The Persecution Complex: When Difficult people become more than annoying

The Persecution Complex: When Difficult people become more than annoying

So, I'm a part of this Facebook group. Now, right there, that first sentence spells nothing but strife and trouble, as all Facebook groups are a breeding ground for loonies and prime examples of evolution gone awry. It's a place where people go to bond with other like-minded individuals who enjoy or take part in something you love as well. Once said people enter the group together, it is akin to throwing pudding into a ceiling fan - you end up messy, frustrated, and either left to clean up said mess or pack up your trunk and abandon it.

The group I'm a part of, while I can't tell you exactly what it is, contains all of the warning signs as detailed above. But one person, in particular, seems to epitomize the person you loathe to see in such a gathering. It seems every post they write is complaining, yet it is not your average, run-of-the-mill complaining - it is pure and unadulterated kvetching about being persecuted.

They seem to complain about the good and the bad equally, which is interesting. Examples of the good, a group in their chosen field invited to a prestigious event, yet this person declined because they found a few of the members annoying and knew they would target them with their disdain and the bad, a company shared shared a group picture that included them in a mass of dozens of people on a website and said curmudgeon wanted to know if they could sue. And, sadly, those two examples are only the tip of the iceberg.

I, being the cautious observer that I am, have cataloged these instances in my mind and saved them for a rainy news day. Yesterday, one of their posts pushed me over the edge, regarding someone stealing a post of theirs which only two timid people commented on, as she has driven away all avenues of those of us who could be of some help,  and I decided to speak with you about this issue that I think affects more of you than you may think.

In life, we are constantly barraged with people who seem to be like black clouds, floating over our lives and complaining about what the world is dealing them. It may not be the official term, but I dub these people as having a Persecution Complex. In my definition, a Persecution Complex is "a psychological disorder which causes a person to observe normal occurrences in their lives and see them solely as attacking or persecuting them." While I'm getting the definition portion of this tirade out of the way, this complex involves the idea of Projecting, which psychologist Sigmund Freud defines as "a form of defense in which unwanted feelings are displaced onto another person."

The people who suffer from this affliction, including my case study example, project their career and personal frustrations on the person or group who somehow offends them. It doesn't matter if the grievance the other party committed is real or a false manifestation concocted by their anxious mind, as their reactions will be the same.

And now, here comes the most important question you all must be asking: how do we deal with these difficult people? There two valid solutions, in my opinion:

1. Cut the person out of your life, if they are not an integral or valued person in your life. Leave the Facebook group, social group, or general area where you know you'll run into them. These people are toxic and, unless they seek psychiatric help, they'll never know they're even erring.

2. If the person is valued by you or if you absolutely have to be around them, at work or school, for example, you should take the opportunity to calmly talk to said person and attempt to make them become aware of their complex. I cannot guarantee how they will react but, if you must be around them, they should be aware that their behavior is having a negative effect on you.

To be clear, I am not a psychologist, nor should you self-diagnose anyone around you based on your bias against them and, before saying anything to the person themselves, find a trusted person close to them to kibitz and share your concerns before accosting them.

These people, sadly, are like mosquitos, urging you to swat at them and ease the sharp pain they create.

In life, we aren't able to choose the people that we want around us, but we do have the ability to deal with them with tact, patience, and if all else fails, an industrial-strength bug spray.


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  • The first problem is in your first three sentences. I have said that I would not give Zuckerberg any personally identifying information, and now he wants to bypass ad blockers.

    I don't believe there are real people on the Internet. I gave up on that when, about when you were born (per your last post), someone tried to instant message me on AOL, and when I asked "why" said that I was from the same home town. When I visited my nephew about that time (he was about 8), anything he did was interrupted by instant messenger on a repeated basis.

    Thus, "how do we deal with these difficult people?" is a valid question. but only with respect to people you already know and with whom you have human contact (like the jerk who used to live above me). If they are virtual people, just block or flame them. Again, I don't know if you are old enough, but I don't think you bought Sim City just to be insulted by the Sims.

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