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How to handle an adult bully

Some female bullies never grow up.

QUESTION

Dear Irene,

I cannot believe I am dealing with a female, adult, bully at age 42—but here I am. She is a neighbor who lives behind my house. My husband and I had a brief friendship with her and her husband. It was brief because they were very over-bearing and demanding. They also put us in the middle of a falling out they had with our next door neighbor, with whom we got along with very well.

We just stepped back from them and they took it very personally. This happened over three years ago. She is very erratic in her moods and behavior so I think there is something wrong with this woman. Lately, she has been quite mean. We were at a cocktail party and she repeatedly called me a nasty name.

It was hurtful but also disturbing that I was being called nasty names at age 42. Question: Do I confront this woman about this behavior and if so, how or given that I think there is something mentally wrong with her, just let it go? She is not a “sit down, let’s bury the hatchet” type person. I tried that a couple of years and thought we were “good” and then she got irrational and angry again.

She has a problem with maintaining friendships so there is a history here. My friends think her issue with me is straight up, intense jealousy. I don’t know what it is but it’s disturbing and emotionally exhausting.

Signed, Val

ANSWER

Dear Val,

Some female bullies never grow up. It’s unfortunate that you’re living so close to this one—and that you can’t totally avoid her.

Clearly, you don’t want a friendship with this family. Even if you acquiesce to all of this woman’s demands (which you shouldn’t), you’ll never please her. The odds of changing her personality are pretty low, too, thus making her a pretty poor candidate for a friendship.

Avoid her whenever you can. If you meet up with her in social settings, ignore any inappropriate behavior. She’ll know why, so no explanation is needed. Bear in mind that if she continues on the same tack, it will be prove more embarrassing to her than to you.

Hope this helps!

Best,
Irene


Prior articles on The Friendship Blog about adult bullies:

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Category: Bullies

Comments (39)

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  1. Sagei says:

    We moved into a new neighborhood almost 5 months ago and discovered that the “nice” neighbor is a terror. I think of her as a snake-bully because of how she operates. Part of it is jealousy, I think and part is just pure mean – picture a geriatric sociopath who has time on her hands. She is pissed because she missed out on buying our home which is larger and nicer than hers. Sorry I ever invited her in to see how our new floors looked.

    I’m ashamed to say that I am just keeping my head down and trying to avoid her, but she and her daughter actually make nasty comments when I am within hearing distance, and she uses the speakerphone so I get an earful on occasion when she is telling someone about how awful I am (but she talks about others too). She tried the same con on me – telling me “about” everyone, but she must have sensed that I was not buying it, so she dropped pretenses and decided to make me a pariah in my own neighborhood. Many are scared of her and a few I’ve met have told me outright that she is “out there”…and to watch my back. This is my first encounter with a bully where I couldn’t put more distance between us pronto, so I’m hoping to learn srategies for coping. I already get that she is probably not beyond escalating if I challenge her – how do I get her to ignore me? I picture playing dead while a bear standing over me, but I’ve been told that bears are kinder and might actually leave you alone….. help.

  2. Anonymous says:

    i have been bullied by a neighbor. she can’t accept that the survey indicated my property going straight through her flowers. she stole the marker and we had to have the surveyor back out. she stole my dog’s electronic dog collar ($361.00 to replace) went to take a walk, put the collar by the lampost so the dog wouldn’t get shocked , came back its gone. Planted yellow mums by driveway and she tore them up. Knocked on her door and she refuses to answer. she has stolen balloons off the mailbox and barged into my home. i haven’t been able to catch her in act . she has 3 other friends on street and they all have each others backs. they have lived here for 35 years and me 7…took my neighbor to court cause her gate wan’t shut (she has a pool) the gate has not been shut in 10 years when another neighbor lived there and no complaints then no one even asked her to shut it. they love to call the city on you for anything. they are cowards always doing stuff when your gone and then run away. she tore the flower up 4 times and will not speak. she lies like crazy and acts so nice. she works the street like a politician. first time i met her i thought she was So so nice. i have been almost suicidal but am trying to be stronger. I am busy , i am involved in community and have 3 great kids. she told me once that people pick on me cause i have no man living here with me. i have never experienced bullying like this. they are always watching me and trying to bait me i think to get revenge which i will not do. sent her a certified letter copied to attorney telling her to leave me alone, have called police. she’s crazy and she has to be misreable

