February 14, 2007

Onlookers, witnesses, eyewitnesses, spectators, turncoats, reprisals. Why junior staff are afraid to speak out against senior staff.

"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it." (Martin Luther King)

In most bullying situations, the target of bullying finds themself isolated and alone. Work colleagues, who may formerly have been friendly and supportive, melt away and the target is left feeling like a pariah and an outcast.

There are many reasons why colleagues at work fail to come to the aid of a fellow worker being bullied. These include:

  • the bully has gone round the department and warned everybody off, often using implied threats of reorganisation (redundancy), restructuring (redundancy) or even disciplinary action against anyone who helps the target
  • the bully creates a climate of fear where everybody is afraid to speak out or take action
  • fear of reprisal
  • very few people, when put to the test, have the integrity and moral courage to stand up against bullying, harassment, corruption etc; the target is selected often because they do have this moral courage; most people will pass by on the other side, only targets have the integrity to be a good Samaritan
  • in the presence of an aggressor, particularly a devious, manipulative, charming one, many people prefer to act more like sheep than humans
  • many bystanders are only mediocre at their jobs and their sense of vulnerability through fear of being targeted is thus greater
  • understanding of bullying is low and many people still hold outdated views such as "why don't you stand up for yourself?" [answer - because the moment you assert your right not to be bullied the bully moves into phase two of the bullying process which is elimination - click here for more] and "if you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen"
  • work colleagues often have no understanding or experience of bullying, manipulation, psychological violence, etc
  • some bystanders are able to employ the "I didn't know what to do" excuse to abdicate and deny their responsibility; bystanders who use this excuse make no effort to find out
  • you'll be surprised to realise how many work colleagues have brown noses which you hadn't noticed before or which you'd put down to sunburn
  • some of your workmates will turn out to be turncoats
  • denial is everywhere
  • in environments where the bullying is entrenched, it's regarded as "normal" behaviour
  • work mates think that if they keep their heads down, their mouths shut and pretend nothing is happening then it won't happen to them [wrong - their turn will come eventually]
  • work colleagues have their own share of problems and they're not going to risk losing their job for someone else
  • your workmates are not people you have chosen to be with and they may not be friends - they just happen to be there
  • work is an institution, not a family or community; your co-workers have no legal obligation towards you
  • bullying goes on over a long period of time, the target eventually becomes obsessive about the bullying, work colleagues start to experience compassion fatigue and turn off; if the bullying continues, colleagues may become aggressive and actively join in with the mobbing, victimising and scapegoating as the pack mentality takes over
  • unlike assault and harassment, bullying is subtle and comprises hundreds, perhaps thousands, of incidents which out of context and in isolation are trivial - thus bystanders can't see the full picture
  • bullies exert power and control by a combination of selectively withholding information and spreading disinformation, therefore everyone has a distorted picture - of only what the bully wants them to see
  • bullying often goes on behind closed doors so no-one sees it or recognises it
  • bullying may be carried out in front of people who are unable to recognise the tactics of bullying, especially the use of guilt and sarcasm
  • the bully goes to great lengths to undermine their target and portray them as a poor performer - work colleagues are encouraged to regard the target as a threat to the organisation
  • the bully is a smooth, slimy, sycophantic individual who excels at deception using a combination of compulsive lying, Jekyll and Hyde nature, manipulation, mimicry of normal behaviour, self-assuredness and charm
  • bullies, especially female bullies, are masters of manipulation, and are fond of manipulating people through their emotions (eg guilt); bullies see any form of vulnerability (eg the need to pay the mortgage) as an opportunity for manipulation and exploitation
  • your colleagues at work have vulnerabilities too
  • bullies are adept at manipulating peoples' perceptions with intent to engender a negative view of the target in the minds of work colleagues, management and personnel - this is achieved through undermining, including the creation of doubts and suspicions and the sharing of false concerns
  • bullies poison the atmosphere and actively poison people's minds against the target
  • when close to being outwitted and exposed, the bully feigns victimhood and turns the focus on themselves - another example of manipulating people through their emotion of guilt, eg sympathy, feeling sorry
  • most bystanders are hoodwinked by the bully's ruses for abdicating responsibility and evading accountability, eg "that's all in the past, let's focus on the future", "what's in the past is no longer relevant", "you need to make a fresh start", and "forgive and forget, you've got to move on", etc.
  • the bully encourages and manipulates bystanders to lie, act dishonourably and dishonestly, withhold information and spread misinformation
  • the bully manipulates bystanders to punish the target for alleged infractions, ie the bystanders become instruments of harassment
  • the bully is often able to bewitch one especially emotionally needy bystander into being their easily controlled spokesperson / advocate / supporter / denier
  • the bully often forms an alliance with a colleague who has the same behaviour profile, thus increasing the levels of threat, fear and dysfunction
  • the bully is able to charm and manipulate a number of bystanders to act as supporters, assistants, reinforcers, appeasers, deniers, apologists and minimisers
  • in an environment where aggression is dominant, good people become disempowered and disenfranchised
  • many people do not have the emotional intelligence or behavioural maturity to understand bullying, let alone deal with it
  • when there's conflict in the air, most people want to be on the winning side, or the side they think will survive
  • some people gain gratification (a perverse feeling of satisfaction) from seeing others in distress and thus become complicit in the bullying
  • a few sad people think that bullying is funny
  • some observers regard behavioural responses that are reasonable and civilised as a sign of weakness rather than maturity
  • many people lack critical thinking skills and analytical abilities and thus cannot see through the facade or the bully's mask of deceit
  • apathy is rampant
  • many employers are interested only in creating a workforce of corporate clones and drones so this is what employees are programmed to be
  • the bully grooms bystanders, and the target, to believe the target deserves the treatment they are receiving
  • when the target of bullying is off sick, the bully labels them as having a "mental health problem" and forbids staff to contact the person
  • the bystanders see only the Dr Jekyll side of the bully, but only the target sees the Mr/Ms Hyde side; Dr Jekyll is sweet and charming, Mr/Ms Hyde is evil; Mr/Ms Hyde is the real person, Dr Jekyll is an act
  • many workplaces undergo reorganisation every six months (or more) therefore there's never sufficient time for employees to gain an accurate picture of the bully.
From: http://www.bullyonline.org/workbully/bystand.htm

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Quotes on bullying from the late Tim Field - bullyonline

November 1999
"One would not expect a victim of rape to have to single-handedly identify, trace, catch, arrest, prosecute, convict and punish the person who raped her. Targets of bullying often find themselves doing all of these whilst those in positions of authority persistently abdicate and deny responsibility."

January 2000
"Nothing can prepare you for living or working with a sociopathic serial bully. It is the most devastating, draining, misunderstood, and ultimately futile experience imaginable."

April 2000
"Being bullied by a serial bully is equivalent to being stalked or being battered by a partner or being abused as a child and should be accorded the same gravity."

January 2002
"Recently there's been a trend to apply the term "bullying" to any kind of conflict at work, for example overwork and long hours. Although some bullying behaviours may be present in these issues, in my view this dilutes and devalues the term "workplace bullying" which should be used only for the more serious cases of conflict involving a serial bully. If there isn't a serial bully involved, it's probably not bullying you're dealing with."

April 2002
"It is the lack of knowledge of, or the unwillingness to recognise, or the deliberate denial of the existence of the serial bully which is the most common reason for an unsatisfactory outcome for both employee and employer."

July 2004
"Good management and bullying have as much in common as great sex and rape."

When I first came across his website I wept...


...because someone finally understood what i was going through......