I Just Wanted To Say...

What is your problem?

Name:
Location: Georgia, United States

I am me. More than I was, less than I will be. This is difficult. Facts-female, southern, mother and grandmother. Abstract-a Christian, a loner, intelligent, somewhat arrogant, impatient with stupidity, an unusual sense of humor.

4/22/2005

Heading for the Red Line

I have what I call my Idiot Tolerance Meter. It calibrates out to zero in the mornings and hopefully by the end of the day it is still acceptably low. I begin work at 8:00am. It is now 9:30am. The meter has begun to rise. Two attorneys have already jumped on me about situations over which I had no control and they have not been happy because I wasn't able to solve their problems. Although I was able to maintain reasonable composure with both, professional courtesy is beginning to wear thin. It does not bode well for the next person who comes in here with an attitude.

"Sometimes the only way to win is not to play the game."
There is a specific type of person I want to write about. There may already be a specific name for this person, but I'm not aware of it. I just call them the vipers and I cannot help but believe that everyone has had an encounter with one of them, sometimes as early as childhood.

Adults think this child is wonderful. So polite and charming. But there is another side that adults don't get to see. Mean, petty, spiteful, cruel. And if you try to tell an adult, they get onto you for being so mean to a sweet child. They never believe the truth about the viper. If you seek personal revenge after being provoked, you get into major trouble. There is no way to win.

My daughters had encounters with teenage vipers both at church and school. They were taught to be straight-forward, so they weren't prepared to deal with them. The viper accuses you of unkindness by twisting something you really may have said, but they have the ability to distort what you said to make it sound horrible. And the more you defend yourself, the worse the situation gets. I had to explain to them the concept of "Sometimes the only way to win is not to play the game." If a viper sets you up, you just don't respond, no matter what. That is what they want more than anything; because once you do, you just look worse and worse and they look better and better. It's hard to let a slander go, but it's the only way to beat them.

Adult vipers are even worse. They have had years to perfect their skills. I was witness to an incident just recently. There was a viper in a group. He thought very well of himself and made some sweeping statements and grand pronouncements that most of the group seemed suitably immpressed with. One person asked the viper a very simple question, based on a statement the viper had made. It had the potential to be embarrassing for the viper, so he refused to answer the question because of the questioner's "inappropriate attitude". There was nothing wrong with the question or the questioner's attitude, but the viper managed to get out of answering the question and place the blame on the questioner. The questioner became angry and ended up garnering sympathy for the viper and a reprimand for himself. Another person called the viper on an inaccuracy in one of his statements and the viper got out of responding by telling the second person he needed to learn to be more respectful to his elders and superiors. (Their age difference was less than seven years). But once again, the viper got the sympathy and the other person was made to look small and petty.
I despise them, completely and whole-heartedly. I would not accuse vipers of being sociopaths, but they do exhibit a number of the anti-social qualities of sociopaths:
http://www.geoffmetcalf.com/psychopath.html
I recognize at least ten of the characteristics in the adult viper mentioned above.
In a conversation with one of the two who had the encounter with the viper, I told him the same thing I told my daughters-
Sometimes the only way to win is not to play the game!

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