Although this sad episode in my adult life happened approximately two years ago, the image of my face in the mirror visits my consciousness on occasion.
Last night, it came to me in a dream. The image I saw in my dream was very real, and it closely resembled the pictures that I snapped from on my phone that night, just in case I would need them in some nasty legal adventure.
My mouth was full of blood, and my eyes… MY EYES looked like marbles in a concave hole, surrounded by redness, and folds that were never before evident in my expression.
This image seems to appear, and reappear in my life during times of stress. The fear is ever-present, and is deeply entwined in the mesh that is my inability to trust others. That mesh was not new, and it is not only made up of the threads of romantic relationships.
It contains the torn fabric of sisterly and friend relationships that resulted in the betrayal of trust. I have always wanted to ask the world if betrayal is so much a part of everyone else’s world, but there is no proper way to do this. So I carry this question, and I also carry the endless search for something that I may do in my relationships that leave people feeling that betrayal is fair. Do others write off such incidents as being part of life? Or are there others like myself who wear these episodes as badges, or more likely chains that prevent them from moving forward?
Do I expect too much?
Do I reveal too much? Is it unreasonable to reveal one’s self when we love?
My years of experience have left me with a hardened casing that is impenetrable. I question everything. Let me see that receipt. Are you sure you used my discount card? What do you mean you are unable to come? What else do you have to do? Nothing goes unquestioned in my mind. I look deeply into the eyes of my own children looking for signs of deception. I think they have come to accept that this is my own truth detector. I look for signs of the quick “look away” to know when I am only getting half of a story, rather than the whole truth that I expect.
I have also learned which of my children is most likely to fib. That child can tell by the squint in my eyes that I have caught on. The exchange of giggles ensues, as does the truth. It has been this way for many years. That child turns twenty soon.
While this works well in parenthood, the “squint” does not work well in other relationships. And as these two years have passed since the violent event, the casing around myself has gotten deeper and harder. Reading recently that almost 75% of those who checked their significant others cell phone found evidence of cheating did not offer much comfort.
While it is difficult to get past the subtle changes in social interaction that offer people never before access to the opportunity to cheat, the same article shared above also suggested that while 75% of those who checked found evidence of cheating, it also said that of those surveyed, only about 30% actually checked their SO’s phone.
Does suspicion and lack of trust color the way we see the world? Does it alter the way we behave when we enter into relationships? I sadly believe that it does. A Sociology Professor told me long ago to look at motivation when you are determining truthfulness. Is there some reason why someone would behave in a certain way? What could that person possibly gain from doing what they are doing?
While this seems a very skeptical way to live life, there are times in my life that it has served me well. There are few people in my life whose motivation I never need to question. BFF, you are one of the few. Your actions and concerns have been selfless over the years, and I love you for that.
This leaves me, however, with the reappearance of the dream, and the fear that has encased me. I think that the answer lies in the positive relationships that I have, like BFF. I did not start off feeling positive. I started out emotionally neutral on trust, and gradually, that trust was earned.
So, the moral of this story, and the goal for me, I believe, is to start off emotional neutral, and allow people to earn that place in my life. By starting off in a negative place, I am blocking the acceptance of others’ sincere behavior. Beginning a relationship with the chip on my shoulder, assuming bad behavior, is like attempting to start a car in reverse. I have to be willing to allow someone to shine, rather than expecting tarnish. I must learn not to be the reporter becoming part of the story.