  3. Anonymous says:

    do not let them steal your joy

    you have more power then you think
    go to another church
    get active
    get involved

    do NOT be around these people
    do Not let them make you feel afraid

  4. Anonymous says:

    I was apart of a service group about 4 years ago I left and came back but each time I returned things got worse. When a new leader came she became a vindictive terror to me and no matter what I did she kept on harrassing and bullying me . If I didnt want to go along with her in what she wanted me to do. I moved on finally and didnt return this time. But somehow this group has connected with people in the area where I am and some members of my extended family who I dont interact with. I had my suspicions but the people where I am now have made my life a nightmare and they mimic the same things I was done before and also they tell me things that I only confided in the service group people. I am so tired of this. I cant disown my family but they arent loyal to me at all. I dont even go to church now. I need some advice or help because I am afraid. I know how manipulative and vindictive they are. Why can they just leave me alone and stop contacting people I know? I could care less on what they are doing.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I have been going through same problems your going through. My neighbor woman is a biggest lier I have ever meet my whole life .
    She hates me for no reson and now she has been spreding gossips about my kid’s.
    My neighborhood thinks she is so wonderful and sweet.

  6. Anonymous says:

    My son has been good friends with all the neighborhood kids for five years now, until a brother and sister were allowed to paly with the other kids. The brother is the leader of the of the pack. He has taken complete control over what kid is allowed to do sometbing. He is mean to all of them but on different days. He tells all the other kids if u want to play with him (my son) you can’t play with us. They luer all the other kids with their slip and slide. If they see children playing with our son,they will come down and tell the other children false promises to get them away from my son. Every parent in our neighborhood has told me what a pleasure our son is to have around. He is always polite and asks how they are doing today. The mother of the brother and sister,keeps blaming our child for the things her children are doing to our son. She is going around telling other parents that that our son has been denting cars. We have.yet to find one car in here with any dents. Not one person here has come to us about this. She is also spreading other false rumors about our son that is in no way true and is to long to go into detail. This mother has yelled at our son for something I said to her. She told our son that his mother is a coward. What can we legally do to make her stop what she is doing to our 10 year old son?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Female bullies at work, especially in the corporate world, can be harsh because they use covert aggression. They play sweet with upper management but are like Regan when possessed by the excorcist to their “subordinates” I worked for a woman meanager (a bully with more than two decades of experience in bullying – spent more time writing people up than educating herself about her field) would pick snap me over every detail – she would tell me to do task A, then tell me to do task B then ask me why I wasn’t doing task A and would write me up for the smallest of infractions. I was trying my best to be civil – would say good morning, try and be pleasant when she was dispensing her vitriol – heck she even threw bottles of chemicals at me – lucky the lids were sealed. I complained to the union rep who told me that she was a good manager and that it could be worse. Sometimes the management in these corporations gets rotten – a rotten manager hires their friend and so on and so on until nobody in a position of authority cares about the employees, only how they can keep their positions. When people are happy in their jobs it does make a huge difference. We had a “respect” clause which was in no way enforced because most of the managers at the time were bullies themselves. Glad you got out of that horrible situation, and instead of stewing in anger, triumphed by getting back to school and earning your degree :)

  8. Anonymous says:

    I totally understand your situation at your prior job. I had three women at a professional office bully me for 5 years. Management knew it was happening, but since it wasn’t affecting them they turned their back. I’m glad you left – I left too. I should have left a long time ago.

  9. Anonymous says:

    My neighbor a little ways from me his son kicked my son in the groin hard and he denied it.The school finally go the truth out of him several weeks later he didn’t even get suspended.My son was friends with him and I was friends with the mother.This kid same age as my son starts trouble with my son then of course my son isn’t going to put up with this, so he gets him back but this kid don’t want to deal with it and cries. The kid is a instigator and I have seen him be mean to my son and I told him to knock it off and he doesn’t.My son has bipolar and he could really do things to him that are mean,but he knows to control that but he will scream at him to stop and he doesn’t.I had to tell him leave a few times and the parents never do anything about his bad behavior,even when he kicked my son in the groin he didn’t even get grounded or anything. One day back in April my son got fed up with him because he started to aggravate him and he got him back and the father had the nerve to say my son was a bully,and yelled mean said mean things to me about me and my son.This guy is verbally abusive to everyone.He doesn’t see what his son has done to mine especially at my house.He things his son is an Angel and things people are bully’s to him because he cries that is just an act.
    He banned me and my son from his house and says we can’t go up there he doesn’t own the street. His son called me stupid at school and denied it and me and the wife had a screaming match.She said her husband can’t help that he is verbally abusive,a Bully are you kidding me? they walk by my house doesn’t look at us which I don’t want to deal with them.The father has been talking shit about me and my son to the neighbors bad mouthing us like we are the trouble makers which isn’t true they are bully’s toward us.
    But what they don’t know is I went to the police station and told them they were both bully’s and verbally abusive toward me and my son.Having bipolar is a disease and a disability and they treat us like this what a scumbag! The school will be notified about the son being a bully it’s another school they will be going to.
    IS there something I should do about all this I already complained to the police.Will it be bad if I speak to the principle about what happened in the other school? they don’t tolerate bully’s but I don’t want to be the bad guy,but I don’t want him to be in the same class as him or any where near him.It’s sad that they are like this and try to turn it around on us.
    sorry if I write a book about this LOL!
    any advice would be appreciated !

