One of my closest friends growing up had a tic that made him involuntarily shake his head as if a fly was buzzing around him. Those of us who knew him understood to just ignore it, but hanging out with him in public meant a never-ending stream of explaining, or people looking around for bugs that didn't exist. One woman thought he was feverishly disagreeing with her and took offense to it. For people with tics - especially facial tics - your days can sometimes be full of sending nonverbal signals that you don't mean to send, and then having to explain it over and over. One Reddit user has a tic that makes her smile when she's feeling emotional tension - and it's been seriously affecting her relationship.
Unfortunately, the girls boyfriend keeps responding to her tick as if it's something she is doing on purpose and it's causing some serious issues. Here is her original post:
I (23F) have a tic that causes me to smile during inappropriate times. This has been triggering fights with my boyfriend (24M)
I involuntarily smile during inappropriate times since I've been a teenager. It happens during very tense moments. For example, when I've been in therapy and have talked about having suicidal thoughts, I grin uncontrollably.
It's especially bad when people are angry with me, and it has caused fights to escalate in the past between me and people I am close to. I will smile when apologizing to my boyfriend of 8 months or when he is yelling at me, and I cannot stop unless I put my hands over my mouth. It makes him question my sincerity and confuses him. He will do things to antagonize me like laugh in my face when I am telling him how I feel because he thinks I am lying about not being able to help it.
I know that people misread my emotional expressions, which is why I prefer to have intense conversations over the phone, but my boyfriend wants to talk in person when he is upset. I have been in therapy for a while, but it hasn't helped with the smiling and I am at a loss for what to do.
tl;dr I smile uncontrollably when my boyfriend is angry at me, but I can't convince him that it's not intentional. How do I come off as sincere when we are having arguments?
Edit: Sorry, I don't have the time to respond to everyone's comments, but I appreciate the outpouring of support! I'm reading every one and will try and post an update in the next week or so.
Reddit didn't hold back with their responses. Here are some of the most honest reactions we found - edited for language and clarity when needed.
Like A HyenaGiphy
Laughter and smiling as a response to stress or trauma are pretty common.
I laugh like a hyena when I'm in pain. Its a thing, it is known.
Your boyfriend sounds like a jerk though, antagonizing you and making fun of you to your face, that's not a nice thing.
Change Your Boyfriend
If you can't change your behavior, you can always change your boyfriend. Your problem is pretty unusual, but it's a failure of empathy on his part that he can't get past that is a known issue you have, and even mocks and antagonizes you for it. Imagine if you had a limp, and everytime you couldn't keep up with him in public he yelled at you to go faster, caricatured how you walked, and punished you for not being capable of walking without one. Would you tolerate that? If you saw someone else doing that to someone, would you think the guy was a gigantic douchebag?
If you're doing everything in your power to correct or prevent your smiling from happening, he doesn't really get to react the way he does. As he does it anyway, I think what we have here is an implacable incompatibility between you two.
Give A Heads Up
I have this problem it's really hard to control. My mom has hit me because if it as a child, cause to her i was laughing at her while she was angry at me.
So now i cry uncontrollably or laugh when very nervous, no inbetween lol. I remember smiling like an idiot when my husband was going through a rough time but i was upset with him not laughing! He didn't notice i hid it well. Hands on face and looking away usually helps.
What i do is i preemptively say that I'm gonna smile if i feel it coming but reassure the person i am not laughing. I feel so bad when it happens that it makes it worse!!
Just A QuirkGiphy
I have a smile tic also. Funerals are the worst for me because I can't stop smiling, or if something bad is happening I will laugh. I believe it is to do with anxiety and not being sure how to react, so you smile to alleviate the stress (I read this somewhere - can't find source).
However, onto the question: I think a partner should always be on your side. My partner knows about my nervous smiling and he understands it - it's just a quirk of mine. The fact your boyfriend is shouting at you and mocking you by smiling in your face when discussing serious matters is awful and you do not have to put up with this - I would never be with someone who mocks and gets angry at things I cannot control. You deserve better.
UPDATE: Some Examples
I have said that, but he has done things like laugh at me or make a hand motion to signal that he's not listening to me.
And when I say "can you not interrupt me when I'm talking to mock me? It hurts my feelings and makes me feel disrespected."
He said "I can't help it"
And then I said "really? You can't help interrupting me to laugh?"
