Some of you reading this post this morning may be trying to ignore or avoid a psychotic boss. Or co-worker. Or husband. Or wife. Or in-laws – or even a trusted friend turned crazy. I don’t mean obnoxious or infrequently unkind. I mean down-right mean as a durn snake.
We all have people in our lives that it takes all our willpower not to verbally berate every time we’re near them. They seem to make it their purpose in life – their will to live – to make us absolutely, stark-raving mad. As in nutso.
Proverbs 9:7 states that anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt in return. I don’t know what to make of this. I understand that trying to vindicate yourself or someone else in a situation that is entirely out of hand could be physically dangerous, or embarrassing in a public forum. Say, your office.
But aren’t we supposed to correct wicked people? Stand up for what is right? I got to thinking about this.
Even if I do that, the person may not change his or her mind. Only God can do that.
But what if a crowd of people are present and I was the only one willing to stand up to the bad guy? What if I did stand up for what was right? The crowd would cheer, because in a situation where the person is perfectly crazy, it is guaranteed that everyone around that person lives in fear or dread of dealing with them every day. The bad guy would look stupid, which would make the rest of us feel infinitely better. We could live on that for weeks or months – maybe even years, especially if the boss were to keep his or her position.
But it wouldn’t change the bad guy’s ways. There are lots of movies out there where David stands up to Goliath and wins, and even some movies in which the bad guy repents. Some even spice the plot with forgiveness by poor little David and we all live happily ever after. But in real life? Hardly ever happens.
So even though it’s realistically futile, if I don’t stand up that makes me weak and fearful. If we don’t collectively say that things are wrong – that you, whoever you are, have to stop that horrible behavior or violence or whatever it is, or else – the bad guys, or even people who are tempted to be bad guys, will take a foot long if you give them an inch! You know it’s true. Those really insane people who are also master manipulators keep sucking you back in to the craziness because they pretend to be sorry for a while, and just when you trust them again, they do something so utterly horrible you want to stick a fork in your eye. And taser the sucker making you so miserable.
I once had a boss who was demonic. She never laid a hand on me or anything like that – but she had one or two colleagues who were her favorites. The rest of us could, literally, burn in hell right in front of her, and she was so twisted she would not feel a single bit of remorse. I don’t think she even has normal feelings. She will probably die alone with not even pets for company because she is so hateful. Well, I haven’t worked for her for six years but she was so terrible I am so freakin seriously doubtful she had a change of heart.
I would drive home from work literally yelling at her – having an imaginary conversation with her in which I told her exactly what I and everyone else in the office thought of her. Every single day. My stress level should have made me catatonic.
And she was a master manipulator. When I began working for the company, everyone warned me that she was an evil witch. Except they ALL snarled it and didn’t use a “w” on the front of that word. But I said no one could be that bad – I mean, I’d had some pretty bad bosses before and I think I was just intent on doing whatever it took to win this chick over so I didn’t have to go through that again.
And at first, she was really nice. She complimented me on my manners (I know, right?) and any number of things. We were chums, as far as an older woman with a twenty-something girl who have nothing in common could be. And just when I finally relaxed and believed that I had single-handedly broken her crazy spree, it happened. I don’t remember what – but it did. And I began to seethe.
She once had me commissioned to complete a project that should have taken a week. It took six months. She kept sending me back to my desk to “get it right.” My favorite was, “What? Are you STUPID?” Um, no I am not Dragon Lady.
After six months of trying to get it perfect, I finally cracked. And when I cracked, I planned. I invited the whole office to loiter near my desk, which was right in front of her glass-door-fronted office. And they came. And I marched in with the stack of every piece of paper contained in the project. I don’t think she could see my head above the stack.
And here’s how it went: I threw the stack of papers onto her desk. They flew everywhere. When they settled, I BEGGED her to tell me exactly what she wanted, because there was no way I was going to come back in there again unless I was sure it was the last time so we could move on in the assignment. She very calmly proceeded to tell me what I needed to do. When she was finished something exploded inside my head. I stalked back to my desk and grabbed a file. It was utterly crowded by my desk and utterly silent. It was like the entire office stopped breathing. I walked up to her desk and slapped the file down on the top. It was the first draft I’d showed her, six months ago. The devil had been TOYING with me for six months! And then I did the most unprofessional and rude thing I’ve ever done in my entire life: I told her to (expletive) do it herself because I was done.
I stomped out of her office, face red, breathing hard, and so mad I could have spit nails. And, just like in the movies, everyone was watching and cheering. I felt like a hero. And she felt like – what? An idiot? Worse? I doubt it. But it was nice pretending she might have.
The point of this diatribe is that I think there are times we do have to stand up to the bad guy, no matter the consequences. But there should be no cursing involved. And only violence, I guess, if utterly necessary? What do you think? I wish I could go back to that situation – that job – and do it better. Do it right. I am a smart-aleck by nature and struggling against that is difficult, but I know it can be done. I’ve had a lot of practice over the last six years.