I WAS at University when my ‘best’ friend delivered a scathing comment.
“What has happened to you? I mean look at you! You used to be so glamorous!”
From that statement, you’re probably imagining all sorts right? Had I ‘let myself go’? Was I on drugs? Had I not washed my hair?!
No, no, no.
I’d simply turned up to greet my friend at the train station wearing jeans, a T-shirt and flat boots.
That, my friends, was my only crime.
Did I look my glamorous best on this occasion? Nope.
Did I look a mess? No, just casual.
Either way, even if I had looked the most horrific I’d ever looked in my entire life, you just wouldn’t say that, would you?
To your best friend whom you hadn’t seen for ages?
To the person you have laughed and cried with. To the person you have helped through heartbreak, whose secrets you have shared and kept.
I know I wouldn’t.
I also know I wouldn’t give a damn what my best friends look like too, as long as they were happy and healthy.
But she did say it. And she delivered the killer putdown with ease and aplomb.
So why did she do it?
Well, to make me feel small I guess. And, in the process, to try and make herself feel more powerful.
Over the years I’ve encountered a number of people who seem to have hell bent on trying to cut me down to size. Mainly women yes, but make no mistake, I’ve also had my fair share of men who have had a pretty good go too.
And I bet you’ve had your fair share, too right?
Because ‘light killers’ are everywhere.
They’re the ones who roll their eyes when you tell them about an idea of yours or hog the conversation with endless talk about themselves.
They’re the ones who will give you advice (when you haven’t even asked for it) or the ones who have to better whatever achievement you’ve earned.
They’re the ones who give you back handed compliments or just dismiss your success or happiness, with a quick swish of their hands.
Am I right?
Over the years, it’s been hard not to notice that ‘light killers’ have seemed to really come into their own, in my life, when my light has been strong and shiny.
This is when they have shown their true colours and when I’ve noticed their behaviour for the first time.
But the crazy thing is, ‘light killers’ don’t start off by trying to diminish you. Not at all in fact.
They actually do the opposite and go out of their way to bathe you in more light.
So they will shower you with praise, heap compliments on your pretty shoulders or be incredibly supportive and encouraging. (I’ve even had the experience of one ‘light killer’ who used to buy me gifts all the time.)
You’ll probably find that their behaviour makes you feel a little bit uncomfortable. They may be a bit too gushy, full on or a bit false.
But if you’re anything like me, you’ll ignore your gut instinct and give them the benefit of the doubt, because it’s a kind and fair thing to do.
And you will let them into your life. Into your inner circle until eventually, things change.
Once your friendship is cemented, they will demand all of your attention and it now becomes your job to make them feel amazing.
And when your light does shine bright?
Well then, this is when things can start to get nasty.
As they will stop at nothing to make you feel small.
They will drain you and attack you, and as they’re your ‘friend’ or ‘colleague’ it seems impossible to stop them.
We’re not perfect of course.
We all have moments when perhaps we’ve been unkind or not praised someone when we should have, maybe because we are jealous of their achievements.
But the difference between a genuine mistake and a true ‘light killer’ is that these people know exactly what they are doing.
And they attack because you are a threat.
To their position, career or attention. And to their light.
Because sadly, ‘light killers’, cannot bear anyone’s light to shine brighter than their own.
And so when they see you doing well or being happy, they will try and knock you down, all the while saying they’re just being honest or trying to be helpful.
It’s a horrible situation to be in.
And so, how can you deal with it?
Well you have to stand tall and retain your power.
Because you know there’s very little anyone can actually do to make you feel smaller, unless you let them.
Their comments, their demands, their insults, only work to lessen your light if you allow them to.
So let their cruel words bounce off you as if you’re wearing armour.
Limit your contact with them as much as possible.
Be strong and challenge them, but don’t let them drag you into the mud to play dirty.
And never take it personally, (which is easier said than done I know). Because remember, this behaviour of theirs? It’s never really about you.
Finally, be kind towards them (if at all possible) because just think about it – if the only way to make themselves feel tall is to make someone else feel smaller in comparison, then clearly they need a hell of a lot of love.
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