Venomous Words

A giggle, a smirk, a jealous comment said behind someone’s back. Seems harmless, but what happens when the person you’re gossiping about overhears?

Recently I’ve been a victim of such gossip. “Friends” I thought respected and supported me both professionally and personally spread a wave of negativity and lies. Their words were hurtful, mean-spirited and false assumptions that demeaned my character.

After I wiped the tears away, I took a good hard look in the mirror and realized I’ve been guilty of spewing venom on occasion myself. It was a rather eye-opening week.

The one question spinning in my head is why do people act out like this?

The most obvious is jealousy, insecurity, or unhealed inner wounds. Personally, when I think back at times I have inappropriately spoken ill of someone, those were the reasons.

But these people’s words were just cruel and complete lies based on assumptions, not facts.

People falsely read into the words you say, trying to find hidden meanings and agendas. They project their own wants and issues onto you. Before you know it, they’ve spun a web of fantasies they believe must be true, if only in their pinhead minds.

I have no hidden agendas. I’ve always been an open book. Anyone who reads this blog knows that.

The saddest part of all is it’s made me question every single person in my life and wonder who my true friends are. Maybe that’s not a bad thing. As my career moves forward, I’m sure more of these venomous predators will slither from the cracks.

Why someone would piss off a Sicilian black belt is beyond me.

But I won’t hurt them. I can’t. It’s not my style. Nor will I ever call them out in public. They know who they are. However, I will never help them, nor will they be the beneficiaries of my philosophy to pay it forward. Karma will kick their ass for me.

I will forgive them, because the God I believe in wants me to. But I will never forget what they said and the callous way in which they insulted my professionalism and my character.

As much as this gut-punch hurt, every hit I take in life brings a valuable lesson:

  • Be careful whom you trust.
  • Be careful what you say.
  • Be careful of what you don’t say.
  • Always watch your back.
  • People are instinctively selfish.
  • Jealousy is ugly.
  • Insecurity is uglier.
  • Rise above those who try to push you down.
  • Forgive.

I have taught my children never to post anything on a social media site they wouldn’t be comfortable seeing printed on the front page of a newspaper. I am now adding another golden rule to the mix:

Never say anything you wouldn’t say to someone’s face.

Believe me, if these “friends” had the balls to speak those vial assumptions to me directly, I would have slapped the words right out of their mouths.

Words are weapons. Once you have stabbed someone with them, that wound will leave a permanent scar.

And if you are a person who feeds on venomous rumors and laughs along with the insecure gossiping liars of this world, what makes you think they aren’t spreading rumors about you too?

The reality is, most gossipers are serial ones. No “friend” of his or hers is safe.

Be careful what you say, someone is always listening.


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20 thoughts on “Venomous Words

  1. SO TRUE! I happen to be someone who gives away my trust sparingly. After time one just has a need to protect themselves. But I am also an open book. If you want to know something, just ask, but don’t make it up!

  2. “I will forgive them, because the God I believe in wants me to. ”

    Nice sentence. But do it for YOU. Holding any kind of upset or resentment inside that’s directed toward someone else, only hurts one person – and it’s not them.

    I think maybe that’s why your God wants you to do it in the first place. Because s/he loves you.

    And so do I.

    Anyone who knows you, Jeanne, knows you’re the real deal. And no one else matters.

    Be happy,


  3. What people say about others usually says more about themselves. Gossip itself is a self agrandising and a pernicous activity that serves only to limit. Glad you are rising above it. Great post.

  4. I learned a long time ago that people need to earn my trust. Some call me standoffish, some people find it unsettling that it takes me a while to warm up. But if you prove to me that you are a good friend and trust worthy, I’ll be loyal to you forever. Recently I’ve learned just how terrible people can be when I got a promotion at work. I overheard people I really liked talking major smack about me. It cut like a knife, but since I’ve learned to brush it off. If it was someone else they’d be saying the same thing.

    In closing, there is an excellent quote that I think fits your post perfectly:
    “If people are trying to pull you down, be proud about it, because it only confirms that you are above them.”

  5. Hi, as a young french screenwriter (with one short and two documentaries broadcasted on french television), I’d just wand to thank you for your insightful article here and on “Balls of steels”. Your words are often inspiring even for some of us overseas. Keep up the good work!

  6. Solid post. Newbie here following your writings. I have lots to learn from you. There’s some serious talent under that lid of yours. Thanks for sharing.

    From some real hard experience of my own, I have learned this lesson too and even taken the step of offering anything I can to said offenders. Not only were they astonished but the evidence of grace and humility was ever-present. Hard to do? Yes, it was. Was it closure by setting the best possible example? Damn-skippy it was.

    I’m a country kid too, small town TX born and bred. Unlocked doors and always waving was the way of life. I have to constantly fight the hardening of my heart others try to impose on me. I try to remember my roots in the face of tribulation and wave back.

    Thanks again…. Todd

    • Todd, we have much in common. I grew up never even having a lock on our doors, and if we didn’t leave the keys to the car in the ignition, my dad would get furious! Can you imagine? During the gas crisis n the 70s, we put a gas tank in on our farm. That was the only thing that had a lock on it. Says a lot.

      Still living in that same town has been a blessing for me. I’ll have to write a post about it.

      I’m thrilled to have met you here, Todd, and I hope we get to talk more in the future.

  7. Andy Rooney died last night. In reading the news on Yahoo!, I couldn’t help but notice this quote:

    “One of my major shortcomings — I’m vindictive. I don’t know why that is. Even in petty things in my life I tend to strike back. It’s a lot more pleasurable a sensation than feeling threatened.”

    I can definitely relate.

    Here’s the link to the full article:

  8. You used the word “project” to describe what people are doing and I have to say that I think most people’s rants and venom is just that: projection from within. When they do this, you are not you in their mind’s eye but whomever the venom is really directed toward. If I were Freudian, I would stop and say, “so tell me about your mother.” Seriously, though . . .I firmly believe that you cannot argue with a projection since it is a psychological/emotional defense. You know yourself and your own goodness so best to let it go. Hard to do to but something I strive for always.

  9. Pingback: Forgive and Forget | ramblings of a recovered insecureaholic

  10. It’s a privilege to be in the company of a fellow martial artist! Your post about Kicking Fear’s Ass was great! That post is relevant for me right now as I begin on my writing for publication journey. Hopefully, within the next few years or so, I’ll be able to enjoy life as a full-time writer. In the meantime, I guess my only alternatives are to pray and keep on writing. By the way, congratulations on receiving your Sam Dan rank. I found myself wincing when you described the sparring session of the promotion test. That brought back some old(and painful) memories. lol! Thank you so very much for writing a post about how words can hurt. I’ve been on both sides of this topic. I’m still working on forgiving myself(as well as those who have wronged me). It’s a process, just like writing. Anyways, thank you so much for providing the wealth of information on the writing life and life in general! 🙂 Take care.

    Keep on rockin’ and rollin’,


  11. Pingback: Un-becoming - ramblings of a recovered insecureaholic

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