What do you call people who constantly provoke others to …

  • Yes there is a name for such behaviour. Someone with borderline, antisocial or narcissistic PD in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). A difficult person in your life might not have a full-blown personality disorder; they may just have related traits that express themselves from time to time. It still takes a toll on your well-being and self-esteem to be around them.

    Here’s a short list of the types of people I would lump into the “unreasonable”:

    • Those you can’t have a reasonable conversation with; they somehow twist your words or totally confuse you and then tell you that you’re the one who doesn’t know how to communicate
    • People who make subtly or overtly demeaning comments or say cutting things to you disguised as a “joke”
    • Those that don’t respect boundaries and seem to enjoy stepping all over one after you’ve placed it
    • The types that aren’t willing to consider your point of or listen to your side of things (or just stare at you blankly, or laugh, or explode, when you try to explain “how you feel”)
    • Bullies
    • Verbal or emotional abusers (these can also range from subtle to overt)
    • Manipulators
    • Liars
    • People who leave you feeling bad, sad, shaky or feeling sick in the pit of your stomach
    • Crazymakers,” a.k.a. people who provoke you into acting crazy or unbalanced (and love making you feel like there’s something wrong with you when you do), when your behaviour across the rest of your life is proof that you’re not
    • The excessively charming who are too good to be true and have an ulterior motive

    You know who I mean.

    Now, here are the things I’ve learned about how to handle them and minimize the damage to yourself, your days, your sanity and your life:

    1) Minimize time with them

    Keep your interactions as short as possible. Minimizing your exposure to pathology goes a long, long way.

    2) Keep it logical

    You know, those “when you do X it makes me feel Y” communication tactics we’re taught in relationship books. This type of heart-centered communication only works with reasonable people who care. Unreasonable people usually don’t care, and their response (or lack of it) will often only make you more upset. Keep communications fact-based, using minimal details.

    3) Don’t drink around them

    Though it’s tempting to knock back a glass of wine or two when you’re around people like this, it will only make you more emotionally vulnerable and more likely to do or say something useless that will either make you look bad, make you feel bad, or make you more of a target.

    4) Focus on them in conversation

    A way to avoid being the target of demeaning comments, manipulation or having your words twisted is to say as little as possible. Volunteer minimal information and get them talking about themselves (if you have to be around them or talk to them, that is)—they are a far safer conversation subject than you are.

    5) Give up the dream that they will one day be the person you wish they’d be

    This behavior can be described as counterphobic, that is the term. It is not a disorder, it is a symptom which can point to possible diagnoses. It is going to be a diagnosis with anxiety as a significant feature.

    This symptom could be used by a person who is a survivor of abuse. For a person with PTSD , here is how it works: the survivor is constantly on the lookout for trouble, abuse, attack, etc. This is the symptom of hypervigilance. Rather than watch and wait for the attack, the person initiates the conflict by provoking others. In this way the person is taking control over the unpredictable and uncontrollable by choosing the time of the conflict.

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    I’ve had to deal with people like those, who antagonize and provoke my nervous breakdowns then come back for more. I call them emotionally and mentally abusive cowards. Worse part is I don’t know exactly who they are yet.


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    This isn’t a disorder… not as you’ve described it. It’s just irritating behaviour that can become a pathological symptom of many things, but a lot of it is contextual too: Is the person a grown adult with typical impulse control (neurologically), intact agency, and no mental retardation? Etc.

    If this behaviour is observed throughout contexts, regardless of consequences or target… it might be a component of any cluster B personality disorder. It could be a component of an autism spectrum disorder.

    Is it intentional and/or impaired affective empathy (possibly even to the degree of sadism)? Is it “accidental” and the result of social awkwardness and/or impaired cognitive empathy?

    What sort of person is being “targeted”? It could be someone that the “troll” (or whatever) rightly/wrongly experiences as being abusive. Maybe it’s just about ego-validation and instant gratification. Maybe the person lacks coping skills to deal with their frustration or need for stimulation… etc. They don’t differentiate between negative and positive attention.

    The person is ‘testing’ their target to get a gauge on their personality by uncovering the real person underneath.

    Most people who did this are testing you to see your reaction and how you handle yourself when under pressure or in an arkward situation.

