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Has anyone heard the term "lateral violence"? My understanding of it is that it is particular to women and it is defined as hostilty, triangulation (talking negatively about someone to others, not directly to the person and causing negative energy), "back-stabbing", etc. towards a peer. This is not harrassment coming from people, bosses in authority.<br><br>
Okay, I know Midwives are people and should not be put up on a pedestal..... but, Midwives are women who do their best to teach, support, accept and empower women, we do great in this area toward our clients.<br><br>
However, I am noticing that Midwives do not nurture other Midwives or their students. We are persecuted enough! Why do we not encourage and lift our sisters up..... instead we bash each other, compete and push other women of our profession down.<br><br>
SOMEONE< please explain what this is about!!! It is making me want to quit Midwifery.
 

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I say talk to us more..<br>
midwifery can be very competitive<br>
I have found tons of in -fighting<br>
and I have seen tons of support<br>
with mws being a very small group of "gunslingers" we tend to be very tough opinionated folk- we work very hard at being "expert" what ever that means to each one of us individually- and so if another mw's expertise dismisses or is not included in what we think of as important-- big potential for conflict-- also I have found a certain power hungry/verging on sociopath behavior in some women who become midwives- all you can do is walk around them- don't get tangled up in power struggles with them....<br><br>
sorry you are running into conflict<br><br>
hang in there, just be the best you can be- and form relationships that are nurturing for you
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>fourgrtkidos</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7970466"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">SOMEONE< please explain what this is about!!! It is making me want to quit Midwifery.</div>
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I can't tell you what it's about. I thought it was a Southern thing, as I've come to attribute this type of behavior to southern women. It has really come up and bitten me on the butt in the past 6 months, and while I'm not wanting to quit because of it, I might be forced to quit because of it.
 

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I dont only see this in midwifery - I've worked in many occupations where if there is more than one women of 'power' or 'standing' in the company they tend to act this way - I've also seen it at some parenting groups etc.. You just cant control others actions or words - the only thing to do is to be an example of how to act and just keep doing what you feel is right for yourself, your families and the families you serve. You just cant stop some things and MUST find a way to deal with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
anyone interested in this might want to check this out.<br><a href="http://www.birthinternational.com/search/search.php?log=y&mode=all&q=horizontal+hostility" target="_blank">http://www.birthinternational.com/se...ntal+hostility</a><br><br>
google horizontal hostility and or lateral violence..... it is interesting.
 

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I'm not a midwife, so I hope I'm not butting in, but I have seen this type of behaviour in many professions and even in motherhood. For some reason that I can't seem to find, woman are constantly attacking one another. I've been the victim of it in the workplace, had threats of physical violence (which I overheard when I walked in on a conversation between two co-workers), been made fun of in front of colleagues and bosses. All because I was good at my job. This was all in a corporate setting, where people are supposed to be professional.<br><br>
I get it from other moms as well. My ideas are never good enough because I am a new mom. I don't have the experience they do, I'll see that their way is better when I am older.<br><br>
I am working as a postpartum doula now, and I am hesitant to meet up with other doulas in my area because of the fear of being treated like this. I would rather do it all on my own, without what would be a much welcomed support network just to avoid being told I am wrong simply because I am new.<br><br>
I hope that all made sense, DP interupted me in the middle of typing, and I lost my flow <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Liz
 

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I certainly believe this is a symptom of patriarchy & internalized opression. As women, we are systematically disempowered, no matter how evolved we or our parents are or were; that's just how our culture is. Strong words? Perhaps. But it wasn't all that long ago that women were burned to death for being healers and midwives. So, yeah, when the disempowered find their little bit of power (as a corporate officer, a head nurse, a midwife, or whatever), we sometimes do horrible things to others in our disempowered class in a (possibly subconcious) effort to protect the little corner of power we've been able to claim. Add that to the fact that we midwives do tend to be a strong and opinionated bunch and, while lateral hostility is painful to witness, it does make perfect sense.<br><br>
That said, I do think there are beautiful examples of support and love between women, even powerful women, even midwives. But it would be asking to much, given our culture and history, to expect that none of the lateral hostility would manifest in midwifery circles.<br><br>
I didn't read the link, though I think I will. Just wanted to throw in my $.02.
 

