Monday, October 14, 2013

Dr. Cheryl Dellasega Describes Relational Aggression

Cheryl Dellasega, PhD., is on the cutting edge of research into relational aggression, which is another name for female bullying.

In her book, Mean Girls Grow Up, Dr. Dellasega writes that the drama we lived through as teenagers doesn't end as we age.

Some women never outgrow their childhood competitive streak, and continue to abuse others well into adulthood. She describes the roles they play. The “Queen Bee” is the chief bully. But the “Middle Bees” are weak-willed enablers and accomplices. The “Afraid-to-Bees” are their targets.

Dr. Dellasega says that relational aggression (RA) is a form of emotional abuse used primarily by women, as we have stronger social relationships than men. And RA, she notes, typically involves social isolation and exclusion.

In her book, Dr. Dellasega gives many examples of female bullying. This can be fairly subtle. For instance, one mother may invite all the children in one social circle to a birthday party, except the child of a woman she dislikes.

Relational aggression among women, unfortunately, occurs everywhere women gather, she explains.

Flickr photo by The Daring Librarian

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