TOXIC ATTENTION: THE JEALOUS BFF

Katy Perry gives Rihanna the ol' side-eye.

Katy Perry gives Rihanna the ol’ side-eye.

LOVE SCENE INVESTIGATION

My girlfriend Josie used to be sooooo cool.  But in the last three months though she has  became the biggest bitch going. We were best friends.  Truly, I love the girl. I helped her get a job in my office and we even live together.  I’m not saying she has to be slavishly thankful. But ever since Todd (the football player she likes) gave her the old razzmatazz and blew her off she’s a different woman.  Now she is so two-faced, making comments implying I’m some sort of slut just because guys like me, especially my actual boyfriend Scott.  Sorry Todd’s just not into you.  Josie’s now the biggest attention seeker going. Always lectures me on how I’m eating the wrong thing and how I am sure to get fat. She flirts with every guy with her vapid baby talk. Then storms off when she doesn’t get attention.  She stalks me and inserts herself into all my conversations, interrupting to say how she likes the colors we’re wearing and taking pictures of me and whomever I’m with (!!!). She gets wasted at parties, breaking lights off the walls, taking her top off and running around in her bra. Now she’s trying to split me and my boyfriend Scott up because she “wants me to keep my options open.” Gee, thanks for your concern. I am running out of patience.  When will my old BFF come back?

-Petrissa Q. 

Hatin'.

Hatin’.

You know that movie Single White Female?  Well, meet Single Black Female.  My boss and I are the same type — Black women in our 20s.  Except I’m a size 4 and pretty (you better be if you want a decent guy in Manhattan). My boss is a big girl, with a big nose, droopy breasts from yo-yo dieting and a bigger ego.  Because of her job title and salary she really thinks she ought to have the best of everything, especially guys.  But the only way she can is to pay for a guy — give a broke musician a place to stay, give a bar guy in Jamaica or Dominican Republic spending money or marry an ex-con mechanic.  Not. My. Fault. But I’m tired of her insisting on tagging along when I go out for drinks or clubbing.  We’re not actually friends and she’s just using me to meet men.

-Alexa K. 

WARNING SIGNS

liono

This person is a little self-hating stalker.  She is no longer a genuine friend.  Don’t be fooled — she’s a little bit in love with you and even wants your attention.  Maybe even all your attention. But right now, she hates you more than she loves you.  And she is actively seeking to hurt you

Will it rise to the level of physical violence? Time will tell.  But the undermining, gossip and innuendo will cost you at work and in your personal life.  Whether on the cheerleading squad, in the sorority, in your neighborhood, yoga class or job.

The aggression is real.  The hater hopes you are weak and will believe her negative comments.  She dreams that you will internalize her hateful bullshit.  From nasty gossip to throwing shade, eye-rolling and sucking teeth, you can’t ignore these assaults.  They are meant to trouble, hurt and intimidate you.

It’s not a surprise when, despite her criticisms she starts talking, acting and dressing like you.  Your haircut, handbag, cut of jeans.  It’ll get much weirder before it gets done.

TROUBLE-SHOOTING

As much as you can, cut this hater off.  Cut down on the information she knows about you.  Supply preposterous misinformation to make the shit she talks about you baseless and non-sensical. Tell her your arms and legs are prosthetic, you found out your family is really from Russia, tell her you’re an alien, tell her you’re wearing a wig/ weave, tell her this is not your real name, etc.

As long as the bad behavior persists, make clear to others that she is no longer your bestie and that you do not accept or co-sign her behavior.  Stop socializing with her as an automatic part of your clique.

Every time your hater says something bitchy, say “That’s not a very nice thing to say. Would you like it if I did or said something like that to you?”

Alternately, when your hater seeks attention, completely ignore her, walk away, talk to someone else – don’t even comment. And keep it moving.

Attention seekers love being the focus of attention. When they don’t get any attention, they get bored. Sooner or later they find a new target. Trust me, they don’t see you as a human being, they just see you as a tool to gratify them with attention. You’ll get rid of her sooner or later.

HOW TO BE ATTRACTIVE

LOVE SCENE INVESTIGATION

I have a love story I’m just bursting to share.  I had just moved to Park Slope, Brooklyn and joined the organic Food Coop there.  I was racing from my 6:00 am monthly Coop workslot to the R train to go to work. I was walking really fast and I broke my heel!  I didn’t just break it — I lost my balance and tumbled into trash cans put out on the sidewalk for trash day.  The contents of my tote bag flew into the gutter and my legs ended up over my head.  Compounding the problem?  A booming male voice asked if I was okay and powerful male hands hoisted my tail out of Oscar the Grouch’s home.  Beet red I was.  Handsome and laughing he was.  I think I found my husband.  Six weeks of brunches and rollerblading later, I still think so.

-Maeve H.

