DEALING WITH ‘LIGHT KILLERS’ – PEOPLE WHO TRY TO MAKE YOU FEEL SMALL

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.

Bonkers huh?

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.

Diminished.

Inferior.

Less than.

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.

 

With love,

Kate

Lips

 

 

 

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59 Discussions on
“DEALING WITH ‘LIGHT KILLERS’ – PEOPLE WHO TRY TO MAKE YOU FEEL SMALL”
  • What a mean thing for that ‘friend’ to do! You’re right, such behaviour is about the other person….There are sayings like kill them with kindness, no matter how someone else behaves we shouldn’t lower ourselves. True friends don’t do things like that. Fab post lovely xxx

  • why is it more often than not women that behave like this, I agree it’s not exclusive to women and you’re right they need a hell of a lot of love :)

    • I don’t know Stephanie but I hazard a guess that it’s down to the pressures put on women by society, media etc. We’re expected to view each other as competition, the enemy, instead of our comrades. x

  • Your ‘friend’ sounds evil but I have someone like that. I have lost a lot of weight over a long period of time and she diminishes it by saying I’ve lost it too quickly and thats why I have stretch marks. I have stretch marks because I was so big for so long that my skin has lost elasticity. I don’t think 7 stone in 18 months is quick weight loss at all. But because she struggles with it, it must annoy her that I’m doing ok. She doesn’t see the effort I have to put in to get a loss, the gym visits, or denying takeaways. She only sees what I look like and sometimes it feel a bit judgey. No one will take my shiny light away because right now I feel amazing and that’s all there is to it!;)

    • Good for you Tasha! You’ve done brilliantly. Don’t let anyone make you feel rubbish about your achievement x

  • Very well put and what a ‘friend’! I’ve had people like that in my life and I used to let it get to me but with age and time I’ve realised that it’s pure jealousy. Your post reminded me of an illustration I came across a little while ago. I loved it as it is so simple, even childlike, and yet depicts that ‘friendship’ that many of us have or have had. Here’s the illustration if you want to take a look:
    http://sarahgoodreau.com/2015/02/03/mean-friends/

    • YES! The perfect example. Like, why on earth would you ever say that, even if you did find them horrible?! x And yes, she wasn’t the ‘best’ friend I deserved, to be honest. But you live and you learn. :) x

  • Yes, definitely had people like that around me – they always seem to make you want to feel bad for they own benefit. In the past this kind of comment would have been devastating to me, but maybe now I am a Mum (and older!), I just cannot be bothered with people like this any more and ignore it continue to go about my life! You’re spot on with this post – it’s best to keep people like this out of your life. Jess xx

    • Yes, Jess, exactly this. It’s not the people who say something without thinking that really bother me, it’s the ones who continually try to undermine or belittle people’s voices, looks or achievements. As you say – for their own benefit and glory. X

  • Oh I get this every now and again from Alpha Male types. What do you do for a living? “I’m a stay at home dad” what can follow is a passive aggresive put down (though this can come from women too!!). Great advice and sure you looked just fine on that train station platform. #BrilliantBlogPosts

  • Sad to read this Katie, I do wonder why people say the things they do. Sometimes thoughtless other time pure menace.

    I definitely know since having kids, I’ve focused on the good friends, the real ones that make me happy, the ones who don’t drain, and it really doesn’t bother me anymore how others I’m not close to or don’t know well might behave or feel, particularly if it’s negative or from a place of not understanding me or my values and character.

    I simply focus on the good and have definitely found since getting older/ changing careers that not everyone can understand me nor I them and it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re envious, it’s just not everyone can possibly click or have the same ideals as I do and that’s OK.

    I do think since reading the Art of Dramatic Writing years ago (and re-reading since) a book steeped in the how and why people behave and think (a screenwriter’s must-read), I’m far less judgemental and much more understanding. People are often projecting and we must try not to take things personally. Hard I know and perhaps not here but generally.

    As my Mum always says, ‘horses for courses’ and friendships change, we outgrow people as you have your friend it seems, and sometimes when people behave like this it simply helps you to reevaluate, can you discuss it and move on expressing how you feel, or is it time to part ways. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts x

    • It’s always good to focus on ‘the good’ isn’t it? What life is all about.

