The Unconscious Group

"A good example of the way the unconscious group operates is the way a group selects a 'troublemaker' who then performs a function on behalf of other members of the group as well as themselves.  This is a person who always challenges administration, who constantly argues, who gives off nonverbal signs of frustration in meetings but never does anything positive, who is always tardy, and who bullies other people.  Many groups and organizations have a 'difficult', 'disturbed', or 'impossible' member whose behavior is regarded as getting in the way of the others' good work.  There may be a widely shared belief that if only that person would leave, then everything would be fine.  This view is very attractive, hard to resist and tempting to act upon... As happens very often, no sooner had one troublesome person left, than another one appeared... this unconscious suction of individuals into performing a function on behalf of others as well as themselves happens in all institutions."

- Sandra Bloom, author of Destroying Sanctuary