What’s negging? And are you doing it?

Have you heard of this term? “Negging.” 

I’d never seen this word before, and since I’m a word nerd, I wanted to read more about it. Experts say “negging” is making negative comments that don’t seem blatant or obvious, but there’s no denying that they have a negative or insulting insinuation. It’s a sneakier form of verbal or emotional abuse.

Some people would describe negging as a “backhanded compliment.”

As moms, most of us have heard some version of the following kind of “negging.”

  • “You’re so brave to go back to your office job after 8 weeks. I just can’t stand the thought of leaving my baby.” 
  • “I’m so amazed by how you’re staying home with a newborn. I’d go crazy if I didn’t have other humans to talk to.” 

Negging is hard to combat because often the person hearing it is too busy trying to sort out the mixture of insult and compliment that she can’t figure out how to respond.

Click here to read a post on the Prevention website which includes more examples of negging, expert definitions of what it is, how it’s harmful, and how to confront it.