Concerning hardships & past hurts-Why do some people try to top eachother?

@bethmt (419)
United States
February 24, 2007 4:27pm CST
Not long ago I was talking to an aquaintance about past pregnancies and I mentioned the fact that I'd had two past miscarriages,which still holds some painful memories although I didn't say that part. She replied, "Well that's nothing, I've had four!" Okay, I felt bad that she'd gone through that but I hadn't seen my remark as some kind of contest. Maybe it was just the "that's nothing" part that rubbed me the wrong way. Have you noticed how a lot of people react in this way when they are told about someone's past hurts or current hardships? The way that some people have to top another person? This has happened to me before, not that I go around dumping my problems on everyone and I don't consider it a big issue. I just believe that people can talk to eachother about their similar painful experiences without turning it into a contest. I think this wanting to top another may be part of their insecurity or anger; what do you think? And have you experienced this very much yourself?
6 people like this
21 responses
@ESKARENA1 (18299)
25 Feb 07
I think insecure, ego centric people will often react this way. They believe that the whole world is on an axis traveling directly through their body. Everything they do is of paramount importence, to them and they assume everyone must feel the same way. It really is an attempt to cover up their own deep-seated feelings of inadequecy. One can tell when you are speaking to someone with problems of inadequacy, they always start a reply, such as thats nothing, to belittle your previous statement, before going on to tell you how you really have no right to speak when in the presence of such a large ego. How many times have you seen people on mylot start a reply by asking are you mad? Its part of the same thing, egocentricity hand in hand with insecurity can not stand being challenged. If they come upon a perceived challenge, they can not herlp re asserting their own superiority. blessed be
1 person likes this
@bethmt (419)
• United States
25 Feb 07
Yes, I've noticed that some people feel the need to belittle someone's statements, no matter what the other person is saying, as a way to pump up their own fragile ego. I was also I may come across as having a fragile ego by even bringing up this topic, lol. But it's interesting to me to figure out the ways our minds work and what makes us react to situations in certain ways. You bring up some interesting points...thanks :)
@bethmt (419)
• United States
25 Feb 07
Oops, I left out the word "wondering" in that first paragraph... :(
• United States
25 Feb 07
I had a best friend that always did this too me. She was always sicker than I was, always prettier, always had more money, her hardships were worse than mine, you get the point. These peole are toxic, stay away from them!
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Feb 07
I agree!
@bethmt (419)
• United States
26 Feb 07
I've been around those kind of toxic people before; that's true, sometimes it's best to just stay away from them.
@thyst07 (2091)
• United States
25 Feb 07
In my sociology/women's studies classes, we call this "pain olympics." For example, when it comes to discrimination, people try to compete to say who's got it worse. "I'm discriminated against because I'm a woman." "Oh yeah? Well I'm a black woman! I've got it way worse!" The whole thing is stupid. The fact is, pain is pain. Just because someone has had four miscarriages doesn't mean that your two don't mean anything. And the statement "that's nothing" is really, really hurtful, because it's like saying that your feelings are insignificant and invalid just because someone else "has it worse." We can't trivialize others' experiences like that- we might feel our own situation is worse, but we can't really know how theirs has affected them. At the bottom of it, the pain olympics are just another facet of competitive human nature. Just as we like to try to prove ourselves better than others, we also like to outdo them in measures of hardship. It's pretty twisted, but it's there.
1 person likes this
@bethmt (419)
• United States
25 Feb 07
I like that title, pain olympics, lol. But I agree that each person's pain is their own and there's no way that someone can say what another person is experiencing is "nothing". I think it was that part that bothered me and at the same time I felt compassion for the pain that she'd gone through and obviously was still feeling. Thanks for some very good insight.
1 person likes this
@thyst07 (2091)
• United States
25 Feb 07
No problem. Glad I could give some helpful input.
1 person likes this
@mssnow (9493)
• United States
25 Feb 07
Sometimes when you bring up sad things happening to you. It triggers peoples memories and they makes them remember. There maybe some who think they need to top you. But If I get a trigger and someone shared a story of hurt I would probably tell them about mine because I figured, if they feel comfortable to share with me their story then, why cant I share mine.
1 person likes this
@bethmt (419)
• United States
26 Feb 07
That's true that the discussion of a painful topic can open the door for another person to bring up their own situation. It's only when one person gets dismissive of the other person's pain that causes concern. Thanks for the reply. :)
• United States
25 Feb 07
Awww! That is soo mean! I to have felt your pain..and a friend of mine back then said..IT happens..I had one when i was 16..dont worry it was for a reason...I AM SOO SICK OF HEARING THAT! Iunderstand that everything happens for a reason..i do..but you dont have to tell me not to worry because it killed me..because of the situation I have..so the fact that I was pregnant at the time..made me soo happy! then......sigh...and the it happens deal..we dont need to be told that when something as serious as losing a child..or even a family member..its just something u should say..if u break a bone..or get dumped..know what i mean?
