Poisonous Plant

Words for Life 16 – The Poisonous Plant


Female Bullying. Maybe we don’t know we’re doing it. Look carefully at what you say!

“What me? No, I don’t gossip.  I’m nice and wouldn’t bully anybody and cause them stress.  Of course not; my friends aren’t like that. We talk, we share, we open our hearts. I’m always saying that I can’t stand people who bitch.

Her? Do you mean that woman that lives in that new house on the edge of town, with the new job and car? My husband says she’s very nice, and has joined lots of groups and things and wants to be part of the community. He says she seems very popular but I don’t think she’s my sort of person. Hmmm he seems a bit too supportive but he’s very easily influenced and can’t see how other people work sometimes but I wonder is it more than that?

I think she must have a “strong” personality which means she’s probably a bit difficult because we all know strong characters like to be in control.  I hope she doesn’t interfere with my group, and come along to the meetings I organize, because we don’t need difficult, pushy people barging in and upsetting us. I’d best warn the girls I think, so they can be on their guard against her.”


What’s it about

Gossip is unconstrained and often derogatory conversation about other people. It could involve betraying confidences, spreading sensitive information, as well as hurtful judgements and made up stories.

People who don’t feel good about themselves, feel better when they judge others negatively because it makes them feel superior.  Gossip can hurt those whose popularity, talents, or lifestyle are envied. It also makes the gossiper feel part of a group, albeit based on exclusion or maliciousness, and retribution can be derived from the disparaging remarks caused by anger and unhappiness. Gossip can rouse people’s interest and the gossiper can be the short term centre of attention whilst divulging their poison.

Gossiping shows the insecurities and mean-spiritedness of the gossiper and they are not popular because they cannot be trusted. Spreading private information and negative judgments is painful to others and makes the gossiper look bad. Everyone feels like they’ve eaten a bad apple.

It’s bullying and many people never outgrow it, with behaviours getting more polished and subtle as they get older. Making someone feel alone, rejected and treating her as an outcast can be as vicious as a physical assault.

Perhaps the heart of female psychological violence is to destroy other women’s relationships, because it’s these very relationships that are so important to women but is probably no more than an establishment of a pecking order.



Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.