Believe Them The First Time

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” – Maya Angelou

This is not easy to do. Especially for those of us who grow up learning to make excuses for others’ behavior. Codependency is marked by a laundry list of things, none of which I’ll go into here, except this one: caretaking, and neglecting our own needs for the sake of pleasing others.

It comes from low self-worth. It comes from something we learned in childhood. Whatever it is. I learned that I was always “messing up,” and wasn’t “enough” for the early males in my life, most notably, my brother. I worshipped the ground he walked on. He was my “hero,” and he consistently criticized, mocked, belittled, and attacked me.

I learned that I was responsible for his emotions. I learned that I was responsible for keeping him happy and pleased. I learned that if he did something cruel, I was to blame.
I learned to fear his sulks. I learned that if he was unhappy, I had somewhere, somehow, done something wrong. I learned to  just keep trying to do better, and one day, big brother would turn around and protect and care for me.

This is the birth of codependency.

When someone behaves in a way that is a deal-breaker in my world, I used to (and still fall into: this is a work in progress) “rewrite” the story, and come up with reasons to understand why they did it, and forgive, thereby allowing something that is absolutely a NO in my world.

News flash to myself: when you allow this behavior, the person isn’t going to look at (or care) how understanding and loving and forgiving you were. They’re not going to be grateful that someone supported and believed in them in spite of their assy, weak behavior.
Instead, they’re just going to blithely continue the behavior.

It might, then, be compounded by their utter lack of respect for you.

Congratulations! You allowed yourself to be treated like a low-value human being. They now see you as a low-value, low-priority human being… and guess what they’re going to feel toward you?

Not gratitude – they won’t see you as loyal or loving. Oh, no. They’ll feel contempt, or complete indifference.

You may not even be seen by them any more, as they focus on those who snub them (this is really a thing.) because those who snub them and treat them with disrespect and disdain are superior and must be “won.” It’s all a stupid, shallow game, played by foolish, vain, damaged people, and you truly must love yourself enough to walk away from it.

People often try to justify their shitty behavior, because ultimately, we have to find a way to like ourselves… so isn’t it just that much more comfortable when someone *allows* and even *excuses* that behavior? Then they can blame that person.

Easy way to offload the responsibility.

For me, to be specific, the complete deal-breaker behavior is: lack of communication, hiding things, and dishonesty.
How to earn my contempt in two easy steps: 1) Don’t communicate truthfully, 2) spinelessly slide around thinking I won’t learn the truth, and/or 3) fail to keep your word/ follow through on agreements.

Yes, this is my personal absolute deal-breaker.

If someone “forgets” an agreement made with me, that sends me a message of my insignificance to them and in their world.
If someone takes an action (or breaks their word) and then expresses no remorse to me, but instead feels sorry for themselves, and seeks to make themselves a victim, that’s a QUICK release now out of my life. I will no longer tolerate this. I have been burned badly.

I am taking note of it.  I have no more trust. I have been burned so badly, in fact, I doubt I will ever trust a man’s word again.

There was no remorse expressed to me, you see – privately or publicly. No expression of care for my well-being.
This person has taken a good, trusting, loving, loyal woman, and *ensured* that I will look with suspicion at every “man” from here on out. I wish some other man had come into my life. I wish a truly good man had had the benefits of my heart, while it was still able to love.

I seek to be around those who have the courage to speak, or attempt to speak, their truth, no matter how shakily or messily it comes out.

I seek to be around those who have the courage to be honest about who they are, and what they want and don’t want.

I seek to be around those who keep their word.

I seek to be around those to whom I matter.

A mask is utterly wasting my time. Someone who is so afraid of conflict or upset, *which only exists in their own mind* they will lie, I have zero tolerance for.

I do not wish to spend this life living anything that *is not life*; living is so dear. (to paraphrase Thoreau..)

I have absolutely no reason for the shock and surprise I experience every time someone lets me down in this arena. People are showing us who they are ALL THE TIME.

It’s just hard to believe them, isn’t it? Especially when we’ve decided to believe IN them, and trust them, and believe their words… when they say they want to be clear, want to be kind, want to be good to us, it would be so much easier to feel the good feelings, the happy feelings, the gratitude feelings that someone cared enough to want to be good to us-

and ignore the actions.

Well.  Don’t do it.

As much as it may hurt – sis – you’ve got to see someone’s actions.

Are they a reflection of how this person sees you? Maybe, maybe not. I’ll wager that if you look closely, you’ll see they likely behave like this often, and not just with you. Usually, it’s not about you. But if it is? Good fucking riddance to bad rubbish. I’ll tell you this: if you spent time excusing, forgiving, trying to be understanding about, behavior that hurt you, this person *does not deserve your love and care.* You are the one who deserves your love and care,
and it begins by seeing clearly. And it continues with SHUTTING THE DOOR AND WALKING THE FUCK AWAY.

Don’t waste another second of your precious life burning good energy trying to help, love, believe in, and connect with someone who cannot be bothered to treat you with  basic human respect which means: honest communication.

and maybe notice- does this person express ANY remorse or concern for what you might be going through, after their actions hurt you?
Have they taken ANY responsibility, or are they trying to somehow make themselves out to be a victim, when *they are the one who took the action*, lied, broke their word, said hurtful things, behaved in a cruel manner, etc…
Pay. Attention.

I don’t know everyone personally who will read this, but I can tell you right now: you are worth more than that.

4 thoughts on “Believe Them The First Time

  1. Agreed, friend. A hard, life-long lesson. There’s a quote I try to remember (even though I can’t remember who to attribute it to) that says, “What you do speaks so loudly, I cannot hear what you say.” It’s a good reminder of what to pay attention to. Love you & your courage & your truth-seeking. 💚


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