How to Deal with Toxic and Passive Aggressive Comments

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day. She’d lost a bit of her mojo because a toxic friend had said something a little passive-aggressive.

One of those backhanded compliments that ACTUALLY preys on our worst fears and insecurities. I'm pretty sure you know exactly what I mean.

How to Deal with Toxic and Passive Aggressive Comments - Career Makeover Academy

“I cringed when I watched your video because you just weren’t YOU….you know? I mean the information you gave was good, but you were so don’t know, but...but it was great!


How Toxic Comments affect us

Well, my friend internalized it and didn’t make another live video because her friend had fed the fear demon. One, single underhanded compliment fed the demon until he grew big, fat, and happy.

How to Deal with Toxic and Passive Aggressive Comments - Career Makeover Academy

He sucked up every shred of confidence she had until she was left wondering how she was ever going to get over it.

In the end, she booted that fear demon right in his shiny red tuchus and told him there was no room left…

‘Cause she had a business to run!


We all have that well-meaning friend or family member who’s ONLY trying to help, buuuuut, in fact they’re doing the complete opposite,

How We Sometimes React to Passive Aggressive Comments

Just the other day, in fact, I released a video I thought was super cool.

It was a horror-themed Public Service Announcement. A parody that was created for and about Facebook. I was particularly proud of it because I’d never done anything anywhere near that complicated before.

A relative of mine, who loves me to PIECES, sent a private message and told me the video was great, but...I should wear makeup next time.

How to Deal with Toxic and Passive Aggressive Comments - Career Makeover Academy

I WAS wearing makeup. I refuse to be seen on camera withOUT makeup because I have blemishes and 40 year old woman skin. Once I hit 30 I got adult acne and my face’s fate was sealed - no video without a hefty application of foundation.

She promptly apologized and told me she’d rewatch the video. Then...true to her word she came back with her final report...Yep, I needed more makeup.

How to Deal with Toxic and Passive Aggressive Comments - Career Makeover Academy

The thing is, it was true...but I don’t really know how to apply makeup because I've always been a bit of a tomboy. 

Stop Beating Yourself Up!

But, like I said...My relative was right.

How to Deal with Toxic and Passive Aggressive Comments - Career Makeover Academy

My friend’s friend was right too. Watching her in a video was NOT the same as having a one-on-one conversation with her over a cup of tea.

But so what?

The person she is chatting with one other person is NOT the same person she is 2 on one, or 60 on one, or 1000 on one!

The makeup I wear (or don’t wear) on a day-to-day basis is not the same makeup I should wear when on camera.

These are things we learn through experience, feedback, and..well..growing.

You don’t come out of the womb knowing how to run and jump and skip.

First you crawl….then you stand...fall down a million and a half times before you graduate from taking a few struggling steps to walking with confidence.

How to Handle Backhanded Compliments

So, the next time someone gives you a backhanded compliment - take a few minutes to get know…you’re human.

Then, reign it in and THEN...when you’re in a calmer place... try to find that ONE golden nugget in that steaming pile of poo that you can use to improve yourself.

I don’t say to completely ignore it because half the time the issues are actually true, and the other half they’re not, but it affects us so deeply because we FEAR it is and we fear being judged or deemed unworthy by others.

Which is ironic, because most people are MUCH more concerned about their own problems than yours.

So, in my humble opinion, the best way to get over it is to turn it on it’s head and cancel out the negative with a positive.

Try to find something we can feel GOOD about improving.

For me, that means I might be getting a spa day.

Sign me up for that facial, hot stone massage, mani pedi, and makeover please! And if I play my cards right, I might even get points on the old Mastercard to go towards a trip to Rome!


You may not be able to control what others say or do, but you SURE can control your reaction to it.

Btw, if you want to check out the video that I’m so proud of and see my poorly made up face here you go: 



How do YOU deal with toxic friends or passive aggressive family members?

Stephanie Berchiolly

Teaching you the skills to get a new job or change to a career that you love.