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Mean Moms article


Katy
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Thanks for posting. This quote in particular rang true for life in general lately I think- parenting and otherwise. But I would say it's mean persons, not simply moms.

Eichmann thinks part of the mean-mom problem is a lack of parenting empathy from society at large. Everyone feels like they're failing somewhere, people are already on edge, and one stupid comment can spiral out of control.

As for me, perhaps I've been lucky as I've not experienced any of this bullying Mom stuff. But I'm a Gen X and not a millennial, so perhaps that's the difference. Almost all of my friends had kids in their early, early 20's, so there wasn't much judgment to be had. Simply trying to figure out how to be married and have kids, thank heavens-- off the internet. The only run ins I've had honestly have been over homeschooling, or on this board, lol. But, I'm not on social media, and haven't really been since the beginning of Facebook when I decided it wasn't for me and quit in 2007. The "dawn" of social media I guess. Apparently I haven't missed out on much! I believe I'll stay in my cave. I can't imagine anyone I know saying much to my face over my parenting choices.

Edited by texasmom33
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I really don't see this in my real life, hardly ever. When I get a whiff of it online, it's still rare enough to come as a shock to me.

 

Gossips and mean people in general, or an individual with some specific pet topic, yes. But not mother's /about mothering specifically.

 

That's something, though... Do we attribute every disagreement, even strong ones, to "mean mom culture?" I guess I don't. For example, ice recently fallen in with some ppl that are very outspoken against something I do with my kids. They talk about it all the time, in extremely derogatory terms. But they aren't being mean, per se, they just feel this way about this thing. I just roll my eyes and get on with otherwise liking them very much.

 

Or like... If I say my kids can't have or do something other people's kids can.... That isn't a comment on a anyone but my kids and me/dh. But if someone chose, they could say I'm feeding into the mommy warz by saying a thing.

 

Now, we all (here) know people that beat their drum and it's like ALRIGHT! We get it. But even then... I think ppl just get stuck in thinking a certain way ykwim?

 

Trolls online, otoh, gonna be trollish online. They are sad sacks, but I don't think it has much to do with being a female or a mother!

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No, I do not buy the premise that this is a new phenomenon.

Bullying among girls has been rampant forever - not just since "Mean Girls". It was flourishing when I was a girl in the 70s. 

Women have been shunned for their life choices for centuries. Usually by other women.

 

No, nothing new here.

 

 


Maybe mean-girl behavior like the breastfeeding wars wouldn't exist if women and their partners had more support like paid parental leave. They wouldn't have to stress about pumping, running back to work, how they're going to afford childcare, whether they'll have the time to care for a newborn.

 

In your dreams. The author should look at countries where extended parental leave is the norm. Women are mean to each other there just as well.

Edited by regentrude
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And men.

 

Sure. But since this is specifically about parenting choices,  the bullying comes mainly from women; most men have no clue about the details of other women's parenting choices. Nor do they seem to be as invested in them.

Edited by regentrude
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There are some pretty complex social and cultural reasons about why women are sometimes mean to others of their sex, which are systemic, not individual.

 

And certainly not generational.

 

I'll refrain from getting on my soap box re systemic issues :)

Are you trying to lure my man away from me right now?

 

::Takes off earrings::

Edited by OKBud
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Well, I can't comment further on why men have the privilege of seeming 'beyond' the petty concerns of women without stepping back up on the box. 

 

I do not understand why it is a "privilege" not to become invested in another woman's parenting choices.

We women can certainly choose to do that as well.

 

Never did I mention the term "petty" concern. 

Edited by regentrude
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Just women in general.  Moms or not.  Actually childless women or those with older kids might be worse, without the humbling day-to-day experiences of motherhood that tend to temper the judgment of those in the trenches.

 

When my mom was raising 6 of us while working, women would call asking her to volunteer at school / work.  "___ is the least you can do."  Mom would say, "why don't you ask their father?"  "Oh I wouldn't want to bother him!"  Really?

 

Then there is the older churchlady who judges me for not participating in her marvelous projects.  In her opinion I'm not being a good Christian mom unless my kids see me joining in her projects.  (Gotta say I judge her too, but I'm quiet about it.)

