Women Bullies Often Target Other Women

"I knew I was a bully, but I thought I was justified. It is the perfection combined with the urgency that creates a lethal combination," said Christine King, another woman who took part in the discussion.

By attending counseling groups, some "bully broads" said, they hope they will be able to recognize how their negative behavior affects others and try to make changes in their management style.

"Like, you never say, 'That is stupid,' but you pause and say something like, 'That is an interesting idea, and let's talk about it,'" said Monica Palm, another group member.

But for people like Joan Frye who have been bullied, the debilitating effects of a hostile work environment may last forever.

"I feel like this took away my life as it was. It caused damage to my family; it caused damage to my reputation; it caused damage to us significantly financially," Frye said. "I feel like it was probably the worst thing that has happened to me in my entire life."

How to Fight Back

The Workplace Bullying Institute recommends these steps to deal with problems in the workplace.

Get support from family and friends. Talking about the problem eases the burden and lowers the chances of stress-related illness.

See a doctor or a therapist, especially if you're having stress symptoms, such as sleeplessness and appetite loss.

Get witnesses to help you build a record of the bully's actions for a future complaint.

Confront the bully with the same toughness he or she showed you. This should be done with a single witness or as a group.

File a complaint. It can be risky for your job, but if the previous steps didn't work, it's essential to establish a paper trail.

Make a case to remove the bully. You want to show your employer the costs of keeping the bully and of losing you.

Find out more at bullyinginstitute.org.

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