Things are crazy, right?
And in times like these, when jobs come into question and the Dow is schizophrenic, the claws in the corporate world come out.
You might notice that your female coworkers are less chatty with you. Maybe when you walk up to them whilst they are in a group, laughing and talking, they fall silent. Perhaps one woman in particular rollers her eyes and grimaces when you speak up at meetings. Or your boss publicly disparages you in front of higher ups. If you have experienced any of these things, you’re experiencing relational aggression, and you job is on the line.
I first experienced relational aggression shortly after I graduated from college and landed an account executive position at a public relations agency. My boss set me up from the beginning. She resented my starting salary and blabbed to my co-workers that I was making $40k–more than all of them. The resented that a black single mother was making that kind of money with such little job experience. The male bosses hired me based on my potential, charisma, and attractiveness. This made the women in the office seethe, and I never stood a chance.
I tried to make peace with the women in my workplace, but every effort I attempted was met with coldness and often just made things worse. I was so incredibly miserable and terrified of losing my job, especially when September 11 happened, and everyone’s job was potentially on the chopping block.
I eventually lost my fight against relational aggression, but for years I wondered what happened, what I did wrong, what I might have done differently. Then while conducting research for The Pink Pill, is discovered that there was a name for what I was going through–Relational Aggression.
Relational aggression is a form of passive aggressive bullying that women often engage in, using such tactics as gossip, giving the silent treatment, refusing to make eye contact, negative facial expressions, sabotage, gaslighting, withholding of vital information, bad-mouthing the victim in order to isolate and thwart her success. The bully will often recruit others into the activity.
Why do women do this?
Women communicate and deal with conflict differently.
It’s simple. We’ve been socialized to be “nice.” So to be an overt bully is expressing behaviors incongruent with femininity. Relational aggression allows the bullying to be more subtle and fly under the radar.
Women usually engage in these behaviors when they feel envious, intimidated, slighted, or competitive. You might not think there is anything about you that could elicit that kind of negative response, but open your eyes. You never know what people view about you that makes them feel jealous or intimidated. It could be your intelligence, your beauty, your wardrobe, your hair and make up, your ability to complete a project more efficiently. It could be anything, and therefore, everyone is a target and any given time.
That’s why I created Get Real About Relational Aggression, an in-depth seminar on how to identify relational aggression as work and how to effectively fight against it. Now more than ever, women can’t be naive about how insidious RA is. It could cost you everything.
To get more information about the Relational Aggression event, click here.