Now, onto Trolls
From Chapter Four: Describing Trolls:
But in fact, for whatever reason – childhood abuse issues, societal failings, substance addictions, inherited predispositions, or simple, downright orneriness – there are a collection of personality traits which lead some people to fall into destructive patterns.
Very often the person involved is unaware of these traits within him- or herself. The destructive tendencies are frequently unconscious. As far as the person may be aware, only the best of motives are involved, and no harm is ever intended. Yet harm and devastation still seem to follow everywhere in the person's wake.
Does a tornado "intend" to destroy people's lives? Did rats in Medieval times "intend" to be hosts for plague-carrying fleas? Probably not – at least, not in the sense we normally mean the word intend. Troublemakers are often no more self-aware than are tornadoes or rats, and often have no fuller an understanding of why they are so frequently surrounded by pain and misery. But whether they "intend" destruction or not, it still happens."
Now from Chapter Five: Trollish Attributes:
"One or two bad days, every now and then, does not a troll make. Nor does the absence of several troll-traits necessarily mean the person is really just a hamster (or even a wise and productive Covener!) What you’re looking for in a person is a pattern. If someone reveals several of these traits, and shows them consistently – or if the person shows only three or four, but shows them to excess – then you’re dealing with a troll."
A few Trollish traits:
- Echoes and Re-runs. Has this person frequently been involved in arguments and destructive conflicts? Are problems frequent, and always someone else’s fault?
- Blindness. Does the person seem to have an inability or unwillingness to consider other viewpoints? Does he or she have to win every argument?
- Unnamed “Others”. Are “others” always to blame for this person’s problems? Do “others” always agree with this person’s concern? Does the person carry tales told to him or her by “others”? Is this person always vague about just exactly who these “others” are?
- Gotcha. Does the person seem to find joy in pointing out other people’s errors or slips, mistakes and goofs, faults and bad habits? Does the person seem to imply these mean he or she is smarter or better suited to be a leader than is the one who goofed? Does the person sometimes ask questions he or she already knows the answers to, just to see if you know?
- Liar. Is the person often caught in outright lies? Are there excuses and slick explanations always at the ready? Excuses can get pretty imaginative. One notorious liar repeatedly claimed to have misunderstood the conversations in question, and invented the condition of “aural dyslexia” to “explain” those very frequent false statements.
- Aggression. Does the person use various forms of intimidation, or passive-aggressive techniques, to get what he or she wants?
- Sore Losers / Bad Winners. In arguments or disagreements – or in games and leisure activities – does the person react well to resolutions? What kind of impression does the person give about past conflicts? Is there excessive gloating when the person wins, or harping and whining he or she loses? Are personal disagreements often depicted in terms of winning and losing, rather than as attempts to resolve differences? Does a loss provoke retaliation?