 

I see it all the time, women making the journey harder for other women, for petty reasons or really no reason.  It's sad.

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I'm a millennial but I admit I haven't see a ton of this in person. I honestly wonder if being a busy homeschooler has been some protection from it for the most part. I stay off social media. Don't do birth boards anymore. I socialize at church and some activities but it's always very casual and kind. And I try not to air my opinions on what worked for me at large without someone asking and without caveats.

 

If I was working, volunteering in a classroom, or involved in the almost inevitable social media parenting competition that seems to evolve because of the nature of the platforms? I think I'd see more of this. But I'm kind of purposely and blissfully insulated. I get little doses of it on this site on some topics but it is nothing intense or unavoidable, especially once you learn which topics or posters you just can't handle (and I'm sure I could be That Mom to someone around here too!).

 

I don't doubt it exists. But I'd say the little bit I see seems to be tied to group school and group mom activities and we don't do a lot of either of those.

 

(Amen.)

Edited by Arctic Mama
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Sure. But since this is specifically about parenting choices, the bullying comes mainly from women; most men have no clue about the details of other women's parenting choices. Nor do they seem to be as invested in them.

My husband says there is some one upping among men on parenting choices too, but it's a little different and not as emotional. Also he says he doesn't get a whole lot because he has somehow obtained guru status for having half a million children and being very laid back about the whole thing. But especially around sports or grades men can get very competitive and snippy about their offspring as well.

 

It's a human thing, and one that can take some thoughtfulness to identify and correct for in oneself.

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My husband says there is some one upping among men on parenting choices too, but it's a little different and not as emotional. Also he says he doesn't get a whole lot because he has somehow obtained guru status for having half a million children and being very laid back about the whole thing. But especially around sports or grades men can get very competitive and snippy about their offspring as well.

 

It's a human thing, and one that can take some thoughtfulness to identify and correct for in oneself.

 

:laugh:   Feels that way sometimes I'm sure.

 

Edited by SKL
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I tend to agree that women seem to have had mean interactions for a long time.

 

I don't know that they were always about parenting in quite the way they are now, or at least that it was quite so widespread.  I think that's probably related to things like a much less homogeneous idea of how to parent within communities, and a general lack of confidence among young moms.  I think it was t was directed more at other things in the past. 

 

But - that's pretty much what I thought she was saying in the article.  If she's suggesting a biological basis, she's clearly not saying this is something completely new or confined to one sphere of life.

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:laugh: Feels that way sometimes I'm sure.

 

His workplace is full of two income families with one or two kids. We are the freak show :D

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The only judgment I get is about not working, but it can be quite harsh. Though also too stupid not to laugh off. My old landlady, when we first met, tried to run the "must be nice" bit. Of all people to make insinuations about one's financial situation... ummmm I'm renting - from you - so it's obviously not that nice? Which showed me she was just mindlessly repeating a script, so I ignored her. I'm sure there's loads of the other way around but I'm not in the circles where I imagine that would be common.

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I was going to say I haven't had mean comments from other mothers (except perhaps biological moms of children in foster care), but now that I think about it I wonder if that isn't more a function of emotional boundaries.  When someone makes a mean comment I rarely hesitate to correct them, and I've routinely found that when a "mean" person learns that not only do their mean comments not degrade you, they simply lower their own status in your eyes, people tend to fear you and stop making mean comments, at least to your face.

 

I can deal it back, as well as not take it personally, as well as anyone.  I would never simply go after someone in a cruel way though.  I'm certain that to a large extent that comes from  moving so much as a child and caring about being popular.  In each new school I started out not popular at all. I put up with the "mean girls" and became "friends" with them, or at least as close as you can be - some of them were frenemies more than friends, and some were narcissists, and others had just been loyal to those they'd been close to since kindergarten.  Few of them were actual friends who I stay in contact with now, other than facebook.

 

I also had a narcissist in the family, and my mom taught me from a young age to never take anything she said personally - it was more a function of how ill this person was than her comments said anything about me.

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No, I do not buy the premise that this is a new phenomenon.

Bullying among girls has been rampant forever - not just since "Mean Girls". It was flourishing when I was a girl in the 70s

Women have been shunned for their life choices for centuries. Usually by other women.

 

No, nothing new here.

