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The Spider and the Scorpion

  Casey-Cardinia Casey Cardinia Library Corporation Endeavour Hills, Hampton Park, Cranbourne, Doveton, Pakenham      Fabels from the BBC                                  Casey-Cardinia Casey Cardinia Library Corporation Endeavour Hills, Hampton Park, Cranbourne, Doveton, Pakenham

The Spider and the Scorpion were lovers and as they were walking leg in leg along the beach the scorpion brought its tail over and stung the spider. As the spider laid dying it said with a sense of shock, rage and disbelief "What did you do that for?". The scorpion answered with contempt for the spider and as though the spider should have known "That's what I do!"

The sense of shock, rage and disbelief can lead to a post traumatic stress syndrome as the sufferer goes through the process of accepting that it happened. The rage and disbelief causes a lot of dissonance which drives the victim into a living self inflicted hell while they come to terms with their loss and start to move on in their lives. 

Stress occurs when there is something very important over which there is little control and little predictability. Predictability comes with the understanding of people and the way they behave, their motivations and their limits. Control comes with understanding and planning and with implementation of those plans. Getting an understanding might require some experimentation and some modeling of the situation. One has to brainstorm possible explanations and then develop a way of testing those possibilities. 

The scorpion is the psychopath. The maladaptive Schema in Cognitive behaviour therapy “ENTITLEMENT /  GRANDIOSITY” best explains the scorpion.

 The belief that one is superior to other people; entitled to special rights and privileges; or not bound by the rules of reciprocity that guide normal social interaction. Often involves insistence that one should be able to do or have whatever one wants, regardless of what is realistic, what others consider reasonable, OR the costs to others; OR an exaggerated focus on superiority (e.g being among the most successful. Famous, wealthy)… In order to achieve power or control (not primarily for attention of approval). Sometimes includes excessive competitiveness towards, or domination of, others; asserting one’s power, forcing one’s point of view, or controlling the behaviours of others in line with one’s own desires --- without empathy or concern for others; needs or feelings.

The explanation: "That is what they do!" is the way of understanding the behaviour of psychopaths. They do what works for them without any regard to others and actually get a high from the feeling of power they get over people as they "sting" them.

The Scorpion and the Otter - another fable

A familiar story, this one, which tells us not to be surprised when people act according to form. The victim in the tale may differ in each telling, but the outcome remains the same...

One day a scorpion was on the bank of the River Jordan, wanting to get across to the other side. But of course scorpions can't swim. Luckily it spotted an otter that was about to swim across the river.
'Please, otter,' said the scorpion, 'I need to get across the river, but I can't swim - let me ride on your back.'
'What sort of a fool do you take me for?' said the otter. 'If I let you near me you'll sting me to death.'
'Of course I won't,' said the scorpion. 'I'm trying to get across the river. What possible good would it do me to sting you? I'd drown!'
The otter thought it over, and could see the logic of the scorpion's argument. So he let the scorpion jump onto his back, and set off swimming across the Jordan. But half-way across the river, where the river was at its deepest, the otter felt the scorpion's sting stab deep into his flesh. As both animals began to drown, the scorpion apologised: 'I'm a scorpion - I couldn't help myself. That's what I do.'