My sister-in-law loaned me a book from her school counseling days: Odd Girl Out. It's about how girls are conditioned not to express anger or aggression openly -- and how relationships are innately so important to girls -- so, much of their anger is expressed in relational aggression. The silent treatment . . alliance-building . . I-won't-be-your-friend-anymore . . group ostracism . . social rejection and manipulation . . etc. etc. Relationship bullying. Girl-bullying.
Every girl has been a victim of it at some point -- and every girl has been a victimizer at some point, too, if we're honest about it. It's so prevalent that we often seem to just accept it as a fact of female reality rather than as the vicious, destructive behavior that it is. And it can really be devastating to some people -- personality-killing, spirit-squashing, soul-destroying.
Although, as I read this book, I'm thinking that we forget sometimes that such behavior isn't exclusive to women. I've had men in my life do the same things to me -- in a more "manly" fashion, but the same root behavior, and with the same results.
This is a fascinating book -- a bit depressing, but fascinating. I find myself wanting to talk about this with people, but I don't know who to talk to. I'm not sure who I have in my life right now that I feel comfortable sitting and divulging such deep-seated issues with. Makes you feel very vulnerable. And pitiable. And like you must be a tiresome person to have to deal with. All feelings that point back to the observations made in this book. Hmmm.
Well, maybe I'll have the guts to blog more about some of this later. My in-laws' house over the holidays doesn't seem to be the time or place. I wonder what would BE the suitable time or place for such indulgences . . .