Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Well, another week and another entry. I was reading in my Google Alerts about an article entitled Workplace Bullies are Costly and was I glad to see this. I was glad because it is time that more is said and done about bullying in the workplace. We focus so much on the schools and getting the kids educated yet we hardly if ever focus upon the problem in the workplace. One reason could be that people probably assume that these childhood bullies outgrow their behavior? Or that its not a big deal with adults like it is with kids? There are many myths out there I know but one thing is for certain. Bullies do NOT grow up but grow worse. Yes, they get more pathological, methodical and sophisticated in their techniques. Trust me, this problem exists; I lived in twice at work. I am well aware of the realities occuring here.

A colleague of mine, Dr. Gary Namie, has been speaking out against this problem for quite some time. He has stated that the bully is trying to put fear into targets and other employees. Also, he tries to weed out the best employees and set them up to fail. Also, he describes the four types of workplace bullies. The first being the Screaming Mimi’s who give a lot of verbal abuse and make sure others are on their side so they do not get bullied themselves. Another is the Constant Critic who does his dirty deeds behind closed doors. He will tear the victim down bit by bit so that person comes to believe he is actually incompetent and unworthy of being at the job. Another one is the Two Headed Snake. This one will try and be your best friend to your face but is out to break you down behind your back. Finally there is a Gatekeeper and this one is one who can withhold any funding or anything where the target is involved so he will fail.

Folks, is this really productive? How can people even work with all of this going on? Not only do companies loose all kinds of money but employees are being fired unjustly. Not only that but they are developing problems such as PTSD, situational depression and anxiety. Who can blame them? A bully will do anything to tear down another without the blink of an eye. Why can’t people just go to work and do a job without all of this crap? So many companies and organizations are in denial and refuse to do anything. If companies have a code of conduct, why can’t a clause about Peer Abuse be added in there? Folks, this is outright abusive behavior! Your abusers are tearing down their victims everyday. People are being affected by this garbage! Why can’t people just go to work, do a job and go home? Why do people have to horn in on others work? Do they not have enough work to do themselves? Most importantly, why can’t we get educated and crawl out of the denial that exists? We are taking the time to teach the children so what is wrong with educating ourselves in our own backyards?

If there is one thing I hope people learn it is that bullies do not grow up but they grow worse. Its time to get educated and put a stop to this once and for all. We have enough stress in this world, must we add to it?

Resource Cited: http://www.tulsaworld.com/business/article.aspx?articleID=20081026_46_E1_DrGary301220&allcom=1#commentform

Elizabeth Bennett is the author of Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying From A Psychological Perspective and resides in Los Angeles, California. To learn more, visit http://www.peerabuse.info .

Friday, October 17, 2008

Juicy Gossip?

Yesterday morning, I came online and found an interesting article on a website called Juicy Campus. This is a site devised for college students to go online, share funny stories, experiences and is general fun for those in college. The founder, Matt Ivester has been out of college for a couple of years and designed the site specifically for college students. One would think that a online place to hang out and have fun is a good thing, right? Absolutely not. I cannot find any fun in this at all.

There is a dark side to Juicy Campus as in any other site where people post and interact. Juicy Campus is also a place to cyber bully. Gossip turns ugly and students are basically slandering one another. One student in particular had a cruel experience on this site. She was raped one night on the street and shared this traumatic experience with her close friends and family. Nine months later, her experience was posted on the Juicy Campus site and many responses of “she deserved it”, “she is a slut” and other derogatory comments were targeted at her. Needless to say, the experience only made her trauma worse, not better. This site has also raised some legal issues and come under the concern of the Consumer Fraud Act. Of course, Ivester is hiding under the First Amendment of free speech and section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. His attitude is that there should be no censorship and that some of this stuff on there is mean but at the same time its funny. In a nutshell, he has no remorse about what is occurring on this site.

Are we a society that wants to continue to enable abusive behavior? Folks, if someone has been raped, its not good to rejoice and encourage slander towards the victim. Its not good to spread vicious gossip about others for fun. I understand that people should be able to speak their mind. However, at the expense of hurting others? What is good about that? I know many will tell me not to take this site so seriously. People are being affected by this! How can I not take this seriously? Not only is this cyber bullying but its abuse and outright slander. My guess is Mr. Ivester has never come under the fire of bullies. If he had, I am sure he would put limits on his site. I do not like censorship either but good grief! Some people just do not know when to stop! Are we becoming a nation lacking a conscience? Is this gossip really that juicy?

Resource Cited:

Elizabeth Bennett is the author of Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying From A Psychological Perspective and resides in Los Angeles, California. To learn more, visit http://www.peerabuse.info/ .

