There are days I wonder how that girl gets away with it. I watch as she sashays through life sharing tiny morsels of untruths and lies about this friend or that friend. She pretends she’s so unaffected. Feigns surprise with her hand over her mouth and tells you she hardly knows them, but this is what she heard. Then they share this with their friends and their friends share it with their friends. It’s just a matter of time before the bomb explodes in the target’s face and she gets exactly what she wants. She gets to see their agony, their humiliation, and their pain. She wallows in the path of destruction and their loss of face just as surely as a sow will roll in fresh mud. Another one bites the dust!
I know this girl. I’ve watched her in action and it’s definitely one of the most intricate dances I’ve ever witnessed. This is someone that has no skin in any game, but likes to skin the ones that play. The lack of remorse and the daring idea that she can twist people’s lives simply by knowing who will play her game has got to be some of the most advanced cunning there is.
I tell myself it’s because she “knows” who can be manipulated, but I’m starting to think she doesn’t really care that much. I’m not sure much thought or planning goes into her destruction. I guess whoever is currently under her spell, or perhaps in her control, will suffice. As long as she gets to thumb her nose at those she feels are beneath her, or make someone squirm because they offended her sensibilities, with mean and malicious gossip, it’s enough to quench her thirst until the next time.
And is she sorry when she gets busted? Oh you’re kidding! No, she’s not sorry! This is when the gaslighting begins! “Oh dear, I have no idea what you’re talking about. I think she misquoted me. Maybe she misunderstood what I was saying. I’m sure it’s nothing, dear. Would you like for me to talk to her? Maybe clear all this mess up for you? I’d be happy to do that!” said the wolf to the little pig. It’s like watching a bad soap opera!
Here’s how all of that works in an outline, so you’ll understand the progression. Or maybe I just need to put this into an outline, so I’ll be able to wrap my head around what this person does and how it all plays out.
- Setting the stage.
As with any project that you hope succeeds, you have to have a jumping off, or a jumping in, point. I’m going to say that if your mutual friends really admire something or someone that you despise, then setting the stage is simply a matter of opportunity. Otherwise the subject would have to come along organically so the maestro doesn’t appear to be setting the stage, so to speak. Once the subject they hate comes up, all they have to do is pepper in a few thoughts, plant a few seeds, and the trail is ablazing!
My brain doesn’t work along those lines and anytime I have felt the need to share gossip, I always sound like I’m sharing gossip and not like I’m just offering helpful suggestions or making conversation. Nope! That kind of crap is extremely awkward for me. Besides the fact that I tend to share stuff that’s happened to me and is about me, not stuff about other people’s lives. Pardon me while I shine the spotlight of admiration on the maestro for making this part seem so effortless, like a second skin almost. I can almost smell the cracklin’s frying!
- Sharing the love
Once they have one participant, they have the perfect patsy. It doesn’t matter what this person contributed, as long as they were present. It’s enough for the maestro to now share the love with someone else with a “Guess what I heard?! Can you believe it?!” They’re not going to pick just any old somebody to share the love with. What fun would that be? They’re going to pick someone that knows the target. They want to talk to someone that is closer to the target than they would ever need to be. This way the love they are sharing is sure to be repeated.
Gaslighting is the method used to bend another person’s perception of reality. The intent is to make them doubt what they know is the truth. These kinds of people do this without ever realizing what they’re doing. Once the cat is out of the bag, the maestro must be prepared to disconnect and disassociate herself from the gossip. It’s better to pretend this isn’t a big deal and that the people now acting offended are simply being drama queens.
It’s also the perfect opportunity to plant doubt about what one person said to the other and to offer to help fix it. Oh yeah! There’s nothing better now than to muddy the waters with confusion about who said what and to whom! This is the part that I truly hate. I am a perfectionist what it comes to the details of the gossip that has been shared. I want to know exactly what was said so I can figure out why it’s being shared.
I also don’t mind confrontation.
The problem with confronting someone that has isolationist tendencies is that they are very adept with fogging up the mirror you’re trying to get them to look at. I’m over here going, “Um hey, I hear you’re asking questions about me and sharing some untruths about me. I’m going to be nice and try to clear some of that up for you today, but I’d appreciate it if this kind of behavior ceased. Thanks a bunch.” But the maestro is already tapping the podium with her conducting stick to rev up the orchestra so they’ll play her next song.
You have to be on your toes when you’re out there running with the big hogs. If you aren’t careful you’re going to end up being roadkill and no one is going to be sorry they ran you over with their fucking car. I have come to the sorry conclusion that it doesn’t matter if you’re a good person, or if you’ve always been a good friend to someone, if they want to believe the gossip about you, then that’s what they’re going to do.
- Bringing home the trophy
Your head on a stick looks good as one of their newly acquired lawn ornaments. You took the bait and you probably lashed out at someone that was totally innocent in all of this because you believed the gossip. You went after the patsy they set up and now the maestro can be the hero by fixing it. They’ll offer to fix it for you when you confront them. There’s no shame in their game. You’re an idiot as far as they’re concerned. If they aren’t offering to fix it, they’re going to throw the patsy back under the bus as long as it’s rolling over you. What’s one more pile of blood and bones on the side of the road to them? They love the smell of gullible in the morning!
“Well, she probably just liked the attention. I’m sure she wasn’t being mean.” Keep in mind that you’ve laid out the details of what you were told and if it was any different from what was actually said, this was the chance for her to say so. This was the time for her to correct the misquotes and misunderstandings. But they’re not going to do that, because they aren’t misquotes. They’re exactly what she told your friend, so your friend would tell you and so you would get pissed.
This is the other part of this whole pathology that bewilders me. They act like it’s no big deal. No. Big. Deal. People are all around you bleeding, but it’s no big deal. That’s when we all get to hear the ever popular; “Get over it already! Move on!” That one statement used to send me into a tailspin of shame. What was wrong with me that I couldn’t just shake this off? I am so fucking stupid! I should move on! I should get over it! I’m such a big fat loser! All of my other friends have laughed it off and stopped talking about it. Why am I still talking about it?
And that’s exactly what the maestro wants you to do.
Doubt who your real friends are.
Doubt what you’ve been told, because they are all probably lying.
They are all out to get you.
No one likes you anyway.
I am not good at this kind of situation and so I always end up looking like a raving lunatic. It pisses me off so much and the frustration that there are people out there that can so casually fuck you right in your ass in front of folks that are supposed to be your friends and have your back, is overwhelming.
The lesson I have learned in all of this is not to react anymore. Instead of reacting you turn yourself around and you run like hell in the other direction because you are not going to win this game unless you’re just as screwed up as they are.
When I look at my own life’s resume, I see things I am mighty proud of on there. I like to think I’m a little saner than most people. I think I have my feet planted firmly on the ground. When I look at my own history, I see plenty of old friends in my circle that I still dearly love. The fact that none of us ever feel the need to lash out at one another, or plant small time bombs of dissension, speaks to me. It’s where my heart lives. Why would I ever want to blow that up?
I’ve been married to one man that I have spent almost half of my life loving.
I have worked in three major professions my entire life; film/theater, recruiting and research. I haven’t bounced all over the map with jobs. I have stability.
I’m not saying I am better than anyone else out there.
I treat everyone with respect, even people that have done heinous things to me.
I don’t do anything in my life with the intention of hurting another human being. In fact, I am stalwart about that. To me, hurting another person is like hurting myself. Why would I ever want to hurt myself?
Why do people want to hurt me?
I just don’t get it. I will never pretend to understand the agenda of someone this cavalier about other human beings, but I will tell you this…I am not that girl.