Tag Archives: gossip

Endship

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In life we never lose friends, we only learn who the true ones are.

Two weeks ago I ended a friendship that spanned twenty years. I thought it would be hard to do, but it wasn’t. The problem that I was having with her was her love for gossip. And she gossiped about everybody and everything! Listening to her speak, you would have thought that certain celebrities were among her closest friends the way she discussed the most intimate details of their lives “I can’t believe Beyonce… Mike (Epps) need to be ashamed for talking to his daughter that way…”

She was also highly competitive and scrutinized my every move and purchase. She always tried to criticize me “on the low” as my students would say.  Often after being in contact with her I would feel so slimy. She was just too much!

Not to mention, her SIL has a son with Eliza’s brother and I wanted to remove myself from that whole drama circle. When her SIL was buddies with Eliza, she used to prank call my house and job on her behalf. So thus when we are in each other’s presence, it is too awkward for her, so much to the point where I started wondering if I had been the one harassing her!

A dog that will bring a bone will carry a bone so I was not surprised to learn that she had been talking about me with a friend of hers. Now when most people talk about you behind your back,  mind you, they don’t usually come and tell you about it and then blame it on the party that doesn’t know you, lol.

When I told her that I didn’t want to be the object of their messy drama, she was totally indignant that I was offended. Her text read Oh and one last thing. I do feel like u have a issue with me, and if that’s true then it’s displaced irritation and we need to keep it moving  because if it’s that “silly” then let it be just that!” She didn’t seem to think their discussion regarding how much life insurance I received when my husband died and what all I had been doing with the funds was a big deal.

I told her it was best that we end the friendship because it was pointless to explain that she is the only one I could have an issue with for discussing my business as I don’t know her friend. She just doesn’t get it and at this stage in life, I’m not sure she will. Unhappy with my response, she took it to Facebook writing “STILL learning that  people come into your life sometimes for just a season and earn no comebacks. All emotional cripples exit stage left.”

I hope she starts her exit soon.

PDSD

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Do you know people who seem to thrive off of drama?  They carry on so  much that they make themselves sick?  I like to call this phenomenon post dramatic stress disorder.

I’ve tried in all areas of my life to avoid this dreaded disease.  But some love  its contamination.  Really it’s just a foil to cover the insecurity and the emptiness in their lives.  Drama distracts them from their pathetic existence.

PDSD really likes to rear its ugly head during the holidays.  So how do you stay drama-free you may wonder?  Here are a few things I do to cut the theatrics:

1.) Be secure:  People love to gossip and if you just so happen to be the object of  malicious slander, you will need to fortify yourself. The best reaction in this case is none at all.  People are allowed their opinions. And just because they “said it” doesn’t make it so. You show your security when you resist constantly defending yourself.  When you know who you are, nothing can shake your foundation.

2.) Learn to handle them:  You can’t avoid people who suffer from this condition ALL the time.   Sometimes those very people reside in your own family or his. And many times you work with them.  Therefore, when you HAVE to be around them, it is best to keep the conversation light, cordial, and on general terms.  Smile and greet “the room” so that no one can claim you did not acknowledge him or her.  I was once accosted by a relative because I failed to give her a picture of my baby.  I simply replied “No, I did not” and left it at that, which left her speechless.

3.) Know their motive: People who suffer from PDSD ALWAYS have a motive.  Usually it is to get under your skin, ruin your day, steal your joy, usurp some of your security for a temporary high,  to break your inner peace, or all of the above.  Understanding this enables you to handle their attacks  in a nonreactive way.  Do not allow them to use you for their sick and twisted entertainment purposes.

4.) Don’t be surprised by their hostility:   Do you REALLY expect them to behave any differently? Would you be upset if a shark bit your arm off?  Initially yes, but after you think about it, that’s what they do when they feel threatened.   Not to mention, it was only behaving in the only manner that it knows how–as a shark.  In their (the poison people, not the shark’s) minds you represent a threat to them because you (fill in the blank ).  Sharks bite, bottom line.  If you want to reduce your chances of being eaten alive, stay out of  shark infested waters. Or at least don’t dive in smelling like bait.

5.) Silence is golden:  Oftentimes when drama comes my way, I exercise the Miranda rights and remain silent.  Nothing makes a drama queen or king feel worse than when they are ignored.  By choosing this tactic you keep the power in your hand.  You also lessen the chances of anything that you say being used against you in the court of public opinion.  Know in advance that you can’t reason with the unreasonable so there is no point in trying to get the clueless to see the light.  They won’t. 

Feel free to add your tips below.  Here’s to staying drama and sucker free this holiday season!

Gossip Girl

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I’ve written about this particular “friend” before and her burning need to gossip.  Tasha is known for being a busybody.  She attended the same junior high as both my husband and Eliza.  He said she was the same way then, too.  He felt she was a person that I needed to feed with a long handled spoon. 