 

 

 

In your dreams. The author should look at countries where extended parental leave is the norm. Women are mean to each other there just as well.

 

it was flourishing when my mother was in school in the 40s/50s. 

and I'm sure it has been around for centuries - and probably long.  human nature doesn't really change.

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I'm a GenXer, and I've only experienced a few low level mean mom things IRL, though I've read a TON online over the years.

 

I do frequently find myself in situations where I could probably justify being offended, but I think most of them are cases of people blathering on without considering their audience.  Perception does matter, to a degree.  It doesn't change the fact that there ARE straight up mean moms, but I've come across people who get upset when *solicited advice isn't what they want, or rational expectations are requested.  

 

My parenting was attacked when I asked a long-term "guest" not to let her kids run around my house yelling at 11pm while mine tried to sleep.  My own sister got extremely defensive when she asked for thoughts on teaching her (brilliant, but) not even 2yo and I tried to gently dissuade her from formal curricula.  I don't know if they actually perceive me as a "mean mom", but they clearly took a whopping load of offense to my positions that I don't think were anywhere near out of line.

 

We (general) are mean, oversensitive, AND unwilling to see past our noses.  And it makes a big mess.  Both sides of the street could use cleaning.

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And men.

 

Otherwise, I agree.

My experience has been judgement coming almost exclusively from other women. The other mothers at church were the worst, but I've seen and experienced judgement from other women many places. It's the reason I avoid groups of women mostly. I find men much less judgemental and more transparent, so in a social situation I do not need to be constantly guarded for the inevitable jab at my parenting/work/kids.

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My experience has been judgement coming almost exclusively from other women. The other mothers at church were the worst, but I've seen and experienced judgement from other women many places. It's the reason I avoid groups of women mostly. I find men much less judgemental and more transparent, so in a social situation I do not need to be constantly guarded for the inevitable jab at my parenting/work/kids.

 

I have a similar experience but I wonder if it's the gender as such or rather, going across the gender divide - you're not viewed as a competitor. I don't see women heaping lots of judgment on men, either. The judgment they heap on each other seems different from what I can tell, but far from non-existent.

 

I was traumatized about groups of women early in life. The girls were absolutely the instigators, the ones who decided I was on the outs, and the boys played along - though sometimes vehemently - to get in with them.

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I don't think I've run into this the way the writer is talking about.

 

I have some people in my life who aren't very thoughtful and who don't take the time to see other people's points of view. Here's a tiny example of the sorts of things they say:

 

I had read a very heartwarming book about a woman who worked with owls. One of the owls bonded with her and treated her as its mate. When she went through a horrible medical issue and was seriously considering suicide from the pain she was in each day, the only reason she didn't kill herself is that she knew that the owl thought she was his mate. In owl-world, when your mate dies, you starve yourself to death. She didn't want her owl to starve himself to death, so she lived with the pain, which eventually went away. But at the end of the book, the woman, of course, outlived her owl and it was sad.

 

I was trying to tell a group of women about this touching story and two of them cut me off to say what a silly idea it is to write about pets and how they don't like pets and why would anyone want a bunch of animals in their house?

 

At the time I felt hurt and dismissed and, as an animal lover, pretty disgusted with them.

 

But the more I get to know them, the more I realize they're just immature in how to listen. They have an opinion and don't even realize there are other opinions out there. They don't know how to connect to other people. They hear something and immediately spout out the first thought that flits through their brains without considering their audience. They don't listen and try to understand the other person. They're too quick to jump in with a comment and not quick enough to give someone else the space to express themselves and connect.

 

I wouldn't say they're mean girls. There is no trying to be top dog involved. They're just clueless and self-centered and don't even know they're self-centered.

 

I'm discovering that listening and then asking a lot of questions to draw out another person is a very rare skill. And I'm doing my best to hone it, because I think it's valuable.

 

I think the women in the article are so busy spouting off the first thing they think of off the top of their heads that they have no idea that their words cut. They haven't connected enough with another person to know it hurts. They're not thinking of the other person--not thinking about belittling them and not thinking about hurting them. Theyr'e just thinking about themselves, "Oh, that owl story reminds me of pets and I don't like pets," and out pops a comment about pets.

