Being human teaches us that certain emotions---jealousy, pride, insecurity, as a few examples---are inevitable. Many times they serve as reflections into our own selves, indicating what is lacking in our lives.
The most interesting thing about them is the number of ways they can be manifested. Some people retract into shells while others just become bullies.
So, I have had a couple of friends throughout the years who seem to love taking the "snide comment" route. Sometimes indirect, sometimes not. And the comments will apply to anything, even things that I did not think were bad.
"Oh, people who write aren't really doing anything."
"You know, your problem is that you get so close to people. You just become friends with everyone."
"Nobody really has a good relationship. If you say you do, you're just trying to cover up how terrible it is."
I used to react to these comments by shrinking myself down. Anything to not open the door to more comments. If a person complimented me around this type of friend, I would cringe and silently beg, "Please stop. PLEASE!" and rushed to change the subject.
Why didn't I ever say anything back? Maybe I should have. I always told myself that someone would only behave that way if they were experiencing their own avalanche of internal negativity. That psycho-analysis and consistent excuse of the root cause kept me quiet and only empowered those comments.
And I'd wonder why this person felt the need to sneakily criticize every aspect of my life, especially when I was happy. Why, why why? Eventually, I reacted with fear and shame.
But lately, I've made a promise to myself. To not shrink. To not be so sensitive. To let it go but not let it go.
Because nobody is being helped by my fear and isn't it almost insane to be ashamed of your own happiness?
And with the positive environment of the blogosphere, I ask you, have you ever been in a similar situation? Do you think this is more common among women? Have you ever had a toxic friendship?
(I don't want to gender the issue but am simply stating the context I've heard this in the most.)