“But beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression…the dark side of the Force are they, easily they flow… If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny. Consume you, it will…” ―Yoda
The concept of “the dark side” stems from the struggle between good and evil put forth by George Lucas in Star Wars back in 1977. The metaphor of “the dark side” has been used by communication scholars to look at a range of interpersonal relationship behaviors that are highly problematic and destructive. We started this chapter by examining a few destructive interpersonal behaviors: secret testing, Internet infidelity, and hurtful messages. We then switched our focus to the highly destructive world of interpersonal aggression. We looked at both how interpersonal relationships can be both verbally and physically destructive. If you find yourself in a verbally or physically destructive interpersonal relationship, please seek help. No one deserves to be belittled, demeaned, or assaulted.
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- Bullying • Confrontational Behaviors • Directness • Endurance Test • Indirect Suggestions • Internet Characteristics • Internet Infidelity • Intimate Partner Violence • Nonconfrontational Behaviors • Physical Bullying • Reasons for Relational Aggression • Relational Aggression • Relational Bullying • Secret Tests • Separation Test • Third-Party Testing • Triangle Test • Types of Workplace Bullying • Verbal Bullying
Real World Case Study
Carrie’s daughter, Diana, had only been at Birmingham School Junior High School a few months when she formed a friendship with three girls: Lisa, Lucy, and Kristen. The girls were great friends, and spent a significant amount of time on the phone and at the mall on the weekends. The girls graduated from 8th grade and moved on to high school. During their freshman year, Diana took a disliking to Lisa and began campaigning against her. At some point, Diana decided that the group should no longer include Lisa. When spending the night with Kristen, Diana asked Kristen to call Lisa to get her to talk about her behind her back. She planned to confront Lisa if she talked about her. She plotted with Lucy and Kristen to get them to ignore Lisa when she came to sit with them at lunch. In a final act to eradicate Lisa from the group, she coaxed Lucy into writing a note Kristen to say that she didn’t want to be friends with Lisa anymore. The plan was for Diana to “find” the note and then give it to Lisa so that she could see how Kristen and Lucy felt about her. The girls moved forward with their plan to write the note and give it to Lisa. After Lisa received the note, she went to Kristen to find out what was going on. She was devastated and crying. Kristen felt terrible for her, but she didn’t betray her friendship with Diana. Later, Lisa’s mom called Carrie to talk about the situation and determine what could be done.
- What term describes the behavior demonstrated by the girls in the scenario?
- Is it reasonable to expect Kristen and Lucy to stand up to Diana?
- What, in your opinion, caused Diana to exclude Lisa?
- When Carrie found out about her daughter’s behavior, what was her responsibility?
- Was it acceptable for Lisa’s mom to call Carrie?
- What would you do in this situation?
End of Chapter Quiz
- Which form of secret test involves physical distance?
c. third party
d. public presentation
e. triangle test
- Verbal aggression is defined as
a. attacking the self-concept of others
b. attacking the topic in an argument
c. manipulating social relationships of others
d. using one’s power to intimidate others
e. isolating the target of communication
- Relational aggression is best defined as
a. manipulating the social relationships of others
b. attacking the self-concept of others
c. attacking the topic in an argument
d. using one’s power to intimidate others
e. isolating the target
- Which of the following is not a form of workplace bullying?
a. Damaging professional standing
b. Limiting the ability to complete work
c. Obstructing due process
d. Verbal threats
e. Providing counseling through human resources upon reports of bullying
- Which of the following is not included in playful teasing?
a. Parties are Friends
b. Repeated occurrences of the same behavior
c. Signs of affection
d. Parties smile and laugh
e. Parties are using teasing to broach difficult topics
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End of Chapter Quiz Answer Key