• Resolving Problems

How To Handle An Adult Bully

Published: June 23, 2011 | Last Updated: August 29, 2022 By | 117 Replies Continue Reading
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Wondering how to handle an adult bully? You may be faced with the dilemma because some female bullies never grow up.


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 had gotten 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, should I 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


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!


Prior articles on The Friendship Blog about adult bullies:

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Category: Bullies

Comments (117)

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  1. dona says:

    Neighbours from hell are so hard to avoid. We have one right next door who is not the landlord but has some kind of arrangement with the owner. She is super loud, erratic, plays music loud at all hours, uses profanity, calls us bad names and stalks us anytime we come or go to the house. It is exhausting to say the least. At first I tried to understand what could be the problem but then I learned it’s just who she is. She is a failed miserable individual who has to cause misery to others to feel at balance with herself. Looking back I should have avoided her at all costs, ignored and not reacted to give her satisfaction or fuel. Understanding she is a bully, with bullies you stand up but not directly, do it thru police if the law is crossed or standing in your place but DO NOT ENGAGE directly in any heated conversation, do not acknowledge, ignore and walk away. We are a thread away from filing temporary restraining order. But this psycopaths feed on attention and that’s the last thing you want to give. Any suggestions are welcomed

  2. Laura says:

    Worked with a 50+ year old toothless woman at the VA hospital. She constantly undermined me. She spread rumors, questioned my work abilities and credibility.
    She was dirty and ignorant.
    I worked in close proximity to this person for 2 years.
    I left the position after an 11 year government job (2010) and haven’t worked since.
    I wish that I had had the skills to tolerate this CREEP and be warning money.

  3. Bobbi says:

    Having a child with co-morbid behavioral and developemental issues is difficult. People assume so much. And very few people want their kids to hang out with yours. And you really need support and friends. But bully women love to gossip and make things up if you have kids whose disabiltiy impacts behavior. The child is not invited to parties or sleepovers or playdates. And the bullies blame the parents for the childs behaivor. So the child gets rejected and so do the siblings. Instead of trying to understand or suppor the parent which in turn supports the child families ostracize the family. Even when the parents figure out how to improve and raise the child who has difficulties with behavior learn self control….the neighbors have the old stories and gossip. On one hand I understand that they may be afraid of the child but does not mean they should be cruel or mean to the family. That family needs support and they will be kind and grateful to the friends. They are looking for a time to repay the kindness and show gratitude.

    • Irene says:

      Thanks so much for your post! My heart goes out to you and the many parent whose children are different in any way. I am sure your words will help promote understanding! Best, Irene

  4. Evalin says:

    Hello i just moved in to my new house unfortunately my neighbors are great except one they have parties every weekend which i don’t mind until they just recently said my daughters name without me even knowing them at all saying mean out loud comments in front of my kids.They also say my family is stupid in front of my visitors. What has a 3 year old child done to you? That you have to say mean comments about her? I don’t know what their problem is but i’ve had enough

    [Last name removed by moderator. Please do not use last names on my blog.]

  5. Dani says:

    Hi reading some of these I wanted to post. My son and I have lived in our home for 11 years. As we used to have some great neighbors , we have gotten newer ones in the years. My son is a good hearted kid who battles anxiety, depression. He has been in and out of programs to help him through it. It’s a rough road. We live in a cul de sac with numerous kids. He loves the feeling of friends and being social. We have an adult neighbor who has intentionally cruel to my son. He’s 12. He will invite all the kids over and tell my son he isn’t invited. Who does this?! He’s mad bc he once asked my son and his son to not push a toy on the ground. When they continued it he flipped out cussing and swearing at my son. I had called the police to because he was drunk and when I went to talk to him he flipped out at me too.
    The cops did nothing.
    I can’t believe my 12 year old had a grown adult bullying him.

  6. Dotti says:

    She is seventy years old, one would think she would grow up by now. Finally, after complaining to the police making several complaints, they finally gave her a warning. Now she don’t even say anything to me no more. It only taken over a year for the police to take action.

  7. mccavrtvc says:

    nice one

  8. Bully/des says:

    Move..is life worth it.”. Just a guy with scared knuckles..

