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Discussion Starter #1
I'll try to keep this as short as possible:

Person X (I have no idea what her type is. I think she used to be an xNTx once upon a time, but she is now so unhealthy that she is impossible to type) is going through a very rough time in her life. She has been struggling to deal with the same issues for almost 10 years and making absolutely no progress. To outsiders, it seems that things are getting exponentially worse and that her life is about to completely implode. She talks to everyone who will listen, looking for help and guidance. Everyone eventually tells X that her problems are too involved and that she should seek professional help.

X is actively seeking out advice and feedback from other people. Yet whenever those people bring up counselling or point out something X could be working on, X takes it as profoundly insulting. X will not only dismiss the suggestion, she will also respond by pointing out the failings or issues she sees in her helpers.

When the helpers take insult or feel hurt by the criticism, X says that it's exactly the same thing as the helpers saying that she should get counselling. X can't figure out why it's okay for the helpers to point out her failings, but not okay for her to point out the helpers' failings.

So, my question: are they in fact the same thing?

My opinion is that the helpers are being asked to provide feedback/guidance, so what they say is by default not meant to be an insult or hurtful. Sure it probably stings to hear some of it, but it has been requested and is being said with the best of intentions. Whereas, I think that X is lashing out in defensiveness. X is not trying to be intentionally hurtful, but she is being unnecessarily critical in an attempt to deflect attention from issues that she is not ready to deal with.

X sees it as profoundly unfair that everyone can dump on her, but she can't say anything about her helpers. X claims that her intention is just as altruistic as her helpers and that X is also only saying those things out of a desire to help. X doesn't see why it's insulting when she says those things, but not when others say those types of things to her.

After typing this out and seeing it in writing, I'm feeling quite comfortable with my position. However, I've been completely off the mark on this type of thing before, so I would appreciate some other opinions.
 

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There are many people that are this way in my experience. They present their issues not so much as issues to be solved, but to get confirmation that whatever they are doing is the right thing. When people try to solve their issues, they get defensive because they don't really want to fix the problem, they just want to complain about it or get people to tell them everything will be fine.

Personally after a little while I just walk away from these types of people or stop trying to solve their problems and just listen.

Reminds me of this video.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Lol. Yup, that video about sums it up :p

I'm definitely at the point of walking away with this person. It's sad though because she absolutely is looking for a solution and a fix, she just doesn't like the solution that everyone is suggesting. She keeps going to more and more people hoping that someone will tell her something different.
 

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Maid of Time
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Yeah, when I read this post earlier, my immediate response was:


1. If you go to someone asking for advice, you are asking them to critique you. They are not asking you to critique them. If they ask you to critique them, it's fine; but it's like you asking someone to copyedit your term paper, and when they give it back after providing feedback (with which you can with whatever you like), you grab something of theirs unsolicited, mark it all up, and toss it back at them because you didn't like their comments.

If you don't trust their feedback, don't go to them in the first place.

If you receive feedback, don't punish them for offering it since you requested it and they were kind enough to spend time providing it.

Keep your ears open, your brain receptive, and your mouth shut.


2. If multiple people provide you with the SAME feedback, that's called "triangulation of data" and helps pinpoint a common perception. If all these people keep coming up with the same suggestion, it should at least be considered seriously and not thrown away out of a hurt ego.


3. There is nothing shameful in going to counseling, to get advice from someone who actually has dealt with similar issues before and might actually be in a position to comment appropriately and constructively as a third party. Not to mention being able to provide some active guidance to help her find her way through.


I think it's pretty much like what has been suggested -- either her ego can't take the critique, or she's looking for acceptance / confirmation for her current ideas/behavior and has no real intent to change. Sometimes people unconsciously seem to think as long as they bring it up, then it shows they're not blind to their issues and then expect people to just accept it as-is.
 

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@jayde
Sadly such a common issue with those in denial, all too often seen in alcoholics 'that want help' in the most commonest form of actors and 'participants: the scolder that is driving them to maintain an issue, the rescuer they seek to say 'there, there, you are not alone', the saviour who will 'cure them', the persecutor that is 'making them worse' and the 'guilt tripper' that is making them see how their behaviour is maladjusted enough to harm others... in reality it is all a social game of victim-manipulator-lost child-good parent sought or persecutor-victim​ to ensure they never have to overcome their underlying problems or seeking enablers until they reach rock bottom to get professional help.

Such cycles can normally only be broken when people 'keep leaving', people challenge person X's behaviours leading to transferences and countertransferences and actually refusing to play the social game of 'poor me, I'm trying [to improve] I really am' while letting them know you accept them without them needing to play games.
 

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Wow. I used to know a person who was exactly like this, and I had to break our friendship for my mental health's sake.
She would dump on me (and a few other friends) her problems and specifically ask for advice (I'm an INFP, I never ever give unsolicited advice), and I would recomend her mentors and people who could help her, she would just attack me and say "No, those people you want me to see are not for me, suggest something else" and I would suggest something else, and she'd attack me again "You don't want to help me at all! That's what it is!" and then she would go to my friends and insult me behind my back and say things like "I went to (me) for help and she refused, can you believe what a bad friend she is?" and everybody started to believe her. It was a surrealistic situation that went on for 3 years. And I had to say 'fuck her' and walk away.