      And yes of course, not everyone will get on, it would be a boring ol’ world if we did ;-) But I guess it’s just about making sure that where possible you surround yourself with supportive, lovely people. That book sounds ace too! I think you’ve mentioned this to me before. Must get a copy! :) x

  • Um… yes!!! This post is just spot on in so many ways. I think I have experienced this more times in my life than i have fingers and toes! But anyway. It is so funny reading what you have to say Katie, because i agree with it all, and when i read your words i really feel your whole self coming out of the page so to speak, your posts are personal, and there is a feeling of love in them, they really speak to me, and I am sure to many others, you really are a great person, especially been so honest and putting your life experiences out there in order to help others, you beautiful lady. xx

    • Ah I love this comment Tanita! Thanks so much! I think we’ve all experienced it sadly, but it’s always good to hear that you’re not alone. :) x

  • Oh honey this is perfect! So true and I think we all know people that feature somewhere on the scale. Those who always talk about themselves and never really listen to anything you have to say. People that need to blow your candle out to make their own burn brighter. So glad we have you talking sense to inspire us xxx

    • Thank you darling. We sure do sadly. As for talking sense, well some would argue otherwise but thank you ;-) x

  • Oh no what a thing to say! I have a friend just like that – she just can’t seem to help herself but I’ve decided to think her intention is ok. Somehow things just come out so badly. She looked at my new son (who has Down Syndrome) and said ‘oh we wouldn’t have a baby like that, we would definitely abort.’ An absolute classic case of thinking aloud. I’ve absolutely no idea why some people blurt things out like that!

    • Goodness me, that is appalling Emily. Who knows why people behave the way they do sometimes! x

  • Great post, just what I needed to read after being upset over someone unfriending me on FB for no reason that I know of whatsoever. Someone I thought was a friend and would be around forever. We didn’t always see eye to eye but it was still harsh and I told the messenger that I didn’t want to know the reason to beat myself up for something I had inadvertently said or done with no intention of malice. Moving on now but yes, this post came just at the right time!

    • Glad it came at the right time for you Haidee. Onwards and upwards! The world is filled with brilliant new friendships just waiting to be made. :) x

  • So true. I lost a lot of 6 stone before having my children (sadly pregnancy wasn’t kind and I have a lot to loose again, but that’s another story). I found so many ‘friends’ were threatened by the slimmer me and constantly made comments. I’ve learnt the true friends love me know matter what my size.

    • Sorry to hear that Claire but sadly it doesn’t surprise me as I know we’ve all been there. You’re right though, true friends couldn’t give a tuppence about you how look, what size you are or what you wear. x

  • Love this post, written from the heart and touching many others! It is funny how that look or comment can put a real dampener on your day and stay with you. I am never jealous of anyone and love seeing others reach their potential and would never dream of commenting unkindly but as my husband always says, you can’t expect everyone to be the same x

    • Thanks so much Natalie. You just somehow have to let these kind of unpleasant comments whizz over your head and not let the poison get into you, don’t you? And my husband, say exactly the same. (They’re right too) x

  • Hey Kate! Sounds like you’ve nailed it on how to deal with it.

    It’s sad to hear stories like this. I consider myself very lucky to have a small group of amazing friends. We don’t see each other as often as we like, but none of them are light killers.
    I think growing up I witnessed behaviour like this, but as I’ve got older, wiser (and frankly I care less what other people think), it has become easier to concentrate on what and who is important.
    I often find it’s me putting my own light out sometimes and they help me light it again!

    • Ah Lucy, I love that last line! Now THAT is what friendship and sisterhood is all about. Wonderful stuff x

  • I got so many nasty comments when I was pregnant about being massive. It happened in all 4 pregnancies and people were so rude…women…mothers! #brilliantblogposts

    • So sorry to hear that. :( People’s comments, just beggar belief at times, don’t they? x

  • Interestingly, some of the worst offenders are the ones that would probably be *horrified* to learn that they make people feel uncomfortable or upset.

    I’m happy to say that the folk I generally surround myself are not like this at all. They’re kind and honest and give me a confidence boost, rather than bring me down. Naively, I just assume that everyone’s nice and genuine — as I am myself — so on the odd occasion I do meet someone who’s cold, unfriendly or just a little bit spiteful, it throws me off kilter a little bit. I’m a little bit old for schoolyard behaviour these days. False, nasty people have no place in my world — life is really too short. #BrillBlogPosts

    Caro | http://www.thetwinklediaries.co.uk

    • It really is Caro! It really is. Glad to hear that the people that are in your life are the best kind of people :) x

  • Lovely post. It’s true that some people suck the joy out of you to make themselves feel better. It’s a shame as they drag you down. #brilliantblogposts

  • Katie I love how you call them ‘light killers’ I call them jellyfish (like in Briget Jones) I think we have all known someone like this at some point in our lives. I especially can not stand the jellyfish light killers who constantly talk about themselves all the bloomin’ time and don’t listen to what others have to say. I do think best course of action is to keep a friendly distance.