 

Basically it has nothing to do with negative intentions and everything to do with complete cluelessness and self-centeredness and an inability to see another person's point of view

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I have dealt with it in a HOMESCHOOL "Christian" moms group.  

It makes me very sad.  

 

The worst bullying I have ever seen among teens was in a homeschool group. Where it got particularly ugly because the girls' mothers got involved and bullied the bullied kid's mom.

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But what the heck are we competing for???

Not for mates, at this stage in our lives. 

 

Justification. My theory of this whole thing is that there is a primal, irrational, unarticulated fear that if you're caught out doing the wrong thing, your survival will be threatened - perhaps by society refusing to protect you somehow? - so you have to preemptively make sure that lands on the other guy (or lady).

 

And responding to something I think you said upthread, while this is definitely a universal element in human nature, I think American women do have an extra source of this type of fear in the form of competing norms that haven't been reconciled - "thou shalt work for money above all else" vs. "thou shalt absolutely devote thyself to thy children" - and a political environment where we are in fact repeatedly threatened that society will not protect us if we make the wrong choice (which manages to catch us at both ends - stingy maternity leave if any, no protections for housewives, etc). Making the woman next to you feel bad about her personal choices borders on superstitious in how effective a way of dealing with this it is, but the fears involved run very deep, below where any glimmer of rationality begins to be found. And on that level, this does have partly to do with mates - the security we have in our relationships at this age is the fruit of a very contingent civilized social agreement. I have had women get very pointed about the fact that I don't "help out" (work for pay) in front of my husband, specifically. Not that they were trying to pick him up, but they were acting out an instinct to run me down to him, making themselves more attractive by comparison, perhaps for benefit of their own husband.

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I have a similar experience but I wonder if it's the gender as such or rather, going across the gender divide - you're not viewed as a competitor. I don't see women heaping lots of judgment on men, either. The judgment they heap on each other seems different from what I can tell, but far from non-existent.

 

I was traumatized about groups of women early in life. The girls were absolutely the instigators, the ones who decided I was on the outs, and the boys played along - though sometimes vehemently - to get in with them.

 

My feeling is that it's more common among women.  My dh has the same impression, it's a female approch to interactions more than a male one.

 

I seem to recall some research suggested something similar - also that social networks among women were more complex.

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But what the heck are we competing for???

Not for mates, at this stage in our lives. 

 

This may seem like a weird answer, but try watching Monkey Kingdom.  I think it's similar with people - it's about controlling resources for your children.

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The worst bullying I have ever seen among teens was in a homeschool group. Where it got particularly ugly because the girls' mothers got involved and bullied the bullied kid's mom.

 

I was bullied by a few of my teachers in high school - not in the same manner as the kids did of course, but they used their power in various ways to reinforce the popular kids' judgment of me. One of many reasons why unlike a lot of people on here I become less likely to keep using the public schools as grade level goes up.

 

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The worst bullying I have ever seen among teens was in a homeschool group. Where it got particularly ugly because the girls' mothers got involved and bullied the bullied kid's mom.

Yup. I've witnessed Christian homeschool group bullying too. Only the girls and moms participated in the bullying.

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This thread reminds me of Pearl S. Buck's book "The Mother."  In that time and place, the judgy mcjudgersons would dis you for having fewer children than others.  It's always something, right?  :)

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My feeling is that it's more common among women.  My dh has the same impression, it's a female approch to interactions more than a male one.

 

I seem to recall some research suggested something similar - also that social networks among women were more complex.

 

My sense is that men are more likely to honestly reject or sideline someone rather than keep them around for sadistic toying about how they're not ~quite~ good enough. I also think men are less likely to feel like being similarly situated in life automatically means they have to have a social relationship in the first place.

 

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I don't think I've run into this the way the writer is talking about.

 

I have some people in my life who aren't very thoughtful and who don't take the time to see other people's points of view. Here's a tiny example of the sorts of things they say:

 

I had read a very heartwarming book about a woman who worked with owls. One of the owls bonded with her and treated her as its mate. When she went through a horrible medical issue and was seriously considering suicide from the pain she was in each day, the only reason she didn't kill herself is that she knew that the owl thought she was his mate. In owl-world, when your mate dies, you starve yourself to death. She didn't want her owl to starve himself to death, so she lived with the pain, which eventually went away. But at the end of the book, the woman, of course, outlived her owl and it was sad.

