Relational aggression is a form of bullying.
It’s a type of emotional abuse, generally inflicted by adult females.
The aggressor is usually a Queen Bee type.
Queen Bees are gregarious and people are drawn to them.
She is the proverbial life of the party. People love to be around her.
But she’s not very nice.
She’s a relational aggressor.
A relational aggressor’s main objective is to dominate the social scene, and to make sure her target is shunned.
These adult female bullies will stop at nothing, until they have thoroughly ruined a target’s reputation, and destroyed her other relationships.
And, oftentimes, if the bullying happens at work, a female aggressor will also ruin her target’s immediate career prospects.
The adult bully achieves her nefarious goal by character assassination.
It gets vicious.
Bits of truth are mixed in with all the lies, which makes the story more believable.
Bystanders believe the lies, and then start to view the target in a different light.
Another reason onlookers fall in line, and side with the bully, is the unspoken implication they must go along with her hate crusade if they don’t want to be the next target.
So they become enablers, allowing the bully to shun and exclude the target, without doing anything to stop the abuse.
What Is Relational Aggression?
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This immature dynamic of relational aggression differs little from what you’d expect from a group of junior high girls.
Except the adults engaged in this despicable conduct are crafty. With years of experience, they’ve learned how to cover their tracks.
So bystanders typically have no idea what’s really going on.
Adult female bullies are masters of projection.
They accuse you of doing what they’re doing.
So there’s a good chance onlookers think the target is the aggressors. (This is part of the game of character assassination.)
Adult Female Bullies And Relational Aggression
Adult female bullies and relational aggression go hand in hand.
I’ve never known a female bully who doesn’t use relational aggression.
When we think of bullies, we tend to think of men who throw their weight around and who might even physically threaten someone.
This is the stereotype.
The phenomenon of adult female bullies is one I think is underreported and underappreciated.
That’s why a lot of people may not be familiar with the term “relational aggression.” Because this particular bully tactic is preferred by adult females.
Social scientists who study relational aggression also recognize it as full-fledged bully behavior.
Even if it’s more socially acceptable than physical violence.
Relational Aggression and Favoritism
One of the ways in which female bullies drive a wedge between people is with a psychological tool known as “favoritism.”
Favoritism is when they treat one person (their target) vastly worse than how they treat others.
Targets are singled out for abuse, around the time the bully decides they no longer serve her purposes.
Favoritism is used to drive supporters away from a target, slowing and incrementally.
I already mentioned the Queen Bee-like aspects of female bullies who engage in relational aggresstion.
In a social setting the Queen Bee rises in stature, so she becomes the self-appointed director of activities.
For instance, this could be someone who climbs to the top of the heap in an informal setting, such as among a group of neighbors.
Or she starts directing activities in a Mom’s group.
Or, the Queen Bee can hover above an entire office.
Everyone appears to look up to her,
Some, secretly, may be appalled at her behavior. But they still don’t have enough integrity to stand up to her, and protect her target. So they go along to get along.
Oftentimes, these Queen Bee’s suffer from a personality disorder known as malignant narcissism.
Relational Aggression And Malignant Narcissism
Narcissists are masters at reading people.
They’re geniuses when it comes to know what makes us tick.
Although they have no empathy themselves, they know what strings to pull.
So they pull them, in order to draw people to their side. (Plus they use favoritism.)
Below is an example of how an adult female narcissist operates, using her full compliment of weapons, including relational aggression.
- The narcissist claws her way to the head of a department. Working for her are two close friends, one of whom she decides to target. The other woman, she notices, wants to further her career, and would like a promotion. So the bully boss decides to split the two up. She ignores her target and hands her the most menial of tasks. But she dotes on the friend, bestowing many compliments upon her latest project. She also drops strong hints that she’s next in line for that promotion. The bully boss also begins to spend a lot of time, outside of work, with the favored worker. Soon, this woman is torn between loyalty to her embattled friend and her career aspirations. She also begins to think that, perhaps, the bullying is just a personality clash between two women. So, instead of supporting her friend, who is going through hell, she takes a more neutral stand. However, this neutrality gives the boss just what she wants. She can now ramp up the abuse, without any fear of social sanctions, as the target has just lost her strongest ally.
Anyway, adult female bullies operate best under cover of darkness.
When no one recognizes them and is wise to their games.
That’s why I will continue to shed light on the fact that adult female bullies exist and that they are dangerous and extremely destructive.