The Bystander, like the Hero, engages in the interaction between the Villain and Victim, but in a passive way.  The Bystander response can be linked to the “freeze” stress response, otherwise known as the “deer in headlights” reaction.  The Bystander may begin the interaction in the Mock Hero role but is not able to fix, rescue, correct, or repair a situation.  When a hero is unable or feels insufficient, they can instead feel more like a Bystander.  They may experience a sense of helplessness or shame in being unable to alleviate the fear that is a result of the interaction between the Villain and Victim.  The Bystander response can also be adaptive or debilitating depending, again, on the context.  A Bystander who has not had their senses overwhelmed can become an observer of the event and can feel similar experiences as the Victim (vicarious victimization).  They can either learn to overcome the stressful moment in an adaptive manner (grow and learn) or get stuck in the “freeze response.  When stuck in this response, an individual will experience a sense of learned helplessness.  This means they will continually respond to any aversive moments with an extreme feeling of helplessness.

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