 

I was trying to tell a group of women about this touching story and two of them cut me off to say what a silly idea it is to write about pets and how they don't like pets and why would anyone want a bunch of animals in their house?

 

At the time I felt hurt and dismissed and, as an animal lover, pretty disgusted with them.

 

But the more I get to know them, the more I realize they're just immature in how to listen. They have an opinion and don't even realize there are other opinions out there. They don't know how to connect to other people. They hear something and immediately spout out the first thought that flits through their brains without considering their audience. They don't listen and try to understand the other person. They're too quick to jump in with a comment and not quick enough to give someone else the space to express themselves and connect.

 

I wouldn't say they're mean girls. There is no trying to be top dog involved. They're just clueless and self-centered and don't even know they're self-centered.

 

I'm discovering that listening and then asking a lot of questions to draw out another person is a very rare skill. And I'm doing my best to hone it, because I think it's valuable.

 

I think the women in the article are so busy spouting off the first thing they think of off the top of their heads that they have no idea that their words cut. They haven't connected enough with another person to know it hurts. They're not thinking of the other person--not thinking about belittling them and not thinking about hurting them. Theyr'e just thinking about themselves, "Oh, that owl story reminds me of pets and I don't like pets," and out pops a comment about pets.

 

Basically it has nothing to do with negative intentions and everything to do with complete cluelessness and self-centeredness and an inability to see another person's point of view

 

This is definitely my experience as well.

 

And it's not relegated to women in the least.

 

I'm not saying that tonnes of people haven't had the bad/weird luck to only meet AWESOME DUDES, and at the same time only or mostly WITCHY WOMEN.

 

But I'm not not saying it either. 

 

Not getting along with a whole entire gender is really not other people's problem... and I would include people that have traumatized by members of one of the genders, and thereafter has a difficult time with others of that gender. That's part of what makes gender-based violence insidious: it damages a part of you that deals with relationships. This is more obvious when it comes  to DV, but it's equally true with other things like extreme bullying. This is self-evidently separate from having a preference for one-gender dominated activities, so that's where one ends up making their friends.

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My sense is that men are more likely to honestly reject or sideline someone rather than keep them around for sadistic toying about how they're not ~quite~ good enough..

 

 

I'm going to reiterate what someone said upthread...Katy?... I can not even imagine giving an acquaintance or friend the leeway to do this to me. I mean, i have been REJECTED lol. Loads and loads of that. But after it happens it's a situation of...OK, Bye. Not allowing them to "keep me around."

 

So it is my sense that, to the extent that people are having such extreme trouble with this that it is a cultural phenomenon, there is a lack of ~something? Other people would know. Self-esteem? Boundaries? Both, I'm guessing? Not JUST cultural mores that encourage mother-shaming.

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I'm going to reiterate what someone said upthread...Katy?... I can not even imagine giving an acquaintance or friend the leeway to do this to me. I mean, i have been REJECTED lol. Loads and loads of that. But after it happens it's a situation of...OK, Bye. Not allowing them to "keep me around."

 

So it is my sense that, to the extent that people are having such extreme trouble with this that it is a cultural phenomenon, there is a lack of ~something? Other people would know. Self-esteem? Boundaries? Both, I'm guessing? Not JUST cultural mores that encourage mother-shaming.

 

"Well I would never let something like that happen to me" is a form of victim blaming, as is attributing bullying to qualities in the bullied. This kind of behavior often involves skillful manipulation, making the person feel that there's something worthwhile there, if only they could measure up. It often takes place in a group, with a good cop/bad cop dynamic, and a sense that to disengage would be to lose friends who, though valuable (and perhaps your only friends), would probably not prefer you to their more popular/dominant friends if you bailed. It often happens to people who are young and socially inexperienced - including women who are socially inept because of previous experiences of bullying. (We tend to be repeatedly targeted in various settings, as there's a "type" - nerdy, not too conventionally attractive - and our relatively poor social skills mark us as the people to do this to, if one's inclined to do it at all.)  Very often the woman feels, or really is, trapped in a setting where she has to get along with certain people, whether in school, work, church, or a moms/kids setting of various types.

