Offense kleptomaniacs

Someone recently introduced me to a term that I like a lot:

Offense kleptomaniacs

These are people who - no matter what was intended - will take offense, often unjustifiably.

You say one thing. They hear another.

You do one thing. They see another.

In my life, offense kleptomaniac often lift their ugly heads when I find a corner to cut, an advantage to seize, an opportunity to snag, or a new road to take. They become angry and outraged because I saw something before they did or I had the courage or daring or insight to try something that initially seemed dangerous or unexpected or unwise or against the rules.

I take an unanticipated step forward. They see it as me shoving them back.

Many years ago, when a large-scale initiative was first introduced at our school, I quickly put together my own team of teachers - all close friends who shared a similar skill set and who I enjoyed working alongside- before administration could assign teams. Then, as teams were being considered for the initiative, I presented our already-assembled team to administration and asked that it be allowed to stand.

It was.

Offense kleptomaniacs - people who could’ve done the same thing and still could’ve done the same thing after discovering what we had done - took this maneuver as a slight. An injustice. An outrage.

“How dare they assemble their own team?”
”No one said we could pick our teammates!”
”Why do they get to choose their teammates but we don’t?”
”Who do they think they are?”

Rather than seeing this for what it was - a colleague spotting a previously unseen opportunity and seizing it - they took offense to it. They saw it as someone taking advantage at their expense. They spun their wheels in anger and disgust. Grumbled and growled and cried foul instead of seeing it as a possible path for them to take, too.

Yes. I know these people. You probably do, too.

Also, I despise these people. I look forward to using this new phrase when dealing with them.

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