And he said, "Your viewpoint is so ridiculous that it's impossible not to laugh. You're being hypocritical for mocking me for something I can't control."
Ok, your boyfriend straight up doesn't trust you. If someone tells you they have an uncontrollable tic, and then demonstrates that tic repeatedly you have 2 options: Believe them or decide that they are super manipulative and lying so they have an excuse to be a sarcastic asshole to your face and not suffer consequences. Your bf chose #2. That, him laughing at you when you're vulnerable, and the fact you've had enough screaming matches in 8 months for this to be an issue all tells me this is a toxic relationship.
Have More Respect For YourselfGiphy
Dude, and it's only been 8 months? This guy is a douche to the tenth degree. I have been with my husband for 11 years and he has never treated me this way. You guys are supposed to be in your early young love phase and he already treats you with such disdain and resentment? Please have more respect for yourself. There are guys out there who aren't complete self centered douches to their girlfriends. A partner who loves you would see you as a partner, not as somebody to compete with or tear down. The fact that he seems to relish in mocking you is so concerning. He lacks empathy. Omg. You are breaking my heart over here. You could do so much better. :(
He Thinks You're A Liar
I do the same thing. It's actually not uncommon. It often makes people angrier and they'll sometimes ask, "Do you think it's funny? Do you?" and it makes them escalate.
I don't think it's funny at all. In fact, sometimes I'm fucking terrified. But I can't control that stupid, smirking grin. Neither can my brother. We both have it, and when we'd get in trouble simultaneously as kids, mom would be furious because we're grinning at her when she's trying to discipline us. It's a really shitty deal.
A major issue here is that people feel disrespected by our facial expressions when it's something we can't really control. I have to focus on controlling my face when I should be listening to the other person. Your boyfriend feels disrespected when you do this, so he thinks the appropriate response is to disrespect you. He also thinks you're a liar.
That's something you should look at here. Even when my mom felt disrespected by my brother and I, because we're smiling, she didn't respond by disrespecting us. And even though she still finds it upsetting or unnerving when it happens, we've had enough talks that she believes me when I say that it's not a reflection of my feelings or opinion on the situation.
You still have a problem because of that tic, but your boyfriend is also an actual problem here: because he thinks you're a liar, and because he thinks an appropriate response to feeling disrespected is to antagonize and mock you. That's not how a loving partner behaves. So... I really think you should dump him.
Something I do sometimes is, when I'm dating someone, if I'm nervous or scared in a situation but I'm smiling, I'll admit out loud to how I feel-- and sometimes, that opens the conversation to the fact that my smiling doesn't mean I'm happy or flippant. But that's something to consider for future dating experience. I really think your current boyfriend is just a legitimate as$hole.
I have Tourette's, which comes with lots of involuntary tics, some of which are inappropriate facial expressions. I used to have the grinning tic you have.
Your boyfriend is ignorant, and he has to learn the hard way that you're not joking about your condition. I've dealt with assholes like him before - people who think it's all in your head and you can control it if you just have more willpower. I got a cashier fired years ago for cornering me and lecturing me about how I just had a "lazy mind" for not "controlling" my tics. I'm telling you now, he will never just come around and start believing you.
Also, talk therapy won't ever make a tic go away. I'd recommend talking to either a psychiatrist or a neurologist to get some more solid answers, you may have a tic disorder. Even if you don't, you shouldn't apologize for it, it's nothing you can control.
Not What Love Looks LikeGiphy
My wife has a really hard time talking during arguments and while it really upsets me I always tel her it makes me angry she isn't saying anything but that I love her and need for her to try to talk to me. And even though it's hard she tries and talks and I wait and stop talking until she's ready. That's what love looks like, not what you're doing with this fella.
The Mandela effect is when multiple people share the same, incorrect memory.
Its name stems from when paranormal researcher Fiona Broome falsely believed that the future president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, died in prison in the 1980s.
A false memory she shared with a number of others.
Our memories have been known to deceive us, as we might frequently forget someone's name or one of our numerous online passwords.
But when we share a memory that turns out to be false with many others, convincing ourselves it wasn't the truth can be a very difficult ordeal indeed.
Redditor Mysterious_Boat_1701 was curious to hear people's most unsettling experiences with the Mandela Effect, leading them to ask:
"Which Mandela effect freaks you out the most and why?"