    • Pickles says:

      He said his brother has scared fingers as wife goes on disability to watch “daughter” and keep up the vouyer and blogs very sad you have created such a game for yourself.that way we aren’t accused of being “psychopaths” “Morons” etc……that’s always been the game.now bro says FIRE IN THE SKY is more describing his bros insecurities.im too much of a undeveloped person to do what y’all do in these third parties stuff but it’s not a very nice thing to think of 8 yrs of selling your brother out and causing a huge mess for him.sounds like your overbearing and controlling of him and I’ve been the brunt of your own illnesses.yeah uncle we had a family discussion today and things are gonna change fast.as he sat there a deceived at one time was his uncle.no one keeps him from you.ive been accused of that too.feeling a little essential of yourself is fine to go to the extremes is your fathers fault.uncle said his brother never took a look at his own as his wife fantasizes someone wedging into the family.very sad……

  9. Juliet says:

    Have been following this amazing blog since being bullied by a queen bee three years ago; have found it very helpful, and reassuring that even a woman of my age (51) can go through this type of treatment. Here goes, I’m scared, but need advise on how to progress.
    Queen bee married our local vet six years ago, has assumed a posh upper class English accent, and courted me and my husband persistently; to the extent that we couldn’t refuse to get to know her because we have always held her husband – our vet – in high regard because he’s a fab vet. Great fun had by us all for three years – we went to Venice on the Orient Express with the couple and had a lovely time. I complimented her on her outfits, she said nothing about mine, which I predicted would be the case. Her husband stressed that Queen Bee had never travelled before, so pleaded with us to compliment her clothes etc.
    Well, my feelings about this Queen Bee were spot on -always listen to instinct/sixth sense! She never complimented my outfits; since the VSOE trip, she snippedstarted snipping at me behind other friend’ backs and didn’t mind snipping at me In front of her husband, as long as no one else in our friendship saw it. She has chosen awful headgear at rugby games for me as a birthday present, she offered to do my makeup before a rugby game attended with friends from my town – I looked like a cadaver thanks to her administrations- I went to the loo and cried, which at least removed some of her work.
    Queen Bee has since cause troubled for our local pub, which gave her a room – free of charge – for six months to practice her beauty therapy. When they wanted to convert it to a DDA compliant guest room, she tried to sue them. Then went to another local pub to enjoy her social life. Okay, this is fine, but I tried to help her find another place for her business. She has ignored this, but what worries me most is that a friend of 26 years (longer than I have been married to my husband) chooses this woman’s company over mine and my husband’s – and I thought he was a life-long friend – I am slightly
    Aspergers, which I know will never make life easy for me, but what I want to understand is how someone who you weren’t courting can pick you up, screw you up and then dump you ….. Not sure I deserve that …. Help xx

  10. Dotti says:

    I had my share where I shed many tears,
    nobody seem to care for my bully’s made
    me live in fear.

    Chosen me out, kicked me about as their victim
    the pain and suffering and shame they mad me feel
    bully’s pushed me down the hill.

    I had my share of beatings, knocked around
    afraid to make a sound. Nobody cared.
    I am adult I live with the memories of my child
    years being bullied through my school age years.

    I don’t trust nobody. I am always on guard
    the bully’s may have robbed me of my dignity
    and self-esteem they could not have my soul
    for my soul is properly own by the man above
    who was the only friend I had, Only one listened
    and comfort me whenever I was sad.

    I had my share of hardships, heartaches what
    my bully’s robbed from me, I forgiven them lifted
    them up in prayer, involved in Bully Awareness!
    I believe many ought too to! for bully’s are
    cowards and worn out old dirty weaken shoes.

    I had my share of pain I bear, my eyes flow many
    tears. Many years I lived in fear, sad part nobody cared!

  11. Bridget says:

    I had a downstairs neighbor, who kept taking an action that left no light on the stairs in the morning. I had to feel my way down the stairs to get to my car.

    The neighbor was mad at me because I would not close my windows when it rained in the summer and was in the 90s.

    The landlord would not fix the leaks that went down the first floor. She expected me to live in a closed apartment baking.

    I left. The landlord never fixed the problem while I was there. It wasn’t a bad place. I had a small deck that I would put my flowers out. They loved the humidity. The parking did not have enough spots for all the apartments and there was no parking allowed in the street. The city was a “fashionably” elite city, which proves that it is not all glitters in wealthy, fashionable areas.