  10. Anonymous says:

    We are in a simular situation. We have 2 women who sit around and gossip. We were all friends at one point. One after another they have turned on us. It started with one neighbor, she is the instigator, she and my husband had a falling out over something she gossiped to another neighbor about us that got back to us. Then neighbor number 2 was still firends with both us and the other gossip neighbor. They borrowed some tools and months later when we asked for them back, her husband totally freaked out on my husband. It was very scarey and out of no where. Then they called the cops, on US! Nothing happend, except I realized these people were drama addicts. So we decided to just ignore them. Well they are the paranoid type and now watch us 24/7 with their cameras that they put up on their houe and have pointed them at oujr home. I can not go outside in my front yard with out them spying on me. I feel embarrassed, isolated, and alone… they use law enforcement to bully myself and my 6 year old daughter. She was told she could not play with any children in their yards or she would go to jail for tresspassing. I am selling my house to get away from the drama. moved here from a great neighborhood 2200 miles away when my husbands job was transfered. Beware te neighborhood bully, they can be very passive aggresive and manipulate you. When you realize what has happend it is too late.

    • Del says:

      My husband and I are also going through a similar ordeal with a bullying neighbor…like all of you it began we were friendly with her just like all of our neighbors chatted with her not too much not too little and then about a year later she hates us and watches us 24/7 because they have nothing better to do. It all started because my husband and i adopted two cats and we decided to close in our front porch and make it a cat oasis well one night one of her many cats was in our porch tearing up the porch and our cats so I texted her to come help me get her cat off our porch to which she replied it’s not her cat so eventually after her cat tore me up (i am diabetic that;s why I asked for her help) i was able to get him out of our enclosed porch. Also a few months before all of this she had asked my husband to use my truck to steal a picnic table for her and she would follow in her car and listen to the police scanner and if anything went wrong she would honk he refused we don’t steal anything from anyone was his reply. A few nights later the same thing happened so this time when she said they aren’t her cats my reply was then you don’t mind if i BB gun it and she went crazy and is still doing so…She called the police on us the next day for threatening her cats and she is even more angry that she was told to keep her pets off our property. She watches us and has her other neighbors watch us (they are related) my husband can’t go work in the yard without them lining up in lawn chairs to make snide remarks one of them told one of the others she was going to take my husband away from me which will never happen. When we leave our home we come home to antifreeze on our porch she has already successfully poisoned one of our pups and the other one is struggling to stay alive. The other day I was in my driveway having a conversation with my husbands cousin and she came huffing and stomping up like she was going to chew me out – i have no idea what for because we just ignore them – when I turned around and had a video camera in my hand she also crapped herself. She is always calling the police on us when they come I don’t know what to say because we aren’t doing drugs like she claims…IDK we are at a loss as to what to do to get rid of her and we are even more scared she will victimize us even more when she does move but thank goodness she is a renter. So we will be fencing off our front yard we have already put an alarm system and cameras on the house we will fight back but not with her if I have to publicly humiliate her i will. I may even get a huge white sheet and play back her bullying antics to the neighborhood on halloween.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Your situation sounds exactly like mine and I am still going through it. We were friends with a neighboring family and within a year, she started acting jealous, petty and mean, but in a way that left me feeling like ("What just happened here?") I was stuck because our daughters were "close" and husbands were buddies. Husband understood and told me to back off the friendship and when I did, all hell broke loose. She started talkng about me, making insane accusations and totally disparaged me and my daughter. My daughter is unusually sweet…I am blessed. Everyone talks about this and it kills this woman so she started making insinuations about her. She simply cannot stand to be around someone who is reasonably happy and enjoys her life. Anyone I was friends with in the neighborhood, she would befriend lie to..saying not to say anything bc she was afraid!!! Insane. I never tried so hard to make a friendship wk. It was horrible and everything she did to me, she said I did to her. When I finally stood up to her, she feigned hurt and told our neighbors that I attacked her!!! I feel like I have been bullied for 5 years and when finally saying it aloud and taking a stand, I got hurt even more. Everything I tell my girls to do if it happens to them backfired. Bullied are just terrible. What did you do? Did it work? Thank you.

