Two-headed snakes are rare — except at work!

Screenshot from Yahoo! News

Dear readers, I found myself chuckling over this recent Yahoo! news item, reporting on the discovery of a two-headed rattlesnake in Arkansas, and noting that such creatures are “very rare.” My immediate thought was, ummm, not in the workplace!!!

You see, when Drs. Gary and Ruth Namie began their pioneering investigations of workplace bullying many years ago, they set out a typology of on-the-job aggressors, and prominent among them was the “Two-Headed Snake.” Here’s how they describe the workplace variety in the current edition of The Bully at Work (2009):

Passive-aggressive, indirect, dishonest style of dealing with people and issues. Pretends to be nice while sabotaging you. “Friendliness” serves only to decrease resistance to giving information she may later use against you. Smile hides naked aggression. Assassinates reputation with higher-ups. Plays favorites. Satisfies need for control by managing the image of the Target in other people’s minds.

Sound familiar? I bet that many of you are nodding your heads in agreement.

The two-headed snake is often an expert at crazy making, gaslighting behaviors. Relational manipulation is what this type of abuser is all about. With such an individual, it can take forever to figure out what’s happening, and sometimes it’s too late to do anything about the toxic venom. As with the reptilian version, one should be very, very careful in dealing with this creature.


4 responses


    Ms Pritima Osman
    Child Justice, Children’s Courts
    and Departmental Drug Master Plan
    Dept. of Justice and Constitutional Development
    National Office

    Landline: 012 357 8205
    Fax : 0866402076

    “May you use those gifts you have received.” Saint Theresa

  2. Boy, howdy! Who’d a thunk one of their favorite nesting places would be libraries! Always coiled and smugly ready for drive-by strikes and snipes. Always willing to hostilely confront you, to let you know they’re spreading rumors and character assassination to damage your public image and career.

    One should be extremely careful in dealing with these malice and reptilian-minded abusives. And always carry an abusive behavior with malice, legal cause of action snakebite kit in your back pocket ‘cause their venom can be severely debilitating, if not literally deadly.

    Cheers for Healthy Workplace advocates who only want to protect all workers by making available a legal snakebite kit.

  3. Two headed snakes absolutely pop up at work on a terribly frequent basis. When you’re going up for a promotion, that’s when you really see that begin to happen.

  4. Yes, I had a supervisor that fits the two headed snake description quite nicely. I suppose it is an insecurity in self and leadership skills that leads to this strange quality, or perhaps not knowing one’s core self and being able to access a working moral compass. Looking back, I learned that I should have guarded my communication much more carefully, as well as my emotions when she would play her two sided games with me. The mistake was my belief that she was probably a good person, when if fact, she was not. I failed to shake that belief in time.

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