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I have started a few threads about this in the past. And there are some very good studies/articles on lateral violence and what to do about it. Its very common in nursing. I can't link to this article because you need a subscription, but here is some info.:<br><br>
Recent literature defines lateral violence as nurses covertly or overtly directing their dissatisfaction inward toward each other, toward themselves, and toward those less powerful than themselves."It is contended that because nurses are dominated (and by implication, oppressed) by a patriarchal system headed by doctors, administrators and marginalized nurse managers, nurses lower down the hierarchy of power resort to aggression among themselves" (Farrell, 1997, p. 482).<br><br>
Some background: The overt behavioral manifestations of lateral violence are expressed by infighting among nurses, withholding pertinent information (sabotage), scapegoating, criticism, and failure to respect confidences and privacy (Duffy, 1995; Farrell, 1997; McCall, 1996). Farrell (1997) described lateral violence as "professional terrorism" and further cited "eyebrow raising, snide remarks, turning away and withholding information as some of the covert nursing behaviors associated with lateral violence" (p. 504). Although many nurses may not be familiar with the term lateral violence, they probably have experienced it at some time during their career (Hamlin, 2000). Some victims of lateral violence in nursing practice, similar to other victims of bullying, have resorted to suicide (Hastie, 1995).<br>
TABLE 1 THE 10 MOST FREQUENT FORMS OF LATERAL VIOLENCE IN NURSING PRACTICE<br>
1. Nonverbal innuendo (raising of eyebrows, face-making).<br>
2. Verbal affront (covert or overt, snide remarks, lack of openness, abrupt responses).<br>
3. Undermining activities (turning away, not available).<br>
4. Withholding information (practice or patient).<br>
5. Sabotage (deliberately setting up a negative situation).<br>
6. Infighting (bickering with peers).<br>
7. Scapegoating (attributing all that goes wrong to one individual).<br>
8. Backstabbing (complaining to others about an individual and not speaking directly to that individual).<br>
9. Failure to respect privacy.<br>
10. Broken confidences.<br><br><br>
In this study they taught new nurses what lateral violence was and how to respond: "Did you respond to the lateral violence when it happened?" A resounding 100% of all those who had lateral violence perpetrated against them confronted the responsible individual. Their descriptions of the confrontation and the outcomes were similar (Sidebar). All of the newly registered nurses in this group (n = 12; 46%) articulated that confrontation, no matter how civil they tried to make it, was difficult. They described that they were markedly emotional and delivered their message about the laterally violent occurrence with either crying or speaking through a very tight larynx.<br>
There appeared to be one distinctive outcome among those confronted. The laterally violent behavior against the newly licensed nurse stopped.<br><br>
Nonverbal innuendo (raising of eyebrows, face-making).<br>
* I sense (I see from your facial expression) that there may be something you wanted to say to me. It's okay to speak directly to me.<br><br>
Verbal affront (covert or overt, snide remarks, lack of openness, abrupt responses).<br>
* The individuals I learn the most from are clearer in their directions and feedback. Is there some way we can structure this type of situation?<br><br>
Undermining activities (turning away, not available).<br>
* When something happens that is "different" or "contrary" to what I thought or understood, it leaves me with questions. Help me understand how this situation may have happened.<br><br>
Withholding information (practice or patient).<br>
* It is my understanding that there was (is) more information available regarding I had known that (more), it would (will) affect how I learn or need to know.<br><br>
Sabotage (deliberately setting up a negative situation).<br>
* There is more to this situation than meets the eye. Could "you and I" (whatever, whoever) meet in private and explore what happened?<br><br>
Infighting (bickering with peers). Nothing is more unprofessional than a contentious discussion in non-private places. Always avoid.<br>
* This is not the time or the place. Please stop (physically walk away or move to a neutral spot).<br><br>
Scapegoating (attributing all that goes wrong to one individual). Rarely is one individual, one incident, or one situation the cause for all that goes wrong. Scapegoating is an easy route to travel, but rarely solves problems.<br>
* I don't think that's the right connection.<br><br>
Backstabbing (complaining to others about an individual and not speaking directly to that individual).<br>
* I don't feel right talking about him/her/situation when I wasn't there, or don't know the facts. Have you spoken to him/her?<br><br>
Failure to respect privacy.<br>
* It bothers me to talk about that without his/her/their permission.<br>
* I only overheard that. It shouldn't be repeated.<br><br>
Broken confidences.<br>
* Wasn't that said in confidence?<br>
* That sounds like information that should remain confidential.<br>
* He/she asked me to keep that confidential.<br><br><br><br>
* Accept one's fair share of the workload.<br>
* Respect the privacy of others.<br>
* Be cooperative with regard to the shared physical working conditions (e.g., light, temperature, noise).<br>
* Be willing to help when requested.<br>
* Keep confidences.<br>
* Work cooperatively despite feelings of dislike.<br>
* Don't denigrate to superiors (e.g., speak negatively about, have a pet name for).<br>
* Do address coworkers by their first name, ask for help and advice when necessary.<br>
* Look coworkers in the eye when having a conversation.<br>
* Don't be too overly inquisitive about each others' lives.<br>
* Do repay debts, favors, and compliments, no matter how small.<br>
* Don't engage in conversation about a coworker with another coworker.<br>
* Stand-up for the "absent member" in a conversation when he/she is not present.<br>
* Don't criticize publicly.<br><br>
I found some of this info. helpful. I hope it helps in your situation. Its something we all have or will experience someday unfortunately.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">also I have found a certain power hungry/verging on sociopath behavior in some women who become midwives- all you can do is walk around them- don't get tangled up in power struggles with them....</td>
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mwherbs~ I have also noticed this with some midwives, and more broadly, some women in general. Very good observation and I agree-- don't get into a power struggle.
 