  12. Suze says:

    I am in absolute shock my new landlord has decided to allow this woman from hell upstairs above rather from me ..to stay longer. She harrassed vandalized my vehicle harrassed my elderly Mom while she visited. She swore at judge Stoddard and the magistrate clerk “the F” word too. She made cruel comments on my late brother Charles and it was disgusting to learn because she is with Framingham housing that her checks come easily so the bullying was accused. This woman is evil abusive an addict and totally abusing the system ssdi she sits on her ass 24/7 and collects the fact she is still here sickens me as well as the other neighbor’s as her crackhead boyfriend sleeps over yet that he isn’t sleeping he is drugging. It is unfair unjust and I PRAY everyday for justice. This woman or bully rather deserves to be accountable for her abuse.

    • Theresa says:

      Maybe neighbors shouldn’t hate and write blogs of hate because they are the bullies everyone does have a right to live in peace with that being said one wouldn’t be hating you if you didn’t hate first.you are not god you don’t judge and stooping to this level of bullying is childish.to hate or bully u back is childish too.he said how about people minding they own business then you wouldn’t know to hate or spend your time blogging your hate.

    • Theresa says:

      With what Suzy said with all that hate then had the odacity to end it with they are the bully.very twisted far off from truth opinions about your hate and you sure know a lot about the person more so than a neighbor should if u hated someone so bad than don’t worry about them so much and exaggerate ur hate.who are you.if u hated someone so bad ud think ud stay out of there business and that way u wouldn’t have such an opinion and bullying wouldn’t be accused on either end.u should not be a be a judges of anyone’s housing nor income.and what they r doing.expecting them to join in with ur hate is rediculous.

      • georgia says:

        Theresa, I too had a similar view at first when I read what Suze wrote. Suze sounds angry and invasive towards the neighbor. Then I realized whe is in the midst of a very uncomfortable situation. Perhaps she is not a hateful nosey invasive person. Perhaps she has put up with things that to her are very discomforting and over not being able to come to peaceful co-existence at home over a long time frame, one does somewhat lose their mind and tend to sound bitter and hateful. However It is a stressful situation that may have caused an otherwise decent reasonable person to temporarily lose her perspective and lash out in anger that was building. It does take a while to recover. I took my view to encourage Suze to take responsibility for her personal health and calmness. Once you get caught in a long term neighbor bullying situation especially alone or without family or local law enforcement leaves you feeling unprotected and unsafe, it can take years to work through the auto protection mode living with daily constant fear can trigger you into. Taking time to work hard at doing something healthy for your own mind and well being produces good lifelong habits giving you knowledge you are neither hopeless or helpless. Get your Pretty On!

    • georgia says:

      I want to say something critical but being Friendship Blog, I will head to the positive. It does appear the neighbor has gotten under your skin and irritated you. Re-read your words as they flow. You are bringing her with into your own alone time, your free-to-be-yourself time. Be kind to yourself and don’t let her come along in your mind cluttering up your own time, irritating you when she is not even in the room. Find some relaxation so you can at least have your own time free to enjoy instead of inviting her into your day when she is not even present. Be a good friend to yourself. Choose to be Happy.

  13. Dotti says:

    Now that I am an Adult and yet a neighbor who is in her late sixties, I agree some people just don’t know how to grow up. I don’t make friends very easily because I have a trust issues. It is one of the impacts in my life I live with today from the many years I been bullied. I stay mostly to myself. Only friends I do have are the ones I meet here online, on Facebook. I am very careful who I accept as my friend. The only and best friend who has been there through my ordeal being beaten, kicked, bullied in other ways I turned to God. God has been there for me, protected me from day one.

    • georgia says:

      Dotti, I am sure sorry things have turned out like this for you. I want to ask if you are comfortable with your alone time. Do you do things that make you happy or content? Do you have activities you enjoy or places you like going to?God gave us a great big world to enjoy and find smiles. God gave us you to remind us to make time to care about others going through difficult frightening and unfair situations, especially long term. Not everyone has family close by or may not have close friends and no spouse. Be kind, care about your acquaintances and reach out with honesty, integrity, loyalty to help. Be patient if they don’t follow your rescue route and keep coming back. Don’t lose interest and fade away while someone like Dotti still is experiencing neighbor bullying behaviour. Don’t judge. Focus on the important factors. let her take a break from the trauma drama, encourage it, and inspire her to rise above. No matter how long it takes, be the one who doesn’t lose faith, keeps on caring and doesn’t judge and comes back because I would like to be sure you get to smile. Remember as a support person, you aren’t being asked to be involved in the bullying/fighting. You are there for your fellow persons, making sure that no one is lonely and each has space to be alone if they would like. Sometimes having the comfort of having one person who isn’t going to get broken IS a Matter of Life and death’

