Sunday, 16 October 2011

Dragon of the Marshes

The city I live in goes by many names and nick names. One of the more notable is 'the (invincible) Dragon of the Marshes', as of old it was surrounded by marsh lands which made the city very hard to conquer in medieval times. I guess I don't need to mention the name is borne with great pride. Today however I met the real dragon of the marshes. And let me tell you - it wasn't pretty.

As today was supposed to be one of the last truly glorious days we'll be having this autumn, I decided to make the most of the fine weather and go out on a nice stroll. It was a bit nippy but the sun was shining and the skies were clear, and the Duke's Forest was looking its most gorgeous. I actually had me one of those 'I'm so glad I get to live here' moments.

As I was enjoying my stroll so much I thought I might actually chance venturing on to the marsh lands again, the so-called 'Bossche Broek' - this time wearing the appropriate footwear.

It was lovely at first. There were a few more people about than usual, mainly walking a dog or two. I was getting friendly with some lovely pooches and their owners before long, patting heads and calling them a good boy (the dogs, not the owners, although admittedly one of them was quite a dish - and he looked as if he wouldn't have minded a pat or two).

Now everyone who knows me, knows I'm from a loooong line of cat lovers. That doesn't mean I hate dogs though. I like dogs (not all dogs). But I adore cats (pretty much all cats). Spot the difference right there? Today however, I came close to adopting a dog. Here's what happened.

Towards the end of my stroll I saw another dog and owner coming towards me. The dog was HUGE. Size of a small bear (don't ask me the breed please - I can distinguish a poodle from a chihuaha but that's pretty much it). In spite of its size though it was acting like a playful puppy. It ran circles around the woman who walked him, leapt in the air, wagged its tail, and kept running off and running back. Very high on the cute scale!

The dog's owner however kept barking commands at him and sounded genuinely angry. Maybe that's why when he spotted me he came bounding towards me - in search of friendlier company perhaps? I didn't stop walking but I do admit I slowed down a bit - hey, about 80 kilos of dog coming towards you at full speed - wouldn't you have been just a teensy bit apprehensive?

At one point it became clear to me that the dog did not. intend. to.slow.down. I stopped and held a hand out to him but before I knew it, I had two huge paws against my chest, lost my balance and fell backwards on my (in this case fortunately ample) bum. The dog was bouncing up and down beside me, wagging its tail.

It's was such a ridiculous situation that I was about to start laughing (in spite of being quite sore) but by that time the dog's owner was standing in front of me. And without any provocation she started off on the most vile and vicious rant. She was screaming at me for having been so 'incredibly stupid' to stop and hold a hand out to the dog, because 'any person with a fraction of common sense' would have just kept walking on and ignored him, etc. etc.  And from there on she went quite graphic and abusive - I'd best leave those bits out.

I was flabbergasted. Just stunned. I couldn't believe she was actually saying those things to me. SHE had no cause to be angry with ME at all!

I won't go into detail about what she had to say to me when I protested. Suffice it to say that it involved more very vile abuse. Not all directed at me though. The dog got his fair share - and she lashed out at him physically as well. The poor thing was looking absolutely miserable - probably not understanding what he had done wrong. I just wanted to send her flying off the dyke and take the dog home with me. Tell him everything would be OK and he would never ever have to see Cruella de Vil again.

It didn't get to that though. An elderly couple walking their (exceedingly ugly yet cute) dog that I passed some time before caught up with us and started protesting at her tirade as well. They had witnessed the whole thing happening. Instead of having a go at more swearing she turned abruptly, and walked away at a brisk pace. The dog gave us one last pathetic look and followed suit.

I would have wondered if the whole episode had been real if it wasn't for my sore back side. But what a weird character that was! I would have laughed at the whole 'dog runs woman over' thing if it hadn't been for her throwing the mother of all tantrums. She must have forgotten to take her pills this morning!

So for the second time in a short period I found myself limping off the marsh lands, again feeling very sorry for myself. Once home I discovered that even though I had not had the sensation of having fallen on to something sharp, there was not only a small tear in my (new) jeans but in my undies as well - plus quite a big bloody scratch. And I think I'm going to be black and blue tomorrow. Yes, sympathy IS in order!

Note to self: never wear new clothing when on a country stroll. If at all possible, avoid sociopaths.

All pictures taken by me with iPhone - but country stroll pictures taken on an earlier occasion.


  1. OMG! Are you OK (apart from a sore bum)? xoxo

  2. Yeah. Quite sore and stiff on the left side... can't get over that woman though. If it hadn't been for her fit I would have totally laughed about the whole thing. Cos let's face it - being run over by a dog the size of a bear is actually quite funny! ;-)

  3. Oh gosh, I missed this post until today! What a horrible, horrible women. Poor you, and poor, poor dog. I wonder how abusive she is to him at home.

