How to deal with a confrontational girlfriend towards people in public.
January 12, 2015 7:00 AM   Subscribe

I've been with my current girlfriend for almost 8 months. I'm a laid-back guy who's soft-spoken and non-confrontational. My girlfriend is the opposite of me, as she is very opinionated and outspoken. She strongly dislikes lack of common sense, stupidity, people who move at a pace of a snail, and last, but not least, noisy & bratty children.

I will cite a couple of examples: (1) We went to Disneyland one time, and the first thing that she wanted to do is have her picture taken inside this teacup. There was no designated line at the time. We were standing a few feet away from the teacup, and this family went in to have their picture taken by the father. I didn't think much of it since we were second in line, and it wasn't exactly a ride that oodles of people would line up for. My girlfriend got annoyed, and made comments within earshot distance such as "we just got cut off" and etc. After the father was done taking pictures, he turns around and says that they can hear her talking crap. My girlfriend replies back that she wasn't talking crap, and they just move along. That awkward moment was the first thing to happen when we entered the theme park.

(2) We were at a park one time, as we were sitting down with a couple of friends at an open grass area. There was a small boy who was playing around, as he slid into the ground and kicked my girlfriend in the back by accident. The boy apologized, as he belonged to a class that was having a field trip of some sort. My girlfriend was furious that the teacher in charge of the kids did not apologize to her directly. She started to call the teacher for lack of supervision and etc. The teacher did not respond to her, as she took all the kids within the area to go somewhere else. Another awkward moment that took place. My step-mom was very concerned about the possible fact that she confronts the wrong person at the wrong place and at the wrong time over something ridiculous. That person may do harm, and it won't be just mere words that would be thrown at our faces...

It's been challenging at times to be out with her at a public place. She will be 32 next month, and she's unlikely to change. Does anyone have any similar experiences dealing with a significant other like my girlfriend? Any suggestions about adapting to this type of personality is appreciated.
posted by tnar23 to Human Relations (70 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
Does anyone have any similar experiences dealing with a significant other like my girlfriend?

Yes, and the anger and entitlement issues got turned against me and made my life a living hell for several years and strongly exacerbated my depression and anxiety.

My concern would be less that she confronts the wrong person and more that she starts picking at you constantly. It's a horrible soul-draining prison-sentence of a relationship to be tied to someone who is always angry about totally minor things, because there will always be totally minor things to get angry about. Once I realized it was not my job to "balance out" or "calm down" someone who seemed to have bypassed conflict-resolution skills most of us develop in elementary school, my life has gotten much nicer.
posted by jaguar at 7:08 AM on January 12, 2015 [92 favorites]


I adapt to people like that by refusing to be around them whenever possible. Any particular reason dumping her isn't an option? I could never be with someone who would choose to go to Disneyland (DISNEYLAND!) and then yell at small children. That's just ridiculous. If she's not making any effort to control her temper and become a nicer person, you should strongly consider cutting things off.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:09 AM on January 12, 2015 [101 favorites]


This sounds like antisocial behavior... I don't think it's responsible for us to advise you on how to "adapt" to basically being a jerk.

Frankly the best way of dealing with this sort of thing is to tell the person calmly that they are being out of line, right there, in the moment. But this may not be possible in the parameters of your relationship.
posted by selfnoise at 7:09 AM on January 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


I couldn't be with someone like this. It's too stressful because you never know when the mood will change and your once perfect day will be ruined because a minor inconvenience became her search for justice.

But, the best you can do is, in a relatively good time far separated from any such confrontations, tell her how this makes you feel. That it really makes you feel uncomfortable when she does that and that you had to tell her because you sometimes fear for her safety.

If she can't have a calm discussion about this with you, you'll likely have to make a decision. Is this a deal breaker for you? Or is this something I can suck up and accept? Honestly, these things can escalate...so what you're comfortable with now might be something that becomes bigger and is impossible to live with down the line, especially if she then trains that anger on you.

If she seems receptive to the discussion and she acknowledges this as a fault, you might want to suggest a word that you can use to remind her that she's spinning off into anger.
posted by inturnaround at 7:11 AM on January 12, 2015 [9 favorites]


I've just reviewed your questions and remember your last one about her as well. Your girlfriend seems to have some pretty immature ways of dealing with the world. It's good that you understand you can't change her unless she wants to change herself, but have you had a conversation with her about it? As it stands now, this looks like a fundamental incompatibility and for me it would be a dealbreaker, but I do think it's worth talking about before ending the relationship. Maybe she would be willing to go to therapy to work on her anger issues; surely she would be a happier person if she weren't getting into confrontations with strangers all the time. Unless she sees problems in herself and wants to change those problems, though, I think you are going to constantly be bombarded with issues stemming from her emotional immaturity.
posted by something something at 7:11 AM on January 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


And I don't know if you want children, but I would seriously consider whether you wanted someone like this parenting your children. Worst-case scenario is that she's angry at the kids all the time; a best-case scenario is the kids learn this is normal behavior and do it themselves.
posted by jaguar at 7:14 AM on January 12, 2015 [35 favorites]


I think the only way you "adapt" to a person with anger issues without becoming co-dependent is by being honest with her about how her behavior makes you feel and by setting personal boundaries about what is and isn't acceptable behavior. I can tell you from sad experience it will not bring you closer. You deserve someone you don't have to be on edge with when you're in public together.
posted by summerstorm at 7:16 AM on January 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


You sound like my husband's brother (KC) and his wife (K8). I go to regular therapy and I speak to my therapist about them because K8 especially is often difficult to be around. That helps. My therapist also had me read Stop Walking on Eggshells because while he couldn't responsibly say she has boderline personality disorder, he thought the coping mechanisms in the book would be helpful.

One thing we discussed was why they were together since KC seems so mellow and low key and K8 seems so high strung and dramatic. He said there is something in K8 that complements KC and it may be that KC needs someone to speak up for him and be the champion even if it is done in a very lopsided and irrational manner.

Maybe you should look inside yourself to be more confident and assertive and maybe you'll find that either you will no longer need your GF to fulfill that role or your GF will ease off a little.
posted by spec80 at 7:18 AM on January 12, 2015 [16 favorites]


You might try (use your own judgment) saying something like, "Hey, they're just doing the best they can, and I know you are too. You're reacting a lot more than the situation seems to demand, here. Do you know what you're really angry about, because it's probably not that poor teacher."

