Killjoy…we’ve all heard the term, but have we ever really thought about what it truly means?

I grew up with a killjoy—a destroyer of happiness—but at the time I didn’t recognize her for what she was. After all, she was my mother, so I loved and trusted her, as most children do their parents.

It wasn’t until I was older, and had left home, that I finally recognized the negativity that my mother created around her, especially in response to anyone’s happy news or accomplishments.

Here’s an example of what I mean: when I was about 9 or 10, the local paper ran a contest. You were supposed to write a story about your pet, and why they were the best pet in the world. The first prize was getting your story printed in the paper and a plaque. Well, my mother proceeded to tell me how stupid I was to try and win; how I was only going to get hurt when I lost; how no one in our family ever won anything; and how I shouldn’t come running to her when I lost and so felt miserable.

Despite her constant doom and gloom, I wrote my story and sent it in. I tried not to wish too hard to win (some of my mother’s naysaying having rubbed off on me), but, of course, I did anyway. Believe it or not, I did win, and even then, my mother couldn’t (or wouldn’t) be happy for me. No. Instead, of congratulations, I got a lecture on how I was probably the only one who spelled everything correctly; how now she was going to have to drive me down to the newspaper office so I could get my plaque; how inconsiderate I was being for interrupting her day by winning this contest; and how it was probably just a big mistake.

Well, the story was printed, and I did get my plaque, but I never got a congratulations from my mother.

As the years went by, my mother’s behavior never changed. If you had some happy news, she made sure that you felt absolutely miserable, depressed, and regretful about it. Therefore, I learned never to share my happy news with my mother until long after the fact. That way, she couldn’t destroy that first flush of euphoria when you initially receive the news about whatever “it” is—a promotion, an engagement, a new couch, or just having a great day.

When my mother died, I really never expected to encounter anyone like her again—someone who could spoil any happiness—a killjoy. Boy, was I wrong.

I had finally gotten my books published (by the e-publisher IM Light Publications) and was working like crazy to create a website on which to make them available to people. I had spent several months designing, coding, and testing my website, and when it was truly done I couldn’t wait to tell everyone I knew about it. It wasn’t just that the books (which I was also proud of) were now available (though that was a big part of it), but it was also the fact that I had worked so hard on putting together the website itself. I was proud of all that I had accomplished and I wanted my friends to know it and share my happiness with me.

So I scribbled out an email and sent it out to everyone I knew, telling them all about my great accomplishment and inviting them to come and check out my new website. Most of the responses were positive and encouraging, but one wasn’t. One person just had to be a killjoy.

He just couldn’t let me be happy. This killjoy had to do his best to destroy my moment; to take away the happiness and pride in my accomplishment that I had. What was even worse than his snide and nasty comments that he sent to me, was that he also sent emails to many of our mutual acquaintances and friends saying unkind (and untrue) things about me and my work.

He not only took away my happiness, but he killed it publicly, and, at the same time, he tried to destroy the respect my friends had for me. Now some of my “friends” believed him and his negative, killjoy attitude, but many of them didn’t, and I’m glad.

For him and those who wish to believe his killjoy attitude, I can only say, I’m sorry—because it must be hard to live with such negativity and fear. But at least now that I know what type of person he is, I can avoid him and his disparaging remarks and poor attitude.

To me, there is enough negativity in the world already without adding to it. So, I’d rather interact with those whose attitudes are a bit more upbeat, a bit more supportive.

I realize and recognize that this type of negativity is created from one of two causes—either the person is acting out their negative poles, or they are afraid. Now, fear can cause someone to momentarily act out of their negative poles, or they can simply be “stuck” in their negative poles. My mother’s energies were primarily in a negative “spin”, which means that she was always going to be contrary to what most people considered “normal” or positive. It wasn’t something she could really help, although, she could have chosen to overcome this negativity instead of giving in to it. But it was a choice she made, just as I made a choice not to let my accomplishments or my happiness be “killed” by her.

As for this second killjoy—I think his response was more of a fear-based reaction (see my article on bullies). Because like the bully, he was jealous of what I had done, and rather than let me enjoy my moment of happiness, he allowed his fear (jealousy is the fear of not measuring up or the fear of failing) to rule, which meant he had to kill my moment of happiness in order to feel better about himself.

If someone is jealous of something you’ve done, it’s usually because they’re too afraid to try to do it themselves—they’re afraid that either they’ll fail, or that what they’ll accomplish won’t be as good. Either way, the only way they can feel good about themselves then, is to belittle what you have accomplished. Now, most people may do this once or twice, and that’s how you can tell that it’s a fear-based response. However, if someone does it all the time, you need to look and see if perhaps they’re energies are in the negative poles. If so, you may find yourself feeling uncomfortable due to abrading energies, or you find that no matter who the person is that has done something good, or what it is they have done, this person is going to run the person or their accomplishment (or both) down.

Now, if the remarks are a one-time occurrence, you can probably write it off as “sour grapes”, a bad day, or a fear-based reaction due to jealousy, and let it go. But if the person reacts to all your happy moments with negativity, then you’re probably better off avoiding them—unless, of course, you like the challenge of overcoming someone’s negative remarks about you.