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I have the sense that if an authority, be it a person or otherwise (e.g. a parent or some religious text), is extremely strict on some issues, they might come to be seen as unreasonable generally. This would have the effect of undermining their influence on all issues, even those for which most people would find their guidance quite prudent.

Is there a word or expression for this situation? It feels similar to "crying wolf." Does that cover it, or is there something more specific?

Edit: forgot an example sentence: I don't have a particular part of speech in mind, so I'll give a few versions.

"Adam had developed a reputation as being obsessed with the rules. As a result, he had become adjective, and people tended to disregard his disapproval."

"Adam had developed a reputation as being obsessed with the rules. As a result verb, and people tended to disregard his disapproval."

"Adam had developed a reputation as being obsessed with the rules. As a result, people tended to disregard his disapproval. A classic example of noun/phrase/verb."

Edit 2: A lot of useful suggestions in the comments that could be applied in situations involving what I'm describing, but none of them seem to be a general term/phrase. I suspect there isn't one. What should I do then - just leave the question unanswered?

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    @Cascabel Thanks for the reminder about the sentence. I've been away for a little while and forgot. Do elaborating on what your problem is with the "premise" of the question? – Evan Jul 30 '17 at 0:13
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    Sounds as though Adam is courting a mutiny! That's what happened to Captain Bligh when he came down too hard on his crew of the H.M.S. Bounty in 1789. Legalism in a leader tends to foment mutiny among his or her crew. A good leader knows when to lighten up a bit. Moreover, a good leader doesn't demand respect but commands respect. As for a word or phrase to summarize the tendency within a leader to stir the pot of mutiny, I'm kind of at a loss. – rhetorician Jul 30 '17 at 0:56
  • "obsessive" seems to relate -- you used that word in an example – Tom22 Jul 30 '17 at 1:07
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    Not quite right, but "shooting oneself in the foot" is an approximation of what you want. – ab2 Jul 30 '17 at 1:38
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    Isn't Adam turning himself into a vestige? – Yosef Baskin Jul 30 '17 at 2:00
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Overbearing is "the tendency to overwhelm" and literally to "bear fruit or offspring to excess." MW. A person who is overbearing on one specific issue would likely have a broad negative effect.

protected by tchrist Jul 29 '17 at 20:44

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