If you see what's really going on, and call her on it, it might help her feel less lonely. Acting like you're constantly afraid of her reaction won't help.

If she's the type of person who says what she wants, then she would probably respond well to getting some of that kind of information from the world around her -- including you, and including you clueing her in to what you (with probably higher empathy) know is probably true about the other people around her. The absence of that information is probably lonely for her.
posted by amtho at 7:19 AM on January 12, 2015 [14 favorites]


Yep. You need to tell her directly and in detail (not a pile-on! just be specific in detail about events) how much she needs counseling and to cultivate maturity.

Be prepared to break up. Make it a condition for a continued relationship that she seeks out real help and experiences improvements.

You are TREMENDOUSLY harming her by not being forthright, honest, and protecting yourself and others from her inappropriate outbursts.

She needs someone to talk to her kindly but firmly about these issues she needs to work on. Don't have children with this person until/unless she improves.

Yep. You're involved with someone capable of emotionally abusing you. Keep on the lookout for that.
posted by jbenben at 7:22 AM on January 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Wow, everyone here is seriously diagnosing your girlfriend like she's a patient in their psychotherapy practice.

Does she sulk after these incidents? Does she obsess over them and let them ruin her (and your) day? If not, perhaps she's just got a short fuse and a different way of dealing with it than you. I wouldn't blame her for expressing irritation that people cut her off in line, or that a negligent teacher let one of her wards gambol so far afield that he ended up kicking her in the back. Nor do I think it's necessarily a problem that she calls people out on their rudeness. It's not my way but it's a style, not inherently wrong. I certainly wouldn't classify her as having an "anger problem" for these reactions -- as long as she knows how to let the anger go, and never misdirects it toward you.

That said, you sound like her reactions make you highly uncomfortable, so what does it matter if her behavior is within the realm of "normal"? Whatever you want to call it, I suspect it will just become a bigger and bigger problem between you, regardless -- and I can easily see a time when she feels like your discomfort with her reactions = you not having her back, but instead taking strangers' sides over her own.
posted by mylittlepoppet at 7:24 AM on January 12, 2015 [20 favorites]


"If she's the type of person who says what she wants, then she would probably respond well to getting some of that kind of information from the world around her -- including you, and including you clueing her in to what you (with probably higher empathy) know is probably true about the other people around her. The absence of that information is probably lonely for her."

I can't Nth amtho enough on this. Talk to her. It's a great technique to acknowledge her discomfort! Be kind, but be firm and direct.
posted by jbenben at 7:27 AM on January 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think it's fairly common for a more confrontational person to be coupled with a less confrontational person. I'm in such a relationship and am the more assertive person. The question though, that you've presented is not only or even mainly about differences in assertiveness -- it's about your girlfriend's anger and her way of expressing it. These two issues are often linked, because confrontations are often about anger and discontent.

The really important thing is that it is unhealthy for you to be framing this as "How do I adapt to my girlfriend's personality." That's just.. really unhealthy. If your relationship has any legs, then it's going to require both of you to adapt. It's also going to require you to be confrontational with your girlfriend and have some conversations that will probably be very uncomfortable for you.

Have you sat down and told your girlfriend that it's challenging at times being in public with her? If her reaction to this is one of automatic defensiveness, anger or gaslighting, then that's a really, really bad sign and an indication you're fundamentally incompatible. If there's any hope for you two, she'll be concerned that you're concerned, even if she does feel defensive or upset, too. She'll be interested in your perception of what's going on in these public confrontations and can share with you how she experienced them as well. It may turn out that there was more going on in these situations and that she actually feels that you weren't confrontational enough.

I know in my case, my partner often says that she appreciates how I treat people - and I feel the same way about her. However, there have been times when I've felt slighted or disrespected in public and noticed that my girlfriend did not react or automatically took the other person's side when we discussed it later. In part, this reflects our different personalities and impulses -- she is more conflict avoidant and gives people far more benefit of the doubt than I do. But it's also important to feel that your partner "has your back" - that their impulse is to take your side and empathize with you. Yet.. I also want my partner to share her own observations if they differ from mine and be willing to call out my bullshit if she really does feel that my response to someone was inappropriate. Sometimes I agree with her and sometimes I don't. But the really nice thing is that she is willing to have uncomfortable conversations with me and I am willing to hear her perspective -- and explain how I experienced conflict. As a result, we learn from each other.. and sometimes learn new ways of dealing with conflict (she has learned to be more assertive in some situations and I've learned to be more considerate.)

I've also been on the other side of this -- I used to date someone who was MUCH more confrontational than I was, and often just downright nasty toward other people. When I would confront that partner about my discomfort with their treatment of others, they were not emotionally mature enough to receive that kind of feedback. They would respond by simply defending their actions and the conversation went no where.

All this to say, if your girlfriend's behavior makes you uncomfortable, that's not something to be quiet about. You need to not be "soft spoken" and "easy going" about that. You need to confront her. And if the relationship is going to work, she needs to welcome that kind of conversation. The two of you can grow together, possibly, and learn from your contrasting conflict styles -- or you might discover that you actually are too different to be happy together. In that case, break up with her and find someone else whose behavior makes you comfortable.. because you're going to have to be in public together quite often.

One last thing: It also sounds like the issue here is her harsh judgments about other people. This sounds like a very unpleasant personality trait and one that's too negative for my tastes. You may want to give some thought as to whether you actually like your girlfriend's personality enough to keep dating her.
posted by Gray Skies at 7:27 AM on January 12, 2015 [9 favorites]


Ohhh, this is the girlfriend who recommended that you skip your brother's baby shower because he had to cancel on your birthday plans due to his wife's illness.

Even without that bit of backstory, your girlfriend's behavior as described here is dealbreaker territory. People like this can change, but usually won't without a good deal of effort and motivation.

There's a word for your girlfriend's personality type: mean. Trying to adapt to it will just bring you down to her cranky level, even if she never says an unkind word about you.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:33 AM on January 12, 2015 [101 favorites]


It is pretty clear that you guys have a fundamentally different view about what is irritating, and how one should react when irritated. These are already two big elephants in the room, even before looking at your examples in any detail.

I think if you re-read your own question very carefully, you'll find that you are not actually looking for "suggestions about adapting to this type of personality." It seems rather more like you want the whole thing to stop already, and, because you are not a confrontational type (as you describe yourself) that you are trying to find ways to nicely navigate around the whole thing.

But the matter of the fact is that how your girlfriend acts out her anger in public is not compatible with your ways. She needs to know this. So you need to talk to her about it.

Know also that there is more at stake; you need to talk about it now, in fact, and there need to be substantial consequences, in terms of anger management training or the likes, or a separation. Don't wait until your girlfriend, one day and for any reason, decides that you are the one who lacks common sense, is stupid, too slow for her taste or behaves like a brat. This is not matter of if, believe me, it's a matter of when.
posted by Namlit at 7:36 AM on January 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was also going to say what someone said above about being sympathetic to her fury about an unsupervised kid kicking her in the back, until I was reminded about the brother's-baby-shower scenario. Taken together, the situations you described for us suggest someone with a lot of anger and no self-awareness, who is always looking for a fight. I think you should break up with her. This stuff only gets worse with age and it tears families apart.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:41 AM on January 12, 2015 [10 favorites]


She's acting like a jerk. Call her on it. Personally, I wouldn't stand for this--"When you act in this way (give specifics; describe the situation objectively) it comes across as very mean. If you want to keep me around, it has to stop. Now."

She will be 32 next month

It's not going to stop. DTMFA, tell her exactly why, and tell her she's welcome to call you in six months after she's been doing therapy and making changes.

She won't call.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:48 AM on January 12, 2015 [11 favorites]


This stuff only gets worse with age...

This stuff sometimes gets worse with age. People can learn and change, if they want to, but usually not without some help, and sometimes not even then.

Staying with her is a risk. Breaking up with her is also a risk.
posted by amtho at 7:51 AM on January 12, 2015


Two askme questions in 8 months involving a new GF is solidly DTMFA territory.
posted by empath at 7:53 AM on January 12, 2015 [42 favorites]


I didn't think much of it since we were second in line, and it wasn't exactly a ride that oodles of people would line up for. My girlfriend got annoyed, and made comments within earshot distance such as "we just got cut off" and etc. After the father was done taking pictures, he turns around and says that they can hear her talking crap.

I'm reading this as being fairly bizarre, passive aggressive behavior, i.e. talking about these people not directly but loudly enough that they can hear. It's one thing to be confrontational and call people out for cutting in line or whatever; you may not agree with it, but people do it. This sounds like she is acting out in a different way. When people do this in public, it gives them the appearance of being very unbalanced. That is if I am picturing it correctly.

Your stepmother is right, this could get her in fairly deep shit if she does it to the wrong person. But it also suggests to me that something is really not right and she needs to get some help.
posted by BibiRose at 7:58 AM on January 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm quite assertive and outspoken, and I'm appalled by your girlfriend. I'd rather have the kid who kicked me apologize than the adult--the kid is showing ownership of his carelessness, and that's a good thing. The dad and teacups--jeeze, pick your battles, honey. If she over-reacts in small moments like these, what's she going to do in a big situation--go all Joe Pesci and stab someone with a ballpoint?
But, it may be that she wants a big strong man to step in, so she doesn't have to defend herself from the tiny frictions of everyday life. If she's always embattled and you want to continue the relationship, maybe you can try being on her side just a bit more openly?
posted by Ideefixe at 8:01 AM on January 12, 2015 [5 favorites]



I'm reading this as being fairly bizarre, passive aggressive behavior, i.e. talking about these people not directly but loudly enough that they can hear.


I don't know, in NYC (where I live) people do this all the time. Yea it's passive aggressive but to me it's more people talking without a filter. i've done it, and it's happened to me, and when it happens to me I just try to let it go. It rarely turns into a confrontation. I don't think it's "professional help" territory but if it's a dealbreaker for you that's reasonable.
posted by zutalors! at 8:02 AM on January 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Like spec80, I see BPD red flags all over the place. Sure, you can "adapt," but you'd probably be a lot happier if you didn't.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:08 AM on January 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


The risks are very low that something bad will happen because she will be confrontational with the wrong person. Quite honestly, most people learn to tip toe around confrontational people and end up accommodating them just to make the mess go away.

The real problem is that the anger you see her direct at other people will eventually get directed at you. Some people like this might claim that they are generous and kind to their inner circle who have "earned" good treatment and trust, but most people aren't able to maintain this dual front for very long and will eventually treat you just like they treat everyone else.

I think some people learn to make these relationships work and are comfortable with a firey relationship involving lots of confrontation and fights. If you're ok with that kind of future, go for it.
posted by bright colored sock puppet at 8:17 AM on January 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


If you told us that everything else about this person was incredible and amazing and you have never been this happy in your life, it might be worthwhile to address the behavior and help her find help.
But it doesn't sound like this is the case. Life is too short. Move on.
posted by k8t at 8:19 AM on January 12, 2015 [9 favorites]


It might be helpful to you to learn the differences between assertiveness and aggression -- we often confuse the two. Standing up for one's rights is absolutely appropriate, but only when done in a respectful manner. It is certainly possible (and common) to be outspoken and opinionated but still respectful of others.
posted by jaguar at 8:27 AM on January 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


With genders reversed, I've been in a similar relationship. The anger was usually directed at a service provider (waiter / waitress, tailor, etc) who had both erred AND failed to adequately apologize, compensate, acknowledge fault, what-have-you. It was the second part that was crucial - and set him off into sometimes horrifyingly embarassing rages.

Not to project, but perchance does your girlfriend justify her behavior from the pedestal of absolute and objective righteousness combined with a messianic impulse? As in: people need to learn how to behave correctly, you can't just let people get away with bad behavior, I'm one of the few people brave enough to call people out, etc? If so, you've got a problem insofar as she doesn't think she's doing anything remotely wrong. She might think tact is appeasement.

For my personality this was sheer agony. Sounds like it might be for yours too. The first incident I heard about post-breakup where he'd had a meltdown felt like unspeakable relief: not. my. problem. now.
posted by oneaday at 8:27 AM on January 12, 2015 [14 favorites]


Also, the other thing, based on your previous question with this girlfriend is that your girlfriend is starting to resent you for not being as confrontational and as determined to punish others for perceived transgressions as she is. She's already demanding that you adopt her social beliefs and looks down on you for not doing so. So, as I said, her natural reaction eventually is going to be to get indignant and confrontational about your unwillingness to lash out at others for their supposed transgressions against you.
posted by bright colored sock puppet at 8:30 AM on January 12, 2015 [12 favorites]


Dude, you need to get out of there and get out of there NOW.
Life is too short for this.
You should tell her - with honest and calm kindness - WHY you are getting out of this relationship.
Don't let her promise to change or get better or try harder to keep you around.
Get out, let her get therapy or counseling or meds or whatever, and then she can call you.
As they said above, she won't call.

Maybe she'll change, maybe she won't, but you'll be a hell of a lot happier once you do this.

Memorize this: YOU DESERVE BETTER.
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box at 8:35 AM on January 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


For some perspective, my wife is like this except not in the angry and confrontational way. She LOVES discussing the hottest-of-button cultural and political and religious issues at what are, for me, events where these discussions are off-limits (usually after-hours work functions) and I, loosening my collar like a cartoon, try to kick her under the table or step on her toes. And she always finds people who are just like her to hash it out with. But because she's not nasty and vituperative about it (unlike your lady-friend), it's no big deal and everyone enjoys themselves, both dishing it out and taking it in good fun (except me, since I'd rather not have those discussions as those times). Those are just the sorts of conversations she enjoys and she has no problem finding others that enjoy them, too.
posted by resurrexit at 8:41 AM on January 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


(2) We were at a park one time, as we were sitting down with a couple of friends at an open grass area. There was a small boy who was playing around, as he slid into the ground and kicked my girlfriend in the back by accident. The boy apologized, as he belonged to a class that was having a field trip of some sort. My girlfriend was furious that the teacher in charge of the kids did not apologize to her directly. She started to call the teacher for lack of supervision and etc. The teacher did not respond to her, as she took all the kids within the area to go somewhere else. Another awkward moment that took place. My step-mom was very concerned about the possible fact that she confronts the wrong person at the wrong place and at the wrong time over something ridiculous. That person may do harm, and it won't be just mere words that would be thrown at our faces...


Your step-mom thinks like I do. I think people like your girlfriend are bound to eventually say the wrong thing to the wrong person. I woudn't want to be around when it finally happens.

I'm pretty damn assertive and if a kid accidentally kicked me and apologized, I'd say "Wow, good on the kid for apologizing. Somebody taught him right." I wouldn't expect the teacher (who was probably up to her ears in screaming kids) to apologize for what was clearly an accident out of her control.
posted by futureisunwritten at 8:42 AM on January 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


Also, the other thing, based on your previous question with this girlfriend is that your girlfriend is starting to resent you for not being as confrontational and as determined to punish others for perceived transgressions as she is. She's already demanding that you adopt her social beliefs and looks down on you for not doing so. So, as I said, her natural reaction eventually is going to be to get indignant and confrontational about your unwillingness to lash out at others for their supposed transgressions against you.
This is a great way to put it. To use my "wife perspective" from above, since you asked for others' experiences, my wife would never expect this of me or of anyone with whom she's arguing/discussing something. Please understand, she's not a relativist or someone who denies absolute, non-negotiable truths: she's just not a sociopath and realizes that others might, and do, disagree with her, but that each side can have some fun poking holes in the other's.
posted by resurrexit at 8:44 AM on January 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I agree with the others who say the best way to deal with this behaviour is by getting away from it, and her, as soon as possible. Aside from all the other dangers outlined above, staying with her will probably mean you end up isolated from your friends and family: your stepmother is probably not the only person in your circle who feels uncomfortable and unsafe around her, and if avoiding her means avoiding you, they might well see it as sad but necessary. Add this to the fact that she is already trying to foment trouble between you and your brother and it paints a pretty nasty picture of your future with this woman.
posted by rpfields at 9:03 AM on January 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


I had a partner like this and also a close friend. (By "like this," I mean impatient and publicly confrontational, not just opinionated.)

My experience is that people like this don't change. It seems to be pretty deep in them, and I think it's rooted in an assumption that other people will hurt or abuse or rip them off, as opposed to assuming that people are generally flawed but not malicious. I feel sorry for people with that worldview, because I assume they've had rough life experiences that led to them being that way. But at the same time personally I try to avoid spending much time with them, because I find their behaviour unpleasant and frankly kind of embarrassing.

So I don't think the best question is "how should you adapt." I think the right question is probably can she change, and if not, do you want to be with someone like this.

For the first question, you might try asking her to read the David Foster Wallace essay "In Water," and talking with her about it. It's about trying to live your life in a way that assumes the best of other people, rather than the worst. If she thinks it's stupid, then she's probably fundamentally impatient (and, I would perhaps argue, unkind) and she's not going to change.

If she doesn't seem open to trying to be more patient and kind, then you need to decide how you feel about that. Personally I wouldn't want to be around someone like that, at least not in an important primary relationship, but YMMV.
posted by Susan PG at 9:07 AM on January 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


You asked for how to manage the situation and one way could be humor. You might rib her with a nickname like Indignant Irene or Complain-y Amy (or based whatever her real name might be). Develop an inside joke about this behavior, with the subtext being its eventual change, or at least a tempering of it. But for such a technique to work would require a sense of humor about her failings, a sense of self-awareness about her disproportionate anger, and a desire to improve, none of which it seems she has at the moment.

So I'll agree with most others, that this is bad news for you. But start with a conversation of the problem. You need to let her know how uncomfortable it makes you.

My step-mom was very concerned about the possible fact that she confronts the wrong person at the wrong place and at the wrong time over something ridiculous. That person may do harm, and it won't be just mere words that would be thrown at our faces...

Right, and remember that you are going to be pulled into a big confrontation, maybe a violent one, if she pisses off the wrong person.
posted by Leontine at 9:20 AM on January 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


She strongly dislikes lack of common sense, stupidity, people who move at a pace of a snail, and last, but not least, noisy & bratty children.
So, that would be young people, most of us on an average to bad day, the old and infirm and kids. Is there anyone your girlfriend DOES like? And conversely do you like her? What does she bring to the relationship that delights you, that makes you smile when you think about her?

Some people are confrontational because they want to be seen. I worked at one remove from someone a bit like this a little while back - it was all about lines in the sand and I'm not in agreement and I am not signing up to this thing that the other parties have because it's not how I think it should be done and so on and so forth. It was a lot to do with ego and feeling in control. Perhaps if your girlfriend has been in situations where she has felt overwhelmed, perhaps while growing up, this is her attempt to reassert some semblance of control further down the line. That's being charitable. It just seems to this outsider that she doesn't care about other people's feelings and at 32 she really should.
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 9:20 AM on January 12, 2015 [10 favorites]


There is one person in my life who sometimes behaves like this and I can say that it is difficult sometimes to be in a familial relationship with them, and it has on occasionally caused them serious problems.
posted by bq at 9:32 AM on January 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Does anyone have any similar experiences dealing with a significant other like my girlfriend? Any suggestions about adapting to this type of personality is appreciated.

My grandmother was like this. She died alone, and 7 people showed up for the memorial. She had 8 children and scads of grandkids if that tells you anything.

She was a complicated person, as are most people, and she only got meaner and more bitter as she aged. I can't recall her ever having said a kind word to me. I don't know how my grandfather managed to be married to her, and I really think his heart attack at 58 was directly related to living with her.

I don't know what the universe did to her to make her such a bitter, mean, and unfriendly person, but I am glad she finally has some peace.

Personally, I would DTMFA and run run run.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:33 AM on January 12, 2015 [16 favorites]


My girlfriend is the opposite of me, as she is very opinionated and outspoken. She strongly dislikes lack of common sense, stupidity, people who move at a pace of a snail, and last, but not least, noisy & bratty children.


I say DTMFA. Also, can you put in a good word for me?


My girlfriend was furious that the teacher in charge of the kids did not apologize to her directly. She started to call the teacher for lack of supervision and etc. The teacher did not respond to her, as she took all the kids within the area to go somewhere else. Another awkward moment that took place. My step-mom was very concerned about the possible fact that she confronts the wrong person at the wrong place and at the wrong time over something ridiculous. That person may do harm, and it won't be just mere words that would be thrown at our faces...

In all seriousness, does she engage in this type of behavior when you AREN'T around. I have gone on some bizarre first dates with women who expect to pick fights with randoms, and for her guy of the moment to back her up and possibly engage in violence on her behalf.

But does she do this kind of thing when you aren't around?
posted by hal_c_on at 10:08 AM on January 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I cannot favourite jaguar's comment enough.

My concern would be less that she confronts the wrong person and more that she starts picking at you constantly. It's a horrible soul-draining prison-sentence of a relationship to be tied to someone who is always angry about totally minor things, because there will always be totally minor things to get angry about.

A million times this. I was in a relationship with someone like your partner for 7 years. It was about at the 9-12 month mark that the petty anger and temper tantrums started being directed at me. I tired to adapt by ignoring it, making it a joke, talking about it, getting angry myself, etc. Ultimately nothing helped and I felt CONSTANTLY on edge and unhappy.
posted by peanut butter milkshake at 10:15 AM on January 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


Your GF goes around picking fights with people. She's already tried to start a feud with your family, people that she's never met. You can only adapt by preparing yourself to get dragged into some horrifying fights by her. Is that what you want?
posted by kinetic at 10:36 AM on January 12, 2015 [19 favorites]


So now I understand why she's angry at your brother whom she's never met. Being angry is her job and she will find infractions everywhere to fuel her anger. What happens when she runs out of "bratty kids" or "slow people" to vent to/about? She focuses on who you should apparently be angry at: your family.

Move on. It's only a matter of time until this behavior either escalates further or she turns against you for whatever is pissing her off that day.
posted by lydhre at 11:08 AM on January 12, 2015 [14 favorites]


My step-mom was very concerned about the possible fact that she confronts the wrong person at the wrong place and at the wrong time over something ridiculous. That person may do harm, and it won't be just mere words that would be thrown at our faces...

Your girlfriend probably feels safe from retaliation because there is still a strong "don't hit women" culture in polite society. The big downside of that is you, the boyfriend, may be called upon to fight someone in her place, with all the physical and legal risks that that entails.

I'm another laid back / let it go type of person, and I find time spent with people like your girlfriend to be exhausting and stressful. I can handle it in small doses with friends, but definitely not in the long stretches required for a romantic partner.

IMO, those of us who are relatively laid back are happier when partnered with other people who are relatively laid back, and those people like your girlfriend who are perpetually crabby are happier when partnered with other people who will join in on their endless griping.

Break it off so that you both find someone more compatible. Don't feel badly about hurting her in the short run -- in the long run, she will be much happier dating someone who gets similarly outraged (some people enjoy getting outraged together as a bonding experience). And you, of course, will be much happier with a more laid-back person too.

...

Upon checking your posting history, I'm reminded that this is the girlfriend who was trying to start drama between you and your brother? Yes, definitely break up with her ASAP. You may love her but she's a very bad fit for both your personality and your family.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:12 AM on January 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't necessarily think your girlfriend is evil/mean/has a mental illness as some folks have suggested above. But, it does sound like her personality is not a good fit for yours. I would find being around someone like that completely exhausting. Not just the aggressiveness, but the whole attitude. I can honestly say, if I were in that Disney situation you described, I probably would not even notice that the family got there after me, and if I did, my mental reaction would probably be "Aw, what cute kids!" That is to say, there's two issues here. One is, she gets super annoyed at very small things that I think wouldn't even faze many people. Two is, she reacts to that annoyance by lashing out at strangers. Again, don't necessarily think this makes her evil, but GOD it would make me completely uncomfortable and on edge all the time. And I would hate living like that.

I had a friend who was like this in restaurants. No matter what happened, she would find something to get annoyed at and complain to the waitstaff. She was a former waitress and I think somehow this led her to get a weird attitude of "If I would have done things differently, I can and should be a bitch about it." We remain friends, but I have not been to a restaurant with her in years, and she knows why. Since you can't refuse to be seen in public with your girlfriend ever again, this sounds like dealbreaker territory to me.
posted by rainbowbrite at 11:32 AM on January 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


That all sounds like stuff that could irritate me when I'm in the wrong mood (tired, stressed out...), as I imagine it would irritate many people in the same frame of mind. The difference is that most of us would recognize that the intensity of the feeling comes from within ourselves, and is not justified by the "transgression" itself. And we would know how to react in a socially acceptable way.

There's probably nothing you can do here, unless you're willing to start walking on eggshells, and be uncomfortable in public until she decides to change her ways.
posted by ipsative at 11:53 AM on January 12, 2015


"I could never be with someone who would choose to go to Disneyland (DISNEYLAND!) and then yell at small children."

AMEN! Really, the Disneyland anecdote you've shared here says it all. I mean, I don't even know you, dude, but I will feel a little sad inside the next time I think of The Mad Tea Party ride and your mean, drama-causing girlfriend going out of her way to actively ruin it for those kids and their Dad.

I re-read your account of that episode, and I'm struggling mightily to see how that Dad even actually "transgressed" against her, in her eyes, in the first place:

"There was no designated line at the time. We were standing a few feet away from the teacup, and this family went in to have their picture taken by the father. I didn't think much of it since we were second in line"

Clearly, the Dad did nothing per se "wrong" here since there was no line, and you were standing a few feet away.

"My girlfriend got annoyed, and made comments within earshot distance such as "we just got cut off" and etc. After the father was done taking pictures, he turns around and says that they can hear her talking crap. My girlfriend replies back that she wasn't talking crap, and they just move along."

But actually she WAS "talking crap"! Because how else can one explain her "we just got cut off" comment in the context of your first ride of the day at Disney? When the Dad called her on her "we just got cut off" statement, she basically lied to his face. That's just straight up crazy of her to instigate like that.

This trait of hers does not bode well for you, nor really anyone who wishes to have a rational conversation with her in which they call her on her inappropriate behavior. Her response will be "didn't happen"??! No.
posted by hush at 11:56 AM on January 12, 2015 [10 favorites]


Like everyone else here, I'm just seeing one big red flag.

I was in a relationship with a person who had a similar personality and in hindsight I wish I got the hell out way sooner than I did. Not only will all that crap be turned on you at some point, but being constantly exposed to that kind of toxic personality will start to rub off on you and you'll find yourself starting to do the same damn things to innocent random people.

DTMFA
posted by Gev at 12:08 PM on January 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


So much easier to end this relationship now rather than after she's alienated you from your friends and your entire, loving family. Ask me how I know.
posted by whuppy at 12:49 PM on January 12, 2015 [14 favorites]


I wouldn't be happy in a relationship like this. She sounds like a really unhappy person.
posted by discopolo at 1:15 PM on January 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


I have an old high school friend like this. The way she treated both of the two LTRs she's had since high school, they sound just like you and your girlfriend. My friend has some good qualities but if you're staying because your girlfriend does too, remind yourself that those qualities are also available in other, nicer, people.

jaguar is right to distinguish between assertive and aggressive. A few people here have made reference to being assertive as if that's what your girlfriend is, but she's not. Being assertive doesn't require rudeness, it can be kind and cooperative. In a partner, you want someone who is considerate at least of you!

I think you should go. She probably won't be nice to or about you for breaking up with her so be prepared for some drama, avoid it if you can.

I've given my friend the slow fade out. I decided there was no point trying to make her understand what I, and most of our mutual friends, find difficult about her. She's not going to change because she has no interest in changing. I'm spending my time with people I enjoy.
posted by stellathon at 1:23 PM on January 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think the bigger worry here is not that things will one day escalate to the point where you're physically in danger, though don't get me wrong; that is certainly a possibility. Last year, I witnessed just this sort of confrontation on the subway, where the obviously mortified but dutiful boyfriend was conscripted into a shoving match with whoever was pissing off his girlfriend about some totally minor annoyance, which could have been solved by the couple simply moving a few feet away.

I think the bigger worry here is that you, being such a mild-mannered non-confrontational guy, are totally going to lose yourself and be steamrolled by her. When I saw this fight on the subway, which I still remember often, not only do I always remember the girlfriend as mean and out of line, I also think of the boyfriend as kind of a sad person. Do you want to be seen as that guy for the duration of your relationship?

Maybe because you are non-confrontational you think this is how assertiveness works. It isn't. She's picking fights and it's juvenile-- I was shocked when I read she's in her damn 30s!--and if you don't want to be part of them, I think you need to be rid of her. You are right that you can't change her. If I were you, I wouldn't try. Because if she snaps at Disney Dad, I do not want to even imagine how she would react to being asked to relinquish what she must see as her right to make everyone act how she thinks they ought to.

I hope you recognize the irony in her fighting social wrongs by...being the most socially wrong person she could be.
posted by kapers at 1:34 PM on January 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


Your girlfriend and I share a lot! Unlike many (most?) of the other people making suggestions here, I'm not going to assume that her aggressiveness is anything but what you describe. My husband very nervously brought it up with me when we were still pretty new, and I try my absolute hardest to temper my responses when we're together. So have you tried that, maybe letting her know that you're not judging her but that her tendencies to react aggressively in public make you uncomfortable? Give it a shot--her reaction may tell you more about whether it's something she's aware of and can reign in or if it's something more strongly built into her.

For what it's worth--again, as a salve against some of the needlessly presumptuous assertions about this person's character so willfully shared by others in this thread--some of us in the quick-to-anger camp aren't just happy, voluntary jerks. I grew up in a farming community that was rough and tumble and it imparted a very knee-jerk butch quality in me. It served me very well in those years, and when it's not directed at inappropriate targets (like kids at Disney) it has served me/us well as adults (e.g. dealing with a sidewalk harasser who was getting physical with my husband, who is so nonconfrontational that he didn't know how to respond and just shut down). If you can talk with your girlfriend frankly and with care about your discomfort and what you find to be her inappropriate targeting, without telling her to "just be nicer" or something flat and lacking in nuance like that, you might open a constructive long-term conversation on the matter.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 1:48 PM on January 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


My preferred way of adapting to potential dating partners who have the personality type that can be summed up as "would be rude to the waitstaff" is to stop dating them.

In the past, when I have stayed with such people, they have ended up doing two things, very predictably: 1) Embarrassing me by being aggressive to strangers in public; and 2) Turning their slowly boiling, underlying hostility on me and escalating it each time.
posted by Beethoven's Sith at 2:06 PM on January 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


It's not just that she's confrontational. It's also that her aggression is completely pointless. The teacher can't make the kid un-kick her, and the dad didn't do anything wrong.

