How to Handle an Adult Female Bully

by J.L Grayson-Avery

Anyone with firsthand experience of a "queen bee" will know all too well that female bullies are just as aggressive as their male counterparts.Because women are seen as the fairer sex, adult female bullying often goes undetected. Female bullies also tend to be sly and Machiavellian in their approach, according to a 2010 Psychologies website article. Women usually bully passive females, as they are less confrontational. If you feel you are the victim of a female bully, it is important you take immediate steps to stop her behavior.

Understand it is the bully who has a problem, not you. This is often easier said than done, especially if the bully continually knocks your confidence. A female bully's actions are usually due to a thirst for attention or power. She may also feel inferior around you, meaning belittling you will make her feel good.

Learn to avoid giving her what she wants, an emotional reaction, says Dr. Michelle R Callahan in a March 2011 Dr. Michelle website article. The bully will enjoy seeing you upset or emotionally shaken; in fact, she mayl take pleasure in knowing she has managed to hurt you. Don't ignore her; this can make her actions more aggressive. Instead, just smile at her or nod your head. She will soon grow bored if she cannot manipulate a response from you.

Stop analyzing the bully's actions in the hope of changing her behavior, advises a 2009 ABC Good Morning America website article. Female bullies usually befriend other females they can manipulate and belittle. If you are friends with the person who is bullying you, you may feel compelled to change her and make her into a better person or friend. Unfortunately, she is the only one who can stop her actions; nothing you say or do will change her behavior if it is not what she wants to do.

Turn to friends and family for support. Avoid keeping emotions and feelings bottled up, as this may lead to stress-related illnesses such as depression. Getting support is important, according to Dr. Michelle Callahan, especially as loved ones can provide comfort, advice and much-needed confidence boosts. Another idea is to write your feelings in a journal; this is a good way to privately get things off your chest.

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  • Female bullying is common in work environments; this is usually due to high competition for the very few senior positions available to women, says the Psychologies website article. Jealousy or fear other women are better is enough to cause some women to bully. Seek advice from someone you can trust, such as a legal advocate or close work colleague, if you are experiencing bullying at work.
  • Do not be afraid to seek the help of a therapist, especially if you do not have support from other areas.


  • Ensure that you look after your physical health by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Regular sleep, healthy eating and exercise are all important for optimal health. It is not unusual for victims of bullying to suffer from high blood pressure, insomnia or stress. Being in good physical shape will help ward off illness.

About the Author

Residing in Blackpool, U.K., J.L Grayson-Avery has been writing since 1999. As a reporter her articles have appeared in "The Blackpool Gazette" and "Blackpool E" magazine. Grayson-Avery received a Higher National Diploma in journalism from Glasgow University.

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