Christian Women And Bullying

Posted on Posted in Godly Women

How do you respond to a confrontational situation?  When someone says something you don’t agree with, are you responding in a way God would desire of you?

Do you feel like you have to be right all the time?  That you have to have control of the situation?  If you are young, do you feel that the older generation are “out of touch” and you’re the one who really understands the world?  Or, are you of the older generation who views all younger people as “just kids” who will never understand the world like you do?

And if you do feel one of these ways, do you speak to people in this manner?  Or do you keep it to yourself?  How would Jesus want us to speak and behave around others with different interests than our own?

There are three general ways in our world that a person responds to an uncomfortable situation.

We either act passively, aggressively, or passive-aggressively.

Passive action is “accepting or submitting without objection or resistance; submissive” (reference here).  This person hears that there is a promotion opportunity at work and may or may not apply for it, but does nothing else about it.

Aggressive action is “assertive, bold, and energetic” (reference here).  The aggressive person confronts the situation head-on.  They see that there is a promotion available and immediately starts working on a resume and setting up a schedule to see the boss.  The aggressive person may be kind or a bully.

“A Passive-aggressive individual deals with emotional conflict or stressors by indirectly and unassertively expressing aggression toward others.  On the surface, there is an appearance of compliance that masks covert resistance, resentment, and hostility.” (Resource:  Foundations of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing by Saunders 5th Edition).  This person may or may not apply for the promotion.

If they apply, they may act like it’s not important to them, but if they don’t get it they harbor resentment in their heart toward either the boss who didn’t hire them or the person who did get the position.  They harbor hostility in their hearts toward someone else which they indirectly and unassertively express aggression toward. Perhaps they tell “inside jokes” that seem innocent to everyone and a good laugh–but in their heart, are really meant unkindly.

 

How does this apply to us and those around us?

I personally appreciate most aggressive people.  I enjoy people who know what is important and go for it.  To me they are easy to talk to because I know what they want and where they are headed.  However, when aggressive people will step on others to get what they want, that makes them a bully.  There are subtle ways a person may not realize they are being a bully.

For example, if someone makes an offer and you say “no,” the person should respect your decision and stop pushing.  When they are aggressive and either continue to repeatedly ask or come up with reasons why you should change your mind, they are being a bully.

How this may apply to you:  Look deeply at your actions.  Do you push people into making decisions?  Even if you mean well, are you pushing your point of view onto them?

Perhaps you are well aware of someone in your life whom you tell “no” and they keep pushing you to change your mind?  This person is exhibiting signs of bullying you.

On the other hand, maybe you are passive-aggressive.  When you don’t get your way, do you smile at someone while feeling hostile toward them in your heart?  If something doesn’t go your way, do you say mean things “in a nice way” to someone else?  Or maybe you say more nice things in a nice way because of resent in your heart?  Even if that other person is unaware of what your heart is harboring, it is passive-aggressive.  And it makes you a bully.

On the other hand, do you have a friend who treats you this way?  I recently watched a friend go through a situation I feared would fail.  I could see that it was important to her, but no one else.  Because she was my friend, I supported her to achieve her goal, but alas it failed.  I could see that she was hurt.

When I tried to comfort her however, she began to say very rude things in nice ways to me.   This is a repeated reaction toward me when she doesn’t get her way that I have noticed over the years.  Having a back-ground in psychology, I recognize the signs every time.  My very loving Christian friend was being a bully to me.

 

Are you being a bully?  Or do you have someone bullying you?  I think we have all been on both sides of this equation at one point or another.  So what do we do about it?

We need to first recognize that it is not okay.  God’s word tells us

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips…so that they may encourage the young women… to be sensible…kind…so that the word of God will not be dishonored.  Titus 2:3-5

He is telling older women to be reverent (respectful) in their behavior…so that they may encourage the young women.  He tells us it doesn’t matter how old or young we are, he wants us to be respectful in our behaviors.

It is not okay to be a bully.  And if someone else is being a bully to you, you don’t have to take it.  So what do we do about this?

If you are the bully, you need to stop, admit your sins to the other person, and repent.  It’s as simple as that.  (If you make a call to someone after reading this and tell them, “So, I read this thing today, and I guess I have to call and apologize or something,” while you are resentful in your heart–you have completely missed the point.)

I have had to do this myself.  I understand how hard it is.

 

If you are being bullied by a friend, you need to bring it to that friend’s attention and let them know it’s not okay.  Even if you have thick skin.  Friends don’t bully each other.  Set some boundaries.  This should not be a fight.  If you’ve been hurt, you may need to tell them it hurts you.  Above all, be ready first to forgive, and second to keep your boundaries.

