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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Crush of Betrayal

Have you ever had an experience where you thought you knew someone...really knew them...only to discover you actually knew nothing about them?

I recently found myself in this predicament, and short of all the cliches I could think of to describe it (e.g., the wool being thrown over my eyes, the rug being pulled out from under me, etc.), the experience itself was educational.

The wiser, more street-savvy me would tell the wide-eyed, innocent me I was a few months ago a few things, let me tell you. I guess I'm pretty much a "what you see is what you get" kinda girl. I'm the same at home, at church, in my car, in front of the mental health field, it's called congruence.

This is a sign of good mental health.  (Aren't you glad to know I'm not loopy?) People who knew me in college would know me today. Don't get me wrong here--I've changed based on experience and education--but my core personality is the same.

What happens, though, when your personality is fractured? I'm not talking about Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly known as multiple personality disorder). I'm talking about incongruence. Being different people depending on what environment you're in.

How hard that must be, trying to keep it all straight. Trying to keep the lives separate, the people from interacting, the secrets from coming out. How exhausting--mentally, physically, emotionally.

And the fall out is earth-shattering for those who knew only one side of the person. My world had been tipped on its axis. Nothing felt secure or safe anymore. I have constantly second-guessed my interactions with this person, and the extent to which I let them in my life, in my home, around my child.

I was so clueless.

And I'm still utterly enraged at this person.

Once the shock about and the denial of the other aspects of their personality, their other life, I went straight to anger...and I'm still there. Who did they think they are, anyway? Leading everyone down a merry path that was all a LIE.

Having this kind of experience has been depressing, yes, but it's also been instructional. I'm not going to say that I won't trust anyone anymore, but I'm going to take to heart the advice from Matthew 10:16. We are sheep amongst wolves, and we need to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves. To me, this means to have a little discernment.

Face value is sometimes just that...face value.

Let's Analyze

Have you ever had an experience like what I've just described? How did you deal with it? How long did it take you to accept the other "lives" of the person you knew? Do you know of any good books based on someone making a discovery like this?