Dude! All the ladies magazines say never to go out of the house without makeup while wearing sweatpants.  But I was moving from Greenwich Village up to Murray Hill.  The last few fragile items,  back and forth.  I was a sweaty New York August mess.  No makeup, dirty grey sweat pants, sweaty t-shirt, sweaty face.  I was trundling down 26th street off 3rd Avenue when I dropped  a stuffed lion wearing my college team colors.  I couldn’t manage to stoop down low enough to puck my baby lion from the gutter and ended up toppling to the sidwalk on my bum.  Somebody started snickering at my failed acrobatics.  I looked up and saw Jake.  He stuck his hand out to help me up with my burdens.  And he placed my lion on top.  I said, “Don’t laugh — it has sentimental value.  I got it at the only game the Lions won while I was undergrad.”  He said, “Oh, I was at that game.  The Tigers beat you 20 to 12.”  We both growled our team growls.  Um, yeah.  So we went out later for hot wings and March Madness.  We’ve been together three months now.

-Carlyle K.

WARNING SIGNALS

You’re just doing you.  You’re in a great mood.  Life is moving right along.  Like a train, you pause at a random station and hey, some guy would like to *ahem* join you.  The universe bes like that sometimes.  And sometimes that is a very good thing.

TROUBLE-SHOOTING

Be clean.  Be well put-together.  Have style even in simple jeans, t-shirt and ballet flats.

Take care of yourself well.  Eat, sleep, exercise, wear sunscreen.

Be confident.  You are the best you around.

Show a bit of body curve.

Feature one lovely body part. Cleavage, great hair, pedicure, smile OR derriere. Not all at the same time.  Less is more.

Love life and you might just find someone to help you love it more.  😉

WITHHOLDING – BAD LOVER

Gallery

This gallery contains 2 photos.

LOVE SCENE INVESTIGATION Gerald is such a catch.  Tall, athletic, successful as a TV host/ party promoter and close to his family.  He was very passionate with me at first but now … I don’t know if it’s work stress … Continue reading

DE-VALUING

LOVE SCENE INVESTIGATION

The moment I knew it was over was when my husband told me his favorite musical in the whole world was “Phantom of the Opera.” I had just performed in a production of “Phantom of the Opera” that he hadn’t bothered coming to see.

-Barbara J.

So my boyfriend Mitch asked me to marry him and I am considering it.  But he’s the constant criticizer of women’s looks.  This one woman is too fat for that outfit, that coed has “cankles,”  that lady has too high an opinion of her looks and shouldn’t try to dress young. No matter the beauty, achievement or irrelevancy to his existence, Mitch is hardwired to attack women’s looks. His repeat joke is, “Why are all this nickels acting like dimes?”  Meaning, why do women he rates as a “5” acting like “10”s?  Oh, and I’m a prime target, too.  Interspersed between “I love you” and “I’m so happy with you” are the smart remarks.  His new riff is:”Once your looks go, what’ll you have?  You’re lucky I really love you.” Today, it was, “I’m so glad my babydoll doesn’t have a line on her face. At least, not now.”  This from a man who is 5’9″ and looks like he swallowed a basketball.

-Isabel R.

WARNING SIGNALS

The subtle neglect.  Routinely overlooking your need for acknowledgement. The constant critical gaze.   The bottomless fountain of insult.  The one-way magnifying glass.

Let’s be clear: this is not an accident and it is not benign.  Your loved one puts these negative ideas and actions in motion to hurt you and destabilize your confidence. He wants to worry you?  De-valuing you gives him power.

Why?  Your paranoia and lowered self-esteem increases your need for him.

De-valuing is a key weapon in the arsenal of an Emotional Abuser.  It may not be 100% of the relationship 100% of the time but it’s there to gnaw away at your psyche.

In an emotionally abusive relationship, your lover systematically tries to control you by:

1. Undermining your confidence, worthiness, growth, or trust
2. Manipulating you with shame or fear.

Idealize.  De-value.  Reject.

What attracted them at first is now devalued like a child taking a toy away from another child.  You the abused are then supposed to work to restore the previous value or feel you have disappointed your loved one. It is just another mind control game.

TROUBLE-SHOOTING

Talk to your loved one about how his/ her words impact you.  You may get the runaround.

Next, look around at the bookstore for helpful texts on the matter for you.  See if you loved one will read for the sake of your relationship.

You can always rebutt each individual comment or hurtful action.  But you don’t want to amp up conflict — just defuse a hurtful dynamic.

Your lover may not even be conscious of de-valuing you — it may be what s/he grew up with as normal.

Make a good effort to raise their consciousness.  But protect yourself first and foremost.

And move on if you deem it the only solution to root out this soul-clawing dynamic.

PAIN-KILLER

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This gallery contains 2 photos.

I’m 21 and in college but my boyfriend Jermaine skipped college to be a musician.  I care about him a lot but my girlfriends keep hammering me with the stereotypes about artsy types –  chronically underemployed, dreamers, players.  They say … Continue reading