Unfortunately cattiness, passive aggressive digs, backhanded compliments, rants, and all out bullying isn’t something limited to just kids and teens. Adults are guilty of these “hater” behaviors and we see them play out in different parts of our lives. From friends and colleagues, to family members, and even our spouses, people are constantly throwing shade.
Dr. Sanam Hafeez PsyD, a NYC-based neuropsychologist and teaching faculty member at Columbia University, shares a list of four kinds of haters and offers expert advice for how to handle them.
- The jealous friend.
This is the friend who wants you around and seems interested in knowing what you are doing. They claim they want the best for you but when great things come your way they throw digs and take things down a negative path. Get a promotion at work and it’s met with, “Oh now you’ll never see your husband, be careful, women look at him all the time.” Lose 10 pounds and they’ll say, “Well don’t get rid of your old clothes in case you gain it back and then some.” According to Dr. Hafeez, “The best way to handle the jealous friend is to confront her as soon as the remark is made. We teach people how to treat us, what’s tolerated, and what isn’t. Allow someone to throw digs and they will continue to do so. Ask her what is going on in their life that has her a bit off. Seek to gain understanding but start distancing yourself if it continues.”
- The passive aggressive colleague.
The workplace is a hotbed for drama in that unlike friendships, people are just put together and forced to be professional and cordial to one another. “There’s a lot of undercutting and favoritism and a mixture of personalities. On top of that there is a general avoidance of confrontation. You can’t just tell someone exactly what you think which leads to passive aggressiveness,” explains Hafeez. She goes on to say that, “Some passive aggressive traits are: erratic moods, (one minute they’re cold the next day you’re their best friend), procrastination, half-hearted effort, and even sabotaging. The best way to handle the passive aggressive colleague is to have a meeting over lunch outside of the office. Get them in neutral territory. Then explain that you are focused on solutions and want to create a harmonious and productive team dynamic based on open communication and respect.”
- The overbearing family member.
They know it all and speak to you as if you know nothing and are incompetent and incapable. Incredibly controlling, they want to feel needed and look to you to give their life purpose. They say they want to see you thriving, prosperous, healthy, and whole yet, they focus on all that is going wrong in your life. It’s codependency. Hafeez explains, “These family members have no use for you if you don’t need them. The more independent you are and the more you thrive, the more they’ll look to what’s wrong. Opinionated and judgmental, they hinder your growth. The best way to handle the overbearing family member is to create boundaries. Limit how much you share with them and assign them ways to help you on your terms.”
- The stifling spouse.
Feeling a bit smothered in your relationship with your partner? Do they throw digs when you aren’t behaving exactly how they want you to? Are you losing yourself as you try your best to please them? According to Dr. Hafeez, “Being judged, criticized, and manipulated by the person who claims they love you can be incredibly difficult on one’s self-esteem. When you feel controlled and always judged, you begin to walk on eggshells. This leads to anxiety or even depression. Be sure to have your own hobbies, interests, and friends. Don’t allow anyone to make you responsible for their happiness; that’s their job.”
About the doctor
Dr. Sanam Hafeez PsyD is an NYC-based licensed neuropsychologist. She is a teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and clinical director of the Comprehend the Mind Institutes in Manhattan and Queens. She was a long time child school psychologist. She specializes in providing neuropsychological, educational, and developmental evaluations to both adults and children in her practice. She works with individuals who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), learning disabilities, autism, attention and memory problems, trauma and brain injury, abuse, childhood development and psychopathology (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc.) In addition, Dr. Hafeez serves as a medical expert for various news outlets and programs, and as an expert witness providing full evaluations and witness testimony to law firms and courts. Connect with her via twitter @comprehendMind or at www.comprehendthemind.com