The Female Bully and the Codependent: “A Smelly Turd in a Pretty Package”

Nov 21 08:25 2018 Anne H. Brown Print This Article

“Blowing out someone else’s candle doesn’t make yours shine any brighter.”

Physical/aggressive bullying is easy to identify.  We can all see the broken bones,Guest Posting blood, and bruises. This type of bullying is most often chosen by men.

As a therapist, it is usually pretty easy for me to ask certain questions to get the information that physical abuse is indeed happening. The real work comes when we have to identify the covert bully who may be setting the victim up to receive physical abuse or emotionally abusing someone. Covert bullying is usually chosen by women. Remember, either sex can do either type of bullying, but we are going to discuss the female serial family bully who choses covert bullying in this series.

I am also questioning a connection between codependency and bullying. Many codependents have such a dysfunctional relationship with anger, it begs the question: do some use bullying as a way to express their anger? If I cannot have an honest conversation when I have a different opinion, how can I possibly take a stand, engage in clarifying conversations, debate, acknowledge to myself or anyone else my jealousy and insecurity, or engage in life in a healthy way which includes expressing my anger? 

Bullying will occur, for the purpose of this discussion, when there is repeated verbal and psychological aggression toward another. As I said above, female bullies are challenging to identify because they are more covert, manipulative, devious, believable, and may even be smiling while they are bullying. Female bullies will often manipulate a male to do their work for them. And remember, it is all done covertly so it takes skilled questions, awareness, and experience to uncover the abuse and we will probably never know the full extent.

Characteristics of the Serial Female Family Bully

Female bullies who are covertly emotionally abusive will usually deny the abuse, and couch what they are doing in some believable story to the untrained person. Female bullies are masterful at wrapping up a very large, smelly turd in a very beautifully wrapped package with a bow.

Let’s look at some of the characteristics of the serial female family bully: 

  • Charming and believable
  • Devious and manipulative
  • Cunning and lying
  • Absence of empathy
  • Chameleon
  • Denial

Let’s look at the ways they bully:

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About Article Author

Anne H. Brown
Anne H. Brown

Dr. Anne Brown PhD, RNCS of Sausalito, California, formerly from Aspen, Colorado is a psychotherapist, speaker, coach, and the author of Backbone Power: The Science of Saying No. For over twenty years she served as the trusted advocate and advisor to Influential Corporate leaders, Trial Attorneys, Athletes, Leaders, Physicians and their families whose connections extended far beyond Aspen, Colorado. 

Brown is a graduate of the University of Virginia, BS in Nursing; Boston University, MS in Psychiatric-Mental Health in Nursing; and International University, PhD in Addiction Studies. In 1997 Brown also reached a personal goal of obtaining her Black Belt in Soo Bahk Do. 

You can contact Dr. Anne Brown through her website:

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