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BULLIES ARE EVERYWHERE :

Power Issues at Home, Work, and School

Part I: Theory

Stuart W. Twemlow, MD
Professor of Psychiatry
Baylor School of Medicine
Houston, Texas
“Power Does Not Corrupt
People, People Corrupt
Power”
Andre Gide

Bullies Are Everywhere


Bullies Will Only Do
What Bystanders
Allow………

Bullies Are Everywhere


Why Care About Bullies
• Bullying, Shame, and Humiliation Lead to
Violence
• Bullying Reduces Achievement
• Creates Reactive Groups Rather Than
Work Groups
• Reduces the Quality of Life in
Communities, by Creating Special Interest
Groups
Bullies Are Everywhere
The Circle of Power

ALL ROLES ARE CO-CREATED

FIXED ROLES ALL PEOPLE


BECOME REPEATED VICTIM VICTIMIZER OCCUPY ALL
PATTERNS ROLE ROLE ROLES AT DIFFERENT
TIMES

ROLES ARE NOT DIAGNOSES

Bullies Are Everywhere


Power Dynamics Theory
• Power Dynamics Drive Individual and Group
Behavior
• Power Dynamics are often an Unconscious
Trialectical Relationship
 Bully-Victimizer
 Victim
 Bystander
 Power’s Coerciveness Ranges from Everyday
Insensitivities to Mass Murder

Bullies Are Everywhere


Social Context or Crucible
• Power is Enacted Socially within Contexts
• Bystanders Are Causal Ingredients in Problem
Not Passive Observers
• Power Conflicts Are Always Shifting
• Coercion Evolves from Frozen Dynamics
• Leader Can Be a Bully-Victim-Bystander
• Climates Form Within Social Contexts
• A Dysfunctional Social Context Impacts the
Individual
Bullies Are Everywhere
Bully Role: Victimizer
• Sadomasochistic Enjoyment of the Pain of
Others
• Lacks Empathy
• Enjoys Dominant Status in Social Context
• Uses Humiliation to Improve Social Status

Bullies Are Everywhere


Bully Typology
• Sadistic: Psychopathic
Cold, Popular, Manipulates Others (Enron)
• Depressed: Bully’s Sidekick (homophilly)
Unkempt, Socially Insecure, Attaches to
Sadistic Bully to Gain Status
• Bully - Victim: Bullies by Being a Victim
Class Clown, Attracts Negative Attention,
Gains Power by Being a Victim

Bullies Are Everywhere


VICTIM ROLE
• Submissive
• Masochistic
• Driven to Please
• Rescue Driven

Bullies Are Everywhere


BYSTANDER ROLE
• The Audience for Public Humiliation
• Can Identify with Both Victim and
Victimizer
• Humiliation is the Critical Ingredient
• Can Be an Individual or Group

Bullies Are Everywhere


BYSTANDER TYPOLOGY
• Bully Bystander
 Excited by Actions of the Bully
 Cheers On or Laughs at Bully’s Shaming
• Victim Bystander
 Sheepishly Looks On as Bully Humiliates
 Offers Comfort only AFTERWARDS to Victim
• Abdicating Bystander
 Usually a System, Leader, or Governing Body
 Takes No Action to Stop Bully
 Blames Others for the Problem

Bullies Are Everywhere


Redefining Bullying
DYADIC TRIADIC

• Social context of bully-victim-


• Victim-victimizer primary focus bystander (focus on bystander)
• Bully-Victim-Bystander roles co-
• Individual’s role as bully or created and in flux (always
victim is seen as fixed changing)
• Audience is passive observer • Audience has an active role in
violence
• Purely external/social definition
• Stress the role of unconscious
• Bully-Victim are behavioral power dynamics & processes
roles • Bully-Victim-Bystanders have
complex combinations of roles &
• Focus is on behavioral change unconscious affiliations
• Focus is on Mentalizing
• Intervention targets individuals
• Intervention aimed at CLIMATE

Bullies Are Everywhere


Some Bystanding
•Self
Roles
Awareness HELPFUL BYSTANDING
•Reflective
Mindsets
•Accurate Peaceful
Reading of VICTIM VICTIMIZER Outcome
Others
•Impulsivity
DESTRUCTIVE BYSTANDING
•Concrete thinking
•Misread Danger
signals Violent
Active roles Passive roles Outcome
•Bully Bystander
•Victim bystander
•Puppet master
•Avoidant bystander
•Sham bystander
•Abdicating bystander
Bullies Are Everywhere