Toxic People®- Contentiousness, Criticism, and Minimizing is a Form of Bullying

You are friends with someone for a long time. All of a sudden you start noticing that whatever you say they respond the opposite and in a hostile manner. They may have been doing this all along but now you are starting to notice it. You may even notice they are dismissive of your thoughts and feelings and ideas. In essence, they minimize what you say on a consistent basis. You may even notice them being highly critical of whatever you do or say. What they are in essence doing is bullying you.

Now that is not to say that someone who disagrees with you is a bully as friends and family and strangers for that matter have every right to disagree with you or even criticize you, but when they are contentious or minimize whatever you say, that is the time to take notice and realize you are not dealing with an ally or a friend. This is especially true if you hear a hostile or disgusted tone attached to what they are saying. Someone who respects you can let you know they disagree with you in a kind respectful tone. They don’t personalize it towards you or make attacking comments attached to you or your person.

For instance, let’s say you both are on opposite sides of the fence when it comes to politics. There is a way to let you know they don’t agree and then there is a Toxic way of letting you know they disagree. While this topic often leads to heated discussions when you are personally attacked then it becomes highly toxic and has no basis in friendship.

The mask issue is a huge point of contention in this day and age. Some swear by it and feel a sense of security and safety, while others are repulsed by it and think it further spreads disease. While you can make your thoughts known to the other person on the matter, when it becomes Toxic is when you belittle the person who does or doesn’t wear the mask. You can agree to disagree but it is a personal choice. When you harp on it and make the other person feel bad about it one way or the other you are being a bully.

The same is true for fear. A lot of people who were fearless before the pandemic are now absolutely in fear since the pandemic. The reason is there is so much unknown about what to do and what not to do, what works and what doesn’t work, and who to trust and who not to trust. Each day there are different studies and different reports and different news events. No one really knows what to believe. Those that were so sure of something and so certain about what they should do and what you should do, often find out that what they thought was the gospel, ended up being the opposite.

While you can say your views and even site studies and statistics another study and statistic can come along the next day to refute what you said and thought. So the best advice is to “do you” and let others “do them”.

But when someone belittles you for your fear and makes fun of you for it it’s time to begin unplugging from that so-called friend. Fear is very real. It’s not something someone can tell you to snap out of. You can be encouraged but not belittled.

When you start to notice a consistency in a friend or relative taking Umbridge with all that you say, it’s time to unplug from them or set some strong boundaries if you can’t unplug.

For example, Nancy and Linda were friends for years. One day Linda noticed that whatever she said, Nancy had a negative and adverse reaction to whatever she said. No matter if it was a serious issue in the news or a benign issue, Nancy always had something to say to minimize or contradict her friend.

One day Linda did a little experiment, unbeknownst to Nancy to see if her perceptions were accurate. about Nancy. As they went out for lunch, Linda ordered ice tea and expectedly Nancy had criticism about that saying it was unhealthy. Then some muzak came on over the speakers and it was an old Beatles song “Octopus’s Garden. Linda smiled as she said how this was her favorite Beatles song. Nancy immediately replied “I think it’s a stupid son. It’s a children’s tune.” As they were paying the check. At the end of their lunch, Linda said ” you know that song Octopus’s Garden, it’s really a stupid song – very childlike. Immediately Nancy said, ‘Well I like it I think it’s a great song.’ Right then and there Linda saw firsthand what was going on and that was the end of their friendship. How can you communicate with someone who is contantly contracting you? What kind of friendship is that?

When people contradict, belittle, or minimize it may have a lot to do with their wanting to be in charge and in the driver seat having what they perceive is power over you. they may also be jealous of you and may want to be dominant over you.

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