A Nasty That Can’t Be Cured With Penicillin

You know what it is.  Sometimes it’s hereditary, sometimes it’s picked up from the environment we’re in.  It can be in the air, easily passed along from one person to another.  A lot of the time we’re scratching our head wondering where the hell it came from.  And it’s not gender specific.  Both male and female can be afflicted.

Though there are a few people in the human population who are immune to this, like, say Mother Teresa, most of us are able to steer clear of it, but even the toughest ones can fall prey.

Like me, for example.  I contracted a bout of this many years ago after being around someone with a similar affliction.  It was short-lived, fortunately, but from that day on, I’ve been diligent about keeping myself free and clear.

What is this Nasty?  Pure, undiluted Meanness.

The day it hit me, I had a slap-in-the-face reality check.  After some particularly choice words from my ex over the subject of laundry, of all things, I came back at him with a line so vile, so below the belt, both of our jaws dropped.  Neither of us could believe that I, one of the nicest people I know (okay, I’m in the top 100 of those I know), could have actually said what I did.  It was so out of character, so…so…not me.   All I could do was close my mouth and slink away.  I couldn’t even say I was sorry.  Because I had meant it at the time.  That was the part that shocked me – that I was even capable of saying something so hurtful.  Since that day I have kept my mind and mouth in check, because the look on my ex’s face will burn forever in my brain.

But what about others who do this on a constant basis?  Earlier this week some friends, including “T” from Give Me A Valium With My Latte, and I were talking and the conversation turned to women who were nasty, bitchy, and just plain mean.  We’re not talking about comments in the privacy of our own homes or amongst friends, but out-in-public mean – words intending to hurt, words that travel with such high velocity, they embed in others, compelling the receiver to “pay it forward,” or at least shoot it right back at the originator with intent to maim.  It has a ripple effect and unless we’re skilled at dodging that bullet (which few of us are), many of us tend to get defensive, ball up our fists, and get ready to throw the insults right back.

That is an example of a short-lived case, sort of like the flu or a cold.  As  soon as the offending person leaves our orbit, we’re back to our sweet selves.

I see that situation on a daily basis with my boys.  Separated, they are angels.  Together, I’m packing my bags, ready for a Tijuana run just to avoid their energy.  My oldest asked me once, “Mom, why is he so mean?”  I wanted to shake him into next week and ask, “What do you expect when you treat him the same way?”  But I didn’t.  We’d had that same conversation at least one hundred times.  There was no need to repeat it.  My words obviously weren’t going to be sinking in anytime soon.

Some people, unfortunately, are raised in that nasty kind of environment, so when they step out their front door, they are ready to face the world with a frown and a bad attitude.  They are the ones who suffer with chronic meanness.  They are the ones who have no intention of entering rehab.  They are the ones my friends and I were having a “discussion” about this week.

It’s sad, really.  Friends and family are alienated from our lives because of the words they choose to utter.  (My big brother and I, for example.)  Cultures are separated because of the inability to reach for a positive or grateful thought.

I’ve never understood the concept of being mean to one another, to purposely set out to dig under another’s skin until they bleed.  Perhaps it feeds the need to feel superior.  I don’t know.  Like I said.  I don’t get it.  “T” and I, along with many of my friends, prefer to live in a “no drama zone,” and I think that’s where I’m going to set up house.  Not only is it easier on the body, but just think how much money we’ll save in Botox injections.  Sheesh.

About Diana Murdock

California-grown, writer of contemporary and YA paranormal with enough energy to write, raise two boys, run, and dream.

Posted on January 26, 2012, in Blogging, Family, Friendships, Health, Human, Life Lessons, Personal, Uncategorized, Women and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. Great post. Yep, we’ve all lashed out with the mean stick once or twice, but too many folks use it out of habit. Just remember, when folks are being mean to you, their life isn’t working for them and they have no idea how to fix it, so they lash out at those around them. All too often it is at those who are closest to them and who are unlikely or unable to fight back. Sad really. So the next time someone says something mean to you just smile. They’re having a bad day, no need to share it if you don’t want to.

  2. LOL – love the Botox comment! When someone is mean it’s their problem, not yours. That’s a tough one for children to understand when feelings are hurt but as an adult It makes it so easy to just smile and move on.

  3. Ok, this is a topic I love. Mean people. Could be the title of a movie, right? They made Funny People, let’s make Mean People. Starring my ex, a girlfriend who I wanted to start a publishing house with (no kidding), and my relatives. Tyler Perry’s House of Payne will be nothing compared to my drama. I must say, the ex comes first. The stuff he said when I moved out was beyond anything hurtful. It was plain mean. Saying stuff for the sake of being as horrible as possible. He brought up all my past lovers – yeah he went there – and then my family. He called my father a racist pedophile. Ok. I don’t know where this one came from, but if he expected me to come back after saying something like this, he was very mistaken. Oh and the final blow – the C word. I was a c word. Cool. Thanks. Goodbye now.

