QUOTE : “In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” ∼ Martin Luther King Jr
Narcissistic BULLYING (in families, at school, at work) involves perpetrators & their victim-targets, with bystanders nearby turning a blind eye. It is intentional unprovoked & longstanding physical or psychological violence by an individual or group persistently focused on those who can’t defend or protect themselves
Darley & Latané identified the degree of responsibility bystanders feel will depend on:
‣ their opinion of their own ability to help (competence)
‣ whether or not they believes the person deserves help
‣ the relationship between bystander & victim (the more the similarity, the more likely Altruism may kick in)
Various studies, including ones from Korea & Sweden, identified categories of bystanders – each with a particular role & investment.
👀 Defenders of victims who help by trying to stop the abuse, &/or offering support & friendship
👀 Bully followers (“Flying Monkeys”) who reinforce the bully’s actions by encouraging the N, & by laughing at the victim’s plight
👀 Outsiders, who just want to keep away from any & all altercations. However, their silence is a form of approval
👀 Supporters (reinforcers) – overtly or covertly, support bullying behavior by ignoring the abuse, but don’t take an active role (MORE….)
While most young people & many adult Victims lack the necessary skills to stop the abuse, so are many Bystanders ignorant & confused.
However, Bystanders who are ‘active watchers’ – as it it were a spectator sport – fuel the abusers / narcissists grandiosity, who love to intimidate, humiliate & control their audience – as well as their victims.
Bystanders may stay silent because THEY:
🕴don’t have enough info to know who’s right or wrong is a situation
🕴don’t want to draw attention to themselves, afraid of the N’s retaliation & then becoming the next victim
🕴feel powerless to stop the perpetrator, don’t know what to do
🕴may believe the victim “deserves” it / or may not like the victim
🕴afraid to be a snitch, or lose social status by ‘caring’
🕴underestimate their ability to help, or the value of their contribution
🕴think that telling someone (authorities) won’t help, or make it worse
Various studies (Canada, Sweden, Italy….) examined moral dis-engagement regarding actions / non-actions of bystanders who observed social bullying & cyber-bullying.
Moral Dis-engagement allows those who witness harmful acts to make excuses or minimize them, which reduces their sense of responsibility to intervene.
It’s influenced by the bystander’s weak personal values of Right & Wrong, along with their social & family environment (morals & rules).
EXP: One result = Males expressed more moral dis-engagement opinions, compared to Females – who are more likely to show positive attitudes towards victims of bullying
The “Bystander Effect“, also called Bystander APATHY, is made up of several components
• Social influence – we monitor the behavior of those around us to determine how to act. Even if we may want to do something about abuse we’ve seen or know about, we don’t, afraid of being criticized or judged
• Perceived diffusion of responsibility – reinforcing mutual denial : the more onlookers there are, the less any one person will be wiling to take personal responsibility to help, although clearly needed
RESEARCH: When alone – 85 % will help. When others are around: 31%
• Pluralistic Ignorance – being in any situation that might require some action BUT which is not clear (ambiguous), makes us look for signals from those around us to see how they are reacting. If no-one does anything, we conclude that no help is needed, mistakenly assuming others know something we don’t (More….)
The list below represent some beliefs (cognitive mechanisms) of Morally Dis-engaged bystanders, similar in both cyber- or in-person bullying.
EXP: “If an embarrassing picture or video of someone else is posted online, there’s nothing I can do about it”. OR
“If my friends say mean things to someone directly, there’s nothing I can do to stop them” (MORE….)
NEXT : Bystanders, #1c