      • Dotti says:

        I am very content georgia..I do a lot of volunteer work for my church..I keep myself busy helping elderly folks who are shut ins..I love my time alone because I know I am not really alone..God is always with me..alone time with God. I love helping others..mostly elderly people..I have a lot of activities I do walk two miles a day, church activities..crafts..helping my baby sister who has cancer..gone through chemo treatments, now going for her radiation treatments..I trust and can rely more on my church family than I can on my children or other family members..well the things that happen in my life just made me stronger and more determine..in my faith and my walk in Christ. Think about it..even the people bullied Jesus..He did it because He loves us..Love people where you find them. Love them how Jesus would love them. Have a blessed sunshine day georgia..

  14. Provy says:

    I thought I was alone with the neighbors from hell I agree there should be a law against bullying. Four years and counting. Praying to god everyday. Worst bullies are adults. They are cowards.

  15. Dotti says:

    Rather it is a female or male doing the bullying it is still cowardliness.It is about time for victims to fight back with knowledge and using words of wisdom. It is sad that there is not a bullying law that did not pass yet but it should because if a bully law is passed the bill there be less people bullying others.
    I don’t think much of people actions rather if they are ages of teenage years or adults. I do believe that in time God will take care of bully’s. In reality victims voices needs to be heard and people needs more education learning about Bullying Awareness. I been bullied all my life from family and others and it had a huge impact in my life. The fact I was a victim I live with TBI Traumatic Brain Injury and other medical issues because from bullying.

    • Andrea says:

      I need to know how to deal with a disgruntled ex employee who is Cyber Bullying me and it’s turning into a hate crime (she said so herself). I got her hired for 2 jobs and we used a platform similar to Facebook private messaging, called Hip Chat by Atlassian. This wench actually TOLD me, she took screenshots of all of our private, personal conversations over the last 2 years, uploaded them and then shared them in messages to her friends who are still my co workers so they could, direct quote “talk about you behind your back and giggle at how much we hate you.” She also said she saved everything to her USB drive and would make my personal, financial and familial information PUBLIC. She is a hateful, redneck hick from the hills of Georgia who is a Bible thumping, child beatin (spare the rod, spoil the child, I grew up that way and I turned out fine, (yeah right!) woman- who is a total hypocrite. I need to report her without any repercussions to my job and my home and fiance and family. She has threatened to have police come to MY home – it’s spiraling out of control and I need help so I can have her stopped before she does this to another living soul. Any advice is greatly appreciated! God bless anyone who replies 🙂

      • Juliet says:

        Report her to the police – immediately; then go and see you doctor for some counselling and support. This woman sounds dangerous, good luck!

        • Dotti says:

          I have tried to report her to the police but the police does nothing. According to what have said, they cannot do nothing unless she is violently abusive. Well, want to stop that before it goes that far. So I stay clear from her. If she is walking on one side street I will cross on the other side of the street. It is not just me she bullies practically anybody who is mentally challenge, she picks out the weak but if someone stands up to her she backs off.

          • juliet says:

            Mmmm … What about your lawyer, although I know this might be expensive. All I can advise is that you keep every scrap of evidence against her, however trivial it might seem – you may need it in the future. Meanwhile, I know how it feels to be bullied – and bullies do, as you say, only pick on those they perceive as weaker than themselves. Do you know anyone who might go and speak to her on your behalf; referable someone big and scary looking? Or can you and the other people bullied by this woman get together, share stories and evidence, and then approach the police again? If there is more than one victim, then surely the police can’t ignore you all. Regarding going to see your doctor, you need to get it documented by such a professional so that you can prove the effect her behaviour is having on your health, in case something does get done about it in the future. I also suggest videoing her via your mobile when she is anywhere near her – might get the message across that you’re watching her very carefully … might even scare her off too… good luck xxx

      • Bridget says:


        She sounds like someone I worked with. They got mad at me because the remote boss was not as easy as the old boss. Their attitude was that of a spoiled kid, shout until people are are tired and they give in to shut you up.

