Women Who Bully Other Women

The famous psychiatrist Carl Jung warned about the dangers of one-sidedness in the psyche. He told us that if we are unaware or unconscious of our behavior patterns, we can project them onto others – thus demonizing them. This relieves our emotional tension and anxiety; for the very feelings we assign to others, we often harbor ourselves.

Through this demonizing, cliques of sameness are formed, which is the danger for any free society. Moreover, only by taking back our projections can we consciously know ourselves and live in peace and harmony with others.

Bullying Finds Its Roots in our Primitive Psyche

It can be excruciating when adult women are bullied by other women, whether co-workers, family members, or women within our circle of friends. Some of the bullying behavior among women is rooted in biology.

For example, according to Dr. Anne Campbell, our primitive female ancestor had to be competitive to fight for that male who would protect, feed and shelter both she and her young. But she also needed female alliances and sacrificed her feelings to reach out to other women as a source of comfort and safety. Therefore, becoming the target of bullying is particularly destructive as it takes away that safety net of relationships from the victim. By withholding emotional support, the bullied woman loses her connection to a perceived source of comfort. This is very destructive and, in essence, a form of abuse.

Girls Who Bully

According to Dr. Cheryl Dellasega, female children who bully often grow into adult women who bully. What happens as female bullies get older is that they become more sophisticated and subtle in the way that they target others. Many times the in-group or cool clique support targeting. This aggressive behavior frightens its members, girls, and women, to go along to get along. Further, when women bully, they can elevate their feelings by diminishing those of others, as they gossip, discount, reject, demean, and exclude the focus of their enmity. These behaviors sabotage any direct, honest, and healthy friendship opportunity.

Responding to the Adult Bully

As adults, we have complete control over our lives and the people we allow into our lives. If you find yourself being bullied by another woman, I suggest the following options:

1. Step into your adult and use my Empathic Process to communicate openly and honestly. You may discover that the bully is projecting her insecurities onto you, and she may find that you are not a threat as she had imagined but rather an ally.

2. If the bully is a manager or co-worker, follow your company’s reporting chain and report her behavior. It may help to have e-mail documentation and notes about when the inappropriate behavior took place.

3. If the bully is a friend and a civilized conversation using my Empathic Process does not end in a mutually satisfying resolution, as painful as it may be, you may need to walk away from the friendship.

The bottom line is that life is too short to spend with people who treat you unjustly. As an adult, you must take responsibility for the energy you bring into your life – and your family’s. Sometimes that means removing the source of bad energy, the bully, from your life altogether to move forward.