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Ok, don't get into power struggles with them....... how do you avoid power struggles, when you live in the same county or vicinity, and they involve you. you can nly do so much avoidance........ I am involved right now with a student who was a friend, and surprisingly still considers herself to be my friend....... she speaks for me (and gets it wrong), misrepresents me, sabotages me..... she has now created so much upset in two preseptor sites.... one is closed to students and the other has closed to me only, she is there because of her manipulations of truth about me.......... how do I avoid THAT! My strategy has been to shut my mouth, work and show my character that way, however some people, including these Midwives I am working with, believe the first story they hear, do not consider the other side of the tory..... the squeky wheel gets the attention.<br><br>
HELP! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/gloomy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Gloomy">:
 

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Lately, as some of you know, I've been calling like every midwife within a 5h radius of me, and everybody seems to have an opinion on everybody else. That sort of disturbed me. I mean, I was glad to hear (from multiple sources) that a particular midwife was thought not to be knowledgable or experienced, but in the midst of factual information, I heard a lot of negativity that I thought was unneccessary.
 

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If you go back to the info. I posted there is some input on what works (though probably not in every case):<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">In this study they taught new nurses what lateral violence was and how to respond: "Did you respond to the lateral violence when it happened?" <b>A resounding 100% of all those who had lateral violence perpetrated against them confronted the responsible individual</b>. Their descriptions of the confrontation and the outcomes were similar (Sidebar). All of the newly registered nurses in this group (n = 12; 46%) articulated that confrontation, no matter how civil they tried to make it, was difficult. They described that they were markedly emotional and delivered their message about the laterally violent occurrence with either crying or speaking through a very tight larynx.<br><b>There appeared to be one distinctive outcome among those confronted. The laterally violent behavior against the newly licensed nurse stopped</b>.</td>
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Even though it may be very difficult, I think talking directly with the people involved is the best way to stop lateral violence. The other option is walking away and surrounding yourself with positive/supportive people. If you don't feel like walking away is an option, then I think you should set up a meeting with the student/ex-friend and preceptor site that won't except you. Even if nothing changes outside of having that meeting, then you will have done what you could. I just think its imporant to talk in person with everyone present.
 

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if there were specific incidents regarding one birth or another then it could be done in a peer review,<br>
a couple women I know and two different midwifery organizations each have had their own lawyer write a letter to the person that was lying- slander is what it is called -- and it stopped this from happening atleast in a general sense the gals tended to only tell people they thought they knew better, a bigger story that included getting a letter from a lawyer- and then justifying their lies by saying something about how they had been wronged or slighted or some openly show their competativeness --- if you have a friend or family member who is a lawyer this may be the easiest way to dispatch this<br>
I think it is very hard when you are being lied about or misrepresented, but I also wonder about a practice that would just take the word of a "friend" of yours without trying to find out your side --<br>
now how you have written this to us- much more dispassionate and cut out of particular incidences is a start, telling people that there is a person who has misrepresented things about you and that you feel that has had an affect on your ability to learn or work, and you wish that everyone will just try to judge your own performance by what they see is true- a statement clean like that can sometimes help to tip people off that there is some friction, and I would use it sparingly probably to someone you know has been gossiped to already, you don't want to create too much intrigue where none exists already - and becareful not to be drawn into telling more of the story after that.<br>
another way to go a mediator --- sometimes that is a way to get some help- then you are not alone when this happens and there can be a record of what is said-and hopefully a solution -<br>
something else that helps is when asked by someone who has been told a lie- try to also not use emotionally charged words ... point out the possibly true part of the story and where that departs from the truth -- like yes, it took me an hour to get to the client's house but I called her before hand and she asked me to pick up xyz, or when we had last talked she asked me if I could bring my camera and take pictures- so I went and bought some film just for her pictures... so you are not denying the whole story just were it is different from your version .<br><br><br>
Yes we all have opinions about other midwives' safety or style of practice- including myself and generally I do not say something to clients but for family and friends I do make exceptions-- the thing about advice is you can only come from your perspective- and like in that movie Labryinth- and the girl keeps asking for advice on which path to take, and everyone keeps steering her away from where she wants to go because they would not want to go there.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Charmie981</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7972085"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">It has really come up and bitten me on the butt in the past 6 months, and while I'm not wanting to quit because of it, I might be forced to quit because of it.</div>
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Don't let the dogs get you down. Ya gotta keep on keeping on. I'm counting on you and so are all of those preggo moms around you.
 

