When someone talks badly behind your back it can feel pretty awful. It doesn’t matter if that person is someone close to you or someone you barely know.. Knowing that someone is deliberatly degrading you in public, trying to hurt you or even trying to persuade others to think negatively about you, is enough to feel hurt for several days.
Gossiping is often not about you
Most of the time when people talk badly behind your back it has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with them. They probably have an issue with themselves and they blame it on you so they don’t have to sort things out with their own personality. That they are talking behind your back instead of facing you and talk open and honestly in your face is a sign of immaturity and a reflection of them, not you.
There are many reasons why someone might talk badly behind your back. It is likely that person may suffer from poor self- esteem, anxiety or jealousy. That person may even have some trouble with control issues. They feel the need to degrade you behind your back so they can either feel good about themselves or can shift the blame of something they know (deep, deep) deep down is their own issue.
If you make your issues the problem of someone else you don’t have to work on yourself, right? For the bad-talker to realise that they are the one that has some work to do is scary so it is easier to make it your issue. This is especially the case for someone with anxiety or poor self-esteem.
Sadly, as I have said in previous blogs: you can’t choose what others say about you. But you can take the power back and choose your response. You can engage in their little games and let them dictate how you feel and how you behave but you can also raise your own standards by realising that their need to degrade you has everything to do with their issues and insecurities and NOTHING to do with you personally.
Choose your response
Once you know that, you can decide how you want to respond and thus take your power back. Do you think the gossip was an one-time event and you just want to ignore it? Do you want to confront the other? Or do you want to kill them with kindness? You can choose a method that best serves your standards.
Kill them with kindness.
This is one of my favorite methods and it has nothing to do with faking kindness. In many cases I try to feel compassion for the gossiper. Try to see their insecurities, anxiety etc. That does not mean that I want to justify their behaviour, it just helps me to understand the motives of the other person, forgive them, hold my power together and maintain the standards I have set for myself for how I want to treat others.
It does not mean, however, that you have to spend a lot of time with people who literally keep you down. I suggest that you keep them at arm’s length. Stay true to yourself, uphold your standards, refuse that the behavior of others dictate how you should respond. Just don’t be too personal. They have shown that they are not trustworthy in that way. Pouring your heart out could be ammo for even more gossip.
Choose people who support you
They say that you are the average of the people you spend most of your time with. So you best spend it with people who love you, support you, are honest, mature in a way that they dare to talk openly and honestly. Surround yourself with people who makes you feel energized and who are not degrading your self-confidence.
Another favorite of mine: tell them that you’ve heard that they have an issue with you and that you would like to talk about it. This shows your goodwill, your level of maturity, your courage, your ability to set your ego aside and that you are willing to take the first step eventhough that other person has hurt you.
Don’t take it personally. Above all: refuse to be a victim. Remember that it is their issue. It has nothing to do with you. And while you can’t choose what other say or think about you, you are always in control in the way you choose to respond.