In a way I don’t want to cut her off because she does have good qualities.  But here lately, her bad qualities are overwhelming her good ones.  For starters she viewed attending the funeral as a social event–a reunion of sorts.  Tasha stated that she wanted to be “cute” for the service as she never knew who would be there!  On the otherhand, she was very supportive in the aftermath of his death (she was the one in the photo with me on the post Be There).  Not to mention she has a wicked sense of humor and a fair sense of fashion.  When she is not being controlled by the green-eyed monster, she gives good advice and is a great listener.

I try to ignore her malignancy as much as possible.  When she gets to gabbing about others I change the subject or remain quiet.  I wish she would grow up.  However, I know Tasha is suffering from insecurity.   It makes her feel superior for a little while when she is slandering others.  Yet she hates when others do the same to her.  Tasha was complaining about a woman we both know spreading rumors about her!  I wanted to point out that it hurts when the shoe is on the other foot, but she can’t accept constuctive criticism.

She is highly competitive with all of her friends (not just me because I have heard all about them as I’m sure they have heard all about me!) and is very consumed by people who have “more” than her.  I rarely tell her about my accomplishments because I know that she can’t handle hearing such news. 

One day I was combing Jazmine’s hair when she called.  When she inquired about what I was doing, she responded Don’t you mean brushing?!  It was a snide comment that I didn’t play into.  No, I’m combing it.  Her hair has grown quite a bit since the last time you saw her, I patiently explained.  Sometimes she amuses me with her lack of decorum!

She also gets pretty annoyed with me because I do not divulge every detail of my life.  She is very free in her speech and talks about many things including her sex (blush!) life.  I’m not that way with any of my friends!  She often says I hate when people act like they can’t share details.  I know that the “people” she is referring to means me because she thinks that I am too secretive.  But I am very careful about what I say to her knowing that everyone in town would be privvy to the information a few hours later.  I keep the conversation on general terms with her–kids, recipes, shopping, movies, careers–nothing too revealing.

I am pretty good with managing money which I suppose gives her the impression that I have more than I do.  In in my present circumstances she is envious of me!  Who in their right mind would be jealous of a widow?!  She always makes comments that she wishes she could be like me and buy whatever she wants.  When she visits, she surveys the house and starts talking about how she to wants to buy a home and all of the other things she needs to get for her apartment that we already have.  A few times she has even bought her friends with her to show off our house!

I always feel like I am on “display” when she is around.  I can feel her studying and watching my every move.   And she has an opinion about everything!  To be honest I feel sorry for her because she is obviously hurting and unhappy with herself.  But she is too immature to seek another avenue to release her insecurities.  I don’t know how to build her self worth even though I try.  I am not willing to sacrifice my sanity for the sake of  friendship.  But I would like to attempt before ditching her completely.  So how do you help save a friend from this disease of the mouth?

Gossip or Gospel

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…but no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. James 3:8

I have an acquaintance by the name of Tasha.  In the past year I’ve lessened my contact with her.  Tasha is a lover of gossip and she spreads it around like peanut butter.  She also happens to know Eliza and her family very well because they grew up in the same neighborhood for 15 years.

Not only does she know Eliza, she also knows my husband because he attended the same junior high school as Tasha (and Eliza).  Tasha, my husband, and I attended the same high school.  Therefore we know many of the same people.

A few years ago I actually looked forward to the juicy tidbits of information because it validated my opinion that she was a crazy, hateful, spiteful person.  I relished hearing “dirty” details about her.  Tasha was the resident expert on all things Eliza.  And sure enough what ever Tasha reported usually turned out to be dead on–give or take a few embellishments!  

But now I am relunctant to listen to stories about Eliza.   It takes away from my character and keeps me stuck in the past.    Gossip is a real trouble spot for me.  Even the listening part is not as harmless as it appears.  It’s almost as if Tasha wants me to keep the bitter feud with Eliza going.

When the kids came to live with us, Tasha was apalled at my peacable attitude about the situation.  She could not fathom why I would help raise her children after the many acts of terrorism Eliza had performed.  She was disgusted at the notion that I was willing to interact with her at all.  Of course, she was not shy about telling me this!

Her attitude was so poisonous that I stopped talking to her for six months.  I really could not deal with the negative vibes that were spewing from her.  This past April Tasha called me.  Not recognizing the number on the caller ID, I answered the call.  Immediatedly she wanted to know why I had stopped talking to her.