  12. Anonymous says:

    A good book on adult bulling is The Bully At Work by Gary Namie. I was bullied in the same way – this person acted "nice" and I was a trusting person, so I let her into my life and told her personal things – big mistake. At work it is always best to not reveal personal information because you never know when or how it will be used against you. I am to the point now where I am cautious if someone seems overly nice, then asks personal questions. Now I’m like Mr Lee at work – giving vague answers yet being cordial at the same time. Your ex friends behaviour will be seen by others in the work place – and by gossiping will be her own downfall because gossips cannot be trusted.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I have been bullied by my neighbor for about 5 yrs. now. She does it in a very manipulative way. At first we used to be friends until her daughter brought my daughter down to the principals office for something she did not do. I didn’t understand why she wouldn’t talk to me about the issue instead of having her daughter do that. So she told me that her daughters couldn’t play with mine for two weeks. Then she would have her daughters play with the other neighborhood kids and when my girls came out to play, they would run away. Thinking that my daughter’s were doing stuff, I would talk with them and their teachers and their teachers told me that they were a pleassure to have in their class. My neighbor would then tell me that my dog relieved himself in her yard, my dog was so old, she never left our yard. Then she would accuse us of running over her son’s bike. Which we never did. She started to gossip about us to other neighbors, since she always gossiped about everyone else. I confronted her once and that was the wrong thing to do. My husband and I never get invited to neighborhood parties anymore. There is obviously more complaints from this woman but too much to list. The thing that I’m puzzled about is that the neighborhood women believe her, they avoid me like the plague. I never had problem metting friends, never mind going through this at age 41. She’s loud, gossiper, manipulator, articulate speaking. I’m quiet and keep to myself. I became the neighborhood outcast due to this woman. I tried to speak to others so they would get to know me and my family but itt has not worked. Really would love to move but can not due to selling our home. I’m happy that our daughter’s have great friends outside the neighborhood. Its’ a shame it had to be this way.

    • Anna says:

      My gosh can I relate. In my case it all started when we added onto our home about 7 years ago. All of a sudden the woman across the way became incredibly jealous. At the same time another neighbor moved out and a new lady moved in. The woman had been married multiple times, has 3 kids with diffrent fathers, was an alcoholic and speaks on broken English. In other wards, zero class. So she latches on to the neighbor that became jealous of us, whom is full of problems herself and from there it went down hill. The rumors, the back stabbing and cruelty by two adult woman who clearly have very low self esteem is tragic. But, they are very convincing to
      Others around them. So convincing that they’ve made it very hard to cohabitate in peace. The envious one also has some crazy notion that I copy her. She apparently does not like the fact that I have taste, this bothers her. Her only friends are neighbors she has talked horribly about for years. I could go on and on. I did personally try to make peace , but the fact is my husband has worked hard to have a great job, we own a second home and all of my children are very smart and do well in all aspects of life. Opposed to her 26 plus year old son that lives at home and does nothing, and her daughter that’s involved with a man with a Felony record is knocked up
      With another kid at age 21. First kid at 19 with a bf that they found fault in and have dragged the kid through the mud. Needless to say, they have many problems and my family seems to be the brunt of it. Trying hard to move as it’s not healthy to be surrounded by I suppose the best way to say it is people who don’t love themselves and really need to do some inner soul searching. It’s very sad.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I agree that adult bullying happens in the work place more often than people think. Experienced bullies tend to be the hardest ones to catch, because they usually do it in subtle ways that are not as likely noticed. I worked in a place for three years with a few of them myself. When I first started the job, I noticed that some of the girls seemed to frown alot and were a bit too serious. I think that people should enjoy themselves and be courteous to others they work with, especially if they plan on being there at-least eight hours a day. There were five girls that would not even speak to me when I would say hello to them. They would just look at me and walk away. These girls were a tight knit group that also spent time together outside of work. I did my best to be nice to them, as I do with everyone that I meet. Things would get really quiet sometimes as soon as I walked into a room. I felt extremely uncomfortable around them when I had to be there with all of them because I could sense that they were gossiping about me. Of course I could not prove it, but I could tell by the way others would treat me in the presence of any of these five girls. It was even more uncomfortable around the males at my job, when any of those girls were there. They would make jokes about me in front of the guys and then all of them would laugh. I worked under those conditions for three years. My emotional well-being began to decline the longer I stayed there. None of the management seemed to notice what things were like for me. To me, it was highly noticeable. I felt that it was a lose-lose situation because those girls were the favorites. I just did what I had to do and did my job to the best of my abilities, yet any one of those same girls always seemed to find a flaw in my work. My words and actions were twisted. One of the girls kept finding things to get me into trouble for. I was written up three times while I was there. I should not have stayed there for as long as I did. I may have just wanted to prove to myself that I could stick it out in a tough situation. I realized I was being bullied, but I was taken by surprise and did not know how to properly stand up for myself without stepping out of line. So, I did and said nothing to encourage them. People say that most bullies stop when they do not get a reaction. These girls did not stop, so I eventually left. I say that I stayed way to long because, in doing so, I was allowing myself to stay in a toxic situation. There were some days when I left work feeling so horribly that all I could do was cry when I got home. I started seeing a LSW, and clearly had signs of major depression. I thought that it was all me, but the depression slowly went away after I stopped working there. I am aware now that my condition was clearly related to the situation. We live and we learn. I decided that, instead of being angry about a situation that I had no control over, I would go back to school and earn a degree in counseling psychology. :) I feel that employers should make it a point to incorporate encouragement of employees treating others with respect. They should be more observant of the relationships between co-workers. When people are happy in the workplace, they tend to perform their jobs better. It benefits everyone, except a bully who does not want to change their ways.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I have a bully like this too !!! She moved in last summer (2011). First week in, installed her pool, window shaker a/c and has 2 little kids about 2 and 5.