1 person likes this
@bethmt (419)
• United States
26 Feb 07
Sometimes I think people really don't know what to say so they start trying to reassure a person in a very clumsy way...I understand what you're saying though. I'm sorry that you went through the miscarriage, you're right in that it is very emotionally painful. Take care and thanks for replying.
@jhoanee (598)
• Philippines
25 Feb 07
it didnt come into your idea the reason behind she told you that other than to top your hurt. maybe just maybe she told you that she is experience it more than you do just to let you feel that she is been more hurt than you but still manage to be fine. i guess she just wanted to let you know that be strong, everything has a reason. there are also instance people wanted to top someone just to get an attention..lol..well i felt sorry for them on doing that. we are all have a share of pain and happiness too. we dont need to act as if it was a contest.
1 person likes this
@bethmt (419)
• United States
25 Feb 07
You bring up an interesting point in that messages can be hidden in a person's statements and maybe they are giving reassurance even if it's heavy handed. I had a lot of compassion for the pain she'd obviously gone through but I felt that the statement of "that's nothing" was hurtful the most. I think that people can communicate their own pain without dismissing another person's. Thanks for the good insight. :)
@Weskom (25)
• United States
25 Feb 07
Interesting. People are naturally competative and pain and discomfort are not strangers to the idea of competing for the top spot. I think most of the time others are not trying to out-do you, only trying to say that "when you think youv'e got it bad" there's always someone who really does, "have it bad." We can learn from painful experiences if we try to see the circumstance of the situation. Perhaps it is a way to relese anger, rejection, pain, etc. As far as contests go, I enjoy a good one once in a while. It keeps things in perspective and helps me realize a few things too. Thanks for the memory, it still hurts.
1 person likes this
@bethmt (419)
• United States
25 Feb 07
Yes, sometimes people are trying to reassure in their own way although I don't think this was the case here. I think she may have just been an angry and insecure person, who knows. I remember when our youngest son was about to go through heart surgery years ago, one of my husband's family members kept telling us that "things could be worse" and was telling us of how things could be worse. Well, even though I knew she was trying in her own way to reassure us, ironically all she was doing was making things worse. Now that it's all past I can laugh about it but at the time it wasn't what my husband and I needed to hear. Sometimes it's best for people just to keep silent. :) Thanks for replying.
• Canada
25 Feb 07
Some people like to play the sad sorry little victim, and so when you told her about that and then she said "that's nothing" she was expecting you to turn round and say "oh I'm so sorry, you poor thing." I would have smacked her in the teeth for trying to belittle my feelings and emotions over what is a terribly painful subject. I too have suffered a miscarriage, and if anyone told me that it was "nothing" because they've been through worse, they would be suffering the consequences of that for quite some time. For some people, playing the victim is all they know. They WANT people to feel sorry for them. because they feed off that and it inflates their already over sized ego. Their feeling of self importance comes before anything else, and they don't realize that they're angering people in the process. I'm sorry you had this experience and I hope that you can get past it. Rest assured in the knowledge that you got past your terrible experiences and are stronger, while she's still wallowing in the pity party.
1 person likes this
@bethmt (419)
• United States
26 Feb 07
Some people can really thrive on the victim stuff and I feel kind of bad for a person that gets stuck in that. On the other hand it's downright annoying sometimes. I'm sorry to hear that you went through a miscarriage too and thanks so much for your reply. Take care
@Willowlady (10666)
• United States
25 Feb 07
It seems to be frailty in some people to have the one upmanship thing going on. Something has happened somewhere in their past to create this reaction. Not a good one by a long shot. More of comiseration would be in order with free and equal sharing. Fortunately I have not really found this. After my fire I had many people tell me that they understood what had happened and that they too had some experience in their past. They offered encouragement and was very helpful. Hopefully you will not meet those kind of people again. If you do then not be surprised and them maybe ask if they think that it makes them better and see what they have to say. A good conversation might come of that.
1 person likes this
@bethmt (419)
• United States
25 Feb 07
I was thinking the same thing as far as a person's past experience and the fact that the subject could be triggering to them. Even so it can smart but I try to be compassionate about the whole thing. Thanks for the insight.
