How To Deal With Backhanded Compliments

Sugar coated insults, or backhanded compliments are insults disguised as compliments. Sometimes a backhanded compliment can be inadvertent, other times the intention is to belittle or condescend.

“You drive well for a woman!”, “you’re very clean and tidy for a guy”, “wow, you look amazing in that dress, it really hides your tummy!”… most of us have been the target of a sugar coated insult or two in our lives. These can leave us confused, frustrated, even angry, and often not knowing what to do about it.

First of all, it’s important to distinguish between the humorous, innocent type of comment, and the comment meant to hurt. The once off comment, and the type of comment that keeps happening.

If the comment comes with a doble edged sword, it’s useful to realize that when people have insecurities, fears, or low self-esteem, some become shy and introspective, while others can display passive aggressive behaviour.

If someone wants tomake you feel bad, or  put you down, this pressuposes that they think of you as being up, above their level. They are trying to bring you down to elevate themselves. So, stay up, where you belong, because their issues are not your problem!

If someone critisizes you and you know that is their intention, then don’t give them the satisfaction.

You have options:

1. Fight fire with fire: but if you choose to do this, you’ll only be stepping down to their level.

2. Be polite: politely point out that that was not a nice thing to say. Wait for their reaction, which may not be what you’d hope for.

3. Put your best smile on and say “thank you, that’s so nice of you!”, and make the decision to let it go. This may not come naturally at first, but try this out and notice how you feel. Soon you’ll get to the point where you genuinely won’t care. Say to yourself “so what!”, because you know that there are people in your life who genuinely like you and care about you. Those are the ones worth focusing your thoughts on.

If people’s comments about you get to you a little too much, this amy be a reflection of how you feel about yourself; your self-esteem and self-worth. It’s important to build up a health and strong foundation of self-confidence, so nothing and no one will chip off at it.

You have to know who you are and what you stand for. And also what your standards are in terms of what type of people you want in your life.

If you don’t set standards for what’s acceptable and what isn’t, someone else will do it for you.

You can’t control what other people say or do, but you can control how you react to it. And at the end of the day, you are the only person whose opinion matters.

 

Anna

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