Warning! You may find this article offensive and it could strike close to home if you have ever been a victim of workplace bullying.
Sadly, office bullies and bitches are commonplace. In an office that employs 50 people, 22 will be bullied and 18 of them eventually leave. Meanwhile, the company pays heftily for stress-related illnesses and missed days at work.
Some of you reading this are suffering right now at the hands of a person who terrorizes your workplace, or worse, has singled you out as the victim. I know it is tough, and I encourage you to read more about The Women’s Code to find ways to make it stop.
My personal story is that I immigrated to Los Angeles over 20 years ago. I became both a mother and an entrepreneur during the recession of the 1990s. Shortly thereafter, I found myself as a single mother fighting for survival throughout a soul-crushing decade of bad luck and a whole lotta work hours. I was desperately trying to get out on the other side and “make it.”
My ship finally came in when my business was acquired by a Bill Gates company. I was offered a role as a C-Level Executive at the corporate office, and then I soon started wondering why it is so much easier to work with men than with women. It was a real revelation to be in that environment and witness what goes on.
The statistics are brutal. Both women and men bully others in the workplace at about equal rates. But, the shocking fact is that women seek out other women as their victims at a rate of 80%!
Statistics also show that women are lonelier and unhappier than ever. One of the reasons is that competition is everywhere. For some reason, women don’t like to help other women. In the workplace, we have to start each day anew and fight for respect over and over. It’s a constant battle. But when you work with a man and gain his respect, that relationship doesn’t go sour unless something major happens.
I founded The Women’s Code a few years ago for the sole reason that I could no longer tolerate how women treat each other. In my book, Happy Woman Happy World, I cite quite a few statistics and background information to illustrate what has contributed to the awful state of our female-to-female relationships.
Most of us know, and some of us publicly acknowledge, that women are sabotaging their colleagues. Yet, it is still considered a taboo topic. Men don’t want to get involved even when the tensions create a toxic office, especially if the bitch is one of the best producers. Women don’t want to speak up because we all remember high school and the suffering we went through at the hands of other girls. We thought we left that behind and we certainly don’t want to make it worse by “telling on” the troublemakers. And there are bullies who don’t even realize they are doing anything wrong. They simply believe they are doing “what it takes” because being a bully is the only example they’ve ever had.
On the other hand, some women insist they have NEVER encountered bitchy women in their work teams and tell me they have amazing relationships with many other women. But once I probe a bit and ask a few questions, they usually admit it hasn’t always been this way. Many don’t want to think about the rough times in the past, and there are even a few who fess up that they were the culprit¬s—the office bitches or bullies.
In my case, it was easy to say that I didn’t encounter an office bitch for many years when I was an entrepreneur. I preferred to work with men because I found women difficult and unpredictable. Problem solved, right?
I also didn’t have many female friends for a long time. In fact, I had exactly two girlfriends for years. I could only dream of someday being part of a large circle of happy and supportive females that, for some reason, we believe all women have.
As I entered my forties, it became clear that I was missing out on nurturing deep friendships and having good collaboration with lots of other women. Not only would it make my job easier, I would enjoy my work more. And when I looked around, I soon realized I wasn’t the only one who felt lonely and disconnected.
After my brief corporate experience that showed me what really goes on between women at work, my mind was set—I want to de-bitch and de-bully our offices! Controversial, I know!
My research for The Women’s Code led me to astonishing discoveries. I learned that female passive aggressiveness starts at the age of nine. No wonder so many of us don’t trust other women—we’ve been programmed not to from an early age. I also found Phyllis Chesler’s book, Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman, to be a well-researched and eye-opening account of what women really do to each other.
Women have plenty of programming to overcome, but we are smart. When women read my book or go through one of my online courses, their transformations are immediate. They get it. Once their awareness is raised, their collaboration skills change in an instant. The truth shall set you free—and it does. Women just need to know what the puzzle pieces look like and they will easily figure out the rest. After all, we have a common goal of more meaningful connections with other women and better work environments.
To me, one of the big puzzle pieces is to train women for leadership. We need to define what women leadership looks like (because it’s different than the male leadership style) and elevate women to develop those female leadership attributes.
Our offices already have issues with bullies and bitches and those numbers are on the rise. So what do you think will happen when women take over more executive management positions within the next ten years if we don’t put an end to these detrimental behaviors now?
This article provides some great additional information about what bullying is and what you can do about it.
What is your opinion? Are the problems caused by office bitches and bullies over-exaggerated, or do they exist in your working world? I’d love to hear from you.