I have had to do this as well.  This one isn’t as hard for me.  It has had some big consequences however.  When I was younger, I would tell the person, I’m sorry but you can’t treat me this way.  Generally the relationship fizzled as I held my ground.  And I found new friends who didn’t bully me.

In my slightly more mature days, I have tried to save the relationships.  I have told the person, I love you and you’re  a great friend.  I would like to remain good friends, but you can’t treat me this way.  It must stop.  Do you think we can work this out?

Friends that are truly repentant and love me deeply I see a change in.  But I would be lying to you if I told you that every Christian woman will respond this way once she realizes what she is doing.

I have also had a friend who reluctantly agrees, says she wants to change, but repeats this cycle over and over again making excuses each time.  I’m preparing myself to mourn this relationship–because it isn’t healthy for me to be bullied, and it isn’t healthy for her to learn that it’s ok to bully friends.  Only time will tell if it turns around.

I suggest trying to save relationships.  But both of you deserve better if the boundaries can’t be kept.  This is the much longer and more emotional road.

Being a Christian doesn't mean we aren't exhibiting bully-like qualities that we may or may not be aware of. How to recognize and fix the problem in yourself. Is a Christian woman bullying you? She deserves your love. How to set boundaries and still love her.

Are you in a tough spot where you are setting or trying to maintain boundaries?

Blessings,

24 thoughts on “Christian Women And Bullying

  1. I love this. I needed this today. I can’t wait to share it with my friends. Thank you for these words! I think women sometimes disguise bullying with sweet sounding words, but the words and actions themselves are meant to manipulate. I appreciate this blog post very much.
    Paige

  2. I used to avoid conflict altogether but then I felt like I was constantly being trampled. Then I started being passive -aggressive without even realizing it. I saw the error of my ways and have praying to handle all situations with God leading the way.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Wishing you a lovely day.
    xoxo

  3. So glad you were “faith-filled” enough to address this topic.
    Bullying…”the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others.”
    Christian Woman…”one who has genuinely asked Christ for forgiveness for sin and given Him control of her life. She strives each day to walk as He directs and willingly serves & stands on His Word.”

    If we look at these two words, they are like oil and water. They just do not mix.
    The genuine woman of faith WILL be bullied. As she stands for the Word of God and scatters seeds of faith, you can count on the world (unsaved) or even those who claim to be Christians (counterfeit Christains) to hurl insults intended to cause emotional and spiritual pain.

    You will encounter many who claim to be knowledgeable in Scripture, yet are a babe in the wisdom of His teachings.
    You WILL know the genuine woman of faith by her gentleness of correction and her willingness to meet you half-way in understanding.
    Sure we will not all agree on all points, but the genuine woman of faith will not intentionally seek to hurt, insult or abuse.

    This is a well written post and I am sure there will be controversy.
    But please know that a genuine woman of faith “will” be willing to go out on a limb to serve. She will stand on His Word and not compromise to please the world. And when she does encounter that “so-called” person of faith, she
    will return a gentle yet strong answer that agrees with the Word of God.

    Jesus tells us, “In the world you WILL face tribulation…”
    In this world you WILL come across counterfeit Christians, but one day He will separate the tares from the wheat (Matt. 13:30).

    My answer to those that are bullying by pressure, word or actions… shake the dust off and walk away from them. Pray for them. Let them know you are praying for them. Focus on Christ, and spend time with Him.
    He is the joy of my life!

    Good post sister Deb! Only what is done for Christ will last. JO
    Let them know when they desire to

    1. I don’t even know how to reply to you Dear Friend. I probably should have had you write this for me 🙂 .
      All I can do it pray for God to reveal to me any bullying tendencies. When I find them, I will go to my friend and admit my sins and then repent before my Lord. If He has favor on me, He will change me.

  4. What a GREAT subject to write on. The subject of healthy boundaries is one that needs to be discussed more. I have been at fault and often a victim of this type of bullying. It seems to be an issue in all aspects of society, but I love how you eloquently bring it back to the things of God. You have convicted and inspired me to act in areas of my life that I still have room for improvement. Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed reading your blog post!

