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Have You Experienced a Female Bully at Work?

According to a recent article about female bullies in the workplace, only 40 percent of workplace bullies are women, but their targets are usually other women. (Male bullies, according to researchers, target men and women equally.)

Peggy Klaus, an executive coach in Berkeley, CA, calls women bullying other women in the workforce "the pink elephant" in the room, particularly, she says, because "[we] are supposed to be the nurturers and the supporters.”

So what exactly is bullying and why would women primarily target other women? To hear some opinions,

Bullying is defined as verbal or psychological forms of hostile behaviors that continue six months or longer and include glaring, giving the silent treatment, being disrespectful, or sabotaging someone's success.

One theory as to why women would target other women is, quite simply, that it's easier — they might think another woman wouldn't respond aggressively or confront them. Another theory is that women are another woman's main competition at work, and they might feel that cooperating with them at work could jeopardize their careers.

“As we get into the corporate world,” says one expert, “we’re taught or we’re led to believe that we don’t get ahead because of men. But, we really don’t get ahead because of ourselves. Instead of building each other up and showcasing each other, we’re constantly tearing each other down.”

Hmmm. I'm not sure I totally agree that "we really don’t get ahead because of ourselves" or that bullying is anything other than just straight-up aggression or a bad disposition, or even, passive-aggression. Have you ever experienced a female bully at work?


GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
Sort of, and they were passive about it. But truthfully, I think it was about envy and resentment, so I ended up feeling sorry for them.
specialksgurl specialksgurl 8 years
Yes I was bullied by a whole group of women at my old job. They made my life hell and I was forced to quit. There was nothing HR could do to thwart the bullying.
Dragonflye Dragonflye 8 years
I made the mistake of making a comment about a friend of one girl in the office in an e-mail that was cc'd back to to her. She proceeded to humiliate me by cc-ing an e-mail to a group of people in my office. I went to her desk to tell her that her behaviour was not appreciated and was greeted with hostility, shouting and belittling. Ever since then, she has been unprofessional, mean and undermining by excluding me from e-mails, meetings and conferences, advancement and training opportunities. I feel excluded and sad and I have no idea where or who to talk to about this behaviour (since it was initally my fault in the first place). I don't feel that I deserve this treatment, though I am partially accountable for the initial gossiping. I feel that she is being unprofessional and childish and I feel abandoned by my co-workers and friends who refuse to stand up to her.
Meike Meike 8 years
Yes, I knew of one who was a power tripping bitch. My friend and I really just laughed her off when she was being rude and demanding with us because she was 110% incompetent and insecure with herself. She over-compensated her non-success by always talking about how great she was, how she was friends with rich socialites, and how she had a millionaire ex-beau who gave her an $8k a month allowance. Whoopee! Money that she DIDN'T earn.
janneth janneth 8 years
It is true that female bullies are afraid to bully men, so they target women. I know a female bully and she can really get to some women, really get under their skin.
Allytta Allytta 8 years
I have been working in lovely environment and everyone goes out of their way to make everyone feel welcome. it only improved my confidence. and it's what you'd call "dirty" work. bare minimum.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I know a few girls in my office feel "competition" with me, over what I have no idea. I guess attention? But to be honest my 80% male office I really don't want attention from.
Love-and-Sex Love-and-Sex 8 years
Good point, mamasita, but I do think gender is relevant. Some women aren't good at expressing any aggression, but when they do, it's definitely scrutinized more than men's. Women are almost always considered too much of something — soft or hard, nice or mean.
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 8 years
are you kidding? bullies are bullies regardless of gender. this is just another way for men to show how women are ill-suited for the workplace. I've work for amazing women and amazing men; I've worked for hateful women and hateful men. people are people, MOVE ON.
skigurl skigurl 8 years
not super bad but one girl did start to target me in my former office in a very covert way like stupid stuff like sending an email forward to ever single other female except me and not inviting me to lunch but that lasted approx. 4 days before we dealt with it (she was not nearly high enough on the social totem pole to be doing that to me) and then she got fired shortly after
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
No but girl always wanted to beat me up in elementary school for some reason.
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