Female bullies are the worst. Here’s why. Male bullies attack you directly. You know where they’re coming from. So you can either confront them or get out of their way.
Women, on the other hand, can be devious. Once you realize you’re on their hit list, the damage is already done.
Adult female bullies are often found in the workplace. Office bullying has reached epidemic levels. Currently, about 35 percent of American workers have been bullied, according to the Workplace Bullying Institute, an organization that advocates for the targets.
Women Bullying Other Women
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Because female bullying is so widespread, and potentially so devastating, I believe this topic belongs on my natural health site. Adult meanies are bad for you. Working with a nasty, devious person can destroy your health.
Malicious people are bad for you outside of work too. Female bullies are often found in social settings. Unfortunately, they’re often difficult to spot. Keep reading, so I can give you some tips on dealing with them.
Female bullying is a subject that’s near and dear to my heart. I’ve had first-hand experience with a malicious adult female. I’m convinced it’s a huge problem that’s largely unrecognized. It seems to be getting worse. In fact, I’m so concerned that I’ve even written a book called, Are Women Getting Meaner?. I hope it sheds some light on the issue.
Characteristics of Adult Female Bullies
People are slowly waking up to the fact that men haven’t cornered the market on meanness. They only have a slight edge. British researchers have found that 45 percent of workplace aggressors are women.
Female abusers generally operate under the cover of darkness. So it’s extremely difficult to catch them in the act. They use stealth weapons of gossip and innuendo. And they use them effectively.
Women Who Hurt Other Women
Female bullies sow discord. This leaves victims without social support. Once the situation takes root, it’s nearly impossible to undo the damage. If it happens at work, your job is on the line.
An office bully’s main goal is to ruin your life. Driving you into the unemployment line is part of her plan.
That’s why it’s good to learn how female bullies operate. The more you know, the less likely you’ll stumble into one of their traps. I wrote the book you can see below as a means of hopefully arming my readers with protection. (Knowledge is power.)
Traits of a Female Bully
Female-to-female aggression is insidious. The troublemaker may even be your friend. The bully often “befriends” her target. But only to gather intelligence. She’s on the prowl, looking to exploit weaknesses. She may invite you out for a drink. She may get to know your friends and relatives.
Once she gains your trust, you might confide in her. (Big mistake.) She seems sympathetic and eager to listen. People with disordered personalities (healthy folks don’t act this way) have an uncanny aptitude for sizing people up.
Why are Some Women So Mean?
Confusion is often first sign something is wrong. You feel vaguely uncomfortable. But you don’t know why. Co-workers may begin avoiding you. At this point, you’ll start to be excluded from social gatherings. Or, you may not be invited to work-related meetings you normally attend.
People with disordered personalities are good liars. So it’s possible the entire office has heard unsavory things about you. None of them true.
Women Hating Other Women
Female tyrants often recruit people to wage their war. So, from the target’s perspective, the individuals causing obvious distress may not be working alone. It’s possible the main bully is directing the show from behind the scenes.
In the workplace, women pick on other women most of the time, But not exclusively. (This information is from research compiled by the Workplace Bullying Institute.) Men can be targets too. Once this dynamic takes root in an office (or in a social setting), it’s nearly impossible to reverse. Unless, that is, a supervisor catches on and steps in. However, oftentimes, the supervisor is the bully.
You may not know you’re being singled out until things have spiraled downward. When this happens, your only recourse may be to find new employment.
Adult Female Bullying
Complaining to Human Resources is usually of little avail. Bullies are very believable. They present themselves in a good light. Unfortunately, you’ll be seen as unbalanced, especially if you cry or show strong emotions.
Embattled workers who file a grievance are successful less than 4 percent of the time, according to the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI).
Co-workers, except in very rare instances, won’t rush to your defense. They either don’t believe your story. Or they’re rightfully afraid of losing their own job. Eventually, noted the WBI, the majority (nearly 80 percent) of targets are fired or resign.
Dealing With Female Bullies
I can address female bullying from the perspective of personal experience. This is what I used to write my book on the apparently increasing incidence of mean behavior. My own run-in with a covert abuser was among the worst experiences of my life. But I survived and gained a lot of insight in the process. I want to pass along some of the things I now understand about relational aggression.
What are the Characteristics of Female Bullying?
Prevention is the very best way of dealing with an adult female bully. Below are some characteristics of adult female bullies. Watch for some of the red flags, such as instant friendships.
I put this as the number one thing to watch for. Never ignore this one. Healthy people usually don’t have a lot of free time on their hands. They’re busy. They’re engaged and they already have other relationships.
Personality of Adult Bully Woman
People with personality disorders, on the other hand, will clear their schedule. They want to spend all their free time with you. At this point, it’s early in the relationship. So they may put you on a pedestal. (Don’t worry, it won’t last.) Chances are they’ve already burned a lot of other bridges. So they don’t have many other friends.