    1. Many times people confuse being a “good girl” with being someone who lets people step on her. Boundaries keep us safe emotionally and physically. And when we remind our friend that she is not treating us like God wants, then we are actually loving her–this boundary reminds her to change her heart and behavior to one that is desired by our loving Father.
      Thank you for sharing your insight with us.
      Blessings,

  5. There is so much truth in this post. Yes, the bullying needs to stop. I have seen way too much of this in the church and I’m sure I’ve been a little too forceful with my opinion in some situations. We are supposed to speak the truth in love, but there are many subjects which are gray, in my opinion, and of course ultimately it’s God who is the judge, right? Thank you for making me think today.

    1. Yes Abby, it’s too common. My husband is teaching from Philippians right now and it just rang a chord to think about the unity we are all supposed to have.
      You are absolutely right about those gray areas. They kind of tend to give us an “in” toward telling everyone what we “know to be best”, eh? I am certainly not innocent of this myself.
      Thanks for stopping by Abby.
      Blessings,

  6. Hey , great post, made me really think about how I treat my friends and how they treat me. I think it goes both ways at times. Thank you for the encouragement to change things and keep our eyes and ears open. Thanks for sharing, blessings.

    1. Yes it does go both ways. In a world encouraging women to “go for it” and “assert yourself” more and more, we sometimes leave the “speak in truth and love” by the wayside. Thank you for your insight Terri.
      Blessings,

  7. Thanks for sharing this. It was very helpful to see others toward me and myself from a different angle. I notice that as I get older, I do get more confrontational and it is not so easy to sweep the crumbs under the carpet. However, I do have a specific friend who has played the bully and I always turn passive every time in fear of confronting her… This has given me lots to think about. Thank you for referencing it on the post you shared on the Art of Home-Making Mondays.

    1. I find as I get older I have learned to be less confrontational, but more apt to notice passive-aggressive behaviors in others. My friend only started this behavior in the last two years. I do tell her I love her, but we need to talk. I ask if we can pray together first, as well as when we are done. So far, she has been receptive. Only time will tell how our story ends…

  8. I needed to read about this topic, now I know how to confront some situations that I veen dealing in the past. Thank you so much for such wisdom words, may God keep using you to equip us.

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  10. Hi Farmer’s wife. This is great… I’m here searching for wisdom… I belong to a fabulous volunteer, Christian organisation. There is a lady who has been bullying many since taking on a leadership position. It has been brought to the committee’s attention many times, but they continue to forgive her and urge her to do better. She has many times been pushy, and accusing me of not working with her. And it is so not true and I have proof, including emails of encouragement that I sent after one of her first outbursts of bullying and getting herself into trouble. She continued though, to attack me and others. Most recently she went against the committee’s instructions and personally contacted members for our roster (the roster is my job). She then sent the roster out and announced changes in how things would be run in the future. She then emailed just the committee announcing that the rosters have been poorly organised and she should take them over. Other bits of communication followed to the point of her telling me that I’ve been not trying and doing a terrible job. The whole of the organisation knows that this is not true and the committee do not support her, but they do tend to think I should just let her have it and walk away. For me, this is a matter of justice… not just for me, but for all. And it is necessary to set a standard for what is and isn’t acceptable. She has never ever ever apologized to anyone that she has wronged over her time, but will quickly burst into tears saying that this is a hard job and she is new to it all… etc… Thoughts?

  11. Hi there ladies..a blessed christmas to you all..i am seeking christian counsel and pray you can guide me..i am in my 50’s..my mum has been controlling and a bully for as long as i can remember..she professes to be a christian (since little) but all around can see she hasn’t and isn’t walking right with the Lord..i have done my best to guide her..lead by example..warn and show her rebuke from a biblical perspective..everything really but sadly to no avail..a few years ago she bullied a christian friend of mine and it’s clear my friend has never gotten past it..(i have just had 2 years apart from my mum as she was becoming impossibly difficult but have reached out and am trying again with the relationship..i doubt she would ever have made that first step) This christian friend of mine keeps saying that in allowing my mum to bully her and others that i am an accomplice to evil..this has really shaken me..as you all do,i want and need to walk right..she says that i have allowed my mother to behave this way and that by forgiving her i have to ensure a change in my mums conduct..God forbid i have intentionally allowed these situations to happen but at times she has been so forceful i have taken a passive role and not challenged..in truth she doesn’t listen when i do at all..i was so upset when i found out that mum had written not nice letters to my friend and i challenged her muchly over it..i have had a lifetime of this and my final solution is to move away from both my mum and my friend in the new yer..there is lots more to the story but hope i have laud out the core in a way you can all understand..i feel only God can siloften my mum’s heart and that is my prayer..i feel wretched and drained from it all right now..would be so grateful for your wisdom..yours in Jesus..Ellen

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