There is a short parable titled “The Scorpion and the Frog” that I love greatly because it has added so much value to my spiritual journey in life, especially as of late, where I find myself revisiting its deeper meaning quite a bit. The following is that parable:
“One day a scorpion is on a river’s edge and sees a frog sitting nearby. The scorpion asks the frog to carry him across the river on its back. The frog hesitates out of fear that the scorpion will sting him. The scorpion argues that if he stings the frog in the middle of the river, they will both drown, so it wouldn’t make sense for him to do so. The frog agrees and allows the scorpion to get on its back. Halfway across the river though, the scorpion does indeed sting the frog. As they both are about to drown, the frog demands why the scorpion still stung him, knowing very well their fates are now both sealed. The scorpion replied, ‘It’s in my nature…’”
There is one specific reason why I find myself connecting to this parable so much lately and it’s because I realize how much of my life has been spent being that frog, inviting one scorpion after another into my life who I know aren’t good for my spiritual journey. Scorpions who always say all the right things that lead me to welcome them into my life or back into it if they had been there before, where eventually, there always seems to be something I do they don’t like, that doesn’t meet what their mind says I should be doing, where I got stung by them in the process, through their words or actions, leaving me feeling wounded or worse. How many times I’ve invited and re-invited people over the years who were scorpions like this is countless. Scorpions I’ve allowed to hurt me again and again, who I consistently forgive each time, until they hurt me again, constantly leaving me feeling bruised, broken, and abandoned at some inevitable point.
Such a tragic pattern began long ago with parents who never taught me what a healthy relationship was supposed to look like. Parents are typically the first to model that sort of thing when their kid is growing up. But my parents didn’t know how to do this because they struggled so much with addiction and mental health issues. They essentially became my first scorpions in life, as time and time again, even though I was a good and honest kid, I continuously seemed to do something that got me unfairly judged and punished over. Hurt people, tend to hurt people as they say and my parents did that a lot to my sister and I. Eventually, I found myself in one relationship after another with scorpions just like them, who judged me more than loved me unconditionally. I sought addiction to cope, addiction that made me become more the scorpion than the frog, where I became the one who stung others out of my own brokenness. When I finally found true recovery from a life of addictions though, sadly, I fell back into the pattern of being that frog all over again and have been struggling with it a lot ever since.
Being that I’ve been both the scorpion and the frog in life, I know the patterns involved with each quite well. Scorpions often get angry and tend to see their own negativity and negative actions in others more than in themselves, especially with those frogs in life, judging them far more than praising. Frogs on the other hand are typically codependent types of individuals who try to find happiness by helping a scorpion, a happiness that’s always short-lived because no scorpion can ever be kept fully happy by a frog and will inevitably lash out at them at some point.
What I know now from a life of playing both the scorpion and the frog is that I don’t want to be either anymore. I’m tired of playing these roles in life, where I’ve lashed out in anger unfairly at someone else from my own places of brokenness within and where I’ve allowed people I care about to sting me repeatedly with one judgment after another, finding more fault than good. I’m ready to be something different, a dragonfly perhaps, one who will fly high above that river, soaring above all the drama that will always come in that parable of the scorpion and the frog…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson