What do you call this kind of person?

It's the kind of person who has suffered a lot in their life, and has a particular style of relating to others that is especially bound up in what they have suffered. I want to understand this kind of personality. I am going to give a bit of a caricature to make it easier to 'see'.

They are not narcissists: they can be very kind and empathetic, and they associate with and care for the weak, with a genuine desire to help them. However, they are incredibly self-absorbed as they do so, and protective and almost competitive about their own victimhood status.

For example:

1) They might seek out younger people who have suffered a lot and make out implicitly that they haven't suffered as much as them, and they can patronise like a 'wise old guru'.

2) They have a tendency to talk about themselves a lot and at length, in conversations that were originally about someone else's suffering.

3) They may start telling you a story about themselves that you didn't ask to hear, then stop in the middle and say 'but the meaning of this particular detail is a divine revelation that is too intimate for me to tell you'.

4) They may write messages about themselves and their day in a slightly cryptic, poetic way instead of positively helping you to understand.

5) They don't express genuine joy when you achieve something great in your life, or genuine appreciation or even that much interest when you create a piece of art or music that others have called beautiful. It is only when you credit them with being 'wise' or 'strong' that they praise you for your evaluation of *them*. That is, they don't seem to be as interested in your talents as they are in your admiration of theirs.

6) They presume to speak 'wise' words about suffering and are affronted when others disagree politely, because others 'couldn't understand' suffering like they do. And they expect a sympathetic audience when they do so.

7) They are easily triggered and act out but do not show as much tolerance towards other people acting out when triggered, as they seem to think they deserve, themselves.

8) If someone appears to be in greater distress than them in a given moment, they might say 'I was where you are, way back, and I have moved forward in my healing now', and instead of going for the 'biggest victim' role, make out that they're 'the one who has come the furthest'.

9) They over-disclose about specific things but do not reveal the big thing that caused their suffering, even though it is the entire grounds for their public face to the world.

10) If you don't understand them as they want to be understood, or don't give them the emotional reaction they want, you somehow feel like you've just done something mean.

They seem to presume that the fact that they have suffered greatly puts them above others, and gives them a special entitlement to be treated with a form of deference.

What is this sort of person? I have met a number of them and I really want to understand how to relate to this type without getting infuriated or being mean to them. A psychological typology-label or 'diagnosis' would make for an easier look-up, if you could offer one. And if you can't - could you say if you've ever come across someone like this? It's not just the 'eternal victimhood' mindset. There's more entitlement about it that that.

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Comments ( 10 ) Sort: best | oldest
  • I have c,-PTSD, DiD and am an addict in recovery and have done almost all those things at one point or another.

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  • C-PTSD, borderline personality disorder, narcissism, possibly an addict or someone new in recovery.

    Self centered and self seeking,

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  • A hypocrite and a bit of an asshole?

    Cause let me tell you this, if I'm in the middle of a serious conversation about me and this person interrupted me, or tried shifting the conversation on them, so they can get into some weird contest about suffering - I will not hesitate to tell them off!

    Also I hate cryptic speaking. Say what's on your mind, none of this mystery inside a riddle, in an enigma crap. If you're too much of a wacko to get to the point - I'm not interested in hearing what you have to say. Stop pretending to be smarter than you actually are.

    Not expressing joy when your friends achieve a life goal is just being a bitter and jealous dork. You don't have to throw a party, but do act like a normal human being. And if said person twisted someone's success to justify their misery - I will again call them out on playing the victim card for nothing.

    I hate fake people like this. Back when I was in university a girl just like ^ that ^ used to hang out with me and my friends. Very toxic behavior. It didn't take too long, before I cut ties with her and stopped even acknowledging her presence when she tagged along.

    She was the type to pretend she's your friend and to sympathize with you, but then badmouth you in front of others... to try and put herself in a better position somehow. Always the victim, always the smartest and most cultured, always the best, but somehow thwarted by life at everything... Never acknowledging her mistakes, never taking responsibility for her actions. I can't stand people like that.

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  • Anti social personality disorder?

    Idk how to categorize them. All the disorders are just words to describe symptoms. So its just a word.

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    • The thing is, if I had a term, I could read up on it and understand this particular cluster of traits in people better. Without a word for the thing I keep seeing over and over again, it's hard to even google it.

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  • Boomers?

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  • A loser.

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  • It sounds like maybe they never received validation during their suffering, so now that they're at a place where they've improved they want it to be recognized (and thereby validated). It would make that, if they didn't feel heard or validated, that they'd continuously shift the focus back onto themselves because they take others' lack of a comment as INvalidating

    Could be a lot of different things though. The first thing I offered was trying to be generous. It could just be that they've had a difficult life and are too self-important to see how smug and even arrogant they're being

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    • I love your insightful comments, ospry (I wrote 'Would he have kissed me?' too). Thank you so much for engaging with the subject and really thinking about it, and taking time to discuss it in a nuanced way. Both solutions are possible. Did you have an example of both in mind?

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      • Thats called a professional VICTEM. If they are literally competing about their status as "Victim". https://www.healthline.com/health/victim-mentality

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