At the surface, it may seem obvious to many of you why this is. But that won't stop you from defaulting to irrational defense mechanisms when confronted with an uncomfortable truth. Yet, I feel that writing this may help make some of you a little more self-aware, so you can stop yourself from making these mistakes (again?) .
To illustrate my point, I will use a story from my own life, a story of a girl who threw away a huge gold nugget of opportunity without even removing the wrapping to see what was inside. To chase after an uncertain alternative prospect. But whose dishonest methods of achieving that foolish action came back to bite her - and plenty of others.
To protect the parties involved, I will not use real names. However, I'm sure many of you will be able to easily interchange these names with someone you know/knew in real life, and it would ring almost as true.
I'll just name the girl Katie for this, though that's not at all her real name. The other guy besides me, I'll just call him Frank. (Again, not even close to his real name.)
To make you understand how seriously dangerous these irrational defense mechanisms can be, and how little they can make someone care, most of this happened in a church. A church where a woman should have been doggedly determined not to say misleading things, but her trying to have everything go her way overruled her sense of reverence for where she was - or even for Whom might be able to see through everything she said! And He made His opinion of the matter known too! (I'll get to that.)
My mom met Katie almost a year before I did, and the two began to chat. A lot. I was working a lot, and it seemed that Katie and I were never able to make the same service the same day the same week, ever.
However, my mom was so determined to finally find me a woman that would make a suitable wife - saddened by watching me fail over and over again due to the most outrageous of uncontrollable outside factors screwing me over, or to the girls' curtains being pulled away to reveal a raging douche behind the curtain - that she decided to pull strings and plant suggestions, playing matchmaker between me and Katie.
Inside Katie's mind was planted this image of a mythical young man that would not hesitate to sweep her off her feet. Inside my own was planted this image of a mythical woman not that different-looking from my old high school crush, based on my mom's unreliable recounting of physical descriptions. A woman who was the very pinnacle of virtue incarnate, a normally unattainable ideal of the virgin future-bride who completely has her act together, and has almost zero vices.
I was right to be skeptical, but played along. After all, I wanted to make my mom happy. She was going out of her way to improve my fortunes. Meanwhile, I was getting backstabbed by freakazoids at work, and it got so bad I had to file a grievance against one coworker for malicious stalking and sabotage and against another for giving management false details about my interactions with her - which I was able to demonstrate by showing screenshots of past Facebook chat transcripts which demonstrated the opposite of her claims.
Driven to agoraphobia and bordering on pistanthrophobia by these nightmare experiences, the only reason I even bothered to entertain still the possibility of ever meeting Katie and having a future with her, was because my mom was so adamant I give it a chance.
Alas, it was not to be. And here's why...
Katie was a woman on-the-go in life, never slowing down for anything or anyone. But she did want a man, and was growing very impatient. I cannot claim to have never been similarly impatient, and I have paid a heavy price for my impatience. But that's another topic for another time. What matters is, she was tired of waiting for me to finally appear in her life. So she determined to settle.
In walks Frank. He is, in some ways, my opposite, even though he and I typically get along very well. He even took over the mentor role in my life briefly, when I needed a helpful friend for advice and my previous mentor was too busy receiving treatment for severe mental health issues (extreme clinical depression, mostly.)
Anyway, back to Frank. Experiences in life in many areas taught me to err on the side of caution, if need be. In those same areas, Frank was often blessed with not needing to be cautious. He could be as bragadoccio as he pleased, and it rarely came back to bite him. Meanwhile, it seemed the hands of fate would sic the dogs on me if I so much as tiptoed in the direction of Frank's carefree approach! He could do no wrong, it seemed. And I couldn't get away with anything!
Even though Frank was taller and a lot heavier than myself, looking like a heart attack waiting to happen, his oozing of confidence and seeming immunity to consequences made him appealing to Katie - even though he only seemed to view her as friend material and nothing more. She would invent every possible excuse - even delaying other commitments - to find time to spend with him. That began the chain of lies and half-truths. However, it all seemed like something she could control without a problem - until the unthinkable happened: Her and I actually met.
When Katie finally did meet me, she was surprised how much her and I got along. It was almost as though someone behind the scenes were arranging it. It seemed like more than mere coincidence that her and I just so happened to meet that fateful evening on Ash Wednesday of 2016. By then, however, she was already investing herself not-so-secretly in her unrequited crush on Frank. Though, she dared not admit outloud that this was her intention, for fear of ruining her friendship with him.
