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Relational aggression

Relational aggression

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In adolescence, a person’s peers are of great importance, especially for healthy psychological development. Peers provide several many new models for behavior. Interaction with peers helps in developing independent decision-making skills and one’s own self. It also encourages positive autonomy practice and sexual development. But it can be tricky sometimes because of different types of aggressions.

Here I am going to discuss relational aggression. You will be able to learn about the Relational aggression, meaning, definition, some examples, how it affects different people, and how you can deal with it.


Relational aggression meaning

Alternative aggression or relational aggression meaning is a kind of aggression in which damage is caused by badly affecting someone else’s social status or relationships.

It can be used in  different contexts and among different age groups, but it has received huge attention among adolescents. Relational aggression can have a life-long impact on your life.

Relational aggression definition

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Here is relational aggression definition for you:

“Relational aggression is defined as a type of aggression that is “intended to harm others through deliberate manipulation of their social standing and relationships.”

Relational aggression bullying

According to Daniel Olweus, relational aggression is a form of bullying, and here is relational aggression bullying definition to explain the Relational aggression meaning:

“Bullying, in general, is defined as physically or psychologically violent reoccurring and not provoked acts, where the bully and victim have the unequal physical strength or psychological power. These key conditions apply to all types of bullying: verbal, physical, and relational.

Relational aggression scenario

Building and keeping up healthy relationships or friendships is quite possibly the most significant task of teenagers, particularly young ladies, and face in their everyday lives.

Many young ladies spend a huge part of their day either engaging with their friends or wondering about their friendships. Exploring this world can sometimes be compared to a chessboard, where each move is thought out and precise, and strategies change depending on the moves of others. For some females, self-esteem and mood are linked together to outcomes of their moves.

The social life of young adults and especially young ladies is frequently characterized by a “natural selection” attitude. In attempting to survive, girls frequently utilize strategies that can be destructive to other people, even those they think about as their dearest friends. The utilization of these methodologies is called relational aggression.

Relational aggression scenarios can be destructive, and dealing with this is not an easy task. But how can you identify it? You can only find a solution if you are able to identify the problem. Let’s have a look at this.

How can you identify relational aggression?

To start to address relational aggression, one should initially perceive what it resembles. This conduct (which may regularly be utilized by juvenile young ladies, however, isn’t explicit to girls only) can be characterized as activities expected to cause hurt to someone else by harming their associations with others. This kind of conduct is frequently covert, unlike physical aggression, and has the purpose of harming a young lady’s confidence and social connections. Relational aggression is proactive—utilized as an unfortunate obligation—or receptive—happening as a retaliatory reaction.

Relational aggression examples

Identifying relational aggression can be tricky. So here are some Relational aggression examples to help you identify the real issue:


A girl or a group of girlfriends may take part in disregarding conduct. In some cases, “reason” is obvious (a deliberate or incidental offense, for instance); in other cases, the target may have no clue about why she is being disregarded. Overlooking can be stressful for the target. Indeed, girls who are being disregarded will go through the greater part of their day attempting to figure out the real issue behind a friend’s aggression and will frequently be overwhelmed with stress and uneasiness. The target may even lash out at those who are ignoring, and this can make the situation even worse.

Sharing personal things

This usually happens when someone trusts in a friend and shares his/her personal information, but that friend/person breaks that trust by sharing classified information with other people.  This can be particularly destructive if that information is about a third person or private information, so that relationship is additionally prone to be harmed.

Put-downs and teasing

Put-downs and teasing are utilized often; friendships are no exceptions. These are subtle usually and fall under the category of “real friends tell their friends the truth, even if it hurts.” When a person stands up for himself, others may call him sensitive or ask him to cool down. Teasing and put-downs harm the confidence of a person, whether girl or boy, and this will be true when these hurtful comments are from someone who is supposed to be a friend.

Gossips and rumors

Gossips and rumors spread quickly in schools or workplaces. Gossips are frequently utilized as a weapon to destroy someone’s reputation by that person who is angry about something that he did or said (or is suspected of having done or said). It can also be used to ignite the fight between two people by saying things like one girl wants to fight with the other or in some cases just to smear a persons reputation and cause trouble. Gossips and rumors are dangerous and can have a significant impact on self-esteem and friendships.


Prohibition, avoidance, or in simple words, the exclusion is an approach used to keep up societal position and hold others back from getting social status. Group of friends may disown their own friends and may exclude them from their group. These alliances within a group may change from time to time; it could take weeks and sometimes just days. Sometimes a person may never know in which alliance he/she stands, and this can lead to frustration.


Cyberbullying is inescapable. If drama happens in school or the workplace, a person can go home to seek refuge, but that does not happen in case of cyberbullying. You cannot escape. Relational aggression is continuous, and a lot of people might get included. People may post unsafe and false proclamations about other people or send inconsiderate, angry, and indecent messages aimed at one individual to a whole gathering. Some likewise claim to be another person to get information that he/she can share with others.