Do you really want to partner up with a woman who is carrying around this much unfocused anger? It sounds exhausting and soul sucking.

To directly answer your question, I dated a person like this once. Eventually I left. And then I met another person like that and broke it off after three dates.

Take a break from her. See what it's like to breathe freely.
posted by snickerdoodle at 2:13 PM on January 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


I knew someone who had a husband who behaved just like this (an entitled, rage-a-holic, professional victim). The husband would fly into a rage at imaginary slights. He was an absolute fucking horror to waitstaff and other service industry workers. He also started interfering in her family matters (similar to the baby shower incident in your previous post). The anger and rages eventually got directed at the spouse. She left him due to emotional abuse because make no mistake, that's what it is.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 2:42 PM on January 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm in the camp that thinks AskMeFi can be too quick to jump to DTMFA, but this is a significant issue and there's a simple test. If you set up a nice calm time to bring it up with her, and she flips out, and then two hours later it's like you never had the conversaion she ain't gonna change.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:06 PM on January 12, 2015 [12 favorites]


I used to get mad at stuff all the time like your girlfriend. I sort of knew it was a drag on people around me, but I couldn't help myself, the injustice of it all (argh!!!). I've been changing over time though, for several reasons. My mom and my husband both detest it, and get mad at me if I'm doing it. I have to say, it does make me look at myself from their perspective, and it's not fun seeing myself acting petty. Life experience has enabled me to better empathize with people (severe depression, divorce, family crises), so instead of harshly judging someone I try to take a look at it from their perspective, understanding people have different values than me, and I'm not important here. The other part of it is I don't enjoy feeling angry, tense, and generally unhappy and therefore crappy. So I've started to deliberately choose to just Let It Go - there is very little that is worth it to get worked up over. My own well-being is more important than Being Right. I'm definitely a much more relaxed person now than I used to be.

Why did I get mad all the time? In part, there's the perception that women are supposedly more prone to being "walked all over" and timid, being Confident and Standing Up For Yourself is something we (as females) should aspire to. So I got it into my head that I should never back down, not wanting to let any slight go unpunished, because I refuse to be a doormat. It took a while to adjust that perception, that the minor stuff is just that, minor. I want to be the bigger person and forgive it, let it go, and not get stressed about it.

You could talk to your girlfriend about this, about why she gets so mad all the time. Just to try and understand her point of view, you could say. Doesn't she find it stressful to be upset over so many little things she has no power over? What is it going to solve? What does she win by being right? Why is it so important to pursue these little things? What's so bad about letting those little things go?
posted by lizbunny at 3:39 PM on January 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


I had one partner who would make very passive-aggressive rude comments about other people when they could hear. For example, in a taxi, they'd say "the next right" and as we approached it the taxi driver would confirm "this one?" Partner would say yes and then say to me "that's what the next right means" and go on about it. The taxi driver, not being deaf, could hear, which must have been part of the point for partner, but made me acutely uncomfortable. I'd try to change the subject, tell them I didn't want to talk about it, or smooth things over but it didn't work. Behaving like an arsehole obviously gave my ex some kind of satisfaction, which is why it continued.

I get irritated by people a lot and have joked - with a degree of seriousness - that I am a misanthropist, apart from the people I like. But observing this behaviour in other people, not just my ex but in co-workers and others, has made me realise that although I cannot control other people, I can control my actions and to an extent my reactions. I'm far from perfect, but trying to come up with reasons why someone might have done or said the thing that irritated me, trying to laugh at my own irritation, letting it go as lizbunny says above, does get easier with practice and actually helps me feel better overall.

I mention this because, unlike my ex-partner, I would never dream of saying anything to the person who makes me irritated but instead internalise it. If your girlfriend has similar feelings, she may feel that saying things and acting out her anger (even if passive-aggressively) are the way to stop stewing over them. It ain't so; there's much more productive ways of dealing with the anger.

You know your girlfriend and are the better judge of what's going on. I don't think this is an automatic DTMFA (though the baby shower boycott thing is worrying) but this is definitely a big issue. If you can talk about it with her and she seems responsive (Gray Skies above nails it) then there's hope. If she blows up at you, I'm afraid there probably isn't.
posted by Athanassiel at 3:51 PM on January 12, 2015


I too get cranky when dealing with slow moving, inattentive people, and those who I - when I'm in the moment - think are stupid. And I really get frustrated and uncomfortable around noisy kids (in no small part because unpredictable situations and loud noises each scare me, and kids are often both). BUT. My husband has told me that when I get loud about this, it makes him uncomfortable. So I make every effort to shut up about it. (This is easier to do when I'm not driving...). My point is this: have you told your girlfriend that she's making you uncomfortable? If you have and she's done nothing to change the behavior, then she may not be a good fit for you in the long term. While we can't expect our partners to change for us, we can expect them to respect us and to work on the things that make us uncomfortable. We can ask them to have enough introspection to consider where the behavior comes from and decide whether to address it.
posted by AliceBlue at 5:09 PM on January 12, 2015


When you decide to breakup with her in public, you know what will likely be coming...

You should be able to talk to her about it though. And then see what happens.
posted by xm at 7:43 PM on January 12, 2015


And the more I think about this, the more I stick with DTMFA and forget about talking to her: There was a small boy who was playing around, as he slid into the ground and kicked my girlfriend in the back by accident. The boy apologized, as he belonged to a class that was having a field trip of some sort. My girlfriend was furious that the teacher in charge of the kids did not apologize to her directly. She started to call the teacher for lack of supervision and etc. The teacher did not respond to her, as she took all the kids within the area to go somewhere else.

A small child accidentally slid into her, immediately apologized, and your GF got up and tried to furiously confront a chaperoning teacher who was with a bunch of small children?

This is crazy powder-kegging and really scary for the kids and the teacher. A strange woman comes up to her and her kids on a field trip and starts yelling at them? Who does that? That's what crazy people do.

I'm a teacher, and believe me, having some lunatic approach my kids and yell at us so I have to quickly regroup them ALL AWAY FROM THE CRAZY LADY is probably my worst field trip nightmare. So instead of having a nice time at the park, this teacher now probably has to talk to the kids about scary people and may even possibly have to meet with parents to discuss how a strange woman scared the kids.

