How personality types interact in the bullying dynamic
There was a really interesting article Sign of the Times News on how empaths are more susceptible to bullying that other people. The article is by Dr Jane and Tim McGregor who are mental health professionals. (See: http://www.sott.net/article/268449-Empathic-people-are-natural-targets-for-sociopaths-protect-yourself)
According to the article, “Empaths are ordinary people who are highly perceptive and insightful and belong to the 40% of human beings who sense when something’s not right, who respond to their gut instinct. In The Emperor’s New Clothes, the empath is the boy who mentions the unmentionable: that there are no clothes.”
Sociopaths, according to Wikipedia, are people who exhibit “antisocial behavior, a diminished capacity for empathy or remorse, and poor behavioral controls or fearless dominance.”
Apaths “collude in the sport of the sociopath apathetic, or apaths. In this situation, it means a lack of concern or being indifferent to the targeted person.” (see article link above).
According to the McGregors, bullying usually involves a Empath-Sociopath-Apath triad. Basically, the sociopath targets the empath because the empath is the most likely to call them out for bad behavior. The sociopath enlists the help of an apath who supports the sociopath in what is a game to the sociopath, but manifests as a conflict between the empath and the sociopath.
The key question is why do apaths, who might otherwise be fair minded people, become apathetic to what the sociopath is doing to their victim. They can see the abuse, and they actually support it.
It’s interesting that the McGregors think that the reason apaths are apathetic is because of fear. They don’t cite any research to back that up, but it’s a very common assumption. The real question is how does the victim in this triad fix the situation given that the sociopath treats this as a game and the apaths can’t be counted on to support what is right and just?
I’m not entirely sure but I do think that instead of focusing on fighting the sociopath, if the empath instead focused finding bystanders to who can become active supporters, they would fare better. Often, we assume that just being right is enough. It isn’t. We have to actively look for and find allies. Because this is a battle for the sociopath and if we don’t come to the confrontation ready for it, we will lose.