If you were a Baby Boomer or loved a good TV show, you probably watched “Leave It to Beaver,” which was a top-rated TV show. President Eisenhower was the President in the White House during this era. The popular show ran six seasons, from 1957 to 1963. The show was about a middle-class white family and their every day lives. Wally Cleaver, aka “The Beaver,” was the son of June and Ward Cleaver. He was a truthful and strait-laced young boy, and Eddie Haskell was the mischievous bully that antagonized Wally on the show.
Eddy was a bully who chewed gum and wore a jacket. He had the look of someone “cool.” He knew how to get away with bullying Wally. He was charming to Wally’s parents, and as soon as he was out of their presence, he was harassing Wally. For example, Eddy would tell June Clever that he thought it would be a great idea to bring Wally to the picture movies. While June Clever was smiling, everyone, including else, including Wally, knew that he would be “ditched” and would never make it to the movies. It was a cyclical era of mischievousness and Eddie controlling Wally.
This week actor Ken Osmond who played the role of Eddie died from health complications, but his legacy still lives on. According to the NY Times, Eddie Haskell has so endured in popular culture that a psychological syndrome has been named after him — the “Eddie Haskell Effect.” Dr. Ronald Riggio explained it Psychology Today in 2011:
“One reason why workplace bullies may not be discovered is that they suck up to the authorities while bullying subordinates and peers behind their backs. Just like Eddie Haskell from the old ‘Leave it to Beaver’ show (who ingratiated himself to the parents while tormenting the Beaver), the bully pretends to be a model employee — but only when the boss is around.”
All types of bullies are around, and they know how to “trigger” people and make them feel awful. They enjoy having power over people. These kinds of bullies can be what I call “master teachers.” because they can bring awareness that you don’t have to play their games or hang out with them. Narcissistic bullies who enjoy harming other people lose when they don’t receive the behavior outcome that they want—to dominate and harm others. If you have a bully in your life—know that you don’t have to tolerate their behavior. There are always choices to make and decisions to work in a more respectful work environment.
I believe in safe and respectful workplaces—check out my other articles.
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