Relational aggression in sports

Relational aggression in sports is also very common. Sportsmen may try to make other players feel bad about them. Aggression can have a positive and negative impact on performance.

What are consequences of victimization?

There are unfortunate results related to aggressive practices. And keeping in mind that issues with friends may be an aftereffect of one’s poor social abilities and maladjustment, trouble making friends, and normal experience of aggression can likewise be a reason for some short and long-term adverse effects on one’s psychological well-being and professional and academic achievements. Experience of peer rejection, relational aggression, and unpopularity are linked with various issues in adolescence. These listed here:

  • depression
  • behavior problems
  • poor social skills
  • lack of close peer relationships
  • difficulties in academic performance
  • low school engagement
  • undermined feelings of competence
  • low self-esteem
  • distress because of victimization can lead to physical symptoms too, for instance, abdominal pain, headaches, and wetting

Some negative impacts can also find their way to your adulthood. Dan Olweus, in a longitudinal study, found that those who were the victim of bullying during adolescence had more symptoms of low self-esteem and depression as compared to non-victimized fellows. In addition to that, the chances of victims getting involved in smoking are higher later in life. Academic involvement is also decreased, which can lead to long time consequences as lower educational attainment leads to lower earning in most cases although not always.

What you can do about relational aggression?

Identifying the issue is very important once you are done with that, but how can you deal with it? Let’s have a look at some tips.

Relational aggression child development

Relational aggression in adults is not that common, but it can help youngster’s especially young girls who are going through a lot with this whole relational aggression thing. Relational aggression child development is dependent on adults. Especially parents can play a huge role in maintaining healthy relationships by doing the following things.

Teach them empathy

Relational aggression child development can be done by teaching them empathy. They can help kids understand how their behavior can affect others, how they can make better choices, and how they can have greater empathy for other people. You can use their own experiences in reminding them how it feels to be on the other side of relational aggression. This way, they can gain some perspective.

Communication skills

Communication can solve anything. Relational aggression can also be dealt with if a child knows how to communicate what he is feeling. So adults must teach their children good communication skills.

Problem-solving skills

Just like adolescents are learning how to communicate, they are also struggling to solve their problems. You cannot always solve their problems for them; they have to deal with life challenges on their own at some point. So it is better to help them learn basic skills so that they can handle challenging social situations in a better way.

Modeling behavior

Kids learn what they see. So you have to be a role model for them. Set examples of good behavior and positive interaction. When children and adolescents see you maintaining a healthy environment, they will better learn how to maintain healthy friendships and relationships in the future.

Relational aggression in adults

Relational aggression in adults, or we can say adolescents, can be dangerous. Instead of enjoying their teenage years, they might become a victim of this relational aggression. In my opinion, it is cruel. Here are some skills that can prove helpful for adolescents in dealing with Relational aggression in adults:

Stand up for yourself.

If you are dealing with relational aggression, this is the first skill you need. No matter how others make you feel, you have to stand up for yourself if you think something is wrong. Be thoughtful about how your behavior can affect others; this way, you can form healthy relationships too.

What are your values?

You need to know what values are important for you, what qualities you value the most in a friendship or a relationship. Once you know what is important for you, it will be easy for you to determine what kind of relationships or friendships are healthy and what are toxic. There is no need to stay in a toxic friendship. Find some ways to limit your contact with toxic people and for relationships that will make you feel good and happy about yourself.

Work on your self-esteem

Your self-esteem should be very important to you. Feel confident about yourself; find ways to do so. No matter what other people say about you, trust yourself.

Coping skills

Life is not easy; everyone has to deal with difficult situations. So if you will be in denial, it will never work for you. You have to prepare yourself for the worst. Coping skills can help you in dealing with difficult situations socially. Finding yourself recreational activities that you enjoy can help; try to participate in activities outside of school and in adult life find hobbies and ways to meet like minded individuals.


Talk to someone

The social world can be difficult for adults and comes with a lot of challenges. Find someone who is elder than you, trustable, and someone you feel comfortable with. No matter what you want, a safe space to vent out, or want some advice regarding how you can deal with difficult situations, this kind of support will help you a lot. A therapist can also help you in dealing with this.

Relational aggression Reddit

Here are some suggestions by Reddit users to deal with relational aggression:

“For years, I’ve held (and expressed) the view that DV/ IPV is at least as much about mental/ emotional/ psychological abuse as it is physical, yet it’s almost always the case that official stats record instances of physical abuse only, and discussion of DV always revolves around physical violence. To focus on physical abuse alone is to miss at least half of the picture, especially since women are generally far more adept at psychological abuse than men. The fact that psychological violence leaves no obvious bruising or scars does not mean it is trivial; quite the reverse.”