    Sociopaths are amongst us unfortunately... they come in all shapes and sizes and look pretty normal! I've had up close and personal experience with them (one in particular), and there's not much you can do in the end except avoid them whenever possible as you suggested (I'm being deadly serious here). I think people tend to associate the term with serial killers and the like... but they can just be every day people amongst us. I think there's been research that shows a high number of company CEOs are sociopaths... which is why they can hire and fire and do what they do with no empathy for the people they're doing it to.

    Bit of a side personal soap box there..... sorry!!

    Glad you are ok, so sorry about the sore bum and side.

    Linda. xox

  4. Yes, that poor poor dog! He was really just a big, sweet, clumsy darling. I would hate to see that change because of the treatment of that woman. She could in the end make a distrusting, even violent dog of him. It doesn't bear thinking about.

    You're so right about sociopaths Linda. This woman looked so normal (apart from the foam at the mouth that is!). But I too have encountered some real sociopaths in my day, including indeed a CEO! He was allowed to wreck a beautiful company. It took a year and a half for people to intervene but by then it was too late. And this person left a trail of destruction behind him, but because of his air of poise and self-assuredness, people bought all his crap.

    And then not too long I go there was this female co-worker who was striking to look at, and who acted confident and cultured, but she invented one conspiracy theory after another - with her as the noble victim fighting prejudice and what not, whereas SHE was the one plotting and scheming and trying to cause rifts between people. A very dangerous woman. And the worst part is that her goal in life was to become a life coach. Can you imagine what someone like that might do to the psyche of a vulnerable insecure person coming to her for advice to give their life a new boost?? I shudder to think about it...

    Sorry to hear you had your share of them as well - but they are indeed a more common thing than is generally believed! And sometimes it's hard to avoid them if you're thrown together in a certain situation.

    Alright, rant over! ;-D


  5. That's so sad about that company... and the 'air of poise and self assuredness' is exactly it. They're so charismatic, and they have you believing the problem is you, not them.

    That horrible women sounds like a narcissist as well... they truly are revolting creatures. I call them 'creatures' to remind myself not to expect them to ever behave in the way we think normal humans would generally behave.

    I think we generally tend to believe most people, even bad ones have some shred of decency in them somewhere.

    My counsellor once said to me (whilst in treatment to get over said sociopath's treatment of me)... "You know that core that most people have here (putting her hand on her middle), that core of decency or of humanity that we think most people have deep down inside them.... in him it's just a big, black, gaping hole. There's nothing there, and there never will be. Which is why he tries to fill it up by sucking the very life out of other people."

    Your co-worker sounds like that. I hope you didn't have to be around her too often or that she didn't try to manipulate you.

    They're like energy vampires these people. Very toxic.

    Becoming a life coach sounds like just the sort of thing someone like that would enjoy doing.... using other people and manipulating them for the simple pleasure of it.

    I know some of them may have had horrific childhoods themselves, and this may have effected them somehow, and I can feel empathy for that part of it. But, it doesn't mean I'm any less wary of 'what' they are. They can't be changed, and most don't want to be.

    Plus, I do truly believe some people are just born with personality disorders that make them 'evil' from the start. Once again, I'm sorry they missed out on a 'real life' with normal feelings and emotions... but they themselves don't miss it as they don't know any better.

    So, my empathy is now fiercely tempered with awareness, self protection, appropriate boundaries, and an understanding that these 'people' are best kept away from because they are flat out dangerous.

    I live and learn!! :)

    Linda. xox

  6. There really ARE people who lack that core of decency or humanity aren't there?

    I used to really want to believe that couldn't be true, but some people have no inkling of what it means to be truthful or sincere or loving.

    Instead all you get is cold manipulation. But they do crave attention and power. Perhaps for some or most of them there is some deep-seated insecurity or self-hatred at the bottom of it, but they will not show their own softer side - because it just isn't there. And if they do appear to show that softer side it's acting and make-believe to get a tighter grip on someone else. I'm so sorry to hear you had to go through that. It must have been very hard times for you. But I guess what doesn't kill you does make you stronger and wiser - even though when you have to go through it, it can seem unbearable. I'm so glad you had a down-to-earth good counsellor!

    That particular co-worker was a true nightmare. She created such a dark atmosphere of fear and distrust and spread so many lies about just about everyone that it ended up affecting many people and many relationships between people at work. And I'm sure that that 'power' gave her great, great pleasure.

    I'm also sure that if she were ever to read these words it would give her great pleasure to know she DID manage to affect so many people - although she would also be indignant and throw the mother of all tantrums about the 'lies' written down here. I think she really had a wire loose and believed her own tales.

    And yes, I do think she had a troubled childhood in which she felt unloved and unappreciated and unnoticed. But that gives her no right to torture other people. I couldn't agree with you more!

    We live and learn indeed - some people never do!



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