And because she does have a few endearing characteristics, I gave in and talked to her for a spell.  I was disappointed.  Even though I told her why I stopped accepting her calls, she was on the same wavelength as before.  She couldn’t wait to tell me that Eliza’s nephew’s mom and former best friend now dates (of all people) her brother.  Tasha was determined to sully my mind with her rancid talk about Eliza and others.  Listening to her made me realize that I was too old to be engaging in such minutia.  Plus, my grandmother always said a dog that brings a bone will carry a bone!

Gossiping is a dangerous game.  Why not spread gospel instead?  Sometimes gossip is rooted in truth, but I have come to find that usually it is a matter of opinion.  I was reminded of the old adage Just because someone said it doesn’t make it so.  Therefore, the next time you are faced with listening to someone gossip, just ask yourself, is it the gossiper’s truth or the gospel truth?

Real Talk

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            Monday I made the two hour drive down to see Eliza so that I could speak with her face to face regarding the voicemail she left.  I could detect the veiled hostility in her message that she attempted to cover up by concluding with and have a blessed day.  I wanted to give her a chance to talk about whatever it was that was obviously bothering her. 

It was a pretty intense visit in which we talked about a lot.  She was defensive (understandably so) and seriously in denial about Evan’s reason for being in residential treatment.  It was primarily her parenting, life, and motives that were being examined.  As I knew would happen sooner or later, events from the past surfaced.  But I was okay with that and was actually looking forward to an end of the pretense that all was well.  It was like a breath of fresh air to a collapsed lung.

 It was weird how the conversation flowed.  She jumped around from topic to topic and eventually landed in the past.  She began with the scarf story.  When CPS had removed the kids from her custody, we had them for a period of five weeks.  One day after visiting with her for a couple of hours, Evan came home with the scarf that she used to wrap her hair up at night.  She sent it to comfort him.  She continued to say that Evan told her that I had thrown the scarf away proclaiming, “Nothing that belongs to your mother will ever be allowed in this house.”  You’ll have to forgive me, but I started laughing at the absurdity of it all.  I would never do such a thing and I actually thought it was kind of cute that she had sent it with him.  I explained this to her and she burst out crying.  Apparently she believed this—though I have no idea why Evan would weave such a tale.  But then again, I do.  Sometimes when children know that their parents want to hear certain things, they will do anything to “feed” this need and begin to fabricate stories.  I’m sure she wanted to hear something “bad” about us, and because he wanted to please her, he came up with the scarf story.  She heard what she wanted to hear and used that among other tales to keep the animosity burning and the rift growing. 

She said that Ethan told her that I said that she would never be able to afford a house like ours.  Another lie.  One day Ethan asked me how much our house cost.  I thought it was a rather strange question coming from the mouth of a then ten-year-old boy.  I responded by saying that there are certain questions that you just don’t ask people and that the question he had just asked was one of them.  I knew that she sent him fishing for this particular information.

Eliza was also holding it against us that a friend of her middle son’s father, Carl, told him that my husband and I said that we did not want the kids at our house.  Carl, of course, relayed this misinformation to her.  I gently pointed out to her that immediately after the incident that landed her in prison, my husband made arrangements to get them.  Now mind you, Eliza is the one who did not want my husband to receive custody.  Before her husband went to prison, she had him call my husband asking him if he would terminate his parental rights! Not to mention, she fainted in jail upon learning that we had Ethan and Evan.

            I was a little shocked at how much she thrived on the whole “he say-she say” phenomenon.  But then again, she does have that drama seeking, immature personality.  It seems that she was expressing her own actual feelings through Ethan and Evan.  She didn’t want to come off as totally paranoid or as if she really cared what I thought about her.  These are her adult insecurities that she has bequeathed to her children.

  She also said that social worker involved in the CPS case told her that she felt I was too controlling.  Again, I had to laugh as I informed her that Shan, the caseworker, had told me that exact same thing about her!    

Eliza attempted to badmouth my husband but I stopped her by simply saying “I am not here to defend my husband—what for?  You had a past with him that I can’t speak on.  Your experience with him belongs to you and him alone.  I understand that he is not perfect and I’m sure that you both did things wrong that resulted in a failed marriage.  But I would like to remind you that he is not the same person that you married, as I’m sure you are not the same.”   She appeared to accept this.

I guess I have moved on because I didn’t once mention any of the problems that she caused for me.  My entire focus was on the kids and how we could continue to work together for the good of the whole.  And in case you’re wondering, Eliza did apologize twice for leaving that message.

            The kids were I teach have a term that they use to describe a serious moment of conversation known as “real talk.”  Yesterday, as tedious as it was, was our first “real talk.”  In the end I was glad that she had the opportunity to get some concerns off her chest.  Do I think there’s more? Yes.  Am I ready to throw in the towel? Kind of.  Am I sick of dealing with her and the whole ordeal? Absolutely!  Am I going to keep talking and working through this mess? Most likely.  Why?  Because I know that I can’t always give up or give in when the going gets tough.