“When I notice myself thinking about past traumatic events I try to do what I think of as the exact opposite – I imagine something wonderful for myself in the future. I’m getting better at it and it feels like a switch into a healthier state of mind where I’m more positive and goal focused. Some days are still hard and I’m not immune to ptsd thought loops. Please be kind to yourself when you can be. The world is cruel enough on its own.”

“I have the same problem and therapy has definitely helped me- esp in terms of unwarranted shame vs warranted shame. The physical activity others mentioned, even small things like noticing sensations such a as touching something soft help get me out of that place. I also say to myself “you’re not there anymore,” since I have a vivid imagination and travel back to those times mentally. So telling myself I’m not there anymore helps break that spell in a way.”

“I found I need coping skills and distraction, but even more importantly to understand their motivations and to retell the story a lot. We don’t have power; bullying takes advantage of that. When we keep retelling the story with their motivations (to win, usually) and what the truth is, and our own motivation, we can take the retriggering effect out of it. For me it helped to understand two major things. One is that I will always lose, so fighting it and rehearsing alternate endings and what I should have done would have changed the losing outcome. (Wishing the truth could come out can keep us stuck in the trauma because that was never the other person’s game.) The second thing is to understand how guilt can be acquired by their projections; in other words I can feel legitimately guilty for acts I didn’t actually do, because they projected guilt on me. If these things seem to fit your patterns feel free to DM me (EDIT: I meant “would not have changed the outcome”)”

“Make peace with the fact that the past has passed and there isn’t anything you can do about that. You don’t however have to put up with it in the future. If you recognise history repeating itself do what you can to stop it. While you can’t change the past you can change how you feel about it, therapy may help with that. Similarly a good therapist can help give you tools to cope with new situations. Unfortunately I/we can’t forget the past, I’m in my thirties and still feel embarrassment, shame or anger when I think about certain things that happened to me… what I can do is prevent similar happening now and in the future.”

Here is a books suggestion by Reddit users on relational aggression in families or schools:

  • “Queen Bees and Wannabeesis good but anything that delves into clique stratification is a good read.
  • “I think awareness plays a big factor. I also read “Odd Girl Out.” I think it had some strategies as well to help out.”
  • “As a male I had no idea about the inner workings of girl world. I took a staff development/book study over “Queen Bees and Wannabees.” That book opened my eyes! We also watched the movie “Mean Girls” as we went through the book study.”

Relational aggression quotes

Here are some of the best relational aggression quotes;

  • “Don’t get me wrong. I love to be alone. When I am by myself, I get to create my own version of reality where I am the popular girl and really pretty, and friends can’t wait to talk to me. -Madisyn” ― Tara Michener, No Longer Besties: And Other Assorted Teenage Drama
  • “You are real! Everyone has to be different or the world would be really boring. If we all looked the same, then no one could tell us apart. -Janelle” ― Tara Michener, 100% Real: A “Who I Am” Book
  • “It’s about the ways in which girls deal with anger and aggression, as opposed to the ways in which boys do. The premise is that boys tend to be more direct in their aggression – physical confrontation – while in contrast, girls use an indirect approach known as relational aggression. Relational aggression is a form of aggression where the group is used as a weapon to assault others and others’ relationships. It uses lies, secrets, betrayals and a host of other two-faced tactics to destroy or damage the relationships and social standing of others in the group.” ― Anonymous.
  • Don’t get me wrong. I love to be alone. When I am by myself, I get to create my own version of reality where I am the popular girl and pretty, and friends can’t wait to talk to me. -Madisyn
  • You are real! Everyone has to be different, or the world would be boring. If we all looked the same, then no one could tell us apart. -Janelle
  • “Educational television had a dramatic effect on relational aggression. The more the kids watched, the crueler they’d be to their classmates. This correlation was 2.5 times higher than the correlation between violent media and physical aggression.” Author: Po Bronson
  • “Kids forget about scuffles on the playground but they don’t forget about unkind words or being left out.”
  • “They’re already thinking at that age about being popular, being the queen of the classroom, or the queen of the playground and vying for that position.”
  • One of the criticisms I’ve faced over the years is that I’m not aggressive enough or assertive enough, or maybe somehow, because I’m empathetic, it means I’m weak. I rebel against that. I refuse to believe that you cannot be both compassionate and strong. JacindaArdern
  • Self-confidence has always been one of my good qualities. I am always very confident. It is in my nature to be confident, to be aggressive. And it applies in my batting as well as wicketkeeping. MS Dhoni


Relationships and friendships are not easy and relational aggression can make these even more difficult. In healthy relationships, there is no space for gossiping, put downs, and name-calling. These are characteristics of an unhealthy relationship. So you have to make sure that your relationships are healthy and free from these kinds of tactics.

This was all about relational aggression; Hope so you will find it helpful. GET SUPPORT AND ADVICE NOW.

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