Monday, 28 May 2012


The following information has been put together as a summary of my 5 year research into awkward , cantankerous, mule-headed, non-cooperative , extremely moody players. A good 40% of any club membership !

These are players who refuse to listen
                                   refuse to follow instructions and/or advice
                                   refuse to play to the agreed system
                                   refuse to lead back what you want
                                   refuse to bid their hand properly
                                   refuse to behave in an appropriate manner
                                   refuse to apologise, explain or even speak at all

These disciples of Dark Lord have what we psycho-analysts call a PERVASIVE REFUSAL SYNDROME . Normally associated with children and young teenagers , this shocking and highly disturbing condition also affects large numbers of bridge players, who are well into their 50's and beyond. The unusual state of affairs can be explained by the fact that the game of bridge causes many players to regress into their infant-like inner-selves, displaying all the character traits of Jung's  classic archetypal child : one who loves to challenge those in authority ,  by first  engaging in acts of infantile defiance before  " turning  " themselves into cold, immovable , emotionless statues. 

When things do not go well at the table table ,  and concerned partners  start to voice their concerns , the chronic PRS victims immediately go into a shut-down and lock-down mode. One form of refusal is quickly followed by another.  Indeed, my research suggests  they all  seem to develop a premorbid personality, where having started out with high self-expectations and visions of great scoring achievements , their response to coping with failure is to switch off completely.  As more effort is put into restoring communication with them , in the hope of resuming partnership normality , the more determined their resistance becomes .

I have seen victims slump in the chairs , almost into the foetal position , exhibiting a form of learned helplessness from the time as children  they experienced  traumatic stress disorders. Selective mutism is the most common symptom, alongside a whole range of somatoform disorders , such as a refusal to participate in any social or helpful activities , such as shuffling the cards , passing over the boards , checking the scores ,  making small talk,  and so on.

Victims seem driven to  create awkward atmospheres , by choosing to stay stubbornly silent and unresponsive. What little speech is used is barely audible , being either grunts or high pitched whines. In a nutshell ,  PRS turns players into complete bastards , who not only refuse to acknowledge they have a serious debilitating problem , but utterly refuse to consider any form of treatment. In other words they are " goners " and the bizarre world of bridge is stuck with them.    

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