Regardless of your age, gender, religion or geographic location, we have all at some point encountered a truly nasty woman. The type of woman who judges you, who demoralizes you and who has no regard for your feelings. It starts early for some, as early as elementary school, and it doesn't stop until you're stuck sitting next to them in a rocking chair in some dimly lit retirement home in Anywhere, USA. You find yourself praying for them to fall and break a hip.
From my experience, there are some women out there who can just make you feel horrible about yourself with one obnoxious sentence. She's passive-aggressive. She's a bully. A real-life version of Regina George from Mean Girls, and you find yourself needing her approval.
She's the woman who comments on how you raise your children, how you wear your hair, what time you get home from work at night or the last time you made love to your husband.
"You better get on that, or someone else will! You know he's hot, right? Don't get upset, I'm just kidding around!"
Maybe it's your aunt, who passively remarks on your dating life and "jokingly" points out how you're 35 and still single. She'll tell you how attractive you are and how you'd surely find someone -- if you just lost ten pounds.
Maybe you're at a party with a close friend who comments on the length or your skirt or the shade of your lipstick, or tells an embarrassing story about your past while you're trying to introduce yourself to a cute guy. You turn bright red and excuse yourself to the bathroom. Instead of following you in there, she calls out, "Oh honey, lighten up! Please, don't be so sensitive."
Or perhaps it's your older sister, who constantly makes comments about how busy she is. She makes little digs at how "flexible" your industry is. She wishes she had a job like yours, which lets you take off whenever you want, while subtly implying how important she is.
"I'd love to go to France for a week like you did, but the whole office would fall apart without me there!"
It's always said with a smile. It's always said as a "joke." And you're always being overly sensitive if you call them out on it. She'll never talk calmly to you about how she hurt your feelings or publically embarrassed you, she'll yell and fight and make you feel as if you're the biggest pansy for not enduring her "harmless" criticism. When you try to talk to a mutual friend or family member about them, you're greeted with a well-rehearsed, "Well, you know that's just how she is," or "You just have to get to know her, she's not so bad."
Well guess what? I know her. And I don't like her.
The worst part about this nasty woman is that she's never dumb. She is smart, clever and downright manipulative. Somehow, she's created a defense for herself while simultaneously making you look weak for speaking up against her. She'll be rude one day, but as delightful as a salted caramel macaroon the next. You never know which version of her you're going to get, so you're always on your guard. You walk into the room, essentially ready to apologize for something, even if she's a guest in your own house.
"Your wine glasses are from Ikea? What a cute idea. Why spend money on something nice when they're probably going to break anyway? Right?"
You agree with her. Everybody laughs, and you toss the glasses in the recycling bin the minute your guests go home.
Sure, you could develop a thicker skin. But let's be honest, it's probably about as thick as a milkshake by now. Could you conceivably cut this brat out of your life? Not without losing at least three friends or making for an extremely awkward Thanksgiving. It's a no-win situation. You swear she used to be nicer a few years ago. You know, before she lost her job, before she moved to the big city or before she got dumped. Whatever the reason is, there's always a way for her to rationalize her cattiness.
Sooner or later you'll reach a breaking point. Who knows, maybe if you show her you can't be pushed around she'll finally take a step back and reflect on what she's doing. Or maybe you'll finally cut her out of your life and chuck those lost friends of yours up to casualties of war. And hey, maybe Thanksgiving dinner will be a little awkward without the two of your speaking. But at least you can have that second slice of pumpkin pie in peace.