        When the remote boss evaluated them,their rating dropped. I believe they never went to the union, becaue they knew they would not win. They took their anger out on me. Some co-workers went out to eat and that particuler person got mad that I did not order icecream like everyone else.

        When they were mad, they would say another person was mad at me. My coat was slashed, my new storm boots were ruined. They tried to set me up by messing up a request and it backfired. They were blamed. Of course that made them angrier.

        One of my shoes I kept at work for snow days, had the sole cut, so a tack, piece of glass would puncture my foot.

        If you have to attend social functions, don’t let them near you. I did not realize how unstable, venomous they were until we were at a social function. They come over to talk to the table. They were standing next to my chair as they talk. When it was time tog, I found grease stains on my coat that wer not there when I came in to the function.

        Do not let them be anywhere near you. That person would get mad if someone got an award the same time as them. it’s unfortunate to have to deal with an unstable personality, and you can’t reason with them. I was told by this person, that they can do anything they want to me and I can’t prove a thing, because no one would believe me.

        Good luck. I hope things improve.

      • Janelle says:

        Okay. First and foremost, if you’ve recorded these threats, save them for a police report and a possible lawsuit. This will back up your words, and allows you some ground to go to court if needed. If she has indeed said this is a hate crime, call your local county attorney and your chief of police and ask for legal/police jurisdiction advice on how to proceed. What is more, if she DOES indeed have your personal information, financial and otherwise and is threatening to make it public, that’s a form of ID theft, and by law, that’s illegal. She can easily go to jail for it if you choose to press criminal charges. Mind, I’m not a cop nor am I a lawyer, but this sounds serious enough to take to court as well as the cops. Research your local laws and contact your state’s attorney-general if needed. Don’t let this bitch bring you down-‘fight back, but fight wisely. Record everything she says or does to you…remember, the more solid evidence you have, the stronger your case will be. Good luck!

      • georgia says:

        ok I just started reading friendship blog about bullying so…Pickles you are a bully and your remarks are way too detailed and seemingly personal to be posting on a public blog. Not sure if your anger has taken over and the stress popped your button. You may want to re-read your words. You are bullying someone. I am not sure who. But you seem to intend to use your words and opinions and publish to steer others strongly to go their direction. Bullying. you intend to put your words out there continuously to change another’s behaviour whether or not he wants to change. NOW PERHAPS I AM WRONG ABOUT MY VIEW OF PICKLES: I considered another angle. Are you putting your comments on here so we can see bullying in action? Is this an intentional illustration for us to see and feel the aggression in real time? Nonestly, apologinzing for the offensive nature of my remark, I cannot see how Pickles can seem to have familiarity with this blog and not understand it is about not wanting to be bullied and pointing out how bullies can harm others through mental abuse and long term exposure to stress and fear. And Yes Pickles, your written word makes you appear to be a bully. I am sorry for judging. If your writing does not represent your character accurately, maybe you want to write a day ahead, set it down and reread it the next day and see if the writing reflects you.

  16. Ruth Davis says:

    to live dated april !4th,
    So sorry to hear of your horrendous predicament, can totally relate.
    Have experienced similar situations in my neighborhood. There is hope though, believe it or not I used to be enemies with my female neighbor
    for years until I gave my whole horrible situation over to God. Yes it
    worked or should I say he worked and I prayed for relief. It came not all at once but the witch beside me moved within two days of my cries for help. God came through for me and my family. The other neighbor who believe it or not we are now very close and are friends. I know sounds hard to believe, its true but there’s one catch it wasn’t easy I had to do a little thing called forgiveness. It didn’t happen all at once but I’m glad I did ,at least I can sleep at night. Unfortunately bullies don’t go away, it seems another one had been resurrected beside us. He is a typical puffed up asshole, Mr know it all, has a hate-on for my husband and now me. So lucky aren’t we. Sounds crazy but I visualize baking him in the oven like a baked potatoe , and you know what it feels great try it. hee hee. Try reading the book of Psalms in the bible its so comforting you will find many chapters relating to your enemies such as neighbors or family. I have read a lot of the above comments and give my deepest sympathies to you all. a lot of good advice especially keeping your distance from neighbors being polite but not getting involved, better yet if one neighbor tells you gossip don’t repeat it!!!!!!! Take care I keep you in my prayers

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