 

I've gotten pretty good at identifying people with low self-esteem, poor boundaries, etc. I don't bully them. Their being that way doesn't invite or compel it. That's a choice.

 

I also didn't say anything about awesome dudes and witchy women, nor did anyone else. I'm not a woman-hater. Morally demonizing unpopular women is exactly what bullies do. It seems like nobody ever calls out the girls and women who like being mean to other females for misogyny - only the ones who try to avoid it. According to what you're saying it seems I can't win - if I avoid women, I'm a misogynist, and if I stick around and try to get along, I'm asking for it.

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I can't quote atm...

 

I don't think avoiding women makes anyone a misogynist. The only thought I have about it is it seems indicative of something gone haywire in the ability to relate, and if someone says it's because of bullying or trauma, I believe that.

 

Im gonna stand by the thought that for the most part, grown women can't drag other grown women around by the nose if they both have healthy self esteem and are good at maintaining boundaries.

 

ETA I also wasn't addressing anyone in particular. Just thinking in general.

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Watching my 10yo daughters enter puberty has been interesting.  Suddenly the number of perceived slights in their day-to-day interactions has increased exponentially.  What is it about women and their conspiracy theories?  And they react in ways that probably lead the other person to feel attacked "for no reason."  And so it goes.

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Im gonna stand by the thought that for the most part, grown women can't drag other grown women around by the nose if they both have healthy self esteem and are good at maintaining boundaries.

 

And a man can't beat up another man if he has good upper body strength and is good at defensive blocking. That doesn't mean it's OK to go around beating up the guys who don't have those abilities.

 

There's no good way to phrase the proposition that abusive dynamics arise due to qualities in the weaker party.

 

And btw I disagree with PP's idea that this is all just people not thinking before they speak. Sometimes it is. But often it's done quite cleverly and deliberately, for the pleasure of putting another down.

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Watching my 10yo daughters enter puberty has been interesting. Suddenly the number of perceived slights in their day-to-day interactions has increased exponentially. What is it about women and their conspiracy theories? And they react in ways that probably lead the other person to feel attacked "for no reason." And so it goes.

 

This is sooo true. Some people see slights everywhere--even where they're not. Perhaps this is more common in women than men. I don't know for sure, but it seems that way. Some women do this a little bit, and some are over-the-top interpreting everything through a filter of "they're all out to get me!!"

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I have definitely been mean-mommed by the church mom crowd.  Especially with teenagers.  It was harder when I was a new teen mom (not a teenager myself, but a mom to a new teenager and more unsure of what I was doing) and we moved from a more do-what-makes-you-happy place to a small town with lots of people who had never lived anywhere else.  Oh the pain!  I felt like I constantly had to run interference to protect my kids from the judgement of other moms.  And I really have great kids.  But we were different than the usual church group.

 

Our oldest two grew up and are doing awesome things in life, even if they did wear leggings (what?!) or short running shorts (what!?) and sometimes worked instead of going to church night on wednesdays (what?!) and excelled at crazy sports (what!?) After moving a few more times, I have come to the realization that I have awesome kids and I don't need mom friends!  Much better!

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I think maybe people do that in part because they know that a. mean people specialize in catching you out for doing something "stupid" when you're being less than vigilant b. snark is often semi-concealed. It might not take too many bad incidents to start feeling like your instincts haven't served you well and you need to be constantly on guard. I do think low or shaky self-esteem can figure into it as well - projecting your insecurities, or taking even intended slights harder than they were meant.

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I can't quote atm...

 

I don't think avoiding women makes anyone a misogynist. The only thought I have about it is it seems indicative of something gone haywire in the ability to relate, and if someone says it's because of bullying or trauma, I believe that.

 

Im gonna stand by the thought that for the most part, grown women can't drag other grown women around by the nose if they both have healthy self esteem and are good at maintaining boundaries.

 

ETA I also wasn't addressing anyone in particular. Just thinking in general.

 

That's truer with grown women, I think it's most common with teen women when it gets bad.  And that I suspect is about experience in understanding what is motivating others and how to navigate it.

