Some people actually take delight in putting others down, whether directly or indirectly. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Bridget Jones – The Edge of Reason,” you may recall the scene where Bridget’s catty acquaintance takes some sort of wierd pleasure in zapping her with little put-downs. Words can cut like a knife, even if they are delivered with a smile. Actually, the most disturbing critics zing others while smiling. This is confusing to the recipient of the attack, because the facial expression (friendly) doesn’t match the words being said (unfriendly.) This is very aggressive behavior, so people like this should be avoided if possible.
What do you do when singled out in the annoying radar of a “jellyfish” personality? Remember, this person’s behavior isn’t healthy, they are insecure and for whatever reason want to make you look bad so they appear “superior,” which they aren’t. Knowing this, consider the source and let it go in one ear and out the other. It isn’t your fault this person is insecure and takes it out on others.
When someone is jealous of you, they may strike out verbally when innocently provoked by your good news or success. There are ways to handle it, if avoiding them isn’t really an option. A close family member of mine is like this, and she cannot resist reminding me that someone I knew in the past has had more success than I have. For example, I heard recently, “So-and-so got married and is incredibly happy. He’s a doctor and he treats her like a queen.” (underlying message – ‘but you are single, and your ex treated you poorly.’) Or, “She has a very high paying job that you could have if you wanted to.”(Underlying message – ‘She makes more money than you do and your job isn’t good enough.’) My reaction is to have no reaction, other than a genuine, “Good for her.” This wan’t the reaction she was looking for, but it was genuine, and I didn’t let the comment hurt. It was acknowledged, and let go, simple as that.
Logically, what was said to me isn’t important in the scheme of things. I know my job is OK for me. I love being single and have chosen to be after a lousy marriage. My inner thoughts on things like this are very fleeting annoyance, but a chuckle deep down. Because it’s amusing to see someone try to provoke a reaction and get absolutely nothing rewarding in return.This person wants to control me, and I refuse to relinquish my well-being and dignity to her barbs. Peace of mind and calmness are my rewards for not letting her get to me. If she keeps trying to zap at me, I politely make my exit, a silent boundary erected to protect myself from potential harm.
When I was much younger, and at an upscale nightclub with friends, I overheard another girl in the bathroom say, “She has too much hair,” looking at me as she rolled her eyes. She and her friend giggled. I took it as a compliment, because in old age, I will still have my hair when hers was thin and would probably be even thinner in the years to come. Besides, it was the 80’s, the big hair look was “in” back then. It didn’t matter what she or her friend thought of me, all that mattered to me was that I was happy with myself.
Digging back at someone who puts you down isn’t a good idea. Stooping to their level isn’t necessary. As long as you feel good about yourself, that is all that matters. Just go with the flow. Don’t let negative people bring you down. By being above the pettiness, you are showing class and dignity. How they react is their business. Hold your head up high and be proud of who you are.