As adults, we’ve all been at the other end of a catty look, a passive aggressive dig, a backhanded compliment, or an all out rant with a dash of bullying for good measure. And if you’re honest, you might’ve even been the hater. From friends and colleagues to family members and even our spouses, people are constantly throwing shade, but what exactly does ‘throwing shade’ really mean? Dr. Sanam Hafeez PsyD a NYC based neuropsychologist and teaching faculty member at Columbia University sheds some light on 4 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, 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
To learn more about Dr. Sanam Hafeez PsyD, connect with her via twitter @comprehendMind or at www.comprehendthemind.com.
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