Recently, I watched the JDrama Switched and came to think about mobbing again. This article is about the psychological sides of mobbing and about ethical aspects.
Mobbing, can be defined as a sociological term, means bullying of an individual by a group, in any context, such as a family, peer group, school, workplace, neighbourhood, community, or online. The victim gets systematically and repetitively bullied, bossed around or harassed.
It is a complex construct of the culprit, followers, persons who turn a blind eye and victim. Every person in this conglomerate has their own reason or inducement to attend chivy. This article deals with a rough description of the functional interaction.
Usually mobbing is organized by one or two persons. This main culprit could have many different reasons. In general a mobber is a mental damaged person that relieves the feeling of failure by using and bullying others. According to a self-help website it most likely is about: insecurity, boredom and leisure activity or power. The three attributes often are combined.
The initiate of the chivvy at Liang Mu Cheng (Autmnm's Concerto) is a beautiful girl that is used to get every man she wants. She is beautiful and rich, but that's it. Her parents don't care about her, she has no talent, has no good grades, is neither sport active nor creative. The only way she can earn some appreciation is seducing men. Then Mu Cheng gets the attention of the only man she never could get.
No person who is self-confident and in balance with themselves needs to bully anyone! Initiating mobbing often is a sign of insecurity and action to cover own shortcomings.
Boredom and Leisure Activity:
The best example for this is Kang So Yeong from Who Are You: School 2015. She spent the whole day on planing and conduct actions against her victim. There is nothing else in her life, no hobby or passion. Even when she changes school and could start a new, she immediately starts again to scheme against a girl.
The day is long and persons who are not creative and simple-minded consider teasing someone as a leisure activity to fight their boredom. Moreover, for some abject individuals, there is no other way to socialize then find a common enemy. It is less common that this reason stands alone.
Craving for Power:
The members of F4 in Boys Over Flowers do have everything: they are rich, intelligent, creative, popular and handsome. The only thing they do not have is the control over their own life. Their parents decide everything about the future career and marriage. Their cloth is defined by status or just a school uniform. Every hour per day is scheduled. They were born with powerful status, but are weak when it comes to their lives. So they need to suppress a person as they get suppressed to feel powerful.
Some persons rise up in a surrounding in which power is elementary. There is a lot of pressure they cannot handle and therefore pass this pressure to someone else. Others learned that power is the only thing that keeps one save and ensure the appreciation of many different persons.
Power is hard to reach in a situation in which everyone is at the same level (for example, at school) so to feel powerful, a mobber has to suppress someone else.
Mobbing would not be possible without a following pack. Usually, the main mobber doesn't even have to do things by their own. Psychology is very complex, but in general there are three types of pack members: the pervert assistant, the group member, the frightened. The best example of these types is to observe in Hana Nochi Hare Ep. 3.
The pervert assistant
They don't have a business with the victim. They don't care or even don't know the victim. They would not start, but immediately do as the culprit ordered. Because of following commands they gave away all the responsibility. So they can feel very powerful and strong by denigrate someone and don't need to fear the consequences. They can torture persons without a guilty conscience because it is not their fault that this person gets hurt — they didn't choose their position (it's the psychological mechanism behind this action — see Black Box Experiment for Mario Giordano)
The Group Member
The group member: Human beings are of a social nature. So a society can be formed, conformity is needed. It is easier to follow the general trend. So most persons adjust themselves conscious or subconscious to the majority of a group. This is called majority pressure. Moreover, at Eitoku Academy, the tradition of chasing not rich pupil is implemented since F4 started it a generation ago. There is also the group of C5 who continue this tradition. Therefore, some students adjust themselves because of the authority pressure. Few persons are strong enough to resist this pressure, a lot of them don't even think about this mechanism. So ask yourself if you ever did something because everyone does it — the honest one will have to say yes.
Beside the others the frightened is in the worst position. They are not a faceless member of the group, and they don't enjoy hurting someone, but they are afraid if they don't take action they will be the victim instead. Usually they are not popular, only have a few friends, are insecure and not very strong-minded. So the group pressure strikes here again and hit this particular person very hard.
Mobbing passes three stadiums: exploration, consolidation, manifestation. Every phase is characterized by different attributes. To interrupt the process of mobbing development it is important to identify the stadium the situation is in and do something instead of turning a blind eye as to many persons does!
In Love O2O, there was a situation when the girls of the gaming community got angry and jealous of Bei Wei Wei and start rumours in front of her boyfriend. They test how strong is their impact and Wei Wei's defensive line. This is the Exploration Phase.
The culprit starts teasing different persons to test which person is "suitable" for being a victim. Moreover, the mobber is testing the reaction of the group. Often, there is a thought like: "that was mean" but then the moment passed and so every person think it is over. But this is the point to intervene and prevent someone from becoming a victim. So if one person in a group gets teased and others come to help, this person could be saved. If a group does it for everyone, there is no space for mobbing.
In Angry Mom, a girl gets mobbed at school and no one helps her. When the time comes that Jo Bang Wool's daughter starts to become the next victim, she disguises herself as a student to join the class of her bullied daughter. Because no one is protecting the children, even if everyone knows about the situation, she takes action in order to save her child. Last minute, she enters the situation at Consolidation Phase.
The Phase is about the reaction of the surrounding. The culprit observes the reaction of teachers, pupil, parents, persons in the street in the context of the attacks against the chosen victim. If no one takes action, the culprit judge this as acceptable, recruits assistants and creates extreme assaults. Almost too late, but it is still possible to stop the mobbing development at this point — most likely the interference of a higher instance is needed.
In School 2015, a group of girls is used to torture Go Eun Bi in every possible way. They do it freely. Eun Bi has no family to rely on, the teachers don't do anything, the other students are used to the situation ,because there was always a mobbing victim in this class. The situation entered the Manifestation Phase.
The culprit finally convinced the surroundings that the victim deserved to be bullied. The role of the quarry is irreversible attached to this person. Moreover, the mobber now defines the attitude and moral standard of the group. More assistants are easily found and who is not part of the action just accepts that the loser is treated like that and keeps the distance from him / her. It cannot be fixed anymore. The group has to get split up and social and psychological actions are needed.
Therefore, some victims start to copy the behaviour of the culprits and the pack (see attribution theory). In Switch, Umine Zenko changes the body with a popular girl. She suddenly has everything she wanted. She could be happy. But she starts to bully the girl that is caught in Umine Zenko's body in the same manner she experienced it. Why? Because she thinks Umine Zenko deserve this treatment. It was always like that and always will be.
Almost everybody underestimates what victims of mobbing went through! It is not just a humiliating moment. Especially in young age, victims learn and adapt the ill behavioural pattern. Their self-awareness gets lastingly damaged. Often, they become introvert, mistrustful and sometimes even start to hate themselves, because if everybody shows hatred towards them, they must deserve this (see collective intelligence).
Beside the behavioural effects, don't underestimate the emotional damage. Victims are often nervous / anxious or other way round angry all the time. That is why Umine Zenko reacts rudely and becomes angry at Kohinata Ayumi when she tries to help her by giving her notes to Umine.
In the worst case, the emotional and behavioural damage is so strong that it is nearly impossible to socialize again, if they do not get psychological help. It is not enough to take them out of the situation. They subliminally feel punished because they have to leave even if they didn't do anything wrong. Victims need understanding and help.
This article just scratched the surface of this very complex topic. If you don't want to be one of these stereotypes keep your eyes open, reflect on yourself and do not attend bully actions!
Did you ever experience mobbing?
Have you ever bullied someone?
Do you have other thoughts about this topic you want to share?