A scorpion approached a kind frog seated by the riverside, and asked him, “Can you give me a ride on your back across the river? I don’t have the ability to leap on lily pads or swim like you do.” The frog said, “You’re a scorpion, you might sting me.” The scorpion said, “I won’t sting you. I just want to cross the river. I could use your help.” The frog said, “Are you sure you won’t sting me?” The scorpion said, “I’m sure. I promise I won’t sting you.” So the frog gave the scorpion a ride on his back. As the frog was half way through the river, the scorpion stung him! And they both drowned. But before they drowned the frog asked the scorpion, “I thought you said you weren’t gonna sting me?” The scorpion replied, “I’m a scorpion, that’s my nature.” – (Paraphrased from a number of sources but mainly) Georgi Tushkan (1944) [Original Russian edition published in 1940]. The Hunter of the Pamirs: A Novel of Adventure in Soviet Central Asia. Translated by Gerard Shelley. Hutchinson & Co.
I was recently reminded of this as I watched a Hindi movie “Darlings” where the protagonist repeats the story in a soliloquy. I smiled as I remembered – Hey! That’s the story my shrink told me last year around this time!
After a long tedious session of unpacking my emotional burdens and the causes behind it all, she said – “you need to stop being the frog. Everyone will recognise the scorpion for who s/he/they are – whether or not you point out, but you need to cut all ties or you will drown and the scorpion will take you with it.” I had explained that I had obligations towards this person, for which I will have to stand up to support this person in situations out of my control. She had laughed and said “spoken like a true frog, even when the scorpion stings behind on your back. But whatever you do there will be a time when the scorpion will publicly show its nature, that’s when you should step back and let it dig it’s own grave, don’t try to be a martyr then”.
Year since, my shrink was right. And I have no regrets on cutting ends that remained harmful to my self development. The moment one refuses to spend energy on toxic people and their dramas, that is the moment of going forward. The question, as a very dear friend reminds me every day, is this: “Hat es einen Mehrwert für die Zukunft?” If the answer is No. Then let it go.
A lesson learnt from the animal-fable of The Scorpion and the Frog.
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