From Publishers Weekly
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)
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From the Inside Flap
At one time or another, almost every woman has been involved in bullying. Whether her role was that of victim, aggressor, or bystander, the pain of relational aggression (female bullying) lasts long after the incident has passed. For those who get stuck in the mean girl role, the emotional warfare of high school can continue. As adults, these women hone their skills in verbal sabotage and behavioral put-downs. From the PTA clique to the carpool, from the gym to the boardroom, every woman knows someone who is suffering from the devastating dynamic of relational aggression.
In Mean Girls Grown Up, Cheryl Dellasega explores why women are often their own worst enemies, offering practical advice for a variety of situations. She introduces you to the "bees" of grade school who, as adults, are still involved in the same harmful dynamic: the Queen Bee, a bully who buzzes from place to place undermining and manipulating others; the Middle Bee, a go-between who spreads gossip or stands by as others do so; and the Afraid-to-Bee who retreats into passivity and is a target for aggression.
Drawing upon extensive research and interviews, Dellasega shares stories from women who have encountered these bees as well as the knowledge of experts who have helped women overcome the negative effects of aggression. You'll hear how adult women can be just as competitive and callous as their younger counterparts, using backstabbing, betrayal, harassment, misrepresentation, and exclusion to wound others.
You'll also discover:
- Why women often deal with conflicts differently from the way men do
- Strategies for dealing with women who use relationships to inflict hurt or prevent you from achieving your goals
- How to protect yourself from being involved in deception, bullying, and other harmful behaviors
Dellasega outlines how women can change their behavior successfully by shifting away from aggression and embracing a spirit of cooperation in interactions with others. Even if bee-type behaviors have plagued you since adolescence, Mean Girls Grown Up will help you let go of aggression or passivity, move on, and create relationships that are healthier and happier for you and the women around you.