I am the first to admit that, historically, I haven’t responded to nasty and hateful people very well. My initial reaction was to respond with equal nastiness. Why? I think because I misunderstood why people are nasty to others. I used to think that the nasty person was nasty because the person they were being nasty toward had been nasty first. I reacted in a nasty way to the nasty person, because I was pissed at erroneously being viewed as being a nasty and hateful person! (How stupidly ironic of myself!)
Now I know that nasty people are just nasty and mean for no reason. Well, other than the fact that the nasty person hates him/herself and the nasty person has zero respect for others as a result of their self-hatred.
Pitying these people just perpetuates their hate. And being nasty back and lashing out at their nastiness just serves to validate their natural state of nastiness. They think if others are nasty to them, they are justified in their nastiness.
Today, I respond differently to nasty and hateful people.
When the nasty person is my boss or co-worker, I set my boundaries, say “no” when appropriate and ignore their judgment of myself and others. Questioning them isn’t worth losing my job or being bullied into leaving my job. (Been there!)
If the nasty person is an acquaintance or someone on Facebook or my blog, I slip away quietly. The relationship isn’t solid enough or based on much to obligate myself to explain myself. Stepping away, unfriending that person and not engaging further is self-preservation and self-protection. The mean and nasty person will doubtfully even notice my silence and sudden elimination from their friend list.
If the nasty person is someone I am face-to-face with and who has no authority over me, I am more direct: “You’re not very nice or considerate. What you just said about that person is unacceptable and I choose not to listen.” Then I walk away.
And don’t get me wrong. I can be nasty some days and my close family and friends can be nasty and inconsiderate some days. But it’s not the occasional bad mood I’m talking about here. It’s those people who repeatedly and daily show their true nasty colors in all that they do, say and plan and connive. It’s the people who have nothing nice to say about anyone behind their backs. It’s the hateful who find glee in seeing others in pain. It’s the ones who feign care about life while simultaneously trying to destroy another’s life.
I write about this, because no matter how positive and hopeful I am, the inevitable nasty person crosses my path. I need to be prepared and ready to NOT act nasty. (I’m sure with greater practice, I won’t think about it as much. Not being nasty back will be my natural response.)
My biggest downfall, up to this point, has been wrongfully thinking that if I gave the nasty person a taste of his/her own medicine, he/she would see the light. Nope. The nasty person just spits out the medicine, splashing me in the eye with it, and I’m the one left mad and feeling crazy.