Let’s take a short break from comic culture and discuss something that has popped up in my life recently. I have only pinned down what has been bothering me a few moments ago. Meddling. It’s happened to me before only then I ignored the signs and now it has happened once more only this time its very obvious.
What is meddling? Merriam-Webster’s dictionary describes it as “to interest oneself in what is not one’s concern.” It’s something we all come across daily, but most of the time it’s not so intrusive to our lives. I certainly am a culprit of sticking my nose in other peoples business (normally at work), but I try to not do this unless it’s in a non threatening way like if I have an answer someone is looking for or want to join in on a friendly conversation. The meddler can often be described as the stereotypical mother-in-law, the nosy neighbor, the know-it-all, or a bossy friend who always has a critique about everything you are doing and how it could be done differently.
There are times when meddling can be appropriate such as saving someone from embarrassment. For example if someone is having a clothing malfunction or maybe has lipstick on their teeth.
Unfortunately for me, meddling by friends has caused some severe damage in several relationships. A year and a half ago I had a roommate that I was just starting to get to know. A mutual friend began meddling in our affairs and caused numerous arguments to the point we wouldn’t even be in the same room with each other and I didn’t see it coming. I honestly thought this friend has my best interest at heart, but she did not and I am ashamed to say I didn’t see it sooner. The silver lining is that I do see it now and because of what happened I am now close with my previous roommate and that mutual friend no longer exists in either of our lives. That mutual friend is the typical definition of the double crosser with passive aggressive behavior, because of her I have become much more careful with who I allow in my life. I have also had to fight the urge to inform friends of her malicious behavior because that is unacceptable meddling and I admit I have slipped from time to time and pushed a few people away in the process. Its okay though because I figure they will learn in their own time.
What drives me nuts is looking back on the days when I would find myself uncomfortable with the advice I was being given by this friend. I would be at dinner and want nothing more then to get up and leave because something was making me highly uncomfortable. Now I realize it was because I went to have a nice dinner and talk about our lives and I would up being critiqued the entire evening.
Anyway, meddling has appeared once again in my life and the kind that really hurt deep down like an old wound that was just reopened. I am sitting here wondering why I allowed this to happen. How did I not recognize that what makes me so uncomfortable with this person is the constant critiques? Why do I almost always feel guilty or like an awful person after trying to have a light hearted conversation? Why do I feel uncomfortable with what is asked of me? How come something is always asked of me? Why is it when something is asked of me that I can not provide I wind up feeling regretful and guilty?
It’s the difference between a healthy relationship and one that feels more like a battle for my soul. I shouldn’t feel as though I have to fight to be the happy person I am. I have been very happy recently. Many good things have been coming into my life and because of this it has made dealing with meddling situations easier. The most recent being where someone has been belittling me to make themselves feel better which most certainly answers all the questions mentioned above. I find this too be true due to the timing of these critiques. They always seem to happen just as something good enters my life. Most of the time these critiques attempt to damage my self-worth by attacking my personality or habits. They normally send me into an emotional overdrive and my mood hits rock bottom in a second because generally its highly insulting. As a side note, ever notice (this happens a lot to me with guys) how when a person is not getting the answer to a question they asked they insult you in an attempt to get a defense answer? I get really ticked off when men do this because usually its something very personal that I would only divulge to a boyfriend and no one else because it’s their privilege to know that information and not anyone else.
Back to what I was saying, Judith Orloff describes such people as emotional vampires which I think is a great title for it. More so then toxic friends or meddlers, because emotional vampire describes exactly what happens. After dealing with certain types of toxic people you literally feel the life sucked out of you. The trick (and the hardest part) is removing such people out your life or learning how to handle them so they do not cause damage to your life. I have spent the last two years of my life (after a bad breakup) slowly shedding away such people and at the time it was very difficult for me to do because emotionally I thought needed these people for support, but now I realize how much they held me back and let me down. It certainly wasn’t a choice at the time to push these people away and it was very upsetting for me. I felt like I was losing everyone around me, very alone, and depressed. Looking back now I see that unintentionally I was making the correct decision, because I am much happier without them. Make no mistake. Everything happens for a reason. Every set back in life is a lesson to be learned, not repeating them is the hard part. I handle my more meddling friends much differently now then I used to because I have a greater sense of self and I realize that most people don’t really want me to succeed. They may act it but deep down they always want to have the one up. Me, I don’t mind who is happier or more successful. I am not really sure what my goals are in life or even in cosplay. I am just going where passions lead me and looking to enjoy it with good people along the way.
Anyway, I am sure I went on quite a few tangents here but the moral is try not to meddle or be the emotional vampire of peoples lives and always live by the golden rule “do unto others as you would have done to you.” Sure it’s going to happen from time to time, we all do it whether we like it or not, but try to be aware of how your meddling with affect other people for the worst. Maybe some damage (done by those attempting to not be malicious) can be avoided by actively thinking about the possible negative impact regardless of our good intentions. Steer clear of those that bring you down not matter how important they seem and keep your chin up. In the long run no matter how many people you lose you will wind up a much happier person.