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Politics have a way of getting dirty. Lots of verbal mudslinging, parties attack each other, many discussions turning into personal attacks. Every four years we tend to get our juices flowing as we hear debates between different parties and see all kinds of ads running on television. The drama and cheap shots never seem to end.

Recently, an ad ran on television in Montana asking “have you been bullied by Governor Brian Schweitzer?” as endorsed by gubernatorial candidate Roy Brown. The title of this ad is “No More” and talks about a recent presentation in Philadelphia by Governor Schweitzer where he bragged that he bullied election monitors and a woman until she was as nervous as a pregnant nun. Also, he admitted to tampering with the 2006 Senate election in Montana. When misusing tax dollars, he bullied the investigator before being found guilty of violating ethic laws. Of course, Governor Schweitzer has said that all of this was “joking around.” Okay, scaring a lady until she was “as nervous as a pregnant nun”, intimidating election monitors, tampering with an election, misusing tax dollars and going against ethics is “joking around.” No, this is not “joking around” but behavior by someone who believes he is above the law. He pushes people around and brags about it. Rigs an election and misusing tax dollars. Most importantly, the heck with any ethics. He has power and abuses it. People who behave like this are not normal but need professional help.

Politics has a tendency to get ugly and can bring out the worst in all of us. However, when is bullying others when in a position of authority okay? Again, as I have said many times, adult bullies do NOT obey laws. They have a sense of entitlement and treat others as they wish. Many act without any remorse because they have no conscience to begin with. Whether someone is a politician or not, do not give them any power! They do not use it properly and anyone with the attitude of Governor Schweitzer has no business being in office or even in politics for that matter. We elect people who are strong and who we believe can do the best job and make the right decisions for our society. This man sounds about as ethical as Charles Manson. I say that because as he is a bully, he probably has his followers and hangers on who cater to his every whim. Politics are dirty enough, do the people of Montana deserve to be bullied by Brian any longer?
A website is up for the people of Montana to express any experiences they have had with Governor Schweitzer. Visit http://www.brianthebully.com to learn more.

Resources Cited:

Elizabeth Bennett is the author of Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying From A Psychological Perspective and resides in Los Angeles, California. To learn more, visit http://www.peerabuse.info.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Mean Behavior is Contagious

If there is one thing I have often wondered, it has been why mean behavior seems to be catching or contagious. We see it amongst us and people always seem to think its funny and a way of entertainment. We watch it on television, want more of it and allow it to filter into our daily lives. Two people are in an argument and instead of trying to stop things before they escalate, we sit by and watch. Reality television is a hot bed for relational aggression. Instead of squashing the bad behavior on there, it gets rewarded in some way. Plus, those who behave badly on these shows seem to get more attention from the viewer. I get the impression that being mean is in the “in thing” now.

A recent study was conducted at Bingham Young University where 53 women are asked to watch three video clips containing physical aggression (Kill Bill), relational aggression (Mean Girls) and no aggression (a séance scene from What Lies Beneath). Afterwards, the women took a couple of tests that are used to test aggression. Findings suggested that parents need to pay more attention to relational aggression in their television viewing. We get so caught up with violence in the media and how bad it is. Yet, more attention needs to be paid to relational aggression as well. It is just as harmful if you ask me.

I have to ask, what makes reality television so popular? Why do we want to watch shows like Survivor where people form alliances and stab each other in the back? Gossip Girl is another one full of relational aggression with the glorification of the Queen Bee. This behavior is highly destructive yet we want more and more of it. If that is not bad enough, we allow it to filter into our own lives and relationships. Subconsciously, we take this information and pertain it to our own lives because we know its rewarding and acceptable.

Folks, we need to stop excusing this and start to see it for what it is. We need to stop glorifying this bad behavior and making role models of those who behave this way. Stop the gratification and rewarding of it. Start to see it for the abuse that it really is. Why must this mean behavior be so contagious?

Resource Cited:

Elizabeth Bennett is the author of Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying From A Psychological Perspective and resides in Los Angeles, California. To learn more, visit http://www.peerabuse.info .

Saturday, October 04, 2008

How Does He Sleep At Night?

As I got online this morning, one of the first things I saw was an article where O.J. Simpson was found guilty on 12 charges with some being kidnapping and armed robbery in a Nevada courtroom. What is more amazing is this verdict was read 13 years to the day that he was found not guilty in what was called “The Trial of the Century” where he was charged and acquitted for the murders of his former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman who was a waiter at the Brentwood restaurant Mezzaluna. During this 13 year period, we saw him in many photos living the good life in Florida. He would play a lot of golf and was always ready for the camera and any photo opportunity he could grab.

