Gossiping is a cancer in any relationship. The more a person gossips the more the cancer spreads. This verbal cancer will spread through any organization, family, or team. Most adults will condemn gossiping but few adults will admit to doing this behavior. The reason most adults would not admit they gossip is because this behavior is childish, petty, immature, and mostly associated with adolescence. Make no mistake, gossiping is verbal abuse, and depending on the nature of the gossip, can be just as devastating as any form of abuse.
If you are a victim of adult gossiping there are several positive ways you can deal with it. If the person is in your family/social circle you can confront your abuser. I would recommend having someone with you for this conversation in case the interaction becomes aggressive. Most abusers do not like to be confronted and will retaliate with aggression. So it’s always a good idea to have someone with you to witness the conversation and to provide safety. I would further recommend having an exit strategy when this conversation takes place. If the person is not in your family/social circle you can also avoid your abuser. If your abuser is someone in the work place you can seek help from Human Resources or a supervisor.
If you are an adult and you find yourself struggling to maintain positive relationships you may be the perpetrator of adult gossiping without the intent to hurt. To find out, ask your self several questions. Would I have the same conversation about someone if they were present? Do I find pleasure in hearing of other’s misfortune? Am I anxious if people are talking about me? If you answered yes to these questions, or questions of this nature, you may have a problem with gossiping.
Regardless if you are the victim of adult gossiping or you are an adult gossiper I would recommend professional help. Either way, a professional counselor will help a person deal with the horrible emotional affects of gossiping or help break the habit of gossiping. Seek professional help if you are suffering from this verbal cancer or if you are unknowingly spreading this verbal cancer. Once Gossip has entered into a relationship the affects are devastating and long lasting. Please do not take the risk by underestimating the damage of this behavior.
Paul Schellenberg is a licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. He specializes in sports and student anxiety, trauma and mood disorders, emotional barriers, coping skills, depression, working with both children and adults. For more information please visit: www.pschellenberg.com or call 309-696-0267.