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Negging: Wrong Way to Build Self Confidence

Updated on March 25, 2018
threekeys profile image

In 2016 words began tumbling onto the page, forming songs of heartspeak. Giving birth to a love of writing poetry and ecclectic articles.

Healthy and Self Earned Confidence
Healthy and Self Earned Confidence | Source


If life is not setting us up with enough challenges we can go looking for them.

Awareness could be thought of as going to search for more challenges in your life.

Seeking self-awareness is about the obvious and the subtlety in life.

A life self examined can both be a relief and a curse.

You know when you are resisting responsibility about your actions in life if you find yourself expressing any kind of assumption. For instance: -

……It wouldn’t do any good anyway….

……My husband/wife/co-worker/family member just wouldn’t understand…..

OR, if you begin to: -

Leave the room

Procrastinate. You do everything else other than what needs to be done.

OR, giving your sovereignty to others, by thinking: -

….this isn’t the right environment for me…..

….they won’t let me change…….

Awareness is Your Soul’s Speak to You

Awareness is your Soul’s way of reflecting back to you that you are either resisting something or someone.

To make ourselves heal, feel better and/or do better, we first must be in the know of what is actually upsetting us in our hearts, minds or both.

For instance, our culture brought us up, by saying words do not hurt. Well, I am here to tell you from my perspective words can and do hurt.

A Compliment versus A Back Handed Compliment (Negging)

It wasn’t until later on in life I understood intellectually that it is NOT self aggrandizing to accept a genuine compliment and to receive it wholly with a smile and gratitude. However, in saying that, emotionally I felt differently about receiving a genuine compliment. There was still a part of me, that felt it was wrong to openly receive a genuine compliment.

This was further strengthened when strangers let alone people I knew in varying degrees (partners, teachers, siblings, parents, customer service providers, civil servants etc) would greet me with a smiling or neutral face and deliver a line that on one hand was supposed to be worthwhile, yet, on the other hand left me feeling flummoxed or bad about myself. Mentally you are left wondering, what just happened there?


What is Negging?

I just learnt what happened above, is what is known as negging.

Negging is when someone appears to be complimenting you yet simultaneously putts you down.

The Urban Dictionary describes negging as a low-grade insult intended to undermine one’s self confidence.

The term negging was introduced in 2000 by a Canadian male called Erik Von Markovik who was part of a heterosexual male subculture that practised finding, attracting and seducing sexual partners.

Erik Von Markovik is credited with inventing the negging method and who says, that the negging method, is not an insult but a negative social value judgement that is telegraphed. In other words, negging is a manipulative action that involves a back handed compliment (or flirtatious remark) to another person to undermine their confidence and increase the need for the manipulator’s approval.

Negging can be subtle, that you don’t immediately recognize it in the moment. It only later, dawns on you.

Light Examples of Negging

1. A Back Handed Compliment

E.g. You are a Princess, for asking to be respected.

2. A Critique and Suggestion

E.g. That outfit looks great on you but orange is not your colour.

3. A Question with a Response Which Could Be Perceived as an Insult.

E.g. Are your nails real?

Negging is where the person who is negging you, has decided to put themselves in an elevated position; and place you in a put down position. Talking down to you, and emotionally infantilizing you.

Negging is corrosive.

Negging demonstrates the other’s contempt for you.

Negging is cunningly dismissive and degrading in its actions. Negging erodes another’s level of naturally hard-earned self-confidence.

Why Does Negging Matter?

Negging matters because us humans are herd animals and we want and need to be liked. Strangely enough, we still want to be liked by the person who doesn’t even like us.

How to Cope with Negging?

Rising above negging, or turning the other cheek, doesn’t work.

If you call out the other person on negging, they will say in a contemptuous or confident way that you are “imagining it” or “you are completely crazy”.

I think now that we need to let the negging person know that we have caught onto them cunningly undermining us by fighting fire with fire so the negging person gets the message that we know what they are up to.

Whether you choose to call the negging person out directly or indirectly, it is up to you. You do whatever feels appropriate or comfortable for you.

You Need to Know that Negging People Want You to be Broken or Remain Broken

I agree with blogger Lisa Fabrega, that when a person “negs” you, they are pushing you to move into the broken or wounded part of yourself, so they can place themselves into a power position over you.