    Whether you realise it or not most people do this to others in one way or another. It can occur in romantic, friend or employment situations. What happens in one situation is often an accurate predictor of what will happen in similar future situations.


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    I know a person who will debate and argue their point until they had you upset and angry. She refuses to agree to disagree, refuse to just drop the the subject and seems to enjoy an arguement. I ended this friendship because of bitter arguments we had that she always started. I felt that she was toxic to my emotional and mental well being. She always could recover instantly but I would feel hurt and avoid her until after a while she would call and act like nothing happened. I’m sure she has a narcissist personally who loves to gaslight people. When I would bring this problem to her attention she would act like I was crazy or delusional. I miss the fun times we had but the negative behaviors I cant deal with.

    I am someone who personally does this not by choice but I just do it on accident, I know it’s wrong and I don’t know why I do it and I really wish I didn’t, I never grew up with friends and I currently don’t have friends my mother would also be mentally abusive to me and manipulative which I learned to use that for my own self gain quickly I did this even at the cost of others, I never realized I was doing this until some years later when the few friends I had left me because they were fed up, I tried to stop for a while but everytime I got into some sort of situation I would lie and manipulate my way out of it I have every single personality trait the first comment speaks of and it’s a total wreck I have come to the point where it is natural and I am unaware that I am doing it to people until they make light of it I then attempt to stop it but by then it is too late and I am left alone again until I find another group I always try to change and I don’t like that I do it but I have no idea how to stop it from happening I know that sounds dumb because it’s my own body and my own decisions by I genuinely don’t know any other way to interact with someone I’m extremely awkward and have a lot of social anxiety so I never learned how to talk with others normally and it pains me and at this point I’m not sure if I could change its been this way my entire life and it wouldn’t fell like I was bring a real person if I just acted nice all the time and if I did that would just be another lie, I have now resorted in most cases with people I need to be around to just stop talking and only listen but what I would call people like me are trolls some of us don’t want to be this way and others are so far gone they don’t care anymore they are fine by being this way I think one way this is made worse is by leaving them because the more they are hurt and try and hide it the more malicious we are to the next person we meet its almost like a constant anger and you try and express that but in a wrong and bad way that hurts others especially when they hurt you in some way. Sorry for the ramble I’m tired and just got over being exiled by another group of my friends and am extremely sad and unaware of what to do anymore I have listened to some clips of what I have said an am extremely ashamed.

    I just call them assholes. No, seriously. More importantly I like to find the one thing that agitates them the most and return the favor. I know a few of them and I handle each one differently. One hates not being the center of attention so I do everything I can to ignore him and draw attention off of him. Another is extremely confrontational so I prefer to be just as abrasive to him as he is to others. I can literally watch their agrivation swell each time then their balloon just deflates.

    Hey, I’m not saying I’m right, it’s just how I prefer to handle them.


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    Angry. They have been marginalized their entire lives. Your “normal” is not theirs. They see reality contextually and subjectively as being wholly different that yours. You conceptualize reality in an entirely different plane of existence. No wonder they are angry at you.


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    Psychic vampire? Sociopath? Jerk? Bully? If you spend enough time on the internet, you learn to call them “troll.” I’ve had many conversations with others about what makes “trolls” tick, and all of them leave me more and more disturbed. I would call someone who routinely, repeatedly harms others with full knowledge that they are doing harm a sociopath, someone devoid of empathy. A sociopath who does these things for fun and enjoyment? I would call them “Dexter” and try to keep myself and small animals out of their path. Sociopath + sadism = psychopath.

    For those giving answers doubting there is anything especially different or maladjusted about these people, have you actually read anything about personality disorders? Narcissistic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder aren’t just flashy names. They are true disorders, both sharing “lack of empathy” in their definition.

    Are all the trolls out there socio/psychopaths who should be under the care of a psychiatrist? Probably not. But what else do you call someone who repeatedly joins a group to harass and stalk members, gets kicked out, then starts up a new account just to do it again? Or someone who does this sort of thing and then, when they are discovered by their wife, refuse to admit they have a problem, blame their victims, and prefer divorce over therapy or changing their ways?

    I don’t believe that’s specifically a disorder but it could easily be a symptom in any of the cluster b disorders, and probably beyond.

    Thx a2a 🧚🏽‍♂️


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