• United States
24 Feb 07
Some people crave this behavior--I'm sure of it! They have to one-up the next person no matter what. I'm starting to be annoyed with people like this. I've recently noticed that a friend does this. I'm not sure why I never noticed before. I think it's a competitive type of behavior, and that person has a need to be better than every one else. My friend does this on a regular basis. She brags about how much she studies and such. But if I get a better grade than her, she really gets mad, and she won't talk to me. I am not sure how long I will keep her as a friend, because friends should be happy for you no matter what. I'm sorry that you had 2 miscarriages, I have had one, and I know that it hurts and that it's hard to handle. I try to believe that there is some reason why God gave this to me. Keep your head up, have faith, and when the time is right, all will go well. :)
@bethmt (419)
• United States
24 Feb 07
I know the type of person you're describing, who is so competitive that they trample on other people's feelings. You're right in that friends should be happy for you or be supportive;if it's too one sided it just won't work. Thank you for your kind words and I'm sorry to hear that you went through a miscarriage yourself. Take care and thanks for replying.
• Canada
24 Feb 07
I have noticed this and it is hurtful and annoying . Like you said , it is not a contest to see who had more pain in life . I believe the people that are like this though are suffering from something themselves , weather it is there self esteem or something where they feel that no matter weather it is good or bad that it has to have happened to them before it happened to you or for them it was much worse or much better . They need to feel better themselves and this is the only way they can go about doing it but that doesn't make it less frustrating or hurtful for us when we have to say something .
1 person likes this
@bethmt (419)
• United States
24 Feb 07
That's very true, the fact that some people think it was worse for them than it was for you. Each person's experience is their own so no one can completely understand how the experience was for another person. Thanks for replying. :)
• United States
25 Feb 07
i understand what you are saying I have notice that alot in people also.
1 person likes this
@charms88 (7541)
• Philippines
25 Feb 07
We each learn a lot in life including pains and sufferngs. Some people tend to be tactless and insensitive toward our feelings. Some people maybe saying "that's nothing," in order to cover up their own flaws and insecurities. It is not my way of sharing some sensitive issues of my life to just about everyone. I maintained a small group of close friends and I can freely poured out my problems with them. But having surpassed all this hurts and hardships, don't you think you were able to come up stronger and wiser. With each pain, you gain more strength. Just forget about what these people are saying and go on with your life. Be happy!!!
• United States
25 Feb 07
I experience this all the time. Perhaps it's my tone of voice or something, but every time I even speak of an experience people try and come back with something that's equally drastic or worse. Maybe because I'm a competitive person in normal life, they translate that into I want a competition in everything.... but honestly, I think it's a little weird when people try and turn it into a contest. Perhaps it's the friends I hang with- and I'm not one that goes around like complaining constantly... but still I think it's annoying.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Feb 07
To put it simply, it is just the competitive nature of the human race.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Feb 07
This "can-you-top-this" mentality is due to arrogance, lack of self-confidence and immaturity. Better to ignore such comments and simply take your discussions elsewhere. They deserve to be left alone so they can break their arms trying to pat themselves on the back.
1 person likes this
@yanjiaren (9050)
25 Feb 07
i understand you and it should not be a contest you are absolutely right..i can agree with using an example in being sympathetic to your plight or having empathy but when it becomes an ego thing it is over the top..it's happened to me too many a time..i tend to just say what i feel now to whom i feel more comfortable..
• India
25 Feb 07
sorry iam not able to get the clear idea about ur discussion
@ESKARENA1 (18299)
25 Feb 07
ok, so why bother answering, is a cent really that important to you?
1 person likes this
@LittleMel (14055)
• Canada
25 Feb 07
You bet I have. One day I was sick but had to go in for final exam in the university. There was no transportation so I walked about 30 minutes and almost got there late for the exam. I couldn't concentrate and almost fainted but I continued to fill out the blanks. Then all of the sudden another exam schedule was changed and I had to take it the same day! So there I was, tired, sick, hungry and yet had to do another exam. On my way home (this time I got a ride) I told my friend that and she said "And you complained already? That's nothing! I have to work when I'm sick too!" Wheewww I was so mad I never talked to her for 4 years LOL I got a job that made me work 6 days a week and I got in even when I was sick, I got paid anyway!
@bethmt (419)
• United States
25 Feb 07
That sounds like an awful experience, I'm surprised you were able to make it through that day. And then to have insult to injuring added by your friend. I don't blame you for getting angry. Thanks for responding, take care.
@dopey22girl (3324)
• United States
25 Feb 07
Oh my gosh I hate when people do that! It's like they don't care about what you are saying and they are self-centered. This girl I work with does it ALLL the time. I will be like; "I'm so tired I had to work for 4 hours on Saturday and then babysit for 10 hours." Then she'll proceed to tell me what she had to do, making it sound like her day was so much harder. She seriously does that with everything. I can't even talk to her. I think people just do it because they're self-centered, and they need to get over themselves.