    My former girlfriend, it was a total new repertoire. She bitched about everything. That woman I realized later, was very miserable. Still is, I don’t think anything has changed. She hated my friends, called them stupid. Then she found herself a publisher and she stopped talking to me. She criticized my work, said it wasn’t good enough. She made it a competition. And the final blow? She pretended nothing was wrong. Jaw dropping folks welcome to my world!

    Lastly, my relatives. Well they went overboard with everything they thought and said about me. They called me arrogant, smartass, selfish, and they accused me of being a leach. They have no effing clue who I am because they never hung out with me, last time they did, I was probably seventeen and I was going through my rebellious phase. Whatever. These people will never understand.

    So here is my solution to these issues: I DON’T GIVE A F***!!!! You wanna be nice to me, thank you and I’ll be nice to you. I’m actually super nice. The nicest there is, it’s me. Do you see the big arrow pointing in my direction?? LOL I’m Miss Nice. Another movie could me made. But if you wanna be mean to me, I’m gonna ignore you and move on. I won’t even spend the time fighting. It’s not worth it. So here. Either you get nice, or you get nothing.

    The ball is in your camp.

    Awesome post. 😉

  4. Jill Griffen-Olson

    The battle of Good and Evil goes on within us all at times. There us our “inside” voice and our “outside” voice. The angel on our right shoulder, the devil on our left. What is in the middle is the most powerful energy source of all, our brain. How we choose to process is up to each individual. Children learn from guidance and consequences, both positive and negative. As a mom, raising two great sons, most of their “problems” were settled between themselves. Setting myself aside with great effort on my part, to allow them to battle it out. If one or the other would come for my referring skills, I would simply ask if blood was involve. Everytime the answer was no. Life is grand, beautiful, a struggle, disappointing at times, I know this from my personal experiences of joy and tragic events of loss. As simple as this next statement is, it is also the most difficult one to understand and live by: “Life Happens, Don’t Take It Personal”. Pull up your boot straps, be grateful for all the simple and wonderful things in life, be it a warm blanket or being in love, whatever is in your life at that moment and carry on.
    Great post, food for the mind and to help keep us all in check of how our actions can effect the Universe.

  5. Wow, excellent post. And sometimes we do ‘pay it forward’ when treated badly. Even pets do that (redirected aggression) so it’s sort of a universal thing.

  6. Great post, D…. pithy, well-written, thoughtful, and right-on-the mark.

  7. Great subject, Diana. Some people just can help themselves – they have that mean bone in their body. I spot it from miles away and run the opposite direction. I’ve ended a couple of friendships in the past because dealing with a pure venom is not what I want to do. Life is too short and there are plenty of nice folks around 🙂

  8. What a fantastic post Diana. I have caught myself time and time getting caught up in the gossip cycle. Someone around me starts gossiping and the next thing I know, I start gossiping. And hate myself in the morning. Meanness can be the same thing. How many times have we seen the friends of bullies who also bully themselves. But once away from the leader, the meanness leaves them?!
    I’ve realize that it’s on me to keep who I am and who I want to be at the forefront of my mind so that my actions mean I’m living authentically.

  9. Great post, Diana!
    I hate mean people, especially when I’m being one. It’s true and I can admit it…sometimes, I’m mean.
    I’m good with words and I’m extremely good at saying really, really, REALLY mean things with the intention to hurt. I’m not proud of that fact. BUT, over the years, I’ve realized this about myself, and it rarely happens now. Sadly, it seems that my daughter has inherited this less than stellar trait.
    It’s true that we all fall prey to the meanness affliction from time to time. But like Natalie said, in order to live authentically, we MUST be mindful of our actions. Great post.

  10. I try hard not to pay it forward. I’m usually good at it. But if one of those mean people is directing it at a friend, well, it’s a little harder. I get protective.

    It’s scary to me how mean kids have gotten – not talking the usual sibling stuff, but some of the truly rude and awful comments kids make towards each other. TV glorifies mean as funny, and while sometimes it is, I think we have a generation coming up that doesn’t seem to get that people have feelings. It’s a little scary.

    Loved your Botox comment. 🙂

  11. Very thought provoking post. The problem with some is they just don’t know that they have it in them. When kids display it its totally different than the adult version. Kid’s (excluding pathological bullies) aim is to gain immediate advantage of the situation. Adult usage is well planned to cause detrimental effect.

  12. Mean people have always made me acutely uncomfortable. I’ve just never understood to need to be outright nasty and negative. If we could all adopt an attitude of polite civilty when we are out in the world (and especially on the internets) think how much nicer the world would be!

  13. I’m constantly “amazed” by the pettiness and cruelty of some. Our writing chapter was taken down not once, but twice due to mean people — actually some of the “core” mean people were involved in both take downs, their minions merely changed. It still bothers me. Not because I was targeted in any way. I drove 100 miles once a month to get there and the mean people pretty much left me alone. I think what bothered me was their power to destroy — I saw so many good people, leave because of them. I don’t like it when mean people win.

  14. Good blog. It is especially appropriate given our political landscape.

  15. Another great post, Diana.

    From a male perspective, meanness isn’t always a bad thing. What I mean is: I’ve worked in several jobs where one of the guys and more often the boss really cuts to the quick when something goes wrong and it can be amusing for a bunch of guys listening in. Hard teasing can be a way of life and my advise to ‘the new guy’ was never let it show if someone hits a sore spot. The others will just pour salt in the wound.

