April 23, 2024

Shrouded in secrecy: how science is harmed by the bullying and harassment rumour mill


"...Academia continues to struggle with bullying and harassment, despite social protest movements such as #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter drawing attention to it. According to Nature’s 2021 global salary and job satisfaction survey, 27% of the 3,200 self-selecting respondents said they had observed or experienced discrimination, bullying or harassment in their present position, up from 21% in 2018. In Nature’s 2022 graduate student survey, 18% said that they had personally experienced bullying, down from 21% in 2019. And in last year’s survey of postdoctoral researchers, 25% reported experiencing discrimination and harassment.

These behaviours create unsafe spaces in academia — particularly for women and minority groups — that reinforce inequalities1drive researchers out of academia and can even put people at risk of physical harm2.

Because misconduct investigations are usually shrouded in secrecy, colleagues are often left to base their responses on rumours and hearsay, and unsure how to interact with an accused peer.

There are also several good reasons for closed investigations, including various competing interests around privacy and due process, many of them employment-law protections. Furthermore, survivors of harassment might not want their cases publicized, and those accused might want to defend their case without being tried in the court of public opinion first.

“Harassment is actually not an individual issue,” says Anna Bull, who is based in York, UK, and is the director of research at the 1752 Group, a UK organization that studies and advocates against sexual misconduct. “It is a community issue.”

...There are no definitive statistics on either the prevalence or the extent of confirmed findings of harassment and discrimination in academia. But, in a 2018 report that summarized studies on sexual harassment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine estimated that more than half of female faculty members and staff have encountered or experienced sexual harassment. In a 2022 survey of more than 4,000 self-selected early- and mid-career researchers in Brazil, 47% of women had experienced harassment at work. Only a small fraction of reported incidents will result in formal disciplinary action. Of those that result in a finding of misconduct, an even smaller number will be made public.

...Total transparency about bullying and harassment cases can also be problematic, because many survivors might not want to disclose what happened to them, says Mark Dean, chief executive of Enmasse, a workplace behaviour-change consultancy company in Melbourne, Australia.

“There’s a reasonable chance that an unwanted announcement will further traumatize an individual,” he says, adding that respecting a survivor’s wishes is fundamental, and should inform any action. The complainant might want to put the matter behind them or they might fear other forms of career-damaging retaliation. Although many colleagues might guess who the complainant is after a suspected harasser leaves, this can be less traumatic than a public announcement, Dean says..."


April 09, 2024

What Makes Narcissists Tick - Understanding Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)


...Many, if not most, narcissists get away with bullying, slander, calumny, and abuse (even as prosecutable offenses) their whole lives. How? It's easy:

• make the abuse so outrageous people cannot see why anybody would do such a thing 

• destroy the victim's credibility in advance. 

No one does the things a narcissist does without thinking about the possible consequences. So, they are going to think up ways to avoid those consequences, too.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that if you want to get away with abusing someone, you first launch a pre-emptive attack on their character, so that nobody will believe them when they soon complain about what you are doing to them…

Everybody knows that when somebody defends himself from accusations with accusations, the crowd always believes the one who accused first and views the defendant as the attacker. This is irrational, because the initial accuser is the attacker and there is no more reason to believe one party than the other.

So, people don't do this in good faith. Indeed, the more preposterous the initial accuser's accusations, the more firmly people believe them! They do this out of self interest, because the return allegations make them look bad for eagerly swallowing the first accuser's preposterous and juicy lies whole. 
All con artists are thus protected by the pride of those they con.

The narcissist commits moral mayhem by destroying the victim's reputation and credibility, so that nobody will believe her about him. His description of her is projection, a perfect description of himself... Nobody will even listen to her. Thus, the narcissist reduces her to a hapless and helpless state.

Narcissistic bullies in the workplace, especially as administrators in nonprofit institutions, are notorious for doing this. Their total destruction of the victim's life is so willful and wanton that it can sometimes only be viewed as a deliberate attempt to drive him or her to suicide. And all too often it does…

Attention is a value judgment. We pay it only to things we deem worthy of it. So, by treating others as unworthy of any regard, Narcissus is acting as though they are beneath notice, insignificant and infinitely less important than all-important him. He pays no more regard to them in what he does than you pay to bug you step on while crossing the street. They are nothing; he is everything.

This is how he compensates for that demeaning value judgment his narcissistic parent imprinted on his soul. This is how he edits the shameful image of himself he saw reflected in that parent's contemptuous eye. In other words, he does to others what that parent did to him. Since that's what made that parent a god, that's what makes him a god.

How does he enact this fiction? By treating you like dirt. And by maligning you behind your back. You could define a narcissist as someone who likes to treat others like dirt and ruin their reputations.

This is the game a narcissist plays, in a nutshell. Because he is an emotional imbecile (i.e., mentally of pre-school-age maturity).

