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Mean Girls Grown Up


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix Introduction 1 PART ONE Relational Aggression 201: The Who,What, and Why of RA 5 1 All Grown Up and Ready to Sting: Adult Female Aggression 7 2 Why Women Aren't More Like Men 20 3 Big Bullies and Other Aggressive Types: The Queen Bee 32 4 From Mild to Bad and In Between: The Middle Bee 42 5 Blindsided, Backstabbed, and Bruised: The Afraid-to-Bee 54 6 Weapons of Choice 67 PART TWO Our Own Worst Enemies: Aggression at Work, at Home, and at Play 79 7 Women at Work 81 8 Sharing Space: Ages and Stages of Aggression 97 9 Forced to Be Family: The Good, the Bad, and the Very Ugly of Female In-Laws 108 10 Mrs. Popularity and the Mom Clique 119 11 Relational Aggression Where You Least Expect It 130 PART THREE Recognize, Revise, and Internalize: Changing the RA Way of Life 145 12 Who Are You in the Bee Dynamic?: A Relational Aggression Assessment 147 13 Healing Residual Relation Aggression: Overcoming the Past 162 14 The Power of Forgiveness 172 15 The Won't Bee 184 16 A New Relational You 197 17 Don't Stop with Yourself 214 APPENDIX A Communication That Counts: Connecting through Words 227 APPENDIX B Talking to Yourself in Ways That Help 231 APPENDIX C Netiquette Tips 233 APPENDIX D Mentoring Resources 235 References 237 Index 240

About the Author

CHERYL DELLASEGA, PH.D., is a professor in the College of Medicine and the Department of Humanities at Pennsylvania State University. She is the author of Forced to Be Family, Surviving Ophelia, Girl Wars, and The Starving Family.


Dellasega expands on her previous study of relationship aggression in adolescent females (Girl Wars) in this exploration of how such toxic behavior may continue on into adulthood. Addressed primarily to victims (Afraid to Bees) of aggression by other women in the workplace, family, church, school and even in feminist organizations, the author also advises the aggressors (Queen Bees) and those who enable them (Middle Bees). Many dramatic anecdotes describe harrowing wounds inflicted by aggressive female supervisors; devious behavior by competitive colleagues; and mothers-in-law who criticize and belittle their sons' wives. Dellasega provides strategies for dealing with bullies and cautions Middle Bees that their role will bring them guilt and anxiety. Queen Bees, she warns, will lose self-esteem and all possibility of satisfying connections with women. To overcome all three self-defeating patterns, the author recommends positive confrontation, working on self-awareness and reaching out to other women for more satisfying relationships. But Dellasega's simplistic categorizing of women into three classes and her assumption that all forms of relationship aggression fit into the same mold help make this a minor addition to the literature on female aggression. (Oct. 3) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Dellasega (humanities, Pennsylvania State Univ.; Girl Wars) continues her studies of female relational aggression or bullying, this time examining its presence among adult women, which she divides into three groups: queen bees (aggressors), middle bees (enablers), and afraid-to-bees (victims). Drawing on her own research (bibliographical references are included), she relates this bullying to that seen in teenagers and examines its expression in grown women. Afraid-to-bees are the author's main audience, but queen bees and middle bees will no doubt see themselves in the examples of back stabbing, manipulation, harassment, and exclusion. Dellasega devotes the book's last third to self-help techniques for recognizing and changing this relational aggression, including "positive" confrontation and increased self-awareness. While these make sense, the author's categories may strike some as too neat. For larger public libraries.-Kay Brodie, Chesapeake Coll., Wye Mills, MD Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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