Scars From Relational Aggression Can Last Into Adulthood

Wednesday August 29, 2012

By Sherri M. Gordon

When I announced on Facebook that I was going to be the new Bullying Topic Writer for About.com, I was shocked by the number of private messages I received from adults who have been victims of bullying. They shared their hurts, their passions and their suggestions.

Interestingly, most of the messages were from women detailing the horrors they had experienced as tweens and teens at the hands of other girls. Since then, I have talked with countless women about the pain and hurt they experienced growing up.

For instance, one woman shared a story about being bullied as a young girl every day on the bus for her clothes and the house she lived in. Meanwhile, another woman told me that as a girl, the other girls on her cross-country team bullied her, even threatening her at times because she was such a good runner. And another woman recounts being ostracized and excluded throughout school.

Unfortunately, the bullying or relational aggression these women experienced as young girls is not uncommon. But it is often overlooked. Not because it is unimportant, but because it is so hard to detect.

Many times, female bullies are systematic in their approach. On the outside, they appear sweet, charming and charismatic. They may even be popular and well liked. But when adults aren't watching they can inflict serious emotional pain. And, it can have lasting effects.

In fact, for some of the women I spoke with, the impact from the relational aggression they experienced still rears its ugly head at times causing them to doubt or second-guess themselves. Sometimes it still brings tears to their eyes to talk about it. That's something no woman should ever have to deal with. As a result, their stories have motivated me to develop several articles for parents on relational aggression.

To learn more about relational aggression, check out What Is Relational Aggression and Why Do Kids Engage In It? To help your daughter cope with relational aggression, check out 14 Ways to Respond to Relational Aggression. And if you want to learn how to keep your daughter from resorting to relational aggression, check out 10 Ways to Prevent Relational Aggression in Girls.

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto

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