I apologize for this up front. I hate the psycho talk.
Fred: I really like superheroes.
Bob: I hear you saying that you really like superheroes.
Fred: Yeah… uh… I do. Do you like superheroes?
Bob: You’re asking me if like superheroes. I understand that. You are trying to relate to me. This is good.
Fred: Uh… I’m trying to find out… uh…. Oh, never mind.
Bob: You know what you’re problem is? You never reflect anything back to me. I reflect your thoughts back to you and it shows that I care and appreciate you. You are totally insensitive and do not know how to have healthy communication.
Fred: I hate you.
[Extend, remix, and rework above until it’s a full fledged Monty Python sketch.]
So yeah, this is fundamentally stupid, but it may be helpful if you take it with the usual caveats and grains of salt.
You need to learn to negotiate. If you have a genuinely rare personality type, you tend to cave in to other people’s assessments of you way too quickly. They’ll walk all over you because they don’t understand you and don’t think your perspective has any value. You adapt to the majority all of the time, but they will cut you down for implying that they need to accommodate you in any way. They think they have you “pegged”, but the real problem here is that they don’t have enough empathy to actually care about this. There may not be any real ill-will or animosity behind their attitude: they’re dealing with something they don’t know anything about and they *don’t know* that they don’t know anything about it!
What this means is, you don’t have to be hurt or insulted by their ham-fisted attempts to belittle or blow off your needs. You have these discussions all of the time because you’re literally a square peg in a round hole– you’re the odd man out. You’ve been criticized all of your life so you’re probably oversensitive at this point: when these people come after you, you are humiliated and maybe turn your anger and disappointment inward. This results in a downward spiral of depression and/or classic co-dependent behaviors. Some people will push you over the edge and you’ll explode in what looks to them as being completely random outbursts of anger. This makes you look bad. You look like a freak, and then they take the moral high ground… and from that position of relative power they’ll continue to turn the screws on you and kick you while you down. (Figuratively speaking, now. Stay with me, here….)
Don’t take the bait. Stay calm. Don’t be shocked that you have to keep explaining your perspective. If you hang back and give them enough rope, they’ll hang themselves. You’re not asking for much: just a little sympathy, that’s all. Just some sort of compromise here or there. You’re flexible. When they can’t handle this, they will resort to being negative… they might whine or criticize you… they may even try to commit some form of character assassination. But none of this has to affect you. It doesn’t bother you at all! The balance of power has shifted because you know what’s going on and they don’t.
Stand your ground. Have patience. You don’t have all of the answers, but you have to help your friend collaborate with you to form a solution that may end up surprising both of you. But stop apologizing and stop taking these sorts of conflicts personally. That’s not doing any of you any good. The other person will ultimately benefit from working with you in these things, so stop beating your breast because you feel like you’re so selfish you can’t even raise the issue. You’re not being selfish… you’re the one being the mature one and you’re trying to make a positive contribution to improving things.
Things aren’t as bad as you think. You can benefit so much by just a small number changes. Go ahead and stand up for youself. You do deserve it. And they do, too.