And why you never want to stoop to their level.
People suck. Well, some suck more than others. And some have suckiness thrust upon them… usually by parents who spoil them rotten. The point is, there is always going to be someone out there who annoys the piss out of you.
Take S, a certain acquaintance who is outstandingly narcissistic and parasitic. S uses people I care about, draining them of their energies to the point where I’ve seen them neglect their own needs. S is clingy. Suffocating. S is the bane of my existence.
Back in the day, after a certain amount of time spent dealing with S and feeling like the situation was only growing more intolerable, I decided enough was enough! No more Miss-Nice-Guy; I’d beat S at their own game. I’d be the one getting what I wanted all the time… damn the consequences. I started manipulating my friends, I made snide remarks behind S’ back, and I started to clandestinely exclude S from social get-togethers. I was finally going to make myself feel better by treating S exactly as was warranted.
It worked great! … So great that I ended up alienating my friends and being viewed for a time as a cold-hearted she-dog. For all I know, there are still some who view me as such… and really, there is no one to blame for that but myself.
Oh sure, I could make excuses about immaturity and bad advice solicited from others, but to do so would be self-deceiving. In short, because I took the low road (even though I mistakenly believed I had the moral high ground), I wound up becoming someone I didn’t like and… surprise! Not many other people liked the new me either.
Thankfully, I did manage to salvage my self-respect and restore my good name, but only after leaving the S debacle alone. Full stop. At the time it felt like “giving up.” Now I realize it was sanity.
Did I ever make peace with what I had done? I’m attempting to, chiefly by writing this blog post.
People like S will always be in my life. Whether within my own family, my workplace, or other activities in which I participate. However, being the sadder, but wiser, girl I am, I now recognize that the best course of action is to simply walk away from these people and not let petty grievances drag me down. And, if I find myself in a position where I can’t leave, clapping my hands over my ears and singing lalala is a feasible Plan B.
Unbecoming behavior from one whom we expect to be unbecoming is, for better or worse, acceptable. Unbecoming behavior from one whom people respect and admire is shocking, if not horrifying, to behold.
If, however, some sort of confrontation does become necessary between you and your S, be direct. As a communications professional, I can tell you that “I statements” do work much better than “you-centric” finger wagging. Keep calm; don’t let your voice rise with your temper. Above all, don’t knock yourself out while knocking your head against a brick wall…. if you’re not getting through, there may come a time when you simply have to grin (with clenched teeth) and bare it. Ah, adulthood.
That said, here is today’s parting metaphor: a gnat in the ear is not worth a stinging cheek when you strike yourself while trying to rid yourself of a pest.