The psychology of disputes and methods of resolution and the difference between disputes, bullying and harassment

From a psychological standpoint a dispute (a disagreement) must exist in two minds.  The greek prefix di means two, twice etc.  Spute from the old English to discuss

 There must be a commonality between those two minds ie:

 ·         Location

·         Property

·         Ownership

·         Employment or Profession 

There must be knowledge of the dispute by both minds.  A dispute does not exist if a victim is being bullied or harassed – see below.

Once knowledge exists of the dispute both minds (parties) are empowered. 

This empowerment can be stressful if it is accompanied by uncertainty. 

Stress generated can be exacerbated by a parties reaction to stress caused by for example: 

·   Current emotional condition

·   Nurtured emotional condition

·   Natural emotional condition 

The stress generated can be used by one party to increase their power to the detriment of the other. 

The methods available to settle disputes are indicative of societies perception of the hierarchy of disputes ie: 

·  Statutory

o     Party Wall Surveyor

o     Arbitrator

o     Mediator

o     Conciliator

o     Early neutral evaluator

·         Police

·         Council

·         Authority

·        Willing parties acting reasonably without coercion

 Bullying and Harassment 

“Bullying is a compulsive need to displace aggression and is achieved by the expression of inadequacy (social, personal, interpersonal, behavioural, professional) by projection of that inadequacy onto others through control and subjugation (criticism, exclusion, isolation etc). Bullying is sustained by abdication of responsibility (denial, counter-accusation, pretence of victimhood) and perpetuated by a climate of fear, ignorance, indifference, silence, denial, disbelief, deception, evasion of accountability, tolerance and reward (eg promotion) for the bully.”

Tim Field, 1999

Bullies aim to control, discredit, isolate and eliminate their target, they have no integrity, are vindictive, aggressive, demanding and regularly violate other’s boundaries and rights – their “requests” always have a negative consequence.  They intend to cause the victim harm, undermine them, damage them socially, emotionally, psychologically and sometimes physically.  This is all the Bully’s choice by the use of unwarranted criticism and threats.

The major triggers for bullying come from the bully’s own sense of inadequacy, they feel envious and threatened by competent, popular people with integrity.  The bully will project their own incompetence and inadequacy onto the target by gossip and the gossip mongers will unwittingly or wittingly be the bully’s accomplice if they are vulnerable,  gullible or spiteful.

Their victim is singled out because they are superior in every way to the bully: They are:

·        Morally Courageous

·        Strong

·        Highly developed empathy

·        Sensitivity for others

·        High degree of perceptiveness

·        high moral values

·        Well-developed integrity

·        Strong sense of fair play and reasonableness

·        A low propensity to violence

·        Reluctance to pursue a grievance, disciplinary or legal action

·        A strong forgiving streak

·        Mature understanding of the need to resolve conflict with dialogue

·        Self-Reliant

·        Individualistic

·        Non-group member

the bully confuses the attributes as weaknesses not the strengths they are

Bullying is by Scapegoating,  projection, vilification,  retaliation and grooming bystanders:

Scapegoating is moving blame, responsibility,  angry feelings, undealt with pain and accusations from themselves to others.

To distract and divert attention from themselves the bully Projects their own inadequacies, shortcomings, behaviours, anger, spite and self-deception on to the target – the projector does this by blame, criticism and allegation.  Their attack on the target actually mirrors who they are and gives an awareness of the bully’s own misdemeanours.

Vilification is the attempt to mask the bullying by the bully accusing the target of being the bully  – the aim is to put the target on the defensive (feigning victimhood).

The bully grooms bystanders (and the target) with lies and misinformation and encourages them to further disseminate by gossip.  The most easily groomed by gossip are those who lack critical analytical thinking skills.

A bully will focus and attempt to exercise power over and on an individual.  There is no commonality between those minds.  The determination of whether or not a person is being bullied or harassed is the victim’s perception of being caused alarm, distress or intimidation.  Even if the bully claims they did not mean to alarm, distress or intimidate the Equality Act applies on the way the victim feels.

Bullying is part of group dynamics – a group will demand similar behaviour or will ostracise or bully members or those attempting to join, the group members are willing or unwilling collaborators (you become who you associate with) – conversely a team will not act in such a manner.  This type of bullying was first studied in the Hawthorne experiments in the early 20th century and it applies equally to public places, clubs, institutions, work, social, familly and neighborly situations.

A Building Owner (or their Surveyor) who is being bullied by an Adjoining Owner’s appointed surveyor to the extent that the required award is impossible unless they submit to the unreasonable demands of the bullying surveyor should sideline the surveyor by utilising the act to go to the third surveyor.  What they should be aware of is that the bully will attempt to villify, project etc onto the other surveyor and groom the third surveyor into believing they are the inocent party;  this emphasises the importance of Third Surveyor selection;  the selected third surveyor must be an experienced master of critical analytical thinking and dispute resolution.  A bullying Party Wall Surveyor should immediately be reported to their Institute for disciplinary action.

In work, clubs, institutions etc bullying will fall foul of statutes and could also be criminal and authority figures should immediately be involved.

Neighbourly bullying is common in small and remote communities and is generally driven by group dynamics and fuelled by the grooming by gossip of those less able to critically analytically think.  The bully is driven by loneliness, depression, undealt with loss, jealousy, hate, supressed and undealt with anger  etc.  The bully’s undealt with passions will be fixated upon the target which will lead to a form of paranoia and mental disturbance within the bully.  The target will become aware of the bully’s obsession with them when the bully acts outwardly by for example invading their space, vengeful, spiteful and other actions against them.  The target should avoid a natural temptation to retaliate as this will only empower the bully and alter the dynamics from bully and victim into a dispute – The target should retain the upper ground at all times by being polite and understanding to and of the bully indeed the greatest danger the target faces is to be provoked by the bully because of the withholding of the natural instinct to retaliate.  If the bully breaks statute or common law etc it is essential that the police are informed who have the power to treat the matter as a hate crime.  They can also take the matter to court. 

It must also be recognised that pubs, restaurants and cafes are for locals (outside season) and so if a person is subject to bullying in such public places it may be the best option to just stop going to them.

Arrested Development Bully:   Children play, they experiment with structures and boundaries;  This can include spiteful, hateful and violent behavior.  (In extremis when removed from adult supervision their behavior can  become pathological).  If a child is subject to bullying from within such a situation (Boarding School, Child retention institutions, inadequate family etc), the child can be so disturbed by the situation that their psychological development becomes partly arrested.  The deep seated pain within the child becomes the anger of the adult bully (and in extremes the sociopath and the psychopath; The most devious type of bully;  they have lost the ability of empathy and sympathy and care purely for themselves).  From the behaviour of the adult bully can be extrapolated the age of the child when the disturbance happened and the understanding required is of this child within not the adult.