And this happened because a kid accidentally knocked into her and IMMEDIATELY apologized?? Your GF acts like a lunatic. Your step-mom is right: one day she's going to pick the wrong person to go nuts on.

And who goes bananas in front of little kids??
posted by kinetic at 3:24 AM on January 13, 2015 [12 favorites]


I don't see what the big deal is with bringing it up and discussing it with her, as many have said. The outcome of that conversation will give you your answer. Then you get to decide if you want to stick it out and work through things with her, because even if she wants to she won't change instantly.

I mostly want to caution against all the posters saying they see BPD flags. What you've described is in no way characteristic of people with BPD (BPD sufferers are usually full of empathy and feel terrible remorse after being dicks!), though there may be some people with BPD who would act that way--but the main diagnostic criteria (though obviously it's not helpful to armchair diagnose your girlfriend) aren't apparent in your short anecdote at all, whereas they are for antisocial personality disorder, for example.

She clearly has anger and impulsivity issues that you absolutely need to discuss if you want this to get better. If she's not open to that it ain't gonna change.
posted by Polychrome at 4:17 AM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Unless your girlfriend has been abusing animals, physically bullying other people, committing arson, destroying property, breaking into homes, and/or sexually assaulting people since before she was 18 years old, she almost definitely does not have antisocial personality disorder.
posted by jaguar at 6:30 AM on January 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I really don't get all the psychiatric diagnoses. This is just kinda standard asshole behavior. Last I heard, that's not a psychiatric disorder
posted by empath at 6:35 AM on January 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


She strongly dislikes lack of common sense, stupidity, people who move at a pace of a snail, and last, but not least, noisy & bratty children.

Um, has it occurred to you that most of the things she dislikes are reflected in her behavior?

Lack of common sense? Check. It shows an extreme lack of common sense to go to Disneyland and start shit-talking people to their face pretty much the minute you two get there. Any person with common sense would realize that you, her companion, would be mortified by her conduct and that her conduct would severely diminish your enjoyment of the day.

Stupidity? Check. Being constantly hostile and mouthy over trivial things is stupid. Here you are on Metafilter asking for advice on how to cope with her immaturity. It's pretty stupid to behave in ways that set your significant other on edge constantly.

Noisy & bratty children? Check. But I'll leave that one for an exercise for you.

********

Here's why your relationship with her will never work. Her obnoxiousness is about her lack of power, her frustration that she cannot control how other people behave. She flies into a rage when people do not behave in exactly the way she wants them to behave. This is a fundamentally immature, maladjusted way of being in the world. It is the opposite of the way you are, which is easygoing, softspoken, and accepting of things. Someone like her, who is an immature, control freak rageaholic, will never be a good companion for you. Even if she manages to keep her temper in check, there will be an edge of anxiety and pressure for you, because her very manner will reflect, in subtle ways, frustration and impatience.
posted by jayder at 6:49 AM on January 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


Any suggestions about adapting to this type of personality is appreciated.

What are your cultural backgrounds? I have seen these type of disconnects be cultural, not personality, before.
posted by corb at 12:40 PM on January 13, 2015


Oh my god, you're the same person who wrote about the baby shower.

No, dude. Get out of this mess. This chick needs help or love, or something ...either way, you need to get out.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:46 PM on January 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


Either way I would not want to be with this person, but I'm curious to know whether her aggression is always directed at people she would perceive as weaker and/or lower in status.

To put it another way: is she unable to control her anger, directing it indiscriminately at anybody and everybody? Or does she apply it selectively, implying that she has some significant degree of control and leaving open the possibility that maybe she does it because she gets some kind of power thrill out of bullying people?
posted by Nerd of the North at 6:06 PM on January 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I will admit that I can get impatient and huffy at slow walkers, lack of common sense, and sometimes children.

But this is when I'm very hungry/very tired/very frustrated, especially if my introvert battery is drained, and I've been pushed too far over the edge; it's definitely not my default state or my overall personality. I've warned boyfriends and friends that if I tip too far into hangry, I'm "unreasonable" (my generous word for it) and I need to eat.

But just because I'm in a shitty mood doesn't give me the right to ruin someone else's day. And it will ruin mine too, because I hate feeling like an asshole.

I'm aware that this is a problem for me, so I'm actively trying to do better. If I know I'm going to be in a place that's going to push my buttons (hello, IKEA!), I make sure I'm well-fed and proteined up throughout. I'm constantly working on my mindfulness and my sympathy/empathy so that it's reflexive when I'm in that state.

If this isn't something that goes away with a snack or a meal, if she doesn't feel terrible about it afterwards, and this is just who she is 24/7 and she doesn't see it as a problem, yikes.
posted by littlemisslaika at 7:07 PM on January 13, 2015


Best case: your girlfriend has a mean, petty, socially unacceptable side to her personality that has the potential to: alienate you from your family, put you in situations where you may have to physically defend yourself if she messes with the wrong person, or, when she can't find something to pick on with someone else... pick on you.

Worst case: your girlfriend has undiagnosed BPD/ anger management issues that have the potential to: alienate you from your family, to put you in situations where you may have to physically defend yourself if she messes with the wrong person, or, when she can't find something to pick on with someone else... pick on you.

I noticed that the only answer you favorited was one that went against the DTMFA advice most commenters on here are giving you. It seems like this isn't a dealbreaker for you, but you need to understand that not talking to her about her behavior makes you her enabler.

If you must insist on pursuing a relationship with her, then please do the people that must interact with the two of you a favor and stop enabling her pettiness. Talk to her, dump her, show her that thirty-somethings don't go to Disneyland and act like the four-year-olds she's so irritated by.

I had a friend who perceived what most people would see as minor trangressions as gigantic personal insults that MUST BE AVENGED! Not only was it exhausting, but I eventually realized that when I was around her in certain situations, other people looked at ME differently. Do you really want your loved ones to wonder why you continue closely associate with a bully? For all you know, your brother didn't attend your graduation/ birthday because he's had a whiff of your girlfriend's pettiness and wants nothing to do with her (hopefully, not you as well).
posted by Everydayville at 4:10 PM on January 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


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