Gossip undermines our emotional safety & intimacy. "Don't say anything about anyone who isn't in the room that you wouldn't say in front of them if they were in the room." is the golden rule on gossip. The dictionary defines a 'gossiper' as someone who talks eagerly, casually and enthusiastically about other people's news or business.
Sounds quite harmless really. But there is a very dark side to gossip. It can be harmful for the sender, the receiver and the person that is the subject of gossip. It can be a toxic, low frequency, negative behaviour that is all too often learned in families and quite unconscious to the person using it. What is it's emotional function?
A child growing up in a gossipy family doesn't have emotionally safety. The child often enters into the family gossip chain in order to feel close to parents, siblings, aunts or cousins. But there is a cost to the child. Insecurity often results. The development of a solid emotionally base is taken from the child. She or he pays a steep price for a sense of belonging and closeness to others. Gossip doesn't cultivate healthy connection or intimacy. There is so much more to be gained by staying present with others in healthy connection.
Gossipers suffer in a whole host of ways. Shame and insecurity are two results of a practice in gossip. A sense of isolation results even though there is a pseudo closeness and pseudo attachment through gossip. It doesn't get you where you truly want to go, securely attached and connected in intimate relationships that feel comfortable, secure and emotionally safe.
In therapy one can explore the dynamics that gossip played in your history, find the hurt it has caused and shame it has left and clear those obstacles out of the way, allowing an experience of secure attachment and healthy connection. Eckhart Tolle is an author with a lot to offer in this department, being present to the moment and to love.
You may be blocking yourself from deeper connection without even knowing it. Try stopping this one behaviour (gossip) in your day or week and feel for the difference. It could shift you to a deeper level of comfort, satisfaction and safety in your life.
Go deep and then go deeper.