They present their issues not so much as issues to be solved, but to get confirmation that whatever they are doing is the right thing. When people try to solve their issues, they get defensive because they don't really want to fix the problem, they just want to complain about it or get people to tell them everything will be fine.
That's exactly it. They pretend they want the help, but the only thing they want is your pity, and to tell them that the mess the have done with their lives is completely valid, they want reassurance that their toxic behaviors are okay and that they can keep doing it. But we shouldn't give them what they want! Their toxicity needs to be confronted, specially if they ask for it.

If this person is asking you for advice, then they're asking you to exercise your ability to discern what they're doing wrong and what they're doing right, and basically give them constructive criticism. That does not imply that they can slap you in the face or give you unsolicited criticism, no.
Like someone already said, "if you don't like someone's feedback the first time you ask for it", don't ask again. But if the person is coming to you repeatedly, hoping the get a different feedback, then they are in no position to get angry with you. They know where you stand already. In my experience with this person, she just wanted to show her friends that 'look, I know I have problems, ok, and I'm going to pretend that I want to fix them, so you don't call me out, but actually I want to continue like this because it's comfy, but hey I'm trying so you can't call out my BS'. It's such a mess.
 
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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks to everyone for your input :)

The bit about roles really jumped out at me. I've always described her as having a persecution complex. It has always been "What have I done to deserve this? Why does everyone always leave me?" The closer she gets to rock bottom, the worse it gets. She has completely ostracized herself from everyone in her life - no family, only a couple of distant friends left. Her teenage son just told her that he doesn't want to be around her anymore and refuses to call or visit.

I really think she is looking for someone to come in and save her from her life and do all the heavy lifting for her. It's sad to see so much wasted potential, but it is what it is.
 

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My experience is until the person gets to a point where they accept that they are where they are in their lives because they drove there and make a conscious decision that they are willing to undertake the effort to drive somewhere else, it'll never change. Many people aren't happy with where they are in life, but few are willing to roll up their sleeves and put in the long term effort it requires to change it.

"I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it." Thomas Jefferson
 

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Discussion Starter #9
^^^ Agreed. That has always been one of my favourite quotes, btw. Also this one:

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." Thomas Alva Edison
 

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Maid of Time
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I really think she is looking for someone to come in and save her from her life and do all the heavy lifting for her. It's sad to see so much wasted potential, but it is what it is.
I don't think I ever depended directly on others, but it was a hard and long lesson for me to realize that no one was going to show up and "save me" or make the hard choices for me. If I wanted to change my life, I had to make the decisions and then start changing it.

Sometimes that's a lesson that takes a long time to get through one's head.
 

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l'm a little hypereactive to this type at this point but yes, it's a confirmation thing.

Also about dependency, they're shirking the responsibility by putting it on you and everyone else.

Actually ''giving'' you their problem , and then when things crash and burn (which they will and the person knows this as they aren't trying to change) they think they can come to you about it for counseling.

Or actually blame you for your advice not working...

The red flag here is if they will not accept fault, l may be too harsh in seeing ulterior motives prematurely so where'd l'd really draw the line and stop trying to communicate is when they will not ever accept any kind of fault, blame, or acknowledge personal responsibility and immediately project blame.

lf they actually respond to advice and criticism, l am more understanding.

l think that when it's a single person in a mutual group of friends or family, the issue is somewhat easier to handle because of the ''triangulation'' mentioned above. Everyone sees the problem and everyone is in agreement.

l don't think the entire group should outright shun the person, but the approach l take is to speak with all of the people the person talks to just to gather info.

Then we all basically approach them the same way, with the same answers, they can't manipulate as easily and they either get bored or move on.
 

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oooooh~
I want to talk to her now o^o
 

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No. The difference is that A: X is actively seeking advice from these people and so she should/could expect to receive advice that doesn't suit her or that doesn't fit with the mental image of the issue she has created. B: her pointing out of flaws seems to be reactive and in response to someone else pointing a finger at her. As you describe it: it's not requested of her, in contrary to her seeking their advice and it's also meant as a retaliation and/or accusation instead of genuine advice.

Don't underestimate how shaky some people's sense of self is. She might be clinging on to the last straws of control and acknowledging someone might be right about a point of improvement or flaw could make her (feel like she is) let(ting) go of the last bit of self that she has.

From the way you describe her, she sounds like she is in no shape to receive criticism, however constructive it is presented, and probably still has some travel left to the rock bottom. Until she is ready to accept that -she- might need to change, she will most likely continue to externalize whatever issue she has and blame circumstances.

From my personal experience in this kind of situation: either let them go or be prepared to put up with this for however long it takes her to get to that point. Good luck either way.
 

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Sometimes people say that they want help, and a part of them wants it, but they are unwilling to accept their share of personal responsibility. Or maybe they do not realize the core of the problem, since there are so many moving parts.

Friends and therapists can't guide or help people who are not willing to look very, very deeply and honestly into themselves.

Sometimes people say that they want help, but they their pleas are not so much a call for advice. They are a call for affirmation (not so much an affirmation that what they are doing is right, but the affirmation of their humanity, beauty, capacity and their immense, untapped strength) and encouragement.

If you are willing to stand by X, instead of offering advice, you can perhaps help her find the kind of questions that she needs to answer. You can be a cheerleader. What kind of help does she want? What makes her happy? What is important to her?

Nobody can ever give us answers. We must find our own answers. Most often, we know the answers -- either we have forgotten them, or are simply unwilling to look them in the eye. Others can only throw us some clues while we find the answers ourselves, and they can cheer us on through thick and thin. After infancy and childhood, we are nobody's responsibility. We are entirely responsible for ourselves.
 
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