Sanctuary for the Abused

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The 10 Most Dysfunctional Things Ever Uttered

(if anyone says these to you, they are dysfunctional - run from them!! even if they are family. - Barbara)

They don’t get worse than these — the ten comments that signify the very most dysfunction possible.

In no particular order:

1. “I did nothing wrong. You’re just oversensitive.”

It’s not that there aren’t people in the world who are highly sensitive. It’s just that even if the person being spoken to were oversensitive, this comment is only going to make them feel much worse! It offers no help, and only rubs salt in the wound.

It is a critical statement of low empathy — there’s no effort to truly understand the other person’s feelings or to consider that maybe the speaker could possibly have done even one small thing a little more considerately to try helping matters.

In addition, it’s most often said by people who are not actually dealing with someone who’s “too sensitive”, but instead, someone who is actually expressing normal dismay about a valid concern.

2. “That’s just the way it is.”

While it’s true there’s no point denying that the sky has always been blue and grass will be forever green, making the above comment in order to shut down someone’s concerns or curiosity about a given situation is a different matter.

Such a comment displays a high level of dysfunctionality, typically related to disempowerment, denial, defensiveness, closed-mindedness and attempts at control of others.

Inflexibility and difficulty with change is common in the personality disorder called OCPD, and in autism spectrum disorders.

3. “Why can’t you be more like so-and-so?”

Trying to tell someone to be more like someone else is self-centered. If you’re dealing with a person who is self-important enough to think that other people should conform to their personal preferences (and need only be asked to do so) you’re likely dealing with someone characteristically narcissistic.

4. “I’m sorry you feel that way/I’m sorry if you…/I’m sorry, but…”

If a person cannot say, “I’m sorry I did that/I’m sorry I hurt you/I’m sorry I was wrong”, and dodges emotional responsibility with the kind of fake apologies and substitutions above, there’s a problem.

Healthy relationships require genuine apologies that are the result of empathy. Inability to truly sense other people’s feelings is at the root of an incredible amount of dysfunction, and unwillingness to admit mistakes is highly dysfunctional behavior.

5. “You always/You never…”

It’s unlikely the person NEVER or ALWAYS does whatever is complained about. It’s more likely it happens a lot. Or, it happens too often for the person’s liking.

Saying “always” or “never” when complaining about someone’s behavior makes them feel as if you aren’t trying to resolve the matter with them — you’re trying to condemn them.

When people have difficult issues they wish they didn’t struggle with, and they’re making very little progress on them, it’s very painful to be told by someone they care about that they “always” or “never” do something. It causes them to lose hope, and more importantly, it causes them to lose hope that you are on their side against the difficulty, and that you do believe in them and see their hard-earned minor improvements.

6. “You’re not smart enough to do that /you’ll never amount to anything /you’re an idiot.”

This one needs no explanation. It’s just abusive, plain and simple. If this has been said to you, remember, it’s projection — people who say this have a tremendous fear that they themselves are the “stupid” one.

Everyone has something to offer. Everyone is good at something, and a comment like this is nothing but a reflection of the speaker’s own insecurities and fears. Typically, abusive people will pick the moment of a mistake to utter this, but everyone makes mistakes, including the person saying it, and their comment means nothing about the listener. People are not their mistakes, and are not necessarily what other people say they are.

7. “I told you so.”

All people have a right to make their own choices, and to disagree with others. People who tell other people what’s supposedly best and then pounce on them if their alternate choice doesn’t work are seeking to gain future control of the independent person by shaming them. Shame fuels dysfunction, and should not be accepted.

8. “You are ‘choosing’ to feel bad about the upsetting thing I did or said.”

This is highly invalidating. The person who says this is not making any effort to empathize, is refusing to take responsibility for the impact of their behavior on others, and is trying to blame the person they have hurt.

Feelings aren’t even processed in the same area of the brain as thoughts. If someone threatens you, you will feel fear. You’re not “choosing” fear; fear is an immediate, natural and healthy response to being in a threatening situation. If someone you love dies, you will feel sad. You are not “choosing” to feel sad about their death. Sadness is a normal, healthy response to the loss of someone. If your sibling, partner or other person you are close to says something insensitive or cruel, you will feel hurt. You’re not “choosing” to feel hurt; it is a natural and healthy response to unkindness.

Telling someone who feels hurt that they have “chosen” to feel hurt is generally a way of avoiding responsibility by making the hurt person retreat in shame that they have done “wrong”. They’re supposed to “choose” properly by letting the person who hurt them off the hook, and instead, focusing on their own “bad choices”.

9. “You wouldn’t understand”.

