It can seem like a mystery why some women behave so badly toward each other, yet we know that young girls start to exhibit passive aggressive behavior at the tender age of 9 years old. Have you, like me, watched with disbelief when our daughters exclude a friend for no reason other than “I don’t like her anymore,” or see a mother’s worst nightmare featured on local news that a young girl committed suicide after she couldn’t handle being bullied any longer.
In the 2014 workplace bullying numbers we learn that the percentages of male bullies at 69% far outweigh those of and female ones with 31%. This is a great improvement to the previous statistics that were almost equal with women bullying at the relatively equal rate of 48%. However, what is still not okay with the latest number is that women bully other women at a rate of 69%. This means female bullies mostly seek out other women as their targets.
Bullying can get pretty ugly, especially amongst teenagers and women in their 20s and 30s. Sadly, some of us carry this behavior well into our 40s. But most of us in our 40s eventually figure out that we all age and we are all victims of gravity. We have to make a choice: to chase youthfulness and be part of the competition that comes with it, or to age with as much grace as we can muster and focus on building nurturing relationships. I wish we could all learn this lesson sooner than 40 and not waste so much time on all that negativity which is one of the reasons I founded The Women’s Code.
On the bright side, eventually this mind-shift around midlife allows better and deeper connections with women. We suddenly realize we need other women. Many of us wish we could erase our own painful memories and our missteps toward other women, like wanting or taking her man, throwing other women under the bus, out-maneuvering a colleague at work behind her back, gossiping, or fueling the fire of a rumor we knew wasn’t true.
Hardly any among us is without a bit of regret over something we said or did. With shame we remember the harm we inflicted, whether we knew it at the time or not.
Why do women do this? Why do WE do this?
Let’s go back to the time of cavewomen and we’ll find the answer embedded in our DNA. Throughout the centuries, we have had very little influence on the direction of our lives. Until the 60s we were or were feeling forced to make choices based on practicality and we crossed our fingers in hopes the outcomes would be bearable. At the very core remained one giant fear—that our provider (historically a man) would be injured or killed, and we would somehow have to fight for survival even though hadn’t learned any of the skills to do so.
The only option was to find another man, another provider, to save us from starvation or death.
Isn’t it interesting that so many of us still hold on to this archaic behavior even though feminism and women’s liberation tore down these conventions?
In The Women’s Code we use the Three Pillars to evaluate and find solutions for our advancements. The first Pillar is awareness. When we are aware of an issue, like behaving like a cavewoman, we decide we are no longer going to participate in this behavior. Taylor Swift did exactly this in her recent Grammy acceptance speech.
To give you another example, after an event the other day I sat around the bar with a few of my male friends. One of the men (whose girlfriend I love and adore) shared how he hung out with an ex-girlfriend and he remembered fondly how hot and sexy that relationship once was. I had to do something. So I said I was uncomfortable listening to him talk about exploring whether or not his ex still has the hots for him because I know and respect his current girlfriend. I declared that I was going to powder my nose and when I returned I hoped this conversation would be over. I cannot and will not be part of encouraging a man in a committed relationship to evaluate other options.
Let’s talk sisterhood. I will have my sisters back. Do you?
My point is there is enough for everybody. There are enough men to choose from, enough jobs, enough of everything—so stop being jealous of what other women have and go get your own. In the year 2016 we are more than capable of creating for ourselves.