The dreaded schadenbitch

Envy seems to be at the heart of most schadenbitchesAre you inspired by your friend’s success? Do you like to surround yourself with brilliant successful women? I do. Or, my darlings, are you affected by the current wave of schadenbitch? I’ve seen this new disturbing term recently and it struck a chord. I have always been a fan of the word schadenfruden. It so adeptly describes a behaviour I deplore – relishing the misfortune of others. I find it despicable and tiresome. I live by the adage that if I serve someone up as dinner conversation, she will serve me up for dessert when I am not around. If you believe otherwise, you are dangerously naïve.

 
Some women boast they are “a man’s woman” or “one of boys” – and by that they don’t mean tomboys or sports-lovers. These wannabe queen bees eschew the company of women for men. They are often dismissive and nasty to those of their own sex. Ironically, they are often not any more popular with most men than they are they are with women. Men don’t trust their hostility towards their own. Unless they infiltrate a group of men attached to their brothers or use some other camouflage, they are most likely not welcome.
 
What perplexes me are women who are threatened by their friends’s accomplishments. A woman I was close to for a while, another writer, became upset when anyone she knew got a book contract or won an award. She had published her own book and done well with it. I never understood why she was this way. She could never be happy for the other person or inspired to work harder. This envy permeated her life in other areas too. She envied attractive people and those she perceived to have successful relationships. It is hard to think of much she didn’t envy.
 
Another woman I know runs through friends quickly. She too is afflicted by the green-eye monster. She has a laundry list of complaints against others, and how they have slighted her. She imagines others have stolen her ideas or insulted her. No matter what job, assignment, or luck comes her way, the plums always go to others.  
 
Women like this may attain some professional success. The two women I mentioned are bright and talented, but will never attain the success and fulfillment they would if they didn’t have such toxic habits.
 
Another friend is a young woman already making a splash in a glamorous profession. She works 24/7 and still has a way to go before she makes the big bucks, but she has made a great start in a tough business. She has noticed some her friends are not thrilled with her success. It hurts.
 
I understand how she feels and have encouraged her to wait it out. But in the end she will need to find friends who enjoy her success. I have had similar experiences. I will never forget one older friend who had always told me to “do more” professionally. When I returned from Russia after being part of the launch team of Russian Vogue, she was quite mean about the new direction my career had taken. She made cutting remarks. I was shocked. Eventually, we both moved on. Now, I think I understand how she felt, but I think she made a mistake in how she reacted. She had married a very successful older man, raised four children, and did lot of charity work. That was how we met. She is bright and ambitious. She had planned to do many exciting things when he retired. That did not happen. She tried a career cooking, something she is good at it, but she didn’t get far with it. I suspect her husband had different plans and wanted a quieter life. She could have opted to get some support for her dreams from her friends. I would have given it, unquestioningly. That is my style. It is how my friends operate.
 
I don’t understand women who don’t cherish their close women friends. My friends have always been a great source of support, love, and pure enjoyment. I relish their company and can’t imagine life without them. 
 
I love the sound of their voices, their laughter, and even their quirks. I have always taken great pride in their accomplishments.  I think of them as a string of highly-polished jewels –each one precious, rare, and treasured.
 
We can get on get on each other nerves at times. But the wonderful thing about maintaining friendships over the years is the way the edges get smoothed away.
Some friendships have not stood the test of time, but that too is often for the best.
 
The friends I have made and kept over the years have shared this same excitement at meeting a new talented friend. We delight in the process of discovery and celebrate accomplishment!
 
Darlings, look to other women as source of inspiration! Glory in their accomplishments. Your friends will sustain you over the years. And whatever you do, avoid the dreaded schadenbitches and their toxic behaviour.
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