Often when we meet someone for the first time, most of us prefer to think the best of them. They seem pleasant enough, not immediately over-bearing and possibly easy to get along with, like the rest of humanity. We give them the benefit of the doubt as it isn’t fair to prejudge or form false impressions of someone we don’t know. I used to see it that way and still do, except that reality has kicked me into caution.
There was a co-worker who was very enthusiastic about his work, who inevitably got noticed as he showed leadership qualities. Thinking it was all for the best, I gave him the space to ‘grow’ his talent. One day, he told me, a generous person had noticed his capabilities and encouraged him to pursue further training to enhance his career. I was quietly glad for him and added my 2 cents worth of encouragement, saying it was a good thing. It is heartening for me to see people progress and achieve their dreams, as I would want to do. I believe people are unique and beat their own path to success in their own way. Everyone has a talent, however we view it.
As time passed, this initially friendly character became more and more self-important. He tasted the lime-light and decided to stay in it. He began to see other people, who were equally talented but outside his exclusive clique as a threat to him. He devised ways and means to oust the competition. The latent tyrant began to show itself, as he started to verbally ‘savage’ anyone he didn’t agree with, in public. It looked like he was intent on embarrassing them and smearing them, to make them look small in the eyes of their peers.
These heated and embarrassing incidences would take place at meetings and within e-groups. One of his targets was, unfortunately, yours truly, who tends to adopt a clam attitude when attacked in this way. I merely switch to ‘shutdown’, when beasts attack.
He went on to attack someone else, usually with the support of his sycophants and minions, ‘shredding’ his reputation without giving that person any fighting chance to explain his actions or his view. Being ostracized, this injured person left. As for me, seeing the way things were going, I left quietly a long time before that incident, although I did try to inject some sense into the conversation, but couldn’t get any ears from that crowd. Ironically, some people thought his actions were right and just. It was useless, talking to the wall.
On reflection, I think, all the signs of the secret bully, were there long before the show of arrogance and defensive behavior. Now, this tyrant has a new career, probably venting his displeasure on some helpless, quivering creature, who will cower and grovel before him in fear. The evolution of this control freak has left an indelible scar on some victims of his bullying tactics, who will no doubt be wiser when coming in contact with so-called “nice people” who could be “hidden bullies” by nature.
I wonder, if this tyrant has learned anything since… Or if the evolution process stopped for him at that point, so many years ago.