Othello’s Error, Another Reason Targets of Bullying Often Take Blame for Actions of Bullies


It’s called Othello’s Error on the parts of teachers, principals school officials, supervisors and managers. It comes from Shakespeare’s play, “Othello”, in which the main character, Othello assumes that his wife, Desdemona is having an affair based on her nervous response when he questions her.

In reality, Desdemona is innocent but the aggressive and volatile nature of Othello and his intimidating questions make the poor lady nervous and Othello takes this as a sign of guilt. It is often the same in real life.

Often, when a person is questioned and shows nervousness, most accusers and witnesses misread the response and take it as a sign that the person is lying or is hiding something. It’s how so many people have gotten blamed for something they didn’t do. Just as nervousness is too often mistaken for deception, the show of confidence is mistaken for honesty and trustworthiness. As we all know, bullies are well-known for feigned confidence and false bravado.

William Shakespeare

Victims of bullying are always nervous and rightfully so. Who wouldn’t be if they were constantly abused, shamed, name-called, threatened and physically attacked? And people are notorious for rushing to the first possible explanation which fits what they want to see. Should it why any wonder why victims are blamed, and bullies go scot free?

After the abuse goes on for so long, victims learn to expect more of the same and they usually get it, because the Law of Attraction dictates that expectation of such treatment more, more, then, even more, making the victim more nervous with each occurrence. As the victim grows more and more nervous, bystanders and authority grow more and more suspicious of the poor target of bullying!

The fact is that nervousness has several reasons and the mistake is often in the decoding of it and not the observation!

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