A mysterious gym
"Just had one personally."
"Went to a mall where there was supposedly a gym, asked around and nobody that worked at the mall knew what I was talking about."
"Looked around and couldn't find it."
"Come back a few months later and it’s right there in front of my face, you'd have to be strung out to not notice it."
"idk how or when it just appeared but it freaked me out."- prex320278
A "fruit"ful logo.
"That the fruit of the loom logo never had a cornucopia."
"What’s crazy about that one is that someone emailed the creator of the logo about it and he said even he remembers it having one."- mrcock2·
Less well intentioned than they thought.
"I Mandela effected my whole family once."
"Years ago there was a football player on a rival team that always did a dumb celebration after he got a sack and my family and I always hated it."
"One night after he did it my family started trashing the celebration and I said as a joke 'we are all going to feel terrible when we find out he is doing that celebration as a request from a make-a-wish kid'."
"Fast forward to years later and our team is playing that team again."
"The player got a sack and did the celebration."
"I rolled my eyes and said 'I hate that celebration so much' my mom instantly turned and said 'don't say that, he is doing it for a sick kid'."
"'I actually like it."
"So I was like 'what?'"
"'No there is no sick kid', my whole family then proceeded to argue with me'."
"They all vividly remembered reading articles about it, seeing special report segments before games about it, and other information."
"Some of them even thought they knew the disease the kid had and even extra details about why the kid chose that specific celebration."
"They all had these shared memories that they were sure were true."
"I was floored by all this and insisted none of that was true."
"So we looked it up.'
'No kid like that ever existed.'
"They still have trouble wrapping their heads around this one."
"Turned out human memory is not near as reliable as we think"
"It was American Football and the player was Jared Allen of the Minnesota Vikings and his cattle roping sack celebration."
"This was maybe 10 years ago."- AUSpartan37College Football Win GIF by Michigan State FootballGiphy
His eyesight was better than we thought.
"Mr. Monopoly's monocle."- Additional_Day9903
It's not easy being green.
"I have a personal one that to this day a decade later still destroys my mind."
"I had an old(ish) 2001 dodge neon."
"With BLACK SEATS.'
"I drove this car for years and years, like 80,000 miles.'
'All through college."
"I took work breaks in my car, commuted hours every day total, to college and then the opposite direction to work and back."
"I even lived out of this thing on several occasions.'
'The day I go and trade it in, I'm pulling misc things out of the car at the dealer."
'And the seats are GREEN."
"Not even a little."
'Like very unmistakably GREEN."
"In my black Neon, with black interior, that ALWAYS HAD BLACK SEATS."
"My girlfriend then, wife now, goes oh they've always been green."
"EXCEPT THEY F*CKING WEREN'T DON'T LIE TO ME."
"This is still upsetting to this day..... life is a lie and nothing is real."- ZakuLegionWinona Ryder Omg GIFGiphy
An urban legend was born.
"Not a global one, just a family thing."
"Back in 2002 my grandma had her 60th birthday, my father took us home at 10.00pm, ready for bed."
"We, me and brother, were 12 and 14 at this time."
'All went well."
"Over the years, a story was made up that we went missing after visiting the local playground after dinner at said grandma's birthday party."
"Some neighbors help to search us, the whole train of 'missing children in a smal village'-thing."
"Fun fact: we never went missing."
"Dad brought us home, put on 'Toy Story' on tv and left."
"My brother and I heard first about this in 2015.'
"From different people on different occasions."
"'Ah your one of the missing boys'."
"I first thought they were mocking me for a different event.'
"I got lost, but it was 2013, alcohol inflicted, different story."
"But then they ALL tell us the same story about us going missing."
'And the stories are damn close to 'true' in every story my mum is driving around the same neighbors to different locations to search, old wine yard, old mill etc."
"Sometimes I think I got lost on the most brutal way."
"I was lost and changed this plane of existence with another one."
"It sometimes made me think about my whole life."- tjorben123missing kenny mccormick GIF by South Park Giphy
Memories are a fascinating thing.
They can be changed or altered with even the tiniest suggestion.
And making the truth seem less believable than lies.
One last time. One last meal.
How do you chose a last meal?
Let's hope we never have to find out.
People on death row get that option.
Do they deserve it?
Whose to say?
But they have it.