This kind of dismissiveness and condescension is seen in people who harbor the belief that they are superior and should ideally be the one in control, because of their supposed superiority. The arrogance of such a statement is more than rude and devaluing — it indicates that the person’s intention is to shut you out and shut you down so they can propagate the perception that they are “better” than you.

10. “What they don’t know can’t hurt them.”

If a person hasn’t found out that their spouse is cheating, or that somebody took advantage of them in some way they haven’t realized, it’s true that they won’t feel hurt.

But… the person who says this is a cheater; the person who says this is taking advantage. It’s wise to steer clear of people like this, because they care much more about themselves than other people, and they lack integrity. This is highly characteristic of mentally disordered thinking, and the person who says it will most likely one day be the person who takes advantage of you, too. The presence of a good conscience doesn’t depend on circumstances or individuals present.

If there’s no conscience nagging at them when they take advantage of someone other than you, there will be no conscience nagging at them when it’s your turn to be the one in their way.

from this fantastic blog!

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shared by Barbara at 12:34 AM



"I'm the smartest person I know." this is a big red-flag statement and signifies a psychopath. The thing is, psychopaths all believe that they ARE the smartest person, even when proven otherwise. It simply goes with how their brains function. They aren't truly aware of others except as things. Not as humans. All the statements in this article. How they will destroy us but to a psychopath, it's only words put out there to control us. Either to hurt you, make you shut-up, get you to defend yourself. All just chaos and strife and all meaningless to the psychopath, but soul destroying to a non-psychopath.

8:48 PM  

thank you. i didn't realize that i had allowed myself to become entrenched in an emotionally psychologically and spiritually abusive relationship. thank goodness i have my senses and family. somehow i was falling into the pattern of trying to figure out someones behaviors that were so extreme in perversive patterns.. i literally came to the point where i believed i must have done something to bring these climates on and thinking as well that spiritually i needed to be more resiliant to the challenges of anothers indescretions. what a viscious cycle. i realize that i was being slowly traumatized and each episode of manic explosive dgradation and then abandonment was further isolating me from my family. the final blow was the perpetrator giving me the ultimatum of it's me or your family setting up a fiasco of an argument in the home and then telling me, you chose. what the hell? that isn't a choice. these are my family you are my family. choice is not involved that's a mind thing this is the heart it acts! no apology nothing this after a chain of similar degrading events always with me trying to figure out what the hell just happened. so glad i found this sight. thank you

11:52 AM  

A very good list, I've heard every one on the list; or a slight variation of it and was involved with a psychopath/narcissist. These types of put downs are subtle and if heard often enough destroy a person's self esteem, confidence and trust in their own feelings; exactly the way the abuser can gain control.

I pray anyone who reads this and recognizes them from their relationship gets out immediately and never looks back.

8:44 AM  

yes true. but there needs to be room to understand everyone's feelings and motivations in a given scenario. if someone, especially a minor, utters that they do not believe someone's feelings, perhaps it is because their own point of view is not being listened to or believed. people live out what they experience. and become self abusers if they are shown no mercy, and abuse without even meaning to because they are not being helped or supported. and get abused worse and worse over time. so my point is listen to everyone, even a dysfunctional statement may be an opportunity for education and healing instead of a disaster.

7:17 AM  

My ex's favorite line, to avoid feeling remorse and/or apologizing, is: "I don't want to talk about it, it's in the past." It almost sounds mature, but don't let him fool you. It never matters to him if it happened last year, last month, or 5 minutes ago, and it happens the same way, over and over and over. He feels entitled to trash you then walk away without being responsible for any of the damage he leaves behind. In his narcissistic mind, his 3 failed marriages were always the fault of the spouse. Other than this, my biggest issue was that there was no privacy. He felt entitled to tell all to everyone, friends and family, and use them to shame me, thinking that I would jump into lockstep with his need to control everything. Instead, the lack of privacy and public shaming only made matters worse because I never felt like anything I did was enough to satisfy his expectations. I was always the subject of gossip & sniping by his friends and family, and I felt so exposed & raw instead of protected and safe. Being safe with someone you need to trust is oh so very important.

8:39 PM  

A previous boyfriend prided himself on being smart and logical, but he left no room for others who take different logic paths than his. It shouldn't matter if we arrive at the same or different conclusions, as each conclusion is neither more or less valid to each person simply because it didn't match his. It was a big red warning flag when he stated that if I didn't arrive at the same conclusion as he, in the same way, then either I was stupid or playing a game that he didn't like. :-(

8:51 PM  

There are times when supervisors utilize these tactics on employees to control and disempower. Instead, of employees being able to verbalize what they feel, employees seek employment elsewhere, rather than risk speaking up. As the article pointed out feelings and thoughts are operated from different parts of the brain.

10:55 AM  

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