For those of you who have read Carlos Castaneda you know what a petty tyrant is. A petty tyrant is the person who tortures you, who pushes your buttons, who puts you perpetually in a position of self defence. In a situation where you have a petty tyrant on your back you are constantly in a win/lose situation where you are the eternal loser. The petty tyrant is the person who drives you crazy.

I was in this situation and it drove me crazy.

But, as life goes, it often throws a life line at you when you are running out of solutions. This life line came to me in the form of a story that I heard someone tell.

" A man was walking along a road when he saw a little boy walking ahead of him. They came to a pasture where there was a donkey ( now don't get me wrong, donkeys are among my favorite animals). When the donkey saw the boy he opened his mouth wide and brayed at the top of his voice iahiahiah, loud, non stop. The sound was ear shattering, ugly, harsh, and there was no getting away from it.

The man expected the boy ( because that is what he would do himself) to go to the donkey, yell at him, bray back at him, pull his ears, slap him.

Instead the boy did nothing of that but calmly continued on his way.

Curious the man hurried up to the boy and asked him why he had not tried to stop the ugly harsh braying of the donkey .

The boy looked at him and said: 'Braying is his nature, he cannot help it, he HAS to bray, it is the only thing he knows, you cannot stop him till he stops by himself. So you just continue walking, continue doing your thing and let him continue doing his thing. "

The man was amazed as he realized that it is the NATURE OF DONKEYS TO BRAY, that that is the only thing they know how to do, that it is useless to try to stop them. The only thing to do is to ignore them and calmly continue on your way.

When I read that story, that it is the NATURE of petty tyrants to push your buttons, that they CANNOT do anything else,  that they HAVE to torture you, that that is the only way they can interact with you, I felt a strange relief.

The donkey's braying was no longer MY problem, but the problem of the donkey himself, unable to change his voice, perpetually hearing his own braying. The petty tyrant, in the end, has to live with himself, but you can walk away, free.