Here’s a riddle for you:
What’s something that can feel good to do but when someone does it to you it can make you feel like crap?
Have you figured it out yet?
Well if you answered gossip, gossiping or talking smack, you are correct!
Now I know it’s not the most popular thing to admit but when I’m really pissed at someone it almost always feels good to talk a little bit of smack. It’s not something I’m proud of but it’s something that I believe we all do, to some extent, from time to time.
What’s not cool about gossip however, is when you find out that someone has been talking about you, especially if that someone happens to be a family member.
Recently, a lovely lady from the GUC community shared with me how her mom, an alcoholic who she recently cut ties with, has been relentlessly talking smack about her to anyone and everyone who will listen. Her mom has dipped so low that she’s not only sharing deeply personal information about her but recently she started cooking up and spreading some pretty devastating lies.
Our reader feels crushed and powerless to defend herself and that’s a feeling that I can certainly relate to. How about you?
If you’ve ever wondered how to deal with a family member that won’t stop talking smack about you, especially if it’s a parent that you’ve cut ties with, keep reading.
In today’s post, you’ll learn exactly what not to do when you find out your family is talking smack about you.
Once you’re finished reading, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.
If you can relate to our readers situation, how have you handled a family member that won’t stop talking smack? Especially someone that you’ve cut ties with because of an alcohol or drug addiction.
Let me know all about your experiences in the comment section.
Remember, your voice, experiences and insights are vital to this community. And what you have to share is not only unique but it may be exactly what someone else needs to read. And that someone could be you.
Until next Tuesday,
#1 Don’t Take It Personal
I can not even begin to tell you how devastated I was when I found out that one of my brothers was calling me a spoiled bitch behind my back.
What motivated his nastiness?
Well at the time he was in jail and by that point just about all of my family conveniently forgot that he existed. So, I did a really shitty thing and I sent him a card letting him know that I hadn’t forgot about him.
A couple of weeks after he received the card I found out from my dad that my brother was ripping me a new asshole behind my back. Now why my dad told me all of that, I’m not sure. Honestly, I don’t think my dad should of shared that unsolicited information with me but at the same time it didn’t surprise me that he did.
Needless to say, initially I was so hurt by the things my brother was saying but as I thought through what happened I realized that I couldn’t take the lies he was spreading about me personally simply because none of them were true. They were coming from someone who was angry with himself and at the world and at the family that failed him that he probably didn’t even know how to respond.
Basically, I realize now that his response was more about him and the condition of his life and his mind then it was about me and the card I sent. Although what he said hurt, there was nothing there for me to take personally.
As author Paulo Coelho says,
“Try not to take things personally. What people say about you is a reflection of them, not you.”
#2 Don’t Add More Fuel To The Fire
My stepmom is another one that has done her fair share of smack talking.
Now I’ve written and shared before about the affair she had some years ago. She met a guy on the Internet and shortly after she packed up her car and drove from Philadelphia to Florida to begin her new life.
Well once she got to Florida, it was less than a week before she called my dad and begged him to let her come back home. My dad took her back but I didn’t. And maybe that’s why she jumped on the smack talking train.
To anyone that would listen she droned on about how her affair was all my fault, that I’d set her up and even threatened her physically.
All of these things were not true because they never happened. And when other people in my family would share these cruel lies with me, my impulse was to retaliate. My reflex was to hit back hard, to defend myself and to extend myself, in any way needed, to prove that she was lying.
But I quickly learned that playing in to her drama, even if my goal was purely to defend myself and expose the truth, was a waste of time and it only kept the drama and the lies in motion.
As challenging as it is to do, I now know that it’s best to keep it moving in these situations.
If other people believe the lies that a wayward family member is spreading out you, so be it. And if you need some help remember this, another beautiful bit of advice from Paulo Coelho,
“Don’t waste your time with explanations; people only hear what they want to hear.”
It may feel like you’re the only one that can see the truth but believe me when I say that anyone worth their salt will be able to see it too. Don’t worry about the other fools.
#3 Try To Stay One Step Ahead
If there was one suggestion I could offer you about what to do in response to gossip and smack talk, it would be to think one step ahead before you respond.
Now I know I mentioned before that gossiping can feel good in the moment, especially when you’re frustrated with someone. But if you think about it, after you’re done do you ever really feel good about what you said?
In the moment, while your lips are flapping, sure it feels great but don’t you ever feel guilty afterwards? And if you do, doesn’t that guilt feel kind of shitty?
Bottom line is this. Before you respond to gossip with more gossip try to think one step ahead of that. And instead of using that moment to release your frustration or to make the other person look bad, with more gossip, think about how you want to feel an hour later or even a day later.
Make your response all about you. If you want to feel good, with a clear conscience and you don’t want the regret of what you might say weighing on your mind, then take the high road. Keep it moving.
This of course is much easier to write about then it is to execute but see if you can play around with this option. And remember it’s not about getting back at the other person or proving a point, it’s about how you want to feel. And really what’s more important than taking care of yourself especially in the presence of gossip?