Funland_Hall_of_MirrorsIt is one of the hardest truths: “When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.” – Maya Angelou  It’s not hard to understand, but it can be so very hard to actually follow through with. We can end up in negative situations for years and even decades because we ignore the obvious, justify the egregious, and keep holding out hope for the possible.

Sometimes we do this because the person tries to hide their true nature. They say the right things, camouflage their behavior by wrapping it in gifts and tokens of affection, gas light us by making it seem our fault, all the while hints of what is truly going on peek through. Sometimes we do this because we have been trained to do it. Predators take our completely healthy desire to connect, to be in relationship, to create a bond and use it to their own advantage. By the time we see who they are and what they’ve done we are deeply mired in what becomes a nightmare fun house-scape of things which could have been normal but have been twisted.  Or we have been trained from birth by dysfunctional families that have roles we need to fit. Our reality is molded to make us the care taker, the peace keeper, the responsible over achiever and so on. We don’t see the abuse until the negative after effects do damage in our own adult lives.

On the other hand, we sometimes do this because we so desperately need for the person to be something they are not. We have a need to big, so deep, so powerful that it overrides the reality. We need them to love us, to see us, to acknowledge and approve of us that we ignore the way they neglect, abuse, enmesh, or use us. We gloss all that over as “it’s just the way it is” and keep going, changing the reality in our own minds to fit what we need. Admitting the truth, that we have seen who they truly are and it is nothing like what we thought, what it should be, what we need, or even what is healthy, can be one of the scariest and most transformative things a person can do. Because like ringing a bell, once it’s done it cannot be undone. Once it has been seen it is real and it will change everything.