Her and I began talking, then messaging each other. She entertained the idea of going to the grocery store with me, and that would allow me a chance to get to know the real her, not just the myth of her my mom kept railing about. Then it hit her: what if she started liking me? Her poor Frank! She couldn't bail on him over me! But she didn't want to tell me the truth right away either! She was certain that she'd cause a feud, and cause me and Frank to start fighting. Whatever to do? Lie, that's what!
Thus began the snowball
When next her and I met, she gave me her number. And agreed to a time to meet. But...failed to provide the location. I also dug her van out of a giant snowbank, just to be nice. She thanked me for that. I promised I'd message her, to verify that her work schedule wouldn't interfere with our plans to do our shopping together.
Then, the day came. The hour came. Almost to-the-minute of when I promised to message her (5:30), she suddenly had something "come up" at the theater she did volunteer work at (or so she claimed.) It would take away all her ability to get her shopping done that night, and she simply avoided the issue of rescheduling altogether. Dodged the question. I didn't wanna push it, but I immediately suspected she wasn't entirely telling me the truth.
I later asked for details about this theater, and how I could get involved. Not because of her, but because I enjoyed tech theater class at Ferris and would love to work at a theater again. Conveniently, the theater had no employment opportunities open. And they ran out of need for additional volunteers conveniently when I got curious about volunteering!
So now, my ability to make connections in a field related loosely to my degree were being burned to the ground, all because this girl didn't want to give me a ghost of a chance with her, even as a friend, but didn't want to be honest about that being her real agenda.
Also, what began as a one time thing of the theater getting in her way, later on conveniently turned into a "sudden" three weeks of her needing to be busy there the whole time.
It still sounded like a cool place. So I asked if I could at least check it out for myself. The story kept right on changing, so that the place conveniently would never work for me to visit, even just to check it out for my own purposes, but was always conveniently in need of volunteers enough for her to disappear there!
She could tell I wasn't buying it, even though I tried to be a gentleman and give her the benefit of the doubt. After all: she had a day job at the state capitol building. When did she sleep???
And she's busted!
Following through with her constant stories about that theater, I finally asked her if she would like to at least drop a line some time the following Tuesday or Wednesday, to at least let me know how the production was coming along. Or if she'd mind hanging out at all on those days, since I had nothing going on. She realized that flaking out on me and inventing constant excuses wasn't going to work. That I was losing interest in her, and now I was just trying to get the truth out of her.
The look in her eyes, I kid you not, was the look of a cat burglar who suddenly finds herself surrounded by helicopters and SWAT, all armed with laser scopes and everything, and with obscenities being yelled at her via megaphone, while being clearly caught on camera with the loot in-hand.
She refused to betray that she was pining (however in vain) for Frank. But she did finally confess that she should never have led me on to believe that her and I could even be platonic friends, because she didn't see me as a dating/sexual possibility (even though up to that point, I'd never even mentioned dating/sex!)
She figured I'd think her a weirdo for being involved in theater. Others seemed to opine that of her. Figured it was her easy way out. But she figured me all wrong, and got caught!
I continued to be the polite gentleman. I admitted to her that many women before her invovled third parties to blow me off, and those third parties took their intervention too far, and things got frequently out of hand. I thanked her for at least having the decency to tell me to my face that she wasn't interested in romance, though I wish she'd at least have respected me as a friend a bit more, and trusted me with the truth a bit more. I wished her well, and told her she could still reach me any time if she needed to.
I also confessed to her that it was my mom that was pushing me to give her a chance, because my mom thought so highly of her.
I then walked away casually, and haven't spoken to Katie nor written to her since. I was angry about all the times she'd lied to me, that I discovered to be lies or half-truths. But I didn't allow her to see my anger. She was feeling terrible enough, without seeing how I cope with post-traumatic stress when a bad event triggers my memories of past traumas.
My brief near-meltdown
My mind raced back to 2007, when a woman whose name should rot in the annals of history decided to end the friendship by spreading lies about me - and even got the police involved. Panicked that this Katie might try something that sinister, I began having breathing trouble at work that evening. I was reverting to the panic mode of nine years earlier, an intensity almost as severe as the attacks I had in 2015, when the malicious stalker at work was on the verge of getting me fired with his sabotage antics.
In this fit of panic, I alerted my mom to the reality that things would never work out with me and Katie - that I couldn't trust her to be honest with me. My mom had all these fantasies about me and Katie being happily married. It seemed cruel to not tell her the truth, though I had to be tactful about how to do it. She was predictably very disappointed. In Katie, not in me.
In the same fit of panic, I deleted Katie from my phone. In case she were as diabolical as She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, I didn't want police snatching my phone, finding Katie's name in my phone, and then trying to play psychologist on me over it, like they did to me in college. I was going to be completely Katie-free, so they would have NOTHING on me!
