by Madeline Laughs
I met an anonymous personality on Facebook a while back who eventually deleted and blocked a huge circle of her “friends” when they got too close and started judging her. I finally understand why she was anonymous and why she felt it was not only necessary, but healthier, for her to completely cut her ties with this bunch of folks. Being anonymous may have protected her real life from ever being affected by the whims of these people, but it did not protect her from getting hurt by them.
I wrote a post entitled Rediscovering the Internet about my experiences online over the years and about this new bunch of people I had met in a group on Facebook. I was enamored with the quality and the friendliness of almost everyone involved and found myself looking forward to logging on each night and chatting with them for hours about life, politics and just everyday happenings. I wrote;
Yes, I was under the impression that I had everything figured out. No one could surprise me out here in cyberland anymore. Then I was pulled kicking and screaming into an online community that turned the Internet, as I know it, on it’s head.
That is more true today than it was back when I wrote it. The difference is that when I described the different personalities I was dealing with then, I had a crush on the whole experience. Today my crush is totally crushed and the personalities I described had the ability to go from fun and fun-loving to sinister and threatening.
My usual happy exterior has more mud on it now than it ever has before thanks to this group of folks. I have spent more time trying to sort the lies from the truths, the sincere from the insincere and the real from the fake than I have spent time just simply enjoying myself with them. If I were to list each transgression and each duplicity I encountered in that group, I’d be here writing for weeks. The enormity of psychological dysfunctions was enough to keep an insane asylum busy for centuries.
You see, the more they know about you, the more you set yourself up to be judged. It’s one thing to be judged by folks you actually know, but when people that are no more than a page on the Internet to you still feel they have the right to judge, diagnose and condemn you, it becomes something entirely different. It has the potential to ruin your online experience.
The fact is that you should never feel bad or less than you are when other people judge you, especially when it’s happening online by people you really don’t even know. Let’s face it, you’ll probably never make any big effort to meet most of them anyway. People ordinarily make judgements based on their own belief systems and even when there’s a few of them ganging up on you that have the same opinion, you have to consider the source of their information before believing anything they might be trying to shove down your throat. No one is an expert on everything and if they haven’t known your past and have never even met you then what do they know? They’re shooting in the dark and hoping you’ll buy it! Folks like to feel like they’re right and if they can make you bend beyond your own boundaries, well then you’ve given them a little victory they can tote as another feather in their Expert Hat.
There is a great article written on WikiHow that I have bookmarked and used for a long time now. It was started back in 2005 and has evolved into something I think everyone needs to read and practice. Whenever I start feeling like I have been judged harshly or misunderstood, I refer back to this and it has helped me enormously in dealing with online and real life situations. It’s called How to Not Care What People Think and about 100 people and experts have contributed to it’s evolution over the past seven years. This article has 21 steps to master this new handy tool in your belt you can use the next time someone pisses you off with their small minded gossip or attacks.
Step 1 kind of cracked me up.
Understand that the less you care what people think of you, the more they may dislike you. Why? Because no matter how much pressure there seems to be to “not care what people think”, people like to be cared about. People dislike other people that make them feel sad, angry, or uncomfortable. Not making someone else sad, angry, or uncomfortable means caring about what they’re likely to think and feel. People who don’t care about other people have a hard time making friends because, well, friends are other people. So, developing your social skills and your personality gives people a reason to keep talking to you instead of avoiding you.
My advice is to adhere to the practice of stepping back from a conversation and to try looking at it as an observer, rather than a participant. Don’t allow your emotions to get the best of you and when it gets to be too much for you then just walk away, or log off, rather than continue to give the person attacking you any more ammunition. If it’s happening on Facebook the easiest thing to do once you realize someone is baiting you is to delete them from your friend list, or block them altogether. That way you don’t have to see it, therefore it no longer exists. Trust me, these people will find a new victim and you will soon be forgotten about.
Personality distinguishes you from others, yet personality accommodates similarities too. People can struggle to make friends when few traits set them apart in a positive way. So, developing your personality gives people a reason to talk to you.
I am a very friendly person and I love people in general, so making friends has never been a stretch for me. However one thing I did learn recently was that someone like me needs to make and enforce boundaries. If you don’t have those, then you set yourself up for a world of hurt. So make some steadfast rules whenever you’re making friends and you’ll be just fine.
Don’t give them anything to think, quit chasing it. Sometimes we keep seeking their approval at any cost, and they may never be happy with what you say, and will think whatever they want.
Very important point to pay attention to; Never seek their attention! The pious, the opinionated and the arrogant will never show you much approval at all, if any. To shower you with compliments takes away their power over you and that’s more important to them than praising you for anything.