    2 weeks later she is whining non stop (our houses are very close and our yards even closer) about the pump in my pond. Not overly noisy, nor big – but I thought, ok – let’s lower it. Well, doing that caused algae in the pond, then the pump died. So, $163 later, I bought a new pump and added 10 goldfish to help eat up the mosquito eggs (you see the damage stemming from a complainer?). But she couldn’t come speak to me about the pond .. nope.

    Then she started kicking the fence on her side, because something on my side was leaning on it. I heard her kicking, so went and moved the stuff. Of course, never came to speak to me.

    She cut down (on her side of the fence) on my crawling plants on a trellis. That is illegal in my city. Again – not a word.

    Then one day – I realize my trellis wall is breaking so I get up to check the damage (on a chair) and see her through the trellis. Dang. I get down quickly – so as not to stir up anything.

    Too late. That day she kept telling her guests that the neighbour keeps staring at her – and it went on FOR WEEKS. Never came to speak to me about it.

    Just last week she told the neighbour across the street about me spying on her. Unfortunately, my living room looks out onto her driveway and they were both there – pointing towards my house and she was making “peeking” gestures. She even sweeps the leaves (with her feet) from my driveway onto hers. This lady is certifeably nuts.

    We are putting up our house for sale in the fall. I am done with all of this – I am a very quiet single mom with two young-adult children. We don’t have parties, never make noise yet she feels the nerve or the urge to bully me.

    And smiles to my face when she sees me.

    I can not believe that I am being bullied – but alas – it does happen. But I had my decision to sell before she moved in – she just makes it a lot easier and less hurtful to move.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I have a bully like this too !!! She moved in last summer (2011). First week in, installed her pool, window shaker a/c and has 2 little kids about 2 and 5.

    2 weeks later she is whining non stop (our houses are very close and our yards even closer) about the pump in my pond. Not overly noisy, nor big – but I thought, ok – let’s lower it. Well, doing that caused algae in the pond, then the pump died. So, $163 later, I bought a new pump and added 10 goldfish to help eat up the mosquito eggs (you see the damage stemming from a complainer?). But she couldn’t come speak to me about the pond .. nope.

    Then she started kicking the fence on her side, because something on my side was leaning on it. I heard her kicking, so went and moved the stuff. Of course, never came to speak to me.

    She cut down (on her side of the fence) on my crawling plants on a trellis. That is illegal in my city. Again – not a word.

    Then one day – I realize my trellis wall is breaking so I get up to check the damage (on a chair) and see her through the trellis. Dang. I get down quickly – so as not to stir up anything.

    Too late. That day she kept telling her guests that the neighbour keeps staring at her – and it went on FOR WEEKS. Never came to speak to me about it.

    Just last week she told the neighbour across the street about me spying on her. Unfortunately, my living room looks out onto her driveway and they were both there – pointing towards my house and she was making “peeking” gestures. She even sweeps the leaves (with her feet) from my driveway onto hers. This lady is certifeably nuts.

    We are putting up our house for sale in the fall. I am done with all of this – I am a very quiet single mom with two young-adult children. We don’t have parties, never make noise yet she feels the nerve or the urge to bully me.

    And smiles to my face when she sees me.

    I can not believe that I am being bullied – but alas – it does happen. But I had my decision to sell before she moved in – she just makes it a lot easier and less hurtful to move.

