Gossip Defense

gossip girlz
image source iampoopsie.com

One of the inevitable side effects of divorce is the ensuing gossip.  Yes, little old you become fodder and material for idle gossip.  Whether they’re neighbors, teachers, friends, acquaintances or sports parents your name seems to be on the tip of their tongue.

The strange looks you get indicate not all is rosy on the gossip front.  There will be rumors. Some with a kernel of truth and some so ridiculous you will laugh over a glass of wine.  Luckily, we don’t have telepathic channels allowing us to mind read.  It would be scary to know everything people are saying or thinking of us…no thanks.

The bottom line?  You have to rise above it and realize that people will say what they want and your divorce is always a juicy topic, until the next couple hit the skids.  Then they will be the subject of gossip… scandal is fleeting that way.  One day you’re a hot topic, next you’re forgotten like yesterday’s news.

Beware of ‘friends’ who only call you up to ask 20 questions but when you want to get together ‘they’re busy’-these are who I refer to as gossip queens.  Usually, they have never been divorced and are curious.  A person who has gone through a divorce would likely have more respect for your privacy and a better understanding of what you need in a friend.

gossip girlz

Gossip Queens have little genuine interest in you as a person, only in obtaining information.  They also come in a male version.

Remember, share your divorce ‘feelings’ anger or strategies with only trusted friends.

Have a few rote responses ready for gossipers when you run into them at the supermarket.  For example, if someone asks how your divorce is going ask them “How’s your marriage going?” that will shut them up.  One of my facebook fans suggested saying ‘He has a small penis’.  Obviously, we kid, laugh and joke…

 

In spite of all the gossip, there are some people who DO genuinely care about you.  I remember running into an old neighbor  after separation.  She was genuine in her delight at seeing my face.  She was very positive and even asked if I needed a lawyer.  She indicated that she had a hunch I would need a ‘tough’ one.  I knew based on this woman’s past behavior that she was a good person.  I also knew in that moment she was trying to help and show her support.  Those moments are gold.  Those are the people and moments that make a difference.

gossip defense

 

The LYRICS to this song strike a chord with me…

Gossip girlz

‘…seems like even her old girlfriends might be talking her down

She’s got her name on the grapevine

Running up and down the telephone line

Someone said something about….someone else… someone might have said about her

She always figured they were her friends

But maybe they can live without her…’-James Taylor, Her Town

 When I was working in a home décor store about a year after my separation a couple came in to shop for some new kitchen dishes.  She was a lovely woman whom I had met during my marriage through mutual friends.  Again, she always had a genuine vibe about her.  She was very friendly and made no qualms about mentioning to me that the circle of friends my husband and I were a part of could talk about little else than me.  Turns out, I was the latest hot topic.  For someone to actually tell you directly, you know it’s bad.  I just smiled and nodded.  All I could muster was, “Well, they’re all really good people. I just had to make changes when I left my marriage. I have different priorities.”  She said she understood that and wished they could as well.

gossip girlz

 

Gossip within families can be a problem too.  The problem with this situation is, if you’re not there to explain or defend yourself you have no way to challenge the inaccuracies.  It feels like betrayal when it’s within your own family.  A family member told me he had to call interference many times.  He would simply tell them to change the subject, he was tired of hearing my name repeatedly with the same questions and stories.  Of course, I’ve been on the inside of their gossip with other family members, so I know how it works and the damage it can do.

To counteract family gossip, keep in regular contact and if you hear disparaging comments address them immediately.  Speak up rather than staying silent which can lead to people mistaking rumors for truth.

TIPS

What to do for the next parent teacher meeting, soccer game, family reunion?

-avoid the gossip queen

-be choosy about who you confide in

-spend time with those who lift you up (or at least hold you up)

-speak up when you need to

-care LESS about what others think and MORE about what you think

 

Unfortunately, gossip is a side effect of divorce and you’re likely to be the subject.  Realizing that it’s only temporary and soon they’ll be on to the next victims will help you keep it in perspective.  Knowing when to speak up is important but also realizing that what people think of you isn’t nearly as important as what you think of yourself.  Maintaining friendships with loyal people and your supporters will get you through the difficulties.  Justifying your life is unnecessary if you don’t really ‘care what people think’.

What’s on your mind?


Leave a comment, I LOVE ’em

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12 Replies to “Gossip Defense”

  1. Love your perspective & insight.

    My girlfriend is going thru all of this at the moment. She even feels embarrassed about the word “divorced.”

    Is this a past stigma? Why should she feel embarrassed about this?

    btw, I care! I CARE! xx

    1. Thanks, Kim! The word divorce is correlated with failure, unfortunately. I hope we can put an end to that. I feel for your friend. It really sucks to be the subject of gossip. She should hold her head up and say f**k them…:) p.s. Hope you sent her this post xoxo

  2. Another fantastic post, Lisa! I would remind folks of a few things. Never badmouth your spouse to other’s and especially not in front of the kids. Keep it as private as possible though they are posted in the newspaper in many states. And should someone be bored or unhappy within themselves to start flapping their mouth. That is a THEM problem and not your’s and just walk away. They are often looking for something verbally from you to fan the flames. They will quickly go on to something else when they see no reaction from you. Only you and your spouse have lived behind those closed doors and walked in your respective shoes. Keep up the great work, our friend! 🙂

    1. Great advice, Mike! I read somewhere ‘what people say about you says more about them‘. I think there is truth to that.

    1. i agree, Kelly. Although it seems to be a part of the human condition. I know I’ve been guilty of it in the past. But we learn to avoid it.

  3. Some terrific advice. Gossip is a vicious habit people seem to thrive on. Your tips are helpful to all women, even married or single ones. I’ve had friends like that who pummel you with questions, then hasn’t got any time for you. If I hear someone gossiping about another friend of ours, I am fairly sure she’s gossiping about me too.

    1. Great point, Jennifer! When someone is gossiping, I can’t help but wonder what they’re saying about me when I’m not there. It’s a slippery slope and always comes back to bite 😉 It took me a while to figure that one out lol. Thanks for your input.

  4. Ooof, I’m so sorry to hear that you are the topic of gossip. I am sad to admit that I have been guilty of gossip before (and have been on the receiving end, too) and know how incredibly hurtful it is. I had to say goodbye to toxic friendships, the kinds you described above where people were only calling to fish for information.

    It sounds like you have a wonderful supportive network of true friends out there which is always needed at a time like this. XOXO and wishing you the best of luck, momma.

    1. Hi Charlotte, well I’m not anymore (that I know of) haha. But during my divorce it was certainly evident. Yes, I have great friends now and supportive people in my life that make all the difference 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Lisa, This must touch the hearts of so many. Divorce is so hard in this regard. You feel like friends take sides. Unless they ave been through it, it is so hard to understand. Usually people respond from their own misery. I love how you express this!

    1. Thanks, Jodi! That’s certainly true, if people aren’t happy in their own marriage or life, it’s easier for them to blame one person and ‘gossip’.

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