I have caught myself doing this on more than one occasion. I would chase after that one tiny compliment and then be fat with happiness for days afterwards. It was always short-lived because as soon as I went back for more approval I would find myself right back where I started and have to work just as hard for the next compliment, if it ever came my way at all. What good did that do me?
The other side to that was chipping away at someone that I knew was misrepresenting themselves in order to expose them to the people I was seeking approval from. Taking out a hypocrite is not an easy task and one that I strongly advise against. When you see someone obviously pretending to be someone you know for a fact that they are not, just let them be.
Then there are the ones so needy and empty on their own that they suck you in by pretending to feel exactly the way that you feel. These are the worst ones. They will hang on every word you say and then use it all against you. Once they think they know your weakness, it’s just a matter of time before they climb the ladder of popularity and smash your fingers on the rungs as they pass you by. Don’t be a bit surprised when they make you out to be the villain because if it means their empty cup gets filled while yours drains dry, they will most certainly throw you right under the bus and not give it a second thought.
The personality type that goes to great lengths to ingratiate themselves by lying about what they have done and said to others is part of a sociopath’s makeup. What most folks don’t realize is that a sociopath will learn from your reactions and they will adjust their behavior just like a chameleon. Before you even realize what’s happening, the people that once supported you when the sociopath wronged you are now turning the tables and supporting the sociopath instead.
It’s hard to believe, but I’ve seen it happen. While you’re busy carrying your torch and warning them to be careful because this person has already shown they are not trustworthy, the sociopath has gone around you and your crusade and made themselves into a victim of your mean and undeserved behavior. Suddenly people that shared their own misfortunes of dealing with this character are now joining the sociopath’s group and defending their bad behavior and you are now the one they think has issues!
Take my advice and don’t stand there too long with your jaw on the floor. Don’t waste your breath or your time reminding them of what a creep this person really is either. Just shake your head and move on. Anyone that continues to be entangled with the sociopath can’t be much further from being a sociopath themselves and is that someone worth investing your precious time in?
Think about why others might be judging you. What must their lives be like? Are they envious of you or even attracted to you? They might just have taken a dislike to you. Never mind these people – get them completely out of your life. Realize these people that are putting you down are most likely insecure about themselves, for they would not be putting you down or others if they truly felt good about themselves. People that talk about or be critical of others, are just trying to boost their own self esteem, so give them nothing to eat and they will go looking for a new food source other than you.
Step 8 gives me pause for thought. I know that I have judged people. In fact, calling someone out for being a sociopath could be considered a judgement. However pointing out a behavior potentially harmful to your friends is just being a good friend. It’s up to them whether or not they want to heed your warning and if they don’t, then that’s not your problem anymore. If they continue to be hurt and want to come crying to you every single time it happens then you have a choice. Either remind them, or cut them off. You can still be friends, but you can talk about other things to take their mind off of the latest slight they’ve suffered.
When this happens to people I dearly love I feel their pain and disappointment each time just like it’s the first time. I do listen and I try to help because I know they are smart enough that eventually they will learn the lesson that keeps presenting itself and they will be better for it.
As for the sociopaths, there is no second chance. I cut them off completely because like I said, it is not someone I want to share my time with and they are just not worth sacrificing my healthy outlook in order to deal with their constant state of drama. I am not saying they are worthless human beings, because they do have worth to others. No one is worthless, just as I am not worthless and neither are you. It is more a boundary put in place to protect yourself from being drawn into a web of deceit that will never give you any peace or happiness.
You can still be a likable person without caring so much what other people think. Build your self esteem by surrounding yourself with healthy and positive people and you will find that the time you spent trying to make someone like you will be less and less as the years go by because people will like you for the person you are and not for what they think you should be.
Setting yourself up to be judged is not the end of the world. It could be the end of a friendship, but when you think about it…was that person really your friend?
Yes, I can understand now why my anonymous friend handled her exit the way she did. I wish she had not lumped everyone into one big ball and kept some of the people that were genuine, but this was her decision to make and I am learning that her decision is shaping some of my own recent decisions to separate from a flock of folks that do nothing but judge and gossip. I’ve had my fill of most of them too and will walk away with the few that I am sure are really my friends and I am satisfied with that.
- slap of reality (empirestateofmindd.wordpress.com)
- Compassion (alternateeconomy.wordpress.com)
- Straight Talk:Judging Others and being Judgmental (klarionkall.wordpress.com)
- To Judge…Or Not To Judge…? (settingcaptivesfree.me)
- How to Enjoy Your Life (scoundrelicious.wordpress.com)
- How to Not Get Robbed – WikiHow (thehiltonburnellfiles.wordpress.com)
- changes – forgiveness – individuality (unistudentlife.wordpress.com)