 

But I think women overall tend to behave really different socially than men.  It's not a bad/good thing, just different.  But with a different social structure, conflict comes out differently, and difficult individuals behave in a different way.

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Watching my 10yo daughters enter puberty has been interesting.  Suddenly the number of perceived slights in their day-to-day interactions has increased exponentially.  What is it about women and their conspiracy theories?  And they react in ways that probably lead the other person to feel attacked "for no reason."  And so it goes.

 

Oh my.  My 12 year old is in school this year and is very friendly with two other girls.  Plus there are of course lots of other kids at school.

 

The girls really can be fraught.  Dd is pretty straight-forward, but I have to remind her not to get caught up and be mean or petty.  One of the girls she is close with is a talk-behind-your-back type, and dd can't figure out how to deal with that.

 

It's just all a hot mess at times.

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This is sooo true. Some people see slights everywhere--even where they're not. Perhaps this is more common in women than men. I don't know for sure, but it seems that way. Some women do this a little bit, and some are over-the-top interpreting everything through a filter of "they're all out to get me!!"

 

My dh is sure I "interpret" what he says.  And actually, he is largely right, I tend to assume there are layers of meaning, or that I can take his statement and asume what seems to follow logically.

 

This seems to be a common complaint of men about female communication.

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I'm a bully magnet; always have been always will be don't want to cut off parts of myself to fit in.

 

It's been worse with ds9 and the internet forum boards than it was with dd28 and the mean moms at Park Day, but definitely a matter of degree.

 

dd28's then-best friend confessed that her mom, who was in her 40s at the time, used to use my family as a cautionary tale and frequently said, "Because I don't want my grandchildren to wind up like IEF's poor dd and that's what happens when babies have babies!"

 

I was 24 when dd28 was born, so hardly a teen mom. I was 43 when ds9 was born and my rosy coloured Titus 2 fantasies of sharing a lifetime of hard earned lessons and God letting me make mistakes so I would have the resources to save others from making the same mistakes eventually evaporated in the face of reality.

 

I'm still a bully magnet. Posting a link or adding my own voice the choir on a Dr. Hive post is going to have more positive impact on the life of an individual than pouring out my soul and spending hours writing autobiographical anecdotes and cautionary tales.

 

I think that this article is going to do a lot of good as far as validating the experiences of its target audience, i.e., "There, there dear; it's not your fault, it's just the world we live in." and that she is right on about how tired, stressed out, insecure moms can be tempted to make snarky comments about different choices and sometimes we're not even trying to be mean, just cracking jokes that flop.

 

I'm going to work on that. I'm no saint. Scrolling past my own hot-button issues is one thing I DO have the power to do to change the "mean mommy" atmosphere and it takes a lot less energy than bawling for a week when somebody else cracks a joke that I don't think is funny.

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...

Edit: I think it can lead to parents getting sucked in if they're not careful. My husband is very alert to any hint of bullying and responds to any report of being picked on with CODE RED! We must support our child against the bully! I have to point out that this child considers being reminded to brush his hair persecution because "I WAS JUST GOING TO DO THAT YOU DON'T HAVE TO TELL ME TO! AAAAAAAAAAA!!!"

 

I am always careful about what to believe when my kids complain about other kids.  It helps that both of my daughters are in the same class.  They are not similar personalities, so they tell the same stories different ways.  :)  My eldest's best school friends tend to be my youngest's "enemies," but when I listen a little more, it often goes like this:

 

"Emma's mean.  She called me a nerd.  So I told her to stop it.  But she said I shouldn't have called her a troll before that.  But she IS a troll ...."

 

:/

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That's truer with grown women, I think it's most common with teen women when it gets bad. And that I suspect is about experience in understanding what is motivating others and how to navigate it.

 

But I think women overall tend to behave really different socially than men. It's not a bad/good thing, just different. But with a different social structure, conflict comes out differently, and difficult individuals behave in a different way.

Agree on all counts.

 

Things are getting muddied because the op is about grownups but some of us are, naturally, talking about children.

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Agree on all counts.

 

Things are getting muddied because the op is about grownups but some of us are, naturally, talking about children.

 

I see a surprising number of women though who seem to have teen-like social groups.  I find it really weird when I encounter it, being catty seems to be taken for granted.

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