“Do not cross me… I have five multi-million dollar companies and I’ve served in the USAF. I know exactly how the world works. What do YOU think you know? What is it you think YOU can teach ME?”
I had the misfortune – or fortune, depending on which perspective you take – to engage in a slow-burn confrontation with a classic authoritarian personality with possible psychopathic tendencies. (Think Trump’s narcissism blended with Hillary Clinton’s snake-like ruthlessness). It certainly wasn’t the first time and it probably won’t be the last. It’s a fascinating and intimidating spectacle as such people can be highly unpredictable; you never quite know if a blunt object is about to sail your way or if a figure is going to leap out of the shadows armed with a monkey wrench as you put the keys in your car door. Thankfully, it hasn’t happened yet, but I came close to it during a dinner party last week. No monkey wrench but a cheese knife had a momentary starring role…
As always, it was instructive to see how such people – we’ll call him Ned – grapple with facts bouncing off their distorted beliefs and how alarming it can be to see someone lose their composure from what should have been a free and easy discussion. Yet, because he took my cordial and sometimes slightly mischievous disagreement as a full frontal attack on his brittle persona, it could only have ended as it did, namely an aborted, half-hearted act of violence followed by a fast exit – his diminutive wife in tow.
Guiltily hilarious for me, highly embarrassing for him.
I suppose I should have just kept silent. That would have been the sensible thing to do. Sometimes it is the only thing you can do.