I am glad that justice has finally been served. This man literally got away with murder. I got tired of his smug face all over the nation back in 1995 during his trial that bombarded our lives. Then we would see him in photos playing golf and living it up. When he committed these crimes in Nevada, I honestly think he thought he would get away with his crimes. I got the impression that he thought he was above the law. I mean, he kills two people and gets away with it. If he can pull that off, I guess he felt he could do anything else he wanted. Of course, he never paid the Brown and Goldman families the money he was ordered to pay in the civil suit that was held after his criminal trial. He moved to Florida to avoid every loop hole out there in paying that money. Plus, a book was written by him where he gave a hypothetical confession of how Nicole and Ron were murdered. The families put the breaks on that, got the rights to the book, changed the title and all proceeds for that book are now going to the families. Now he will be in prison probably the rest of his life and frankly, I feel this is 13 years too late.

O.J. Simpson is your classic narcissist. He has a warped sense of entitlement and believed the laws did not apply to him. He got away with double homicide and moved to a state that allowed him to avoid paying the families of his victims the money that was ordered by the civil suit. If that did not beat all, he published that book with his so called hypothetical confession and trying to profit from these crimes. What kind of a person does that? One who is so vainglorious and so full of himself that he believes that he is someone special. One that lacks a conscience or any empathy for others whatsoever. In a nutshell, a bully. Yes, I said it, a bully. He abused his wife and never batted an eyelash. He murdered his wife and an innocent bystander and had the nerve to publish a book based on this. He avoided paying the money he owed his victims families. Then he comes to Nevada and pulls more crap there. This time it backfired and he was caught. This is classic behavior of an adult bully.

Now that O.J. is finally getting his just deserts, lets hope that the families and society itself can move forward and feel safe knowing that he is behind bars for the rest of his life. Finally, justice is served! Happy trails, O.J. Simpson!

Resource Cited:

Elizabeth Bennett is the author of Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying From A Psychological Perspective and resides in Los Angeles, California. To learn more, visit http://www.peerabuse.info .

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Its Not All About Blair!

Well, as I told myself I was never planning to watch The CW’s show Gossip Girl, I wound up catching it again last night. I gave it some thought and someone needs to get the word out that this show may be some sort of mockery of the rich and famous but also glorifies the serious problem of relational aggression in teen girls. The content has gotten sadistic after last weeks stint with the hair burning by a group of minions or wannabees if you will. In a nutshell, I cannot let this go. Sure, I could just “change the channel” but really, does that solve the problem at hand or shed light upon it?

Monday evening we are greeted with Blair and Serena at school. Blair’s mother is having her annual fashion show for fashion week . As Blair wants her Queen Bee status back, she decides to give the wannabees second row seats for the occasion. Well, we also learn that Serena has recently befriended a socialite named Poppy. As Blair approaches her troops with her news, a wannabee pulls out a tabloid with Serena and Poppy. Everyone gets excited as Serena approaches the group on the steps. Of course, the crew ignores Blair and all eyes are on Serena. Blair is furious and stomps off in a tantrum. We see Blair later in the episode continuing to throw tantrums at every turn. It gets so bad that at the fashion show, Blair ruins things for Serena (who was offered a front row seat with her new friend despite tradition that she and Blair watch the show from behind the curtain), the intern Jenny (the one who is targeted by these wannabees) and for the show itself despite the fact that this is her mothers gig and not hers. Later, Jenny saves the day with an outfit of hers and allows Blair’s mother to take the credit for it. We also see a heart to heart between Poppy and Serena and Serena always allowing Blair to shine while she scrunches in the background. Poppy assures her that her real friends will love her regardless. So, later on, Serena lets Blair know this and we see Blair ready to kill as a result.

Blair is not only a Queen Bee but she’s a spoiled brat. Nobody is suppose to outshine her or allow themselves to be noticed for their merits. Its all about Blair and how all attention should center around her. Not all bullies are abusive; some are spoiled (as well as abusive) and grow up this way as I have mentioned in my book Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying From A Psychological Perspective. They are so use to having their way and getting everything they want and expect that everywhere they go. So Serena gets closer to the group of friends, Blair cannot handle it. Serena has a talent for modeling and she models Jenny’s dress. Blair cannot stand it. Blair was using her relational aggression to squash Serena and who she was and friends should never do that for one another. I was glad to see Serena stand up to her and use her talents she was blessed with. The world does not revolve around Blair Waldorf and Queen Bees need to learn the same lesson.

Please, if you encounter someone like this, stand up to them! Do not give them any power and allow them to control you. A real friend will love you for who you are and will believe in you. Blair sure could use that lesson herself.

Resouce Cited: http://www.cwtv.com/shows/gossip-girl

Elizabeth Bennett is the Author of Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying From A Psychological Perspective and resides in Los Angeles, California. To learn more, visit http://www.peerabuse.info .