  17. Anonymous says:

    you feel bad because you’re a good person, and you consider other people’s feelings.
    apathetic people are bullies.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I totally agree. I was bullied at the age of 32 and was so silly and naive I did not even realise what they were doing to me. Just that I felt really upset and anxious a lot of the time. You don’t really expect it from adults so it can really take you by surprise! I actually feel sad for these sorts of people. They must be miserable to feel the need to treat people this way. Keep strong I believe and just walk away and hold your head high. Life is too short to waste your energy on such people. People hate being ignored, so if someone is behaving inappropriately I think that is the best thing to do to send signals that it is not okay with you. Either that or assertively (but not aggressively) ask them if they have a problem with you and if so why. They are probably just angry and bitter with life for some other reason and are taking it out on you.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I have an aunt by marriage who lives near us and is jealous of our family. She kept on spilling malicious gossip about our family problems and secrets to outsiders: neighbors, teachers, anyone who would listen. She went as far as trying to accuse my 10 year old brother for bullying her child and us abusing her children. The neigbors look at us funny and act rudely toward us. What can I do about her malicious slander and vicous actions? I don’t want to hurt my uncle or cousins but I have had enough.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I say take back your power and don’t let them push you around. You did your job as a mother and they are lucky to have a grandmother who wants to be a part of her grandchildrens lives. They don’t have the right to dictate what you do with your time. I feel that whatever time you spend with your grandchildren is your business. Just because your children decided to have children does not give them the right to say how much time you should spend with them. Now if you were over stepping and putting your two cents in where it didn’t belong then I could understand them wanting to set some boundaries. Boundaries go two ways and I think you need to set some with the parents. You will be there when you can but that you have a life of your own. I was raised by my grandparents as my parents were out to lunch so I appreciate the time and love my grandparents gave to me. I regret my parents not being the parents they should of been. I feel if grandparents can help out and want to then that is great and if the grandparent wants to have them come spent the night then that is great but I don’t agree with being told when and how I should be a grandparent. Just my opinion….

  21. hurtsobad says:

    I also am being bullied. Unfortunately it is coming from my sons. More so the oldest son but the younger one is also involved. They believe that now that I have three grandchildren that I should give up a lot of my time with friends, sports, community activites and not to mention I need not have a relationship as the grandchildren should be enough to keep me happy. Yes, their words, should not need a relationship. I am a rather young 47 year old just learning how to wakeboard, windsurf and this winter on the slopes with a snowboard. I have always been active and now with the grandchildren my boys think it is time to hang it up and spend more time with them. Generally I see two of the three at least twice a month for overnight stays. The other one I seen once a month overnight. My oldest says I cannot see the kids until we resolve this matter. (he wants to sit me down with the two of them and their wives and discuss the future and what they expect of me). We all live in different towns and it has been over two months since this has started and I have agreed to meet with them seperately but they will not let that happen. We had a meeting set up which meant I had to drive 10 hours round trip to attend and I chickened out thinking that it was just going to be an attack on me. I had been there a couple weeks before that with my sister and they refused to talk with her in the room. I know I sound like a wimp and quite frankly I am, but in my defense, I have been depressed and going through a lot of emotional stress of late. A father dying of cancer, two suspected cancer diagnosis and surgeries of my own, three deaths, a three and a half year on-going divorce that is going into appeal and I have just recently quit smoking. It is not their father that I am divorcing, it is a man they did not like through the whole 13 year relationship I had with him. (Turns out they were right on that one) But they keep telling me this has nothing to do with my relationship, now of six months. Please advise.

  22. Anonymous says:

    When my kids were little, I had a group of friends and we all got along and actually went on vacations together…Unfortunately, one of the insecure moms invited a very toxic mom into the mix…The two moms became very close and caused a lot of problems..I was ostracized for sticking up for another friend they were crucifying for no reason…That was difficult…but my son remained friends with the insecure mom’s son. I chose to look the other way with our relationship and let the kids remain friends..It was difficult…this mom would call me names at parties and make fun of me etc. to people in town…It finally came to a head, when the insecure mom saw my son walking with another friend afterschool…I guess she felt my son was not allowed to be friends with anyone other than her son. She became psychotic…Her and the toxic mom called my home screaming several obscenities..then it went to email where the insecure mom sent me and all the other people in the group an email about how I’m such a loser etc…That was the last straw for me and I had to sit my 12 year old son down and tell him that he could no longer go over their house, but my son’s friend could come here…As time went on, the insecure bully mom..who is very wealthy…now has parties..elaborate parties..inviting all of my son’s and daughter’s friends..It just doesn’t seem to end….They have both found other friends…but the insecure mom will quickly invite them over like it is some weird competition.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I coordinate volunteers who receive a small monthly honorarium. I wasn’t quite in my position a year when the shite hit the fan and I found myself facing a full blown mutiny. I researched the topic and emailed a woman who wrote a great article on toxic volunteers/volunteers as bullies and instead of taking the slow route to deal with this as in documenting incidents, etc…I got my boss and the Board of Directors involved. Thankfully I had their full support. I lost some volunteers, kicked out one volunteer for making an extremely toxic comment that went against our Human Rights Policy…I started bringing in new volunteers and at least one experienced being bullied by a couple of the senior volunteers…I was livid! Now…6 months later, things are pretty good. I promote respect in our program and I don’t put up with any abusive behaviour from anyone. So far so good! I spoke directly to those who were deeply involved in the toxic behaviour and I gave them a choice…either be a part of the solution or leave. I was pretty blunt and as hard as that was, it seemed to work. Apart from that, I’ve never been part of any

