them in the future).


One of the most effective ways is to make them repeat that annoying action too many times. For example if they poke you and you react automaticaly by making some funny sound. A second after that uncontrolable sound when they start laughing react like this, preferably with a big (fake) smile on your face:

Oh that's really fun do it again.
No really comon it's funny poke me again.

Keep repeating this, just take the poking and your funny auto response until they get really bored of it. And I mean really bored of it. If they no longer poke and just start responding to you that it's not fun anymore you can either request it once more to really get your point accross or finish it with:

You're right, poking me isn't fun, so let's not do it again.

Keep doing this anytime in the future when they start poking you again, I guarantee you that it'll take no more than 2 separate days to really take the fun out of it for them and they'll stop poking you altogether.


Similar tricks work for when they keep making fun of you verbally. If something get's really on your nerves you can go over the top with it yourself. For example, if they make fun of your hair color you can do the following the next time someone makes a joke about it:

You're right, I am a redhead. Hey < friend2 > did you notice, I got red hair, funny right.
Hey hey, < friend3 > did < friend1 > tell this to you as well? funny right, I got red hair!
Oh comon < friend1 > why aren't you laughing, isn't it funny that I got red hair? No really look! It's RED!

The comment get's old really fast after that. This has the effect that they too will take longer and longer before commenting on the red hair color again after that.


Another trick against verbal bullying that works if it's not focused on one specific thing (like hair color) is to literally repeat the same phrase directed at them. This also works well even if it's only true for you. (Remember we're just trying to take the fun out of it for them).

imus: Ha! easy math failed on this test, how stupid are you!
easy math: Ha! Imus failed on this test, how stupid are you!
imus: I didn't fail on this test, you did
easy math: I didn't fail on this test, you did
imus: why are you repeating me
easy math: why are you repeating me
imus: no seriusly, stop it, it's annoying
easy math: well so is laughing at me for failing a test, so i'll stop repeating after you if you stop getting on my nerves just to get a reaction out of me.

Do something similar each time they get on your nerves JUST to get a reaction out of you.


I do want to give a friendly warning not to overuse these kind of responses either though. Only do this when you feel they went too far with their jokes. Some joking between friends is normal. If you can laugh about your own angry reaction a couple of seconds after there's nothing wrong with reacting like that. Let them have their funny moment, laugh about it, make a joke yourself about someone else so they're now the target, repeat ad infinitum.

3

How can I be more convincing when it comes to my words?

Your problem is simple. And you have summarised it by what you have left out in your question and post.

The answer is triggers. You want desperately to have what you say respected. You put this into your words, because the idea you are putting forward is not strong enough in your eyes to stand alone. All they have to do is mock, and you explode.

So learn how to contribute as your friends do, at their level in their way. And do not care how they respond, feel totally neutral, as if you are just speaking aloud in a room. The things you say should stand alone, like a work of art. And if they are rejected, more fool on the person who is rejecting them, because the rejection shows their failure not yours.

This takes practice. And assume they will be horrible to you. But so what, it is just playing around, and they speak as they do just to provoke a response. In our family, we do swear signs to show annoyance but in a jokey kind of a way. And yes there are blowups sometimes for good reasons, but emotional language is this sea of interaction at many levels, which you need to learn and tune into.

Unfortunately you need to learn this communication balance, but you have taken the first step, recognition of the need to change.

2

The problem here sounds like your friends are making fun of you and are fully aware that your threats are empty

"If you keep doing that I will pour water on your head" but can't rack up the nerve to do it

You've already proven to them that no matter what you threaten them with, they will not suffer any consequences.

Whilst I like some of the responses I've read so far, I wouldn't sit by and let it happen. Either they're just poking you and it's all in good fun or they genuinely have a problem and don't want to seem aggressive or confrontational about it. At this point, peaceful resolution is still on the table.

Perhaps you could prod back a little and make fun of them, if it is all in good fun. If not, there's a good chance this will spark a heated discussion that they've been waiting to jump on for a while now. This gives you the chance to discuss whatever issues you have and resolve them.

Regarding your empty threats, I can only offer two solutions and I have a feeling you aren't going to like them. Your first option is to stop making them - they're not doing you any good. Your second option is to follow up on them. There's no point in saying you'll do something if you won't actually do it - this shows a lack of integrity and nobody will respect you for it.

  • 1
    Following on threats will likely turn problematic. It may go into "not funny, bro" direction and people may get genuinly scared by OPs behavior as being unreasonable and/or inpredictable. In most cases, it will be also a huge display of helplessness. – Frax Apr 27 '18 at 21:35
0

This answer is fundamentally ontological in nature, which is intra-personal and thus off-topic here. However the "Words" part and the "Actions" part are interpersonal.

Be integral

  • What your thoughts think
  • What your words say
  • What your actions do

For a person to be integral, these things all match up and are in sync with each other. If words and actions don't agree, others view them as an unreliable person - liar, all-talk, hollaback girl. And when the person realizes their thoughts, word and actions do not align, it undermines their own confidence in themselves, damaging their self-esteem, making them feel impotent and helpless, and when one is helpless, the only way to feel powerful is to get angry. But of course that is a lie, anger is not powerful at all.

A lack of this is a lack of control and discipline.

Tell the truth and keep your word. Don't say a thing unless you definitely will deliver. The best way to keep your word is don't give it. So don't make promises you will not positively follow through on.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.