I later regretted this paranoia, but haven't taken measures to restore her info to my phone. What would be the point? This was a girl willing to lie to my face...in a church! And reject me as a friend, just because she didn't think I was sexy enough! (She doesn't exactly ooze supermodel vibes herself!)
Yes, Frank is a salesman who makes twice what I do, a lowly cartoonist with a night job in retail. But even she knows his money will never match what she's looking for in a man with soul
When the blessing of that kind of man - whom she claimed to want to find - was practically dropped, as if by divine intervention, right into her lap!!!; she casually threw it away like garbage without even removing the gift wrap! And went chasing after some man that will probably never give her what she really wants. So what would be the point in me bothering with her???
Proverbial chickens come home to roost
Remember how I mentioned that Someone Who wasn't me chimed in with even stronger disapproval of her behavior than either myself or my mom? Even I was caught off guard when I learned of the means of message delivery, and how quickly it happened.
I occupied myself the only way I really know how: by burying myself in making cartoons or in writing, or in social media. Or working at the store. Or trying to figure out what the latest issue is with my tax returns. (Thanks, Obamacare!)
Then, Sunday came. A few days ago from the time of this posting. I was sick and miserable with a cold/sinus infection. So I decided to skip church and get some rest. That same day, the most convenient place for my mom and siblings to sit in the pews was conveniently right next to Katie, and the man she was trying to convince to become her boyfriend. She also looked around for me...and I was nowhere to be found. My mom relayed to me what happened next:
The sermon became unbearable to her, as she looked on uncomfortably as if the words of scolding over betrayal had been written around her. But how could that be? The pastor had no idea what was going on when he picked that sermon! At least, I never said anything to him about it!
The Rod of Fate weilded the ultimate direction of the Web of Fate, regardless which product of fate being concluded via multiplying by the factors of every individual human being's free wills intersecting. Man tackles the dots of the Universe, God fills the spaces between the dots.
Katie began squirming in the pew, looking visibly extremely uncomfortable the entire service. And acting afraid to face my mom, who was being completely cordial. Her guilt was eating her alive!
Divine justice doesn't usually happen that fast! It usually takes years, not 1 week! Was it because I got hurt, or because she lied in a church, that she was now convinced there was some sort of divine wrath hovering over her? Did it even matter anymore the reason???
I can only speculate from there that she assumes my absence was due to her treatment of me; as she didn't know that my real reason was that I was battling a sinus infection, and was too broke to see a doctor.
How it becomes my issue (again)
Katie's tactics to get rid of me were indeed underhanded, and ill-motivated. Yet, she did some good things to her credit. She told me directly not to expect too much of her. (After I defeated her excuses.) She also avoided the temptation to maliciously sabotage my private life as a way of "getting even" for me showing interest in her. Therefore, especially since things ended before they ever truly even got started, I didn't have much time to build up good feelings for her to betray. So the pain fo betrayal was nowhere near as extreme as with some of the past ne'er-do-wells.
Therefore, I can forgive what she did much more easily than any of the antics of those other women, some of whom I fear their hearts turned to stone long ago.
Yet, I feel that with the revelation from my mom that Katie was really trying to protect her emotional investment in Frank and avoid a feud; that I simply must assure her that she may pursue him without fear of hostilities.
So I will do that when I see her next. I will assure her that I will not be in her way, and that she need not beat herself up over me. And to not worry about my mom either. Even moms make mistakes.
I wanna bury that hatchet. It's one I never wanted in the first place. And with that, the Law and Gospel are both made complete via expression.
After all, I need to save the unbrideled wrath for whatever disease is messing with my sinuses.
Moral of the story
I realize, women, that you often get yourselves dead-set fixed on one agenda, and destroy every good thing that comes your way, only to learn that what you were fighting for was not worth it in the end. And that you can never take back some of the damage you do to whatever was once in-your-way.
I realize this means that sometimes, you want to step on any man you presume would be in the way. Yet, not all men are equal. One thing is for certain: Lies and half-truths as a means of getting rid of a man...are merely tempting fate. It's spiritual Russian roulette. So don't do it.
There's no telling what you may not even realize is being laid at your feet, that you will regret not giving a chance to.
And for men...being a gentleman can pay off. Being one of faith doubly so. However, reliving past trauma is not the healthiest way to cope. Just rest assured that not every woman who rejects you will, be as psychotic as the ones I've known in years past. Cherish the sane and stable girls while you have them, even if they are with you only platonically.