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Oldie, 3/25/09: Villains

Today, in an idle moment (at work, where else?), I pondered the question of exactly how many people in my life I could legitimately call "the bad guys." People who had a profoundly negative impact on me ... where if it were possible to go back in time, knowing what I know now, I would be sure never to get involved with them again.

My list came out to just over two dozen, which was far less than I'd expected to get when I started. I subdivided it by decades, and what I got was:

Five people during my first ten years (three of whom were teachers);
Five people during middle school, high school and college;
Only two during my 20s and early married life (and no, my ex wasn't in that group);
Nine during my 30s and the years immediately following the divorce (and yes, Doug did make that roster);
Six in the last 10 years.

Making a list like this gives way to the inevitable self-analysis. What made me befriend that person in the first place? What was the attraction? And then what was the fundamental change that later on made me reach for the ejector switch?

The volition factor is there in just under 50% of those on the list. The rest are teachers, bosses and a couple of identity thieves. I had two such incidents about five years apart. In the first case, I'm reasonably sure who the person was, and I naively left myself open to the theft. But in the second case, it came out of nowhere.

It's been an interesting exercise, and the lesson, of course, is to be aware of who comes and goes in your life, and why.

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