©2013 Gail Pursell Elliott
Honor: honesty, fairness, or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions
A character on the defunct television show Monday Mornings was a brilliant neurosurgeon, Asian, and struggling with English. His speech was concise, for example when asked what the prognosis for a patient was without surgery he said, “Dead.” Naturally his colleagues tried to help him be a bit less blunt and use more grammatically correct language. Despite the language barrier, Dr. Park had a frankness that was often refreshing. In one episode, Dr. Park was sued for malpractice by a patient whose surgery had been successful but who had experienced an embarrassing and unexpected side effect, that of an enhanced libido. In a meeting with the patient, her husband and their attorney, the attorney began verbal sparring with Dr. Park, asking if he had informed the patient that this might happen and if he was aware of her deep religious beliefs.
Dr. Park addresses his patient, remarking that perhaps the surgery had damaged her integrity. “You come to me say you have no life because of tremor. You beg me fix, operation success. I fix.” The patient responds that when she and her husband had met with him after the surgery he had been arrogant and dismissive. “You don’t sue me arrogant. You don’t sue me dismissive. You sue me malpractice. No honor you.” Park then turns to the husband, “No honor you,” then looks at the attorney with disgust, “No honor you, especially you.” He gets up and leaves the room. Later the patient visits him to say that she and her husband have dropped the malpractice suit.
Believe it or not, this is an example of a thwarted mobbing. While one might think that the patient is the perpetrator, actually the attorney is the instigator. While the target may be someone with less than optimal interpersonal skills, who is excellent at what they do and communicates an air of arrogance, that does not mean that they deserve to be maligned with unjustified accusations and attacks on professional competence. When a person is being mobbed all sorts of accusations may fly about as rumors. The initial conflict that triggers the mobbing process may be a misunderstanding between people, someone feeling embarrassed by an innocent comment or not taking an issue seriously that is of importance to someone else. The offended party takes this very personally. This is the perfect opportunity for a mobber to step in, stir up indignation and profit from the results. Rather than getting some conflict resolution assistance, he or she resolves not only to discredit, isolate and intimidate the target but also to instigate others to do likewise.
While Dr. Park recognized the situation for what it was, boldly stated it, refused to participate and had a good result, he was still impacted by it after the fact and remembered what had happened. He used the situation to not only gain more knowledge of side effects of this surgery but also to become aware of the character of the attorney for future reference. A short occurrence of mobbing, when recognized, when the target has some support and has not lost his or her sense of identity, personal dignity and self respect can have a better outcome. What is pivotal is that the patient also saw the truth of the situation and stopped participating in an unjustified lawsuit. If she had allowed herself to be swayed further by the attorney, did not see the truth in what Dr. Park said or had been driven by the emotion of feeling dismissed and the desire for retaliation, the outcome might have been different. But then this was a story and not an actual event.
In reality, many people do have a sense of honor and when mobbing is pointed out to them will see their role in the proceedings and will make a conscious choice to stop participating. The result of insight and awareness after educating people about mobbing is something I see on a regular basis. Sometimes we lose not our honor but our awareness of what is honorable and what is not as we get caught up in hurt feelings as a result of situations or the words and actions of others. Remembering who we believe ourselves to be can help us regain our perspective and once again to be true to ourselves.
Have a great day and be good to yourself and those you encounter. You all deserve it.
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Gail Pursell Elliott, The Dignity and Respect Lady
Mobbing, Bullying and Harassment Expert
Human Relations Consultant
Innovations “Training With a Can-Do Attitude”
PO Box 1971, Waterloo, IA 50704