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Adult Bullying: The Rarely Talked About Social Problem

Adult Bullying: The Rarely Talked About Social Problem

Have you ever had a friend who insisted on behaving like a teenage girl with an identity crisis? I know, teenage girls and identity crises are synonymous, but what is the impact of an adult woman playing the same games?

Let’s say you are in a group of friends who go out together every weekend and have a great time. But suddenly, you begin seeing photos on social media of your beloved group without you in it. Why weren’t you invited? Surely, someone noticed you weren’t there, right? You feel hurt, left out, alone, confused and angry. You ask the all-mighty organizer slash head diva and she tells you that you’re not her friend anymore so you’re out of the group. What? This has to be a flashback to grade school or junior high, right? I mean we’re adult women with careers, homes and real issues. Why on earth would anyone intentionally behave in a way that caused so many heartaches and tears growing up? What happened? Why didn’t she tell you if you said or did something that upset her?

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Here’s the deal. Women who behave this way are feeling insecure and threatened by other women who seem to have it together. Whether you really do or not doesn’t matter. We see others as a reflection of what are …or are not. Your toxic friend feels powerless, seeing you as a reflection of something she wishes she was or had and is choosing this emotionally and mentally abusive behavior to feel powerful again. Does it work? No, because walking away from the mirror doesn’t change your appearance. Her power-fix is temporary like a drug fix, which is why (like every verbal, mental, emotional or physical attacker) she will keep doing it with you or someone else she feels she can bully.

How do you manage this behavior and avoid getting your hurt feelings? As ridiculous as it may sound, it’s not personal. You are simply the lowest hanging fruit and easiest to reach, because she believes that you will stick around and she can abuse you again. Sounds personal doesn’t it? Let me simplify things: it’s all about her. She is so lacking in the self-esteem department, she’s not thinking of anyone but herself. That’s why I always say, “In order to have healthy relationships, you must have a healthy relationship with yourself first.”

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Since self-esteem is an inside job, you may not be able to help her much. So you get to decide whether to wait it out (now that you understand her mindset), or let her go and focus your friend-energy on people who will not be threatened by you and who will respect you for who you are.

You also get to decide if you want to be friends with the others who are condoning the bully’s behavior by staying in the group. I would guess they either don’t see what’s happening or may be afraid they will be the next one kicked out if they stand up to her. It happens in schools, business and relationships. Self-esteem plays a vital role in our emotional health and relationships. And those play a huge role in our physical health (hello, extra weight and illness). Decide what’s best for you and if you need to upgrade your friend group, do it.

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For more info on building self-esteem and†healthy relationships, connect with me at† for Free Life Strategies and join the conversation on†Facebook/PositiveWomenRock. See you there!

by Kelly Rudolph, from

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5:25AM PDT on Oct 2, 2014

Thank you!

4:08PM PDT on Sep 7, 2014

sooo...invite the group to do something with you and not include her. she's probably dragging the group down anyway.

6:25AM PDT on Sep 4, 2014


11:35PM PDT on Aug 30, 2014

Pretty sure I don't want to hang with someone with a high school mentality...ever.

6:09AM PDT on Aug 29, 2014

That was supposed to be - You're better off without those losers.

6:08AM PDT on Aug 29, 2014

You're better of without those losers.

7:20PM PDT on Aug 28, 2014

This article seems to jump around a lot.

I don't have a large number of friends.

But I prefer ones who have grown emotionally as well as physically.

5:47AM PDT on Aug 28, 2014

There is a lot of adult bullying and sexism. Just spend a day on facebook and you'll see!

1:03AM PDT on Aug 28, 2014

noted,thank you

12:00AM PDT on Aug 28, 2014

Mobocracy, if I can bend that definition just a little. It is about power. There is always a strict hierarchy in a group hosted by a bully. If you are in any way a little different or you dislike confrontation, you will fall foul of these groups of people. Living in a small 'pond' can make it impossible to walk away from such people and the fallout of confrontation with them.

There's a long list of aberrant behaviors that live just beneath the surface of everyday life.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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people are talking

I never raised a dog but these tips sound very logical. Thank you.

It is definitely time to make compassion fashionable and to make kindness cool!


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