When They Show You Who They Are, Believe Them

7 years ago

Many people in my life are grappling with the same major problem. From my friend who was mortified to discover that another "friend" (one with a history of stealing) went behind her back and attempted to take a job from her, to a man who is devastated to discover that his girlfriend is cheating on him again, to the friend who married a positively charming gentleman mistakenly believing that the hostile rampages he directed at his mother and former girlfriends could never be aimed at her; selective blindness is rampant. In each of these instances, the "victims" were genuinely stunned and hurt by their counterpart's behavior. They shouldn't have been; they were warned.

The victims (I have a problem calling them victims) believed the bad behavior (i.e. gossiping, cheating, lying, mocking, criticizing, etc.) directed at another would never be turned onto them. They thought their relationship was different, their love was deeper, they were more special.

This is always a mistake.

A man deflecting another man's words with a mirror

Relationships are continuously in flux. There are days of peace and contentment, and those of cold distance. One relationship may contain more of one state than another, but even the very best relationships have trying moments. No one escapes. In those low moments, when the sweetness turns bitter, we all demonstrate our worst behaviors. In some relationships, people behave poorly even at the best of times.

The way people behave with others tells us who they are and what we can expect from them, for better or worse. Our job as self-parent, protector and lover is to believe them. This doesn't mean that we must do anything, necessarily. It means that we have been given clear notice and should be prepared to receive the same treatment at some point in our relationship. If the behavior is kind, we should note that and celebrate our good fortune. If the behavior is poor, but minor, we may choose to accept it. When it is soul-crushing and destructive, the universe has handed us the gift of precognition, we must take it and act accordingly.

Most suffering at the hands, deeds or words of another could have been avoided if we'd believed what they showed us, the first time.

Have you ever trusted someone who had already demonstrated themselves to be untrustworthy? What happened?

Cynthia Occelli writes at "LIFE: It isn't for the faint of heart" a blog about overcoming challenges and creating your best life using common sense, spirituality and wisdom.

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