I used to be an extremely gullible person. I believed anything anyone told me, especially my parents. I don?t know why, but no matter how many times they pranked me or lied to me, I just couldn?t seem to learn. It became a sport in my family, to trick me and prank me and see just how gullible I was. This lasted all the way until I was like 20 years old and woke up to a cruel reality.
You can?t trust anyone.
Now, that sounds super paranoid, but let me explain. Betrayal isn?t something the average person speaks of often unless discussing literature. Nor, I feel, is manipulation. Those are themes of Shakespeare and reality TV, not real life. Even still, I use those words any time I discuss certain members of my family because they are two of the most prominent occurrences in their day to day life. It?s almost a compulsion, and I don?t even know if they entirely realize how much deceit goes on. It?s horrible, and it?s a generational problem.
Unfortunately, I was no exception growing up. I didn?t even realize I was telling half-truths, misleading and exaggerating to the point of dishonesty in middle school and high school. Once I realized what I was doing, I was disgusted and horrified with myself. Thankfully, after a few years of therapy and having friends around to call me out on it and keep me honest, I broke the habit.
But what if I hadn?t? What kind of things would my actions be teaching my kid at this very moment? Sure, my parents told me not to lie and cheat and whatnot, but their actions told me it was okay.
They weren?t just liars, they were manipulators. They would twist truths until it suited them, change the angle on how they were viewing something until they were in a good light, and so many other insane things. I mean, the mental gymnastics my family went through to paint things to their liking would put olympic gymnasts to shame. They would use my emotional sensitivity to get me to do certain things. All my mom had to do to get me on my knees offering up my heart on a silver platter was sound choked up. All my dad had to do to get me to forgive him for hitting me was tell me how hard he was struggling to quit smoking. I, the victim of physical abuse, was comforting the people abusing me moments after it happened.
That?s insane. That is so messed up I don?t even know where to begin.
Now, onto betrayals. Yeah, I have had two Shakespeare level, ?y tu brute?? style back-stabbings happen by two of the most important people in my life. The first one was from one of my longest lasting friendships. My parents had just kicked me out, she was moving to another state and we decided to have one last fun day together before she left. She ran into Walmart and her phone went off. On the screen read my mother?s name and number with some sniveling message about how even though I hurt her (cause that?s how it went), she was still worried about me. Seeing how we were more like sisters than friends, I knew her password and opened up her phone to see that the entire day she had been pumping me for information to give to my mom: the woman who had kicked me out of her house after I lost my scholarships, my boyfriend, and my grandfather ? all in the span of a few months.
We?ve never had a fight like the one that followed. Never had I cried as I did that night. I could feel the knife she wedged into my heart and I couldn?t breathe around it. We didn?t speak again until I got engaged, and she apologized for falling for my mother?s bullshit. It hurt all the more because she had been there for years, she knew my parents. She knew what they were capable of, was there when my mother collapsed drunkenly onto my bed the night before we were supposed to leave on our first road trip without adults. We?re good now, moved past it and are friends again but that was the first time anyone had ever hurt me like that.
The second time was this year, and I still have not been able to process the hurt I feel. I am going to save that for another article, because that?s a horror story in itself. It was what happened between my best friend and me, but to the nth power.
This isn?t normal. Families go through trials and tribulations, but this is not natural. These cruel behaviors, these hurtful words, all of the lies and manipulations done to make each other suffer? That?s horrible. It?s given me a trust complex, I still have a hard time believing my husband doesn?t have an ulterior motive for loving me. It?s so sad, but it is the truth. I can?t trust anyone wants to just be with me, or want to be my friend without wanting something else. I can?t trust how genuine someone?s emotions are, and I can?t trust that people are not out to hurt me by getting close to me.
I?ve gotten better lately, but thanks to my family I hold the belief that I can?t trust anyone. Not even myself.