“We live in a world where our brokenness is taught as if it is a given” (blogger Lisa Fabrega)

I don’t know about you but the culture I grew up in and subsequently inhabit keeps telling me (and us) that their something wrong with us and we need “fixing”.


Who Tells Us That We Need Fixing?

Who can tell us that we need fixing?

1. Work Culture

Here our work culture keeps telling us that we need to live to work, not work to live. Work is to prove if we have any value or not.

2. Religious/Spiritual/New Age Groups

Our religious/spiritual groups are founded on the premise that all of us humans are born sinners to make us feel guilty and less than human. Thereby, ensuring that we perform gracious acts to ease our ill formed guilty conscience.

3. Media Outlets and Marketing Companies

These platforms enable advertisements to heavily assault our consciousness repeatedly to tell us how broken we are and how broken our lives are. These outlets espouse they have the solution to “fix it”.

4. Many Motivational Leaders, Life Coaches, Therapists and Psychiatrists

The above tells us someone needs to “fix us”. The above continue to keep us on side and codependent (freely or involuntarily) for years which is essentially about giving these practionners a very nice dependable income to live off from and to secure their nice homes, luxury cars and overseas holidays.

5. The Divination Art’s Practionners

They can be guilty of seeing Customers as being hexed; broken; and needing fixing or solutions.

Why is it that People Keep Wanting to Tell us that We are Broken?

Wounded, too? Sadly, it seems it is another platform in which humans can gain power/resources over the other.

In the above 5 situations, it involves the use of leading an unexamined life. Where we blame in order to cope with life’s misadventures.

Now in saying that, I am not saying that every calamity we experience we are co responsible for. Sometimes, you are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Bad stuff happens. However, I think it’s more empowering if we can choose to look upon our trials and tribulations, to see where we could have contributed to the dynamic that presents itself. At least, as a possible scenario. Do you know what I mean? And just be curious about it. Seeing where it will lead you.


In Summary

In relation to negging? I would reiterate to any person (spouse, lover, friend, frenemy, sibling, parent, teacher, customer service provider, civil servant etc), if they need you to be less than all you are, in order for the negging person to feel good about themselves, they do not deserve to be a part of your life. If for whatever reason you cannot delete them from your life? At least place some distance between yourself and that person.

Learn to not give into self doubt or confusion when you are negged. And definitely, do not trust the opinions or decisions the negging person wants to make on your behalf.

Keep learning to decipher your intuitive internal messages and follow that instinct.

The trend is now for everyone to become an activist. If it is your choice to become an activist, then I am in favour of you becoming an activist about who or what you allow into your personal space. Because if you don’t discern? Your raison d’etre, your destiny will be altered. And that is not what you were born for.

Be You.

Be Glad that You Are You.

Let Yourself Shine Authentically as You Allow Others to Shine, Too.

Peace, Wellness and Happiness.


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© 2018 Threekeys


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    • threekeys profile imageAUTHOR


      4 months ago from Australia

      Helo Elijah

      No negging itsn't my term. It is on the net. You can also go to YTube and find it there also.

      It is very sublte and undermining. It was used initially in heterosexual dating circles to manipulate the female to supposedly become more attracted to the male or just doing what the guy wants. But it is used far and wide now. It definetely doesn't make you feel good about yourself and you don't need that.

    • The0NatureBoy profile image

      Elijah A Alexander Jr 

      4 months ago from Washington DC

      Thanks for that new term of "Negging", Charmaine, I looked everywhere I could online for the definition before reading it and saw no such word so I figured you must have provided it for us.

      It is quite true "Negging" is an underhanded putdown to "human" but the few who have become man are not even phased by them because man know "they are" which includes all forms of putdowns and exaltations. Man will receive them both without an emotion and the negger becomes hurt. I've seen it happen.

      Again, Thanks for the enlightenment.

    • threekeys profile imageAUTHOR


      4 months ago from Australia

      To me negging is both cultural and personal. I personaly don't like negging and don't "enjoy' it. Thank you for coming over to comment Eric.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      4 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      In the technical area that I write in "negging" is just a normal way for the customer to react. They can always do it better but do not have the time. I guess doing it for over 20 years I am impervious.


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