Sunday, April 5, 2020

COVID-19 and the Bully Hybrid

Debra Stewart PsyD

The Bully Hybrid during stressful events is a bully that becomes more manipulative and cunning than ever before. Resources are scarce; rewards are few; audiences become scarce, and victims are too diminished in the will to fight back. The bully's unmet needs increase, and relational bullying rises as does the formation of frenemy teams. In times of quarantine, the bully preys on already stressed targets for money, food, and other necessities of life and will find other bully-types to validate their behavior. 

Bystanders are essential in these situations, and they may come in the form of neighbors, clergy, coworkers, friends, or family members. There are always bystanders in bullying events or the aftermath of the victimization, and now, more than ever, bystanders are needed for surveillance to call or FaceTime with the home-bound and marginalized and report mental health abuse to the proper authorities.


Saturday, March 28, 2020

Social Distancing and the Bully

Social distancing is a unique situation that might reduce bully-type behaviors from individuals who may prey on the marginalized. Without an audience or the rewards found in social groups, the bully may seek other ways to satisfy their unhealthy unmet needs and drives. However, there are bully personalities who thrive on microaggression and covert methods to maintain an imbalance of power when separated from their target. When individuals are advised to practice social distancing, the bystander becomes essential as they can be the protective shield from bully-type behaviors by using the approved distance communication methods to stay in touch with those who are quarantined or practicing social distancing. The bystander might be a neighbor, family member, coworker, or other agency helpers who can listen, advise, and report the abuse of the marginalized in isolation.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Hoarding and Bullying during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The hoarding behaviors that are occurring over the fear of the COVID-19 pandemic may not be a form of bullying. If a person already has bully-type responses, then hoarding behaviors may be an extension of their personality and embedded personality disorders. However, hoarding during times of extreme stress and fear is a normal human response because humans have individual comfort and survival needs. If these needs remain unmet for some time, the flight or fight response is activated and induces panic and unhealthy responses. Hoarding is a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and hoarding as a fear response to the COVID-19 crisis falls into this category because of the anxiety associated with a critical event, and the mental distress of the unknown and the future course of the pandemic. Hoarding is a form of self-medication because it is the individual's way of coping with the stress of the pandemic. 

Because there are adverse outcomes concerning hoarding in this situation, such as guilt, untreated anxiety disorder, increased fears, the increasing concern of unmet needs, and the lack that it may create for others, treatment is essential. It is necessary to realize and identify the psychological reasons behind unhealthy drives and motives so that rational decision-making and healthier responses to the COVID-19 pandemic may result.  Humans need to gather the necessary supplies in a sensible way to survive any crisis; however, it is also critical to foster humankind's survival and the greater good.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Finding a Hero Within the Bully Triad

Within the bully triad, there are abundant opportunities for positive change; however, it will not happen without an educational intervention. The bully, the victim, and the bystander have one of the most unhealthy social connection known to man. Interdependent until there is a forced interruption in the cycle, the bully triad will repeat the unhealthy alliance until members step out of the dynamic to become heroes. Dr. Zimbardo is known for his work on the psychology of evil, has recently turned his research focus on how people can turn daily challenges into opportunities for everyday heroism. For some, the heroism will be those who teach about the difference between good and evil; for others, it will be the policy change agents, some will be the protectors of values, and others will stand with the marginalized. 

Friday, December 27, 2019

Bullying and Moral Injury

The bully triad consists of the bully, the bystander, and the victim. When bullying occurs, the toxic relationship between members creates moral injury. Moral injury occurs in individuals and groups when forced participation of events occurs either through active or passive means, where the violation of member values and beliefs or spirituality are disrespected and reduces the meaning and significance of life. Moral injury for the bully triad members creates feelings of emotional guilt and shame, betrayal, and cognitive dissonance. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suicidal ideation, bullying, and victims of war, abuse, rape, and trauma all have a causal link to moral injury, which makes treatment and recovery difficult. 

Friday, October 25, 2019

Bully Prevention Tip # 3: Create a Bully-Free Cost Structure

The bully-free cost structure is an abstract concept that is often buried within other budgets and attended too only in crisis. A bully management and prevention program requires a specific budget that will include continuous improvement in the organizational culture, communities, and home environments. For example, outdated policies and procedures may need to be rewritten, and employee assistance programs implemented and funds reserved for personal counseling as needed. However, don't overlook the shared and free resources in the community that might provide substantial support and shelter.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Bully Prevention Tip # 2: Fill the Knowledge Gap

Once bullying occurs, there seems to be a knowledge gap on what to do next. Individuals and organizations must become knowledgeable of the laws, policies, and regulations regarding bully-type events. Questions to ask are what the state and local laws regarding harassment, extortion, hate crimes, bullying, assault, stalking, or cyberbullying are so that protective action is possible. If the bullying event is determined to be criminal, then the individual or organization must seek legal counsel and act as advised.  Also, the protection of the victim or victims is critical at all times to avoid further harm or harassment.