“When people show you who they are, believe them.” … When a person let’s you know … they say, “I told you I was unkind. So now why are you angry?”
I suppose Maya Angelo’s question is a rhetorical once, but I’m going to answer it anyway, because God knows I’ve spent countless hours over decades trying to understand how twisted relationships happen.
“Why don’t you believe them the first time they show you, or tell you, who they are?”
- You very much want them to be better than they are at any given point in time.
- You are optimistic they can be.
- You are committed to the relationship, and don’t give up on your commitments that easily.
- You aren’t ready to give up on what COULD be, if only some crucial corrections are made.
- You know this person CAN be good, you’ve seen them act the part with ease when they’re around people they want to impress.
- You hold onto hope that they may one day choose to be that good person behind closed doors too, they may never again turn cruel or abusive when alone with you.
- You think of a particular type of “subtle diminisher”: if only they choose to be decent, instead of provoking under the radar; if only they stop slandering or mocking or shaming you in front of people, giving you no chance to react. If only they stopped playing innocent while leaving you with two crappy options: take it in order to be polite, or object and appear the b—, or fool.
- You think of another type of “fine-upstanding-public-image-person”: they may eventually feel shame that they are the opposite of their finely-tuned act; if they are smart enough to craft such a persona, they should be smart enough to want to be on the inside what they portray on the outside.
THERE IS A POINT though, with some people, when …
- You are pushed to your limit.
- You know you’ll be selling your own soul if you continue on with them.
- The trend of their behavior toward you isn’t improving, it is in fact worsening.
- You are certain the person has dug in their heels and has no intention of considering the good of the relationship. They do not want to give up their ways, their selfishness, their abusiveness, their ugly methods of disarming or manipulating you — they value their tactics, they prefer their ways.
- They don’t mind at all if you end up destroyed in varied little ways.
- They will not change in time — they will certainly delay or prevent you from a good life if you continue in their trap, their sick dynamic.
- They have never, and you know they will never be accountable for their ways.
THAT IS THE TIME you know you must …
- Withdraw your trust.
- Limit the relationship.
- Remark your boundaries.
- And in some cases … WALK.
It’s after all that “living and learning” that YOU LOOK BACK and think … “Why didn’t I believe them the first time they showed me and told me who they were?” …
You didn’t know. You simply didn’t know.
But NEXT TIME …
- You will be vigilant.
- You will be discerning.
- You will not prematurely and naively trust.
- You will be a wise manager of your own life.
- You will know to keep the optimal distance.
- You will never again SUBMIT and COMMIT your life to a scoundrel, a user, an abuser, a manipulator, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a Cruella de Vil …
Galatians 6:7. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.
Job 34:30. That the hypocrite reign not, lest the people be ensnared.