Stop the Put Downs

Do women know how terrible it sounds when they put themselves down constantly? I didn’t. In my early twenties I was notorious for the put downs to myself. Usually it was about my weight. What’s ridiculous is that I wasn’t overweight!! So what did I get out of it? Reassurance from people and friends. When I complained that I was overweight they always responded with, “No, you’re not!”. And then I’d feel better. For a minute! As I got older, I joked that I knew I was getting fat for real when people stopped responding with that line – looking back they were probably just sick and tired of my belly aching.

I remember when I was around fifteen, I was with my friends talking to a boy. There was a dance that night and my friends and I were talking about what we were going to wear. I laid out my usual line, “I don’t know what to wear. I’m soo faaat.” (you might as well imagine a whiny tone, too) The boy replied, “Yah, ya could lose about ten pounds. Then you’d be hot”. I was shocked into silence. Then I spent the next hour soliciting reassurances from my friends. “Do YOU think I could lose ten pounds? What a jerk, heh?”

My put downs have decreased over the years. My first eye opener was The Celestine Prophesy. When I first read the book, I identified with the Poor Me role trying to steal energy in the form of complements. That’s me! I thought. I had never looked at it that way before, but, unfortunately becoming aware of something doesn’t just make it go away. I still have some work to do.

These days my self admonishments are about my abilities as a mom and homeschooler. I have one friend, in particular, who calls me on it. Hi, G! In the middle of a conversation she’ll just stop me and say, I think you’re being a little hard yourself there.

What I realized after I read that book is that it’s exhausting to be around someone who hurls insults at themselves. As the listener, you’re put into an awkward position and at the very least it’s boring.

I got on this train of thought when I was watched a show on the making of a theatre production and group called “Women Fully Clothed“. It’s made up of five women comedians. This real “reality” show revealed how the group was formed, how they developed and tweaked the script together, and the little nuances of their relationships. It was so interesting and the theatrical production looks funny. During the different conversations there was one lady (Jayne Eastwood) who was constantly putting herself down. Because she’s a comedian she did it in the form of jokes. It was funny at first, but by the 10th time, it was like – enough already! Watching and listening to her it was so obvious how crappy she felt about herself. Or that’s what was portrayed. If she actually feels great about herself then she quit it with the put-down jokes. Even in this group photo she’s basically hiding herself. I truly hope that by the time I’m her age I’m fully over this insecurity bull shit.

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About Debbie

I am a stay at home mom of 2 energetic children. I homeschool them as well. I have a great husband who, after 7 years of working away from, finally has a job where he is home every night. We are trying to learn how to live together again along with adjusting to the lower pay that came along with the job change.
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8 Responses to Stop the Put Downs

  1. Jane says:

    Great post Debbie….and you are so right…it is exhausting (and toxic) to be around people who constantly put themselves down or need compliments….relationships like that are just too much work….we all need to be there for friends who are feeling low but if it’s a permanent issue then they really need to seek therapy rather than relying on friends…

  2. Joy T. says:

    I’m sitting here thinking it’s great someone else watched that show. I thought it was great and loved how the ladies sat around the table talking about their lines and what needed to be changed, etc. Love everything about Jayne Eastwood. Her voice…that she’s Canadian :o)

    Anyway, I agree with Jane, great post. I’m afraid I don’t have any patience for people like that. I will put up with it for a bit but then it’s “Smarten up already”. My friends really appreciate this about me….but not everyone does. I know I certainly appreciate a good smack if I’m doing the ol pity party thing.

  3. my4kids says:

    I agree a lot of us really need to work on this. I can do it myself and when I was younger and really shouldn’t have complained I did it then to. I also get tired of listening to it constantly, if that is all someone has to talk about then there really isn’t much there.

  4. Heather says:

    What’s the saying??? You can be your own worst critic…something like that anyway.

    I agree those kind of people can be very toxic!

  5. Sirdar says:

    I agree with Jane that it is toxic after a while. It is usually a lack of confidence. Everyone has some low times and needs some reasuring. That is when you talk to your good friends…ones that will bring you back up.

    Dawn is kind of a tough love person so I learned that she doesn’t listen to me whine 🙂

  6. Debbie says:

    Joy – Wasn’t it great to watch a show about a group of women who weren’t at each other’s throats? That’s why I called it a REAL reality show. TV seems to want show women being snarky.

    By the way, I love Jayne Eastwood as well. She’s hilarious. That’s why her comments saddened me – I could identify a little with her.

    Remember when they performed just their song that one night and they nobody laughed? I felt so badly for them.

    Sirdar – I think Dawn is AWESOME that way! I like that about her.

  7. Joy T. says:

    Oiy! Yes. I sat here saying “oh no, those poor ladies!” But showbiz eh?

    And you’re right, too many women are at each other’s throats. I have some great friends I can just shoot the breeze with and not have to worry about ‘hurting’ their feelings or anything. We’re respectful of course, but we have some super ‘discussions’ too. We don’t let it ruin a friendship just because we don’t agree on things. Very rare among women for sure. I’ve always respected people more if they tell me they don’t agree with something, then to sit there agreeing and saying yes to everything I have to say. Ugh!

  8. Steffi says:

    I agree with Heather.I´m a very own critic person too.

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