The more research I read about bullying and what many speculate is the reason for it, the more I realize we do not always make the distinction between authorized power and bullying. Seems to me, authorized power, based on the common good, has measurable results – results that those who authorized the power can see and feel. According to current research, bullying as opposed to authorized power, is a common occurrence in practically all areas of life, especially in the workplace and within our most intimate relationships. In the workplace, bullying is most common when the workplace culture supports or even encourages the practice. For instance, I have lived in Detroit, Michigan all of my fifty plus years. I have witnessed, firsthand, how superiors ignore bullying in a municipal office setting and subordinates accept it as a part of the training process for promotion. When reflecting on the highest office in municipal government – that of mayor, it becomes obvious when the mayor is wielding authorized power that furthers the good of the citizenry and when misuse of authorized power results in self-serving bullying. The proof is measurable and always in the results, not the promises.
Within personal relationships, bullying seems to have increased and escalated. For as long as adults have shared the same living space, we have seen authorized power deteriorate, over time, into bullying. Whether the dynamic involved opposite sexes, or the same, familial relationships, marital or friendships, one of the few constants regarding bullying within intimate relationships is that it continues as long as it remains unchecked. Huuummm, maybe, bullying is so ingrained in our DNA that whenever it is checked, it finds a new outlet.
It Just Occurred to me that maybe new laws that hold bullies accountable and forces the more violent among them to get psychological help and those in the workplace to cease and desist – have also resulted in new manifestations of bullying: what if the increase in random acts of violence, especially against women, children and seniors, is such a manifestation?
Solutions to bullying are elusive. Yet, I think that by recognizing that power and authority may not always be synonymous and authorized power may have a place in any authority figure’s toolbox, we may, as a culture better identify who the real bullies are and how, collectively, we neither benefit from, nor have a reason to live in fear of, bullies.
Wikipedia: In computer programming, ?: is a ternary operator that is part of the syntax for a basic conditional expression in several programming languages. →