We’ve all seen them growing up. The Mean Girls. Perhaps the quality was detectable in their mannerisms, their hostile actions, or through their abusive words.
Whether they were a bitter memory from the past, or are a present experience in the workplace, or social life, Mean Girls are a thing.
The topic of Mean Girls may seem to be an odd one to include in a wellness blog. But it makes perfect sense to me!
How does it affect your health when you receive verbal and physical abuse, or everyday microagression towards yourself?
Psychology Today defines microaggressions as:
“Microaggressions are the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership. In many cases, these hidden messages may invalidate the group identity or experiential reality of target persons, demean them on a personal or group level, communicate they are lesser human beings, suggest they do not belong with the majority group, threaten and intimidate, or relegate them to inferior status and treatment.”
These are only some of the things we may experience when targeted with such hostility:
- Stress (the kind that sets off our sympathetic nervous system, our “fight or flight” response, and increases our cortisol levels)
- The survival mechanism of our First Chakra/Root Chakra gets activated
- For those of us who hold tension in the upper part of our bodies, neck and shoulder pain/tension
- Low self-esteem
- Body image issues
- Depending on how intense it is, suicidal thoughts or tendencies
And, if you happen to be a girl or woman experiencing the brunt of Mean Girl tactics, it can really challenge your sense of belonging, tribe, and what it means to be female.
As you can imagine, all the above bullet points greatly influence our health, on mental, physical, and even spiritual levels! Especially when experienced long-term.
How to deal with Mean Girls:
- Understand the behavior behind the actions and words. Oftentimes, if we were to delve deeper, the abusive behavior, and even anger, are symptoms of someone in deep pain. When one attacks another with such ferocity, it is often due to their own feelings of inadequacy, self-hatred, and powerlessness. Developing compassion to gain understanding of what’s behind the hostile behavior can really shift things within ourselves. However, don’t confuse compassion for powerlessness, weakness, or acquiescence to the behavior that is being shown. Compassion helps us take our power back, stops our victim mentality, and helps us move past the initial sting of what’s happening.
- Strengthen yourself. When you’re being attacked on physical, emotional, or spiritual levels, it is important to fortify yourself as much as possible. Physical activity helps to build your physical strength (it also promotes Liver Qi flow!) and disciplines your mind, meditation builds your groundedness and spiritual stamina, and doing the inner work to own your inner strength (challenging outdated beliefs about yourself that no longer serve you) all serve you towards your greatest purpose. And, particularly when you are feeling under attack.
- Practice psychic self-defense. There are many ways to psychically defend yourself. Check out my previous post, “How To Protect Yourself From Psychic Vampires In The Concrete Jungle” for some useful tips. When dealing in proximity with Mean Girls, another thing you can do is simply not accept their energy. My favorite way of doing this when someone’s gone cray cray is simply saying to myself, “I do not accept (insert their name here)’s energy.” That creates an instant boundary so you don’t absorb their energy.
- Surround yourself with support. When dealing with this type of hostility, it can feel as if the whole world is against you, and that you’re being attacked from all sides. Don’t believe the illusion! The best tactic for feeling overwhelmed with the negativity is to nurture the things that bring you joy and connection. In Chinese Medicine, connection to ourselves and others, as well as being able to express ourselves in the way we want to express ourselves, is the realm of the Heart. The Heart also houses our Shen, or Spirit, in Chinese Medicine. So, nourish your Heart with laughter (a reflection of the Shen/Spirit) and connection with loved ones, and reach out for support when you need it.
- Channel your emotions. As mentioned in the 2nd point, above, physical activity is an excellent way to move your Liver Qi and channel the frenetic or pent up energy you may be feeling. If you’re feeling anger or rage, adding kickboxing or martial arts into the mix is very helpful! Another thing you could do is journal to allow the emotions to flow onto paper (or computer screen), and out of your energy field. If you want to make a ritual around it, you could burn the piece of paper in a non-flammable container, to let it go. For more helpful hints on releasing and channeling the excess energy in healthy ways, please check out my previous post, “When Our Journey Towards Wholeness Means Falling Apart First: 5 Ways To Hold Space For Spirit And Heart“.
And, what if you identify as a Mean Girl? Shower yourself with love and forgiveness! We are all human. Own your actions, and what you do, and heal your story, so you may be a beacon of light for others.
What has been the most effective method for you when dealing with Mean Girls?
I’d love to hear about it in the comments, below!
Much love to you,
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