The only people he doesn't abuse this way are those he doesn't dare abuse. Or those he can aggrandize himself by association with. Or those he can con and is setting up for a con job. Like psychopaths, narcissists view others as but objects, material to exploit for their own aggrandizement…

Narcissists are predators, but many people fail appreciate the meaning of that term, letting it in one ear and out the other...

Being predators puts narcissists in a special class with psychopaths, that class of people who don't wish you well, no matter how friendly their facade — that class from which sexual predators and all other kinds of predators come…

They're regulating, manipulating your reactions. But you aren't like them. Your reactions come from within. So, what are they ultimately regulating and manipulating? Your thoughts. Manipulation is mind control.

Manipulation is a subtle thing. So subtle that we are usually unaware of being manipulated, unless the manipulator blows it and breaks the spell. So, manipulators are putting thoughts into our heads that we think are ours. A very dangerous thing.

Since a narcissist isn't acting on normal human premises, since all he is doing is playing you for the reaction he wants, truth is irrelevant. Truth or lies — it's all the same to him. Whichever works. Usually that's lies.

It would be more correct to say that there is no such thing as truth to a narcissist. Because there is no such thing as truth when playing Pretend. That's why narcissists and psychopaths beat lie detector tests...

Psychopaths are known to get so good at manipulating people that, by the time they're teenagers, they routinely fool and manipulate mental healthcare professionals, judges, prison officials, parole boards, and social workers who know they are psychopaths, are on the lookout for attempts to manipulate them, and should be immune to manipulation.

It isn't a matter of intelligence: it's a matter of practice, experience. This is because most of what transpires in interaction happens too quickly to think it through…

Don't trust an institution or organization to filter out the personality disordered on the road to the top. Indeed, narcissists have great climbing skills!

Narcissists are expert at tearing down whoever is above them on the ladder of success. That's what narcissists do, nonstop, all their lives, because that's what narcissism is. They get very good at it, because it's an aspect of the disease, an aspect that is more a benefit than a curse in society. In fact, they get so good at climbing over those they throw down that they come out smelling like a rose, because nobody even knows who instigated the talk that destroyed that person…

What's more, narcissists have no compunctions about exploiting and tearing down their betters, because they have no empathy, no conscience. Another big advantage over normal people.

Nor do they have any compunctions about "getting tough" with their subordinates and firing people. They love doing that, because that's what narcissists do — vaunt themselves on others by bullying whomever they can. It's an aspect of the disease. And it's an asset, because it makes them look like good "tough" managers of personnel.

Narcissists are shameless but subtle self-promoters, expert at carving out the perfect (false) image for themselves. Yet another big advantage.

In fact, being for looks only, they see no reason to work for credit or credentials, so they just fake it whenever possible. They may cheat their way through college or buy a degree from a diploma mill or fake their credentials altogether. On the job they steal the credit that belongs to others…

I should think that a narcissist would not be at home in a smart and sophisticated big business with competent personnel managers, one that measures job performance accurately by objective metrics. Most of the narcissists I have known were in the "helping professions," particularly education. Little real accountability and abundant means to fake it.

Among those who were teachers that I have known or heard about, I noticed a peculiar similarity. They avoided accepting any position that would set them up as the responsible party and a target for criticism. For example, they would come up with excuses for why they could not fill a vacant head-coaching position. They preferred to call the shots from behind the scenes as a "humble" assistant coach, who manipulated the head coach.

…This is why narcissistic bullies in the workplace are a particular problem in private nonprofit institutions.

…In fact, the "helping professions" in general attract more than their share of narcissists: little real accountability and plenty of ways to fake it. All you have to do is fool people: you never have to prove that you are doing a good job.

…No one wants others to see them as bad. Moreover, that's the kiss of death to a predator, because it's like a repellant that warns potential prey to mistrust and stay away from him. Indeed, if you were a malignant narcissist, what would be your biggest fear?

Exposure, right? You're like a vampire to whom the light of day is lethal. Your greatest fear would be the same as that of any hungry, stalking predator — exposure.

You'd live in constant fear of people finding out that you're a wolf beneath your sheep's clothing, that you just use people, that you want to take away anything they have that you don't have, and that you will vandalize their image to improve your own. You'd live in constant fear of them learning the shocking truth about your past exploits, about the many you've used and trashed in your wake. You'd live in constant fear of people discovering, not just what you do for a moral living, but whom you do it to.

Since narcissists are such expert con artists, how do you spot them? …Here are eight red flags:

• puts on a conspicuous display of goodness and kindness
• damages the images of most others
• has a history of past upheavals
• hated for mysterious reasons by people close to them
• exhibits unnatural and perplexing behavior — backwards reactions to things
• is a control freak, trampling privacy/boundaries
• is extremely self-absorbed
• has a hostile reaction to attention and credit given others

…If you know a narcissist's history, you will usually see a track record of mysterious upheavals in his life. He suddenly up and moves to a different school or job in a different town every few years.
 That is, every time the good angels in his Pathological Space start comparing notes, get his number, and become enraged.
From: What Makes Narcissists Tick - Understanding Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)