Beating Mean Girls At Their Own Game, With Grace
February 1, 2014 2:59 PM Subscribe
How do you tactfully put a mean girl in her place without stooping to her level? Especially when she's your own cousin.
posted by OneHermit to Human Relations (55 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I have a female cousin who is several years my elder. She's never wished me well- except when we were quite young and she could assert some level of dominance over me (knowing more about life, lecturing me, showing me new things etc. I was a bit of a tomboy then and she was far more girly. Today I am all woman and take pride in caring for myself properly and put effort into my appearance and choice of clothing. And as soon as I blossomed, she turned into the Wicked Witch of the West).
As soon as I blossomed and became a young woman, she took every opportunity she could to knock me down or attack me. She makes strategic comments to me at family functions when no one else is around that are just downright childish. Everyone thinks she's a saint. I just sit there and smile when someone mentions how sweet she is and hold my tongue.
I know 'it' probably has to do with the fact that her little cousin seems threatening to her now. I understand that it's petty. She goes stiff when she sees me. I can see it, I can feel it. I try to ignore her and enjoy myself when we're at the same function, but sure enough every time we're in close proximity she pops up out of nowhere to insult me and then trots off, and I'm left standing there with this nasty cloud of her absurd I'm-trying-to-dominate-you flatulence floating around me. It's just so unpleasant.
Her jabs at me are really starting to get on my nerves and I feel like the next time she does it I'm going to make a scene. I'd rather have more grace than that. But the truth is I just want to go off on her for being so childish. I don't need to shout at her and ask her what her deal is, because it's so blatantly obvious to me. I know what her problem is. But I really want to tell her that her behavior is awful and that she needs to grow up. There is no competition going on. I wish her well. I'm not playing her game.
I've always been concerned about her well-being. I adored her when we were children. As adults I've always been supportive and in her corner. While I very well could have made a mistake at some point and mistreated her throughout the years, we never spent enough time together for that to happen, and quite frankly I'm just not a combative or snarky person so I don't ever feel the need to create drama and never have. There is absolutely no reason for her to be treating me this way, other than jealousy or competitiveness. She's buddy-buddy with another female cousin of ours who is someone she can dominate and who is far less attractive than she is. It just makes sense that she clings to this particular cousin who she was never close with until she decided to make me enemy numero uno. I just think the whole thing is petty and sick and I have to let her know. I will burst the next time she approaches me at a family event and makes one of her nasty remarks.
I'm not skilled in mean-girl tactical moves, I don't play these games. I don't know how to deflect cattiness. It just bothers me, and I'm sure I give my attackers (there haven't been many, but the ones I've had have all been female and all around my age) the satisfaction of knowing their jabs bother me because I wear it on my face. I turn away or answer to it as if I wasn't just insulted. I pretend their comments were innocent and make a fool of myself for not throwing it in their faces, right back at them in some tactful way. I'm done doing that. I'm not going to be her or any other crazy girl's whipping girl anymore. I'm not going to apologize for threatening these rare but awful creatures from the abyss with my appearance or my aura or whatever damn superficial thing it is that makes these women behave this way.
How do you guys handle people who are trying to compete with you, when all you want to do is have a good time, enjoy yourself, and be engaged in whatever activity is going on? How do you stand up for yourself without stooping to a petty attacker's level? How do you not let them make you feel uncomfortable? Sometimes I think life would be a lot easier if I were just a shark- a mean girl, or a borderline sociopath. At least then I'd know how to match one with their own BS. But I'm just not. I'm sensitive and I'm a 'nice girl.' I have no right-back-at-you tactics. I come across as easy prey for insecure women who want to compete because they know I'm not going to get nasty with them so they'll always win if they get nasty. I'm tired of being that girl. I'm far from weak. I'm just dumbfounded when someone attacks me like that. It just sort of blows my mind and makes me raise a brow and think what the hell, WHY?