Straight Talk Advice

Jul 06, 2011

Sickest bullies are those who pretend to be friends

DEAR STRAIGHT TALK: Someone I once considered a good friend has been saying absolutely horrible things behind my back. I overheard her, so I know it’s true. This person is very insecure and has tried to imitate almost everything about me at one point or another. Over time, she has spread rumors about me so horrid they caused me to switch schools twice. I recently learned that she told lots of people about my self-injury problem (which I see a therapist for) and made fun of me for it. When I confronted her, she lied to my face and denied everything. When I removed her from my life, she claimed to be the victim. I am so hurt. I already have horrible trust issues. How do I move forward as she continues spreading hate? — Hurt in Redding, Calif.

Molly 19, Berkeley, Calif. Ask me a question

This person sounds seriously jealous of you! I had someone hell-bent on being rude to me. The situation baffled me. I had never been rude to her and had no idea why she randomly hated me. Then a friend pointed out that it stemmed from jealousy. Eventually people saw how she treated others and stopped hanging out with her — but not until she said terrible things behind my back and to my face. She even tried to fight me! Remove yourself from her as much as possible and treat the situation as childishness and jealousy. Others will eventually recognize the truth, too.

Nate 17, Toledo, Ohio Ask me a question

A few years ago, I thought about hurting myself and sometimes considered suicide. Because I felt alone and stressed, I attended therapy sessions. You have to realize there are people who love you very much! You mean the world to them! This girl was not a true friend. Instead of helping you, she opened your wounds to others. Reject people who cause you harm. If they persist, go to those who love you and ask for protection.

Katelyn 16, Huntington Beach, Calif. Ask me a question

This person is a bully, not a friend. If you don’t have true friends, reach out and make some. Continue therapy for your self-injury and trust issues and get some power on your side by asking the school for help. Tell them you’ve switched schools twice because of her.

Omari 17, Wellington, Florida Ask me a question

Choosing friends wisely can be a lesson hard-learned. Some people have vast numbers of friends. But only the lucky have TRUE friends. Life teaches what a true friend is — and it weeded this one out.

Sarah 19, Redding, Calif. Ask me a question

As hard as it sounds, keep moving forward. Once high school ends, this person won’t be in your future. Find an activity outside your school environment. When I switched schools, I was miserable. Then I joined the swim team and realized how kind and loyal people can be. True friends are important. Stay away from those who bring you down.

DEAR HURT: Your letter contains the secret to your healing. In it, you display both your “mature self” and your “wounded inner child.” Your mature self sees this girl’s behavior for what it is: sick. But your inner child is hurt and frightened because her destructive gossip has reopened wounds from your past that occurred when you were too young to handle them.

Both inner and outer parts of you are real. Do not ignore either one! On the outside, handle things maturely with the advice given here (walk away from this insecure, jealous bully, reaching out to loved ones and authorities as needed). On the inside, attend your “wounded child” with therapy and personal compassion (imagine yourself loving this younger helpless version of yourself as if you were her ideal parent). Peace lies in tending to both inner and outer realities.

Editor’s Note: So many times, we wall parts of ourselves off. We either deny the existence of our “inner child” and become cold, emotionally-detached shells, unable to make deep intimate connections with others. Or we deny our “mature self” and let our inner child take the reins, becoming emotionally fragile and helpless about life’s challenges, with potential to harm ourselves or take our own lives.

The key to healing is knowing we are both inner and outer beings at once and giving each their appropriate time and space. It’s about being a good stage manager and casting director between our inner and outer lives. We really CAN operate in the outer world maturely and fairly by holding boundaries with people who might walk all over us, being accountable for our part in things, and keeping our hearts open to love. And in quieter moments, we really CAN tend the wounds of our inner child, nurturing her and loving her, being her best parent and consoling her for being too small to protect herself when she was young and harmed (those things really DID happen to her (or him) and she was not able to care for herself then). Seeing a good therapist can help with this inner process greatly — and the outer process. Both are essential and they are very connected to each other. —Lauren

  1. By Misty, age , from Carmichael, CA on 07/06/2011

    In my case it’s my stepsister who says terrible things behind my back and I thought that she was not only my friend but almost like a real sister!  It was my best friend whom I totally trust who overheard her, so I have no doubt.  My friend was in a stall in the girls’ bathroom at school and my stepsister didn’t know she was there.  I’m overweight and have been put down about my body when I’m undressed, so I’m very senstive about anybody seeing me nude and avoid it if at all possible except for 3 people whom I trusted not to put me down:  My mom, my best friend, and my stepsister who shares my room (and bed) during bi-weekly visitations.  Among other things, my stepsister said that she can’t stand me, hates sharing a room with me, and that if you think I look bad when I have clothes on, I’m a sickening sight when I’m naked!  I don’t want to tell her that I know what she said, but it’s really hard to pretend like nothing is wrong and she’s still nice as pie to my face.  I’m now very uncomfortable undressing in front of her, but it’s hard to avoid when you share a room and it would seem strange if I suddenly left my own room and started changing in the bathroom.  I agree that being betrayed like this really hurts.

    Misty

    Reply to this comment

Comment Form

Straight Talk Advice readers are known for their frank and constructive posts that lead to insightful conversations that help many people! Please keep these guidelines in mind when posting:

  • Be constructive: Needlessly cruel or obscene comments will probably be removed. Be conscious of this so your point can be heard.
  • Be relevant: Spam or senseless character attacks irrelevant to the discussion will also probably be removed.

Happy posting!

Straight Talk Advice Recommends