Women who are overly critical of other women usually display these behaviors without realizing it

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Women who are extremely critically of fellow women are not pleasant to be around. 

But they often barely realize what they are doing. 

With roots in negative early childhood relations with femininity and insecurities and self-doubts, these critical women often end up contributing to a much meaner environment of women tearing each other down. 

Knowing what to watch out for is important so it can be avoided and called out. 

Let’s take a look at the behaviors of women who are too hard on other women. 

1) They compare all the time

They constantly compare themselves to other women and judge them.

There’s not even a sound reason for this in most cases and it’s usually based on superficial criteria like appearance or achievements. 

This kind of constant comparison creates a toxic and fear-filled environment where other women always feel they are being measured and found wanting. 

As Adriana Bello advises:

“Beauty, success, and all the rest come in different forms, so don’t pressure yourself to live up to an ideal of perfection that you probably only created on your own. 

“Don’t be so hard on yourself or on other women who you could be damaging by comparing them to others.”

2) They overestimate their own track record

Women who criticize other women a lot have an inflated sense of self-importance

They tend to believe they are a major influencer or superstar when they’re simply not. 

They go around with this inflated belief putting delusions in their head and then use that as an elevated platform from which to judge all other women. 

Deep down below this facade is, of course, usually a nagging insecurity. 

This ties directly into the next point: 

3) They project their faults

Overly critical women tend to project their own insecurities or shortcomings onto other women without even realizing it. 

They end up criticizing other women for traits or behaviors they dislike in themselves. 

For example, they may accuse other women of being overly obsessed with their image or overly critical, not realizing that their own obsession with this is a projection. 

They hate in other women what’s actually deepest-rooted in themselves. 

4) They’re controlling at a toxic level

Women who treat other women poorly often engage in very controlling behavior

It’s especially disturbing when this is seen in certain relationships such as a mother with her young daughter.

It can also spread quickly in friend circles with this woman demanding that her female friends act, say and do what she thinks is best or she won’t be friends with them. 

The root is usually deep insecurity, but often the controlling woman is not even aware of this subconscious driver. 

“Women generally get demanding and controlling because of personal insecurities,” notes relationship writer Sarah Kristenson.

5) They’re low-key gossips

Engaging in gossip or spreading rumors about other women, is a hallmark of this kind of individual. 

They often do this to diminish another woman’s reputation or status, but in their conscious mind they’re just chatting. 

The critical woman wouldn’t even think of it as gossip or mean-spirited. 

But deep below her words if you look at the real motivation and driving energy, it’s destructive.

6) They throw subtle shade

They often downplay the achievements of other women, in both professional or personal contexts. 

This type of throwing shade is like second nature to an overly critical woman. 

She doesn’t even see it as cruel or unkind, just as her normal way of interacting with the world and speaking about (and to!) other women. 

It’s certainly very toxic to say the least. 

“When faced with rude or ‘mean girl’ shade on the incoming, we women must never allow someone else’s escapism to deter us from our own inner journey.”

“We must get through all the muck, and move full steam ahead,” notes Laurie-Beth Robbins.

7) They jokingly body shame 

Making negative comments about the physical appearance of other women can be deeply hurtful. 

But some women do this without even being aware of it, unconsciously perpetuating unrealistic and corporate beauty standards

They make jokes about how another woman looks, either to her face or to friends, and think it is no big deal. 

But even if everyone laughs it off, these kinds of judgments leave a mark and do real damage to self-image and self-esteem. 

8) They invalidate feelings

They often dismiss or minimize the feelings and experiences of other women, which is sad to see. 

Instead of offering support or empathy, they chip away at the women around them.

They act as if they are the judge and jury of what is acceptable or proportionate for other women to feel and react.

“She’s overreacting so much,” the critical woman says, or;

“Why won’t you stop talking about this guy, already? You only dated for four months.” 

9) They’re subtly jealous

The overly critical woman tends to view other women as rivals and engages in competitive behavior.

She does this to assert dominance or superiority. 

Deep down she feels jealous of the accomplishments of other women, as well as the attention and appreciation they receive. 

She wants it for herself. Even if she’s not aware of that desire. 

As Kristenson writes:

“Envy, jealousy, and possessiveness go together when it comes to a woman who has deep-rooted personality development problems and doesn’t know how to cultivate healthy relationships.”

10) They stereotype and label

They will often apply stereotypes or generalizations to other women based on factors like gender, race, or socioeconomic status. 

“She’s always wearing those lame poor styles from Wal-Mart, ugh.”


“I guess the whole ‘Latina’ thing is why guys are so into her.”

These types of hurtful comments are typical of a highly critical woman whose prejudices generally cover up a deep inner insecurity and self-doubt about her own value. 

11) They have major double standards

The overly critical woman tends to hold other women to higher standards or judge them more harshly than men.

Even for similar actions or behaviors, she acts like they are so much more culpable and shameful. 

A woman who cheats gets much more judgment than a man who cheats, for example. 

Whether this reveals her low opinion of men or just her toxic issues with other women (or both), it’s definitely a hypocritical stance.

12) They’re selectively empathetic

They fail to consistently support or uplift other women, picking and choosing who they care about and sympathize with. 

If a woman is the right identity or label, suddenly she’s worthy of respect and empathy. If not, she’s trash. 

This trend has sadly only picked up steam in the past several decades as political polarization and social discontent has grown.

As Hanna Rosin writes:

“Empathy, but just for your own team. And empathizing with the other team? That’s practically a taboo. 

“And it turns out that this brand of selective empathy is a powerful force.”

Going from overly critical to supportive

It’s important for individuals to recognize and address these behaviors in themselves to foster a more supportive and inclusive environment for all women. 

Encouraging empathy, self-reflection, and solidarity can help combat the harmful effects of internalized misogyny and promote positive relationships among women.

As Robbins advises:

“We can take those moments to gain empathy into the fearful lives that some of our fellow femme fatale creatures are living. 

“We can put our own tender egos and feelings aside, when a down on her luck diva in the room is behaving badly, and instead we may begin to help “rise up” the ladies in the world—including the sometimes cruel ones!”

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