A steak. A pizza... Burger King.
The food world is their oyster.
Oyster. Also an option.
The menu is endless...
Redditor No-Caterpillar4212 wanted to know what our menu choices would be if we faced the end. They asked:
"You're on a death row, you have one hour left, they ask for your final meal - what is it?"
I'd want 2 hours in a Golden Coral with a bar. Covers it all.
Masailor moon cooking GIFGiphy
"Everything my mom has ever made."
"I want a nice filet mignon, medium rare, a baked potato with everything on it, and a nice Cabernet from a good year - I'm thinking 2135."
"'Sorry, we couldn't get the Cabernet from 2135. So instead of what could have been a great wine request from a more plausible period of time, you get this crappy stuff we sourced from Wal-Mart. Enjoy your meal, I hope that maintaining your sense of humor was worth it."'
"Something badly cooked so I will be sick and want to die sooner and have diarrhea so bad it will be a last revenge!"
"Taco bell it is!"
"If Taco Bell makes you poop a lot, it's a sign that you probably need more fiber in your diet."
The Yuck Factor
"A huge bowl of baked beans, a bowl of shredded wheat, a six egg omelette, and a gallon of apple cider. I'm gonna make it awful for everyone."
"Save yourself the hassle of eating all that, just ask for one pack of sugar free Haribo gummy bears. Should make for an interesting time for the folks watching you die."
"You void your bowels when you die too so that should be lovely."
PerfectFried Chicken Scandal GIF by ABC NetworkGiphy
"Fried chicken with some Fanta."
Fried chicken is on the top of everyone's list!
DetailsInterested GIF by Nick CannonGiphy
"150mg of MDMA. I’m dying happy."
"This should absolutely be allowed. If our leaders insist on the practice of capital punishment then the condemned should be able to ingest any substance they damn please."
"McFlurry. Those machine are always broken. I just bought myself some time."
"Is this like an American thing? I worked at a McDonald's in Denmark once and our machine was never once broken when i was there."
"I saw a video about this once. I'm a little fuzzy on the details but I think it has something to do with the contract that was signed in America. Only one company is allowed to do maintenance on the machines and they basically lock out if it's cleaned incorrectly. It's a crap system."
"Cabbage!! Add some cabbage. I don’t know if an hour if enough to take effect but there was an old coworker on a cabbage diet. Omg she smelled, like it was coming out of her pores. She knew she smelled and kept apologizing and reminding us of the diet."
The OG Always
"Olive Garden. Unlimited soup and breadsticks."
"I saw a sketch once, can't remember who it 2qs from. But a an inmate ordered the all you can eat buffet and had been eating for like 8 years. He's constantly on the toilet and takes micro-naps between bites."
"Unlimited for 1 hour. Cool."
How GoldenGolden Girls Dorothy GIF by HULUGiphy
"If my grandma is still alive her potato soup and cheesecake. Hopefully I'd be able to cook said meal with her one last time."
Let's hope none of us has to make this decision.
Most people have friends they've been close to for most of their lives.
But at the same time, friends evolve, and everyone finds themselves losing touch with any number of people they at one point considered their friends over time.
Most of the time, this isn't intentional, but just simply happens.
On rare occasions though, people might realize that their friends were not exactly who they thought they were, and didn't like who they revealed themselves to be.
Redditor One-Refrigerator69 was curious to hear stories of people who realized their friends were not exactly the nicest people to be around, leading them to ask:
"When was the moment you realized that your friends are assholes?"
Compared to others...
"When I started hanging out with better people."- Darklink326
All it took was getting my life together
"When I quit drinking ‘cos it was killing me."
"There were people I literally saw every single day who just disappeared as if by magic."
"12 years ago this week, as it happens."
"I’m not anti-drink, far from it."
"Some people, me included, just can’t enjoy it without it becoming a problem."
"Everyone is different."- bigdaftgeordie
A little perspective goes a long way.
"After I realized that other people don't sh*t on each other on every possible occasion in their circle."
"And that it isn't right when a 'friend' uses every known insecurity as an argument against you when you do not behave the way he/she would want you to."- ViscousPlatemanThe Simpsons GIF by MOODMANGiphy
Lack of respect for other people's things
"I let my friend borrow my ps2 when I went to boot camp."
"When I came back, he said he sold it and gave me $50 I think?"