  24. Liz says:

    Diane, I wonder if she is just socially inept & willing to do anything to have her daughter included? Maybe some condition that makes her unable to read social cues? That might change how bad you are feeling about it – and it makes sense to me (who would have the nerve to act like this on purpose?)!!
    Hope that it all improves soon!!

    Liz

  25. Diane says:

    Why do I feel so bad about it.???
    This women I know, bullies me and I feel bad. She is rude to me in public, rude to me in front of our children. Today was the final act for me. I did not invite her child to mines bday party. When I saw her the week before the party she confronted me and I said ”oh sorry I must have forgotten.”
    She shows up, it’s a pool party at the private local pool and says I going stay and we can hang out. When I say no it’s a kid party she stay’s anyway. 20 minutes goes by
    OMG
    I ignore her hoping she will get the hint. When she asks me questions I answer short yes, no and deal with the kids finally she starts up with the same old stuff, like your daughter is ignoring mine, what’s with that, actually her daughter will not play with the other children. I respond with I don’t know. She says we going to leave I want our gift back. Ok, I say, go get it it’s in the car. I get up and start for the car and she starts with I don’t know what’s the matter with you …
    The long and short of it is I don’t have the courage to stand up and leave me alone your mean and I don’t like the way you treat me or my daughter.
    Why can’t I stand up to this bully. When I finial do I feel bad.

  26. I’ve experienced adult bullying myself, and a lot of information out there is aimed at kids. I’ve been writing on my blog this week about how not to be a bully yourself, and next week I’ll be posting about how to handle adult bullies.

    http://yourethedeepestperson.blogspot.com/2011/07/how-to-be-assertive-without-being-bully.html

  27. HVRmom says:

    This happened to me five years ago with my neighbors. Their son bullied my youngest two, then we had a blow up. If those followers are going to act like SHEEPLE, (people who act like sheep), then you don’t want to be associated with them. I have found that my bully’s friends are actually afraid of this family and don’t want to be bullied themselves. No one wants to be the subject of a bully, even if you are an adult. Good luck and keep living the good life.

  28. HVRmom says:

    Hey, those women are not your friends and are not looking out for your best interests. I would keep your mouth shut and not feed into it. I have had a few women around town treat me like that. I feel like I have not had the opprtunity to defend myslef. That being sadi, it is nobody else’s business. The less said the better. It is funny that women want to hold judgement, but not talk to you directly. It will take time but you willmake it. Be slective and be careful. Good luck.

  29. Jo says:

    I too, like Val, was the target of very jealous and into everyone’s business neighbors. Yes, neighbors. Some people only get to experience having one neighbor like that, but I unfortunately got to experience several. I had a big falling out with the one neighbor about 4 years ago and I was so relieved when I no longer had to put up with this person and her insanely jealous ways. However she has since formed a posse of like-minded insecure followers. Unfortunately because bullies feel stronger in numbers, it didn’t stop there, they gossiped about me and said many untrue things about me and my family to mutual friends and to parents of my children’s friends. Needless to say I encountered many looks, stares and even some of my children’s friends stopped coming around. It is sad that some women never grow out of this insecurity and continue to behave in this manner. Continuing to be the best person and parent you can be, holding your head high and living a happy live is the best revenge ever!

  30. Anonymous says:

    I was bullied for the first time when I was 37 years old. It was in a volunteer capacity. I stuck it out for a year, and tried to make changes to no avail. Finally, I said “enough!” and resigned my position. I had volunteered in that capacity for years, with various personalities to content with, but none as demoralizing as “the bully”. Peers had noticed that she bullied me, which was helpful in acknowledging that I really was being bullied (and it wasn’t in my imagination). It was a relief when I resigned. Unfortunately, I was told that now another volunteer is being bullied. I wish I could break the cycle but at the time all I could do was leave…I had had enough.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Love your post…and I agree….living a happy life is the best revenge…good for you!!….I have a question…how do you handle the subtle side of bullying…those women in town what want to interject themselves into the fallout of your friendship…not really talk about it or say anyhing to you…but you sense they are treating you differently, maybe backing off abit when they dont even know the facts of what occured…?? and at times just seem a bit stand offish and mean??

