The Female Bully And The Codependent Part II: “A Smelly Turd in a Pretty Package”

In Part One, we discussed some characteristics of the serial female family bully, the way she bullies, her targets and her end game. We looked at some interesting characteristics also seen with the codependent; poor self-esteem and inability to speak her truth or express her anger.

In Part Two we are going to give you lots of examples, so you can identify if you are bullying or being bullied.

The Setup

The female family serial bully (FSB) may try to set people up against her victim. This can be accomplished in many ways.

  • The FSB tells you gossip about the victim as it relates to you: “She/the victim said this about you. She thinks you are stupid. She didn’t like the way you chewed your food, drove etc.” And if you don’t check out the truth of those statements, you are going to be angry with the victim. The victim doesn’t know what you have been told and will feel your anger.

“Calling someone ugly won’t make you pretty. Calling someone stupid won’t make you smart. Making someone’s life miserable won’t make yours happy. So why do it?”

The Weapon of Exclusion

Exclusion is a very powerful weapon of the FSB. Let me be clear; families do not have to be attached at the hip at reunions. If someone is feeling excluded, I would check out how the plans have been put into place.

Healthy family reunion would have a design for the reunion, with activities available to all, detailing what is going on when and where. Everyone is included in the master plan. If certain people want time together that all can be addressed together. If some cannot participate in certain activities, they may have the option to watch. The operating principle is inclusion and everyone feeling good about the time together.

Exclusion, is not always easy to recognize. The FSB will come up with a “plausible story” on why all the people (except you) need to be together. The story will make sense, so people will think you are being “paranoid”/” too sensitive”/” self-centered”, if you dare to bring up the injustice. The FSB knows exactly what she is doing and if you follow the common thread, it will always be to exclude the victim. If you are the bully ask yourself, how can I rework this plan to include the victim. If you are the bully, ask yourself why are you so insecure. If you are the victim, note the distinction-her plans are designed to exclude you. Remember excluding you tells us Nothing about you and everything about the FSB’s insecurity. Secure people don’t need to be mean to other people. Secure people follow the Golden Rule. I have seen really mean/manipulative FSB’s take the exclusion one step further and shame/make wrong the victim for not being at the event from which she was excluded.

Family gatherings for special events: graduations, weddings, reunions, showers, birthdays are perfect for the FSB. She can plan ahead creating her stories for getting people together and design the plan to exclude the victim. The FSB knows what and who is important to the victim so that is fair game.

  • One client was a relative of the bride and was asked what dates would be impossible for her to attend the wedding. She gave her dates as did everyone who was asked. The bride chose to have her wedding on the exact date her relative told her she couldn’t attend. Of course, that is her right as it is her wedding. However, she then told everyone how horrible this relative was for not attending her wedding. Exclusion and then blaming for being excluded.

People who repeatedly attack your confidence and self-esteem are quite aware of your potential, even if you are not.”

In Part III we will look deeper into these scenarios. Sit down and ask yourself “Am I a bully or am I a victim”. If 50% of us are being bullied, it is time we recognize, understand, and figure ways to deal with this phenomenon.

This article originally appeared at

© 2019 Dr. Anne Brown; Psychotherapist, Speaker, and Author of Backbone Power The Science of Saying No. Permission needed for any form of reproduction.

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Originally published at on August 30, 2019.