"This was in 2006."- madmike-86
Lack of mutual respect
"When he does sh*t to me and acts like it’s no big deal, then I do the same back and he gets offended."- Primary-Maybe-2749·
Constantly being taken advantage of.
"They only bothered with me when it suited them."
"I'd rather have nobody than have to deal with that."- zombi33mjhappy eric cartman GIF by South Park Giphy
When they literally revealed themselves to be criminals
"When they robbed me at gunpoint."- Ok_Student8032
When they stopped liking them after a change of situation
"Fourth grade, when my parents economical situation went downhill and suddenly no one invited me to their birthday party."
"Until Seven years later no one had never invited me to their birthday, or to anything at all actually."- Justalittletoserious
Not being able to get a word in...
"When they tell me to shut up when I say anything."- the_golden_cheesela respuesta GIF by Becky GGiphy
Violently playing with emotions
"She got a boyfriend and would let him listen to our phone calls and not tell me, even if I was crying about personal stuff that I would only ever tell her."
"Then they both started lying to me about my crush liking me back, forcing both him and me into awkward positions, telling everyone we liked each other so they'd play along, swapping places constantly to make us sit next to each other, pressuring him into giving me a lap dance, making him kiss the prettiest girl in the room, etc, and encouraged me to shoot my shot more and more."
"All the while they knew he didn't like me, he had told them both directly."
"One night I was crying on the phone cause I was so confused why my advances weren't working, and they just kept explaining it away, blaming some other bullsh*t reason and telling me to try again."
"The next day they told me they were laughing throughout the whole call, because I didn't get it and I was so upset."
"I should add I had no dating experience at all and nobody had ever liked me at this point."- Juliemj
It's always sad when our friends disappoint us.
But when our friends proved to be completely different people than we thought they were, it can be devastating.
As the saying goes, one never truly knows who their friends are.
When visiting any foreign country, one should always be familiar with the laws and customs of the land.
After all, what might be generally accepted on your home turf, might be frowned upon, if not illegal, elsewhere.
For that matter, even locals might need a refresher course on what they can and can't do while at home.
A recent Redditor was curious to hear what tourists and locals alike should avoid doing in the USA, leading them to ask:
"In the United States, what should you never do?"
Stay out of the skies!
"Don't fly a drone in Washington, DC."
"The whole D.C. Area is a no fly zone."
"It's a federal offense."
"Just don't do it."- PeytonCarrK
Cops can't be bribed.
"Don't try to bribe cops when you get pulled over."
"I had some Argentinian friends immediately pull out their wallets and start pooling their cash when they got pulled over once.'
"Fortunately someone in the car noticed and told them to put it away immediately."- PeytonCarrK
"Don't pay off the police."
"My dad has friends from several third-world nations where it is common practice to give the police some cash when you are pulled over."
"However, if you try to bribe a police officer here, you'll get into a lot of trouble."- JohnASmiley
Know your rights.
"Everyone, including foreigners, has the right to be silent and have a lawyer when being questioned."
"Don’t say anything."
"Also, even if you speak English fairly well, ask for an interpreter."- WickedLilThing
Enjoy all that nature has to offer... carefully!
"Don't wander off in the national parks."
"It's very real wilderness and you can get lost and die out there."
"This includes going over railings you aren't supposed to, or off trails."
"People have died accidentally falling into a steam geyser that looked like normal water, mauled by animals or left to the elements."- AlphaOhmeganational parks GIF by Visit The USAGiphy
Allow plenty of time!
"Expect consistency at TSA in airports."- WickedLilThing
Some terminology doesn't translate...
"If you’re from England, they’re called cigarettes here."- Yung_Onions
Make sure your license is up to date.
"If you come from a walkable country don’t come here expecting the same."
"There are some areas with good public transportation and bicycle/pedestrian friendly streets but for the most part, especially outside of cities, the areas are designed to accommodate cars more than anything else."
"The reason a lot of Americans drive everywhere is because, depending on where you live, we have no choice."- The_Cars93Dog Driving GIFGiphy
Wait for instructions.
"Get out of your car and approach the cop when being stopped by a cop unless told to."- hildrash
Whether your'e waling down a street in a foreign country, or the street you've lived on for your entire life, it's always wise to be on guard and aware of your surroundings.
Not to mention, obey the law.