  32. HVRMOM says:

    My sons had a bullying problem with a neighbor’s child. This issue came to a head almost five years ago. My neighbor’s response was that it was “time for me to move” . I decided to keep my chilren from her problem child. My neighbor ruined the friendship of her youner son with mine saying, “our children will never be friends.” This mother was the typical “Mean Girl”, having her second in command living in the neighborhood too. She was on the PTA and her husband ran Youth Sports. She kept me from being a room mother at the elementary school, lost one son’s paperwork so that his teacher assignment got messed up, slandered me to her friends in town and made me seem the bad guy. She and her husband were actually bullying her troubled son, who would then take it out on mine. It took all the strength I had, but I dropped this woman frim my life and moved on.

    I started a new career, taking classes and now work part-time as a preschool teacher. I volunteer at the high school and have a good reputation. This woman who was so nasty was actually angry that I didn’t want to be friends with her any longer, but I keep my mouth shut to the general public. I am so happy with my choices and now laugh when I notice the “Mean Girl” behavior surface from time to time. I just tell our mutual friends that I do my thing and she does hers; we’re not close friends but that she is not my enemy..Success and taking the high road really is the best revenge.

  33. Anonymous says:

    I agree that adult bullying occurs more than one would like to think and bears discussion. I had ‘friend’ at work who could not handle the end of our friendship (which she had actually initiated) who bullied and harassed me to the point that I needed to involve management. While this has thus far ended the outright harassment, she is a very manipulative person and has tried to do damage to my reputation around the workplace in subtle ways. while I now understand that she is deeply troubled (too bad I didnt recognize it before I had gotten involved in a friendship and trusted her!), it has been very damaging at work. When I had trusted her, I had revealed personal info and that was a big mistake. I now keep to myself as much as possible at work and continue to hope that her continued gossiping will eventually expose her for the narcissist that she is. There are several other nice people I work with, but I really doubt I will ever again take a chance on trying to deepen any friendships significantly with them, and that is sad for me.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Great article! There should be more discussion of this. There is a lot of publicity about bullying in schools, but adult bullying seems to be a taboo subject.

    • Live says:

      I am bullied to this day by the woman across the street, her co-workers and her friends. She will have people over and the next thing, there all standing outside pointing at my home and shes calling me all sorts of names. Here is how it started .My former husband and I purchased a home in what we thought was a good neighborhood, nice court for our children,my oldest 14 and the youngest 12, back in 1992,. We lived across the street from a woman and her family who appeared to be normal and nice initially. After a few months she would stop by as soon as she saw me pull into the garage from work and begin to gossip about the neighbors. She would tell me the most horrible things. I was to the point of horrified and it made me uncomfortable. I discussed them with my husband and wondered could they be true or not. Because the next day there she would be on the lawn chatting and laughing with them. One example I will share, there was deaf young man with vocal problems; he didn’t speak at all. The woman neighbor told me it was because his father molested him and tortured him by sticking things down his throat. Yet she would go over to the these folks homes after gossiping to me. I wondered what she was saying about us and my husband and I stopped speaking with her. Some months later my 14 year old lost the house key and made the wrong decision of going over to ask the woman to use her phone to call me. He knocked on her front door when no one answered he leaned into the front room window and saw her with a man who was not her husband both naked on the floor. My child was shocked and immediately ran down the street several blocks to a pay phone calls me, tells me. I leave work and pick up my kid. Crying upset doesn’t understand.We come straight home. The woman immediately comes over to my house screaming at me, violently telling me that “No One Will Ever Believe Me” goes on to say ” I am going to say anything it takes to discredit you and your credibility forever”. She shaking her fist. I simply closed the door and shrugged it off . I knew she was angry,it was Obvious, she was messing around and she got caught. I WAS WRONG!!!! The next morning I went out to go to work and there were “Dead Rats” on my front lawn. That night I came home and there were cars lined up and down the court. People were in house. She was hosting meetings with the neighbors she had so boldly talked about to me. Folks I had never seen before, I could see them in her living room window they were all staring at me as I pulled up. I suppose now she was Saying Horrible things about me. She continues to make up lies about me. She spreads them through the people she works with and than invites them over to point me out. I have gone to the grocery store and people i have never seen in my life are giving me dirty looks making it obvious. It has been going on since 1992. I have filed restraining orders, sued for defamation of character and slander. Nothing stops her. I am Divorced now and can’t afford to move. I need help and would really appreciate some support on this LONG REIGN OF ADULT BULLYING. She is very sick and this woman is clearly obsessed. I know it sounds unbelievable, even impossible but its the God’s Truth. I welcome your comments and questions. I can’t do this alone anymore. Please help me
      .

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