Anyway, here are some tips on how to protect yourself from adult female bullies.
- Beware of Instant Friendships. This advice applies even more at the office. It’s entirely possible two like minds will meet and quickly become best friends. But that’s rare. Most true friendships develop over time. It just sort of happens. Watch your back when someone comes on too strong. This isn’t normal. Actually, it’s a big red flag.
- Maintain a Professional Distance. Be friendly and pleasant to everyone. But maintain a bit of reserve. You are there to work, not to socialize.
- Don’t Disclose Personal Secrets. Bullying is so prevalent that it can rightly be called an epidemic. Leave personal drama at home. Don’t tell anything you wouldn’t want the entire office to know. Female aggressors look for weaknesses. Don’t make their job easier.
- Don’t Be Too Needy. Walk with your head held high. Your body language should convey the impression you’re not someone to push around. Bullies always need a target. It doesn’t have to be you. If you’re new to the job, don’t be overly eager to join every social gathering. This is employment, not high school.
- Don’t Gossip. Besides the fact it’s wrong, bad-mouthing others can land you in trouble. Bullies love to sling mud. Don’t listen and don’t contribute. Steer clear of backbiters. One way to spot a disordered personality is by their tale telling. Agreeing with anything they say is a big mistake. They may also tell the person they just ripped to shreds that YOU were saying nasty things about him or her.
- Learn About Personality Disorders. Bullies exist in just about every organization. People who abuse others can even be found among teachers and nurses. Spoting aggressive personalities isn’t always easy. But there are some clues. Look for an inflated sense of entitlement. Bullies often have captivating personalities. And they gossip.
Why Do Women Hate Other Women?
I need to stress that I’m not a psychologist or a mental health professional. I learned everything from first-hand experience. Actually, I learned enough to write a book. So I did.
Here’s a link to my book on female malignant narcissists. It’s written from the perspective of a survivor. I don’t pretend to have all the answers as to why some women hate other women. Some of it, apparently, springs from envy. People who mistreat others aren’t happy with themselves. Otherwise, they wouldn’t behave this way.
The way I finally broke free from my perpetrator was through forgiveness. A former “friend” had turned my life upside down. She ruined a number of other relationships. (Adult female bullies undermine you with false rumors and innuendo.)
I forgave this person from the bottom of my heart. It was the only way I could move forward. It’s possible to forgive, even if the person won’t own up to what they did. It’s possible to forgive without receiving an apology. If you’re struggling with forgiveness, I hope the information in this post can help you.
Signs That You are In a Malignant Narcissist Friendship
Much of the first part of this article focused on the workplace. That’s because this is where adults congregate. So it’s a natural hunting ground for female bullies.
However, this same dynamic often plays out away from the office. Really, anywhere two or more women gather. So you may encounter malicious women in a new Mom’s club. You may meet them in a parent/teacher association at your child’s school. Or in a volunteer setting.
Personality Traits of an Adult Bully Woman
Ironically, I met my own adult female bully at church. Even at church, you have to be careful. I’ll go so far as to say church settings require special caution. That’s because morally disordered people flock to church. They like to use religion as a cover.
I do need to stress you’ll also meet lovely people at church too. I still go to church. But I’m much more careful than I used to be.
The same red flags you need to watch for in the regular world apply at church. Even more so. In fact, you may even find a special kind of church bully called a “covert narcissist.” These are the proverbial “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” They’re meek and mild on the outside. But don’t turn your back. Even for a second.
Covert narcissists appear saintly. That’s why they’re so dangerous. They twist otherwise innocent information into something sinister. Then they spread it, being very careful not to come off as “gossipy.” They may ask people to pray for you. Then they drop that little bomb designed to destroy you.
Personality Traits of an Adult Female Bully
It’s sad that we need to be careful around other women. But we do. A documented rise in personality disorders is probably the reason why. One researcher named Dr. Jean Twenge, PhD. has concluded that narcissism is definitely on the rise.
Martha Stout, PhD has also studied anti-social behavior. She believes 1 in 25 people meet the clinical definition of anti-social personality disorder. This group includes high-functioning people who delight in hurting others. Unfortunately, all too many of us have met adult women who behave this way.
Adult female bullies are sneaky and devious. But their methods are remarkably predictable. My best advice (and remember I’m not a psychologist) is to learn all you can how they operate. Read books and visit online forums. (Just be aware that people with personality disorders also haunt these Internet venues.)
Dealing With a Malignant Narcissist
Dealing with the adult female bully in my life was extremely challenging. First, I had to recognize the problem. Female narcissists can be hard to spot. Also, since I met her at church, she was a classic covert. These are the “saintly” types. You’d never suspect they had anything but your best interests at heart.
They operate solely by relational aggression. Their number one goal is to isolate you socially. Then, they go for the kill.
Because they gain your trust, they know your weak spots. That’s where they strike. They do this without tipping anyone off. So everyone but you considers the bully a living saint.