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I'm not sure if I have anything to add to this - I know there are many midwives in my area that I would not choose to attend my homebirth, but that that does not mean that there aren't women out there who don't feel supported, empowered or nurtured by those midwives. Does that mean I talk shit about them to prospective clients? No. Would I hire a midwife that did that? No way.<br><br>
I think it's hard in any profession - but it does seem<br>
to happen more often with women in certain fields.<br><br>
I wish I had more to add - perhaps I"ll read the link above and think of some more. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I just want to say how sad this thread makes me and how for the past 10+ years of my interest/study of midwifery the opposite has been my experience. My husband is in academia, and I am always horrified by the competition and politics of his profession. I always contrast it to the way I have been helped up the ladder in midwifery. Perhaps the denser population of the Northeast, where I live, makes for less competion between midwives. This does not mean that I have not heard some gossip, but in general I find the community to be loving and supportive. Just wanted to add a little positive experience to the thread. I'm so sorry that others have not felt this way.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>YumaDoula</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8049266"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">everybody seems to have an opinion on everybody else. That sort of disturbed me. I mean, I was glad to hear (from multiple sources) that a particular midwife was thought not to be knowledgable or experienced, but in the midst of factual information, I heard a lot of negativity that I thought was unneccessary.</div>
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I was taught this very well in my apprenticeship and for a few months it continued into my own practice. I've since decided that I'll not say anything negative about a midwife unless I'm asked directly about a certain circumstance and that circumstance is negative. And that doesn't happen very often. I figure an interview or a few prenatals will usually tell the client whether she wants that midwife or not. And word of mouth contributes both positively and negatively as well.<br><br>
It's hard because while I choose not to do this, others don't. And I know that there have been clients who have interviewed me and other midwives and heard negativity about me from the other midwives (because they're the ones who taught me to do it!). It's hard when those clients don't come back. I know they'll get good care, but I just can't help but wonder what was said about me, ya know?<br><br>
JLipette, thanks for the great article. I've read and reread it so that next time I'm stuck in a situation like the one a few months ago, I'll have something more productive to say...
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>pamamidwife</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8055454"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I'm not sure if I have anything to add to this - I know there are many midwives in my area that I would not choose to attend my homebirth, but that that does not mean that there aren't women out there who don't feel supported, empowered or nurtured by those midwives. Does that mean I talk shit about them to prospective clients? No. Would I hire a midwife that did that? No way.<br></div>
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Yes I hear you and I agree. It all rather reminds me of a thread I started a while back on a related issue and some of what I said was that within each client/MW relationship there are going to be individual dynamics which mean basically that some of us are bound to get along better than others! That's ok when it happens <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I certainly believe this is a symptom of patriarchy & internalized opression.</td>
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And a resounding YES YES YES to this!! Sing it, sister! This is what happens in large groups when feminism has been left behind. Those of us who work with women but without a feminist critique in which to contextualise women's lives and experiences are working blind. Once you crack the system it all makes sense and you have a groundbase from which to work and truly understand and support women. Too much of what we do is a bandaid solution where we try to provide space for empowerment around birth when in reality if women's lives were already empowered it would naturally flow into birth. This is why the group that I run works as well as it does, and sometimes we joke that the last thing we're about is actually birth! Come join the human rights movement of more than half the world's population, I say!
 

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I have found (not as a midwife, but as first a CBE then a doula) that there is a lot of competition and petty behavior in the birth community, just like there is everywhere else. I think we expect people involved in promoting normal birth, something so beautiful, to be above all that, but it's often not the case. It's hard to stay out of it, especially when you see people being treated poorly and you want to step in and help. I hope to someday find a way to rise above all of it and bring women together in a real way. It is very frustrating to see competitive attitudes among women who all want such similar things.
 

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I'm so glad, (well, not <i>glad)</i> to see this thread, as a young doula and homebirth advocate, whenever I hear of some midwife feud, a little piece of my world shatters, I don't know how to support the community if the community doesn't even get along..I realize midwives don't have to all love each other, but when they start slinging mud and telling some young couple on the fence about homebirth that so and so is dangerous and a liar, it sure makes it hard for an advocate like me to change the atmosphere and cultural beliefs in my city...<br>
I'm just venting here, but I'm glad to see some info here, maybe I'll emerge a bit from my happy peace love bubble.....
 
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