    In its own way is lightens ones attitude and the nasties just fall flat. I think this is the way with kids too. Preparing them for a hard world outside their door.

    I have also learned– the hardway– you never take those cuts home with you. My dad always told me– I’m sure it’s a quote from someone famous– when arguing with your family members: A compliment last for ten minutes but hard words last forever.

  16. Yep, been there. My sister is one of those chronic mean people, and one time when she came to visit for Christmas, I was so bogged down by her attitude that omg, something equally mean and nasty slipped out of my mouth. I find it only slightly ironic that those who dish it can’t take it, but that’s not an excuse for my behavior. I promised myself I’d never let that happen again, but it’s much easier to keep that promise if we stay far away from each other.

  17. Oh, the mean, nasty people of our lives… they are so utterly toxic and devastating to our morale. I know that when I’ve been mean (yes, it’s happened a few times, I’m sorry to admit), it’s come from a place of deep seated fear. Now if I experience someone who is just mean for meanness’ sake, I avoid them. Unless they are tormenting someone I love, then I go on the offensive, not in a mean way, but an intelligent way. Mean people are not being rational, so using logic stumps them for a time. Family, now that’s another story. I do what I can to keep them out of my life and when I have to be around them, I paste a smile on my face and get through. Like Angela said, it’s just easier if we stay away from each other.

  18. It’s horribly sad actually. I’m seeing some of that right now. Not nasty on purpose really, but it’s being perceived that way as it comes from a place of hurt. Everybody is hurting and everything said between them stings. It’s painful. 😦 I see it with my kids too. I keep thinking of August’s and Tameri’s gratitude posts and remind my child of these things. Life is too short for all this mean, spiteful talk. :(.

  19. Hi Diana! Please for give me for being late to the party and MIA lately. Too much going on in my life. And I’ve finally got myself organized to see you more often. 🙂

    What can I say. I love your post. I have some very passionate feelings about this subject and how awesome of you to bring it to our attention so we can all take a look at ourselves and make sure we’re not acting like that.

    How many of us have done the very same thing you did Diana and stopped dead at our feet in shock. Some of it, like with you was frustration, but for most people it’s a form of bully-ism. And it’s out of hand in our society and our children can get affected because of who they’re surrounded by at school. We can only insulate them, but we can’t always isolate.

    Great post Diana! Best wishes with everything. And may the force be with you as they say. Raising children is the hardest job we have on this earth. 🙂

  20. Great post! Ever wonder if the meanness is but a symptom. The outward projection of something, the cause, that is deep within.

    For me, deep inside was anger. Anger that never made it into my consciousness and the forefront of my mind. Once it worked its way to the surface, and I processed it, my life has taken on a completely new dimension. I’m nice to people. I no longer judge people but feel compassion toward them. And that makes it easy to smile when I address someone. I find that I am now genuinely giving of myself and that just propels a special feeling.

  21. Oh, I do relate to the fear of being mean! I too remember my first “mean lash-out.” I was in senior high school, and I made a conscious decision to just take any teasing on the chin and not retort because I had discovered about myself that I wasn’t capable of defending myself without going over the top. I discovered (a most unpleasant discovery) that I am capable of truly cutting, hurtful words. But also that I can’t seem to tone them back, so I’m better off saying nothing. I struggle with that to this day: I don’t have a response if someone attacks me, because I am so afraid of what might come out of me if I hit back. Lesson still to be learned…

  22. I have disappointed myself a few times in the last few years with being mean back to someone who was just plain nasty to me.
    I’ve been dealing with this person for almost three years, and it’s really tiring, and extremely frustrating. I know people usually say to get those negative people out of your life, but it’s the mother of my partner’s child.. which makes it really impossible to just have her OUT of my life. There are constant attacks at me, through him, or directly, and I know now, that it’s due to jealousy, but seriously, it takes every ounce of strength I have NOT to shoot back. There’s really not even any point in defending myself, because no matter what I say to try and defend myself, she finds some other way to dig those words even deeper.

    It’s tiring, and seriously I don’t understand it what so ever. I used to believe that everyone had GOOD in them, that there were reasons why people did and said the things they do, but after the last few years, I honestly think there are just MEAN people out there. It sucks really, and it makes no sense, but us nice people all need to stick together, and just continue to be the bigger person. As hard as it is.

    • You’re in a difficult position for sure! Not only for you but also for your partner and his child. You do right by not responding. There’s no point and it will just rob you of even more energy than she takes just by being in her presence. She has her own issues and insecurities that she can’t handle and externalizes to you (and probably to everyone else!). Surrounding yourself with people with higher vibrations will help heal you and strengthen your boundaries. It’s hard being the bigger person, I know. I had, and still do, have a major energy vamp in my life who I can’t walk away from (my children’s father), but I do what I can to see his issues as his issues and not mine to take on.

      My friend, Serena Dracis posted an interesting blog on energetic cleansing. You might be interested in what she says. I think it fits into most of our lives. Good luck, Fawn. Hugs to you!


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