    Well said dearest.

    Ps hope it’s not me?!? *winky face xxx

  • Oh I love this post Kate. I know the person you mean! I always think being a good friend is being a good listener and keeping tabs on each other’s lives so you can say, “oh how did that meeting go?” or “how’s your nan doing now?”. I know a few people who will happily sit and talk about themselves all night and not ask one question about my life. When they leave you kind of sit there thinking…hmm was that a good evening? Nope not really. I am trying to give more time to the people that care about me and less time to those that care more about themselves than anyone else. Love the new look website BTW, very snazzy :)
    xx

  • It’s like you’ve been living my life the last few weeks. Uncanny.
    I handed in my notice this week so I could blog & run social media full time Yey. But got an actual eye roll from my light killer.

  • Oh my… What a friend! I actually quite frank with my true friends, but wouldn’t say anything like that ever! Being honest and being a jerk are so different indeed.
    I’ve had my fair share of these people, and I stopped contacted them almost immediately. I actually even told to some of them, why I don’t want to keep in touch. Seemed to offend them quite a bit. Well…. In your life you and just yourself should be Number 1!
    You go girl :)

    I’m visiting via #brilliantblogposts

    Milly
    http://www.sevenseasaway.com

    • Great comment Milly. Love your no nonsense approach too. Wish I was a little bit more like that at times. x

  • Another bonza, Katie, you seem to perfectly sum up womanhood, every bit of it! I’m naturally quite introverted, you wouldn’t believe it, so it takes quite a lot to form close relationships with people. So, I only have a handful of friends I would call my best friends, and they are all light boosters ;) But I’m like you and tend to give the benefit of the doubt for too long. I think with age I’m getting much better at spotting the lighter killers and distancing myself :) xxx

    • Ah thank you Hannah! Very kind of you. It’s good to give people the benefit of the doubt, I reckon, just not for soooo long. :) But we live and learn don’t we? xxx

  • This is so spot on Katie! The worst of it is that these types of people act all innocent, like you’re imagining things or going slightly mad! Long live those people who give you space for your light to shine, and as you say, to those who don’t, they just need a whole lot of love x

  • When faced with a light killer on a mission it is so hard not to get dragged into their games, but I agree you really have to try. It is a sign of their insecurities – you just have to remember that I think. Thank you for your thought provoking post Kate. I am reading it on my way to work (where light killers circulate in swarms! )

    • It is hard isn’t it. But as you say, it mostly comes from their insecurities so we have to try and be kind where possible, or if that fails, avoid, avoid, avoid :)

  • Love this Katie, always so inspiring. Do you know I think I have been fortunate never to have had any real contact with anyone like this, generally it has been myself blowing my own candle out- I just don’t have the confidence to shine bright. Slowly changing that though and each time I read one of your posts you make me feel that bit stronger. Feel like I haven’t been on your blog for ages so am off for a big catch up now xxx

    • Ah Katy, I LOVE THIS! Thank you ever so much. That is such a brilliant point too about how often we are the ones who blow our own candles out. I’d never really thought about that, but you’re so, so right.I’m so thrilled that this is slowly changing for you :) xx

  • Just playing major blog catch up Kate, so apologies for the late comment :-) I’ve been lucky enough to not come across to many people like this, apart from a female family member from Adam’s side. We’re similar ages, probably actually quite similar in lots of ways, but for ages she would always put down my ideas/thoughts, and was very dismissive about everything and anything I did. I get the impression she’s not a ‘girl’s girl’, and is very competitive with other women. I’m competitive, but only with myself in that I want to do better! We went on holiday with her and her family a few years ago and it was REALLY hard work- never again! As a result, we don’t really see her or her husband and children anymore despite them living nearby (which is a shame as far as they’re concerned as they’re lovely), but I feel much better with more limited contact, and less drained. Great post, and inspiring as always x

  • Crikey I’ve never heard such a nasty thing, & she’s your best friend? As a teen yeah sure girls can be meanies even downright nasty, but not as an adult no never. I do hope she is no longer in your life? Clearly no one needs friends like this & yes envy is at the root of it.
    “Women are the only exploited group in history to be idealized into powerlessness” Erica Jong, a very clever woman.

    • Great quote Michelle! Thank you. Similar to something I heard Germaine Greer once say about how women turn on each other instead of those who oppress them.

      And yes, you will be delighted to hear, she is no longer in my life and hasn’t been for quite some time :) x

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