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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5823
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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When people say and/or do things because they want to see

Resolved Question:

When people say and/or do things because they want to see the reaction from the other person, what are motives for wanting to see the other person's reaction? Are there other possible motives for this besides attention seeking or the motives that bullys or insulters seek? If the possibilities are infinite, can you please just list the first 8 common motives that first come to your mind? Thank you.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

When someone purposely does something to get a reaction out of another person, they are usually considered manipulative. Although a more definitive answer depends on details like the circumstances, what the person is saying or doing to get the reaction and the person's history of behavior, most of the time the person is using manipulative behavior.

One possible motive for saying or doing something to get a reaction is when a person is a relationship wants to know what their partner is feeling, but instead of just asking, they say or do something to get a reaction. For example, the person tells their partner that someone else was interested in them. The partner reacts and the person knows they care.

Another possible motive could be to hurt the other person. A person may trick someone by saying something untrue to see the person get upset and react, only to find out that they were being mislead.

Usually, a person who treats others in this manner is thought to have a personality disorder. The need to mislead in order to hurt or change someone's behavior comes from self centered motives. The person may derive pleasure from it in some form or another. This behavior is usually learned as a child where the person did not have their needs met, possibly through abuse or witnessing their caregiver hurting someone in a similar manner.

I hope this helped you,

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I was thinking more along the lines of laughter related situations like if a person is 99% sure that someone has never been to Iceland or Congo or some place like that, but they ask the person if they have ever been there because they are confident that the person's reaction will make them laugh. Or if they over hear someone say that the bell is going to ring any second now and they ask that person "there's 25 minutes to the bell, right?" Or if they suggest someone to not cut their hair for 12 years, and things of that nature. What drives a person to get reactions out of people that will make them laugh?
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Thanks for the additional information. It helps.

It can be manipulative, self esteem problems or they could have anger issues. To laugh at someone else's expense is usually to make them look bad and to make the person laughing at them either feel better about themselves or to look good, sometimes both. It is of the same nature as practical jokes. Both have self centered and anger connotations to them.


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