Those of you who’ve been (for some odd reason) keeping up with my little space on the ‘net for a while should be familiar with the saga of Xebeth. The Reader’s Digest Condensed Cliffs Notes version goes as follows: old friend shows up, all is happy; friend is found to have a serious, life-threatening disease, and all is not so happy, but Prairie and I do our best to provide support; ten months of emotional rollercoasters later, we find that the entire thing was a lie, and that not only is the old friend not dying, but nearly everything else she told us was a lie also.
It’s now been fourteen months since Xebeth first contacted me to say hello (and, as it turns out, also sent me the first of many lies), and four months since we realized what was going on, confronted her, and eventually cut off all contact.
Four months later, we’re still realizing just how much this has effected us.
Each of us regularly have moments when it’s all we can do not to attempt to contact her to try to figure out why she did this to us. If we ever actually thought we’d get an answer, we might actually do it…but it’s obvious that there’s nothing she could tell us that would actually justify how she treated us — and even if she tried to explain, it hardly seems likely that we’d be able to believe what she said. This doesn’t keep us from wanting an answer, but it at least keeps us from being so foolish as to try to actually get one.
The truly distressing thing about all this is how severely it’s shaken our ability to trust other people. Over the past few months, Prairie and I have found ourselves pulling back a bit from the world around us. Admittedly, we’re not always the most social of people out there, and balancing our jobs and my school schedule take a fair amount of time — but even with those factors figured in, we’ve been more reclusive than usual. While we’ve not cut off contact entirely — I try to get out to the clubs when I can, and had fun bouncing around Norwescon; Prairie’s had a visit to see some old friends and will be off on a trip with my mom and sister-in-law in a few weeks — we’ve both found ourselves far less willing to trust that the people around us are actually worth interacting with.
Basically, people suck. We were doing what we could to be there for a friend in need, and ended up getting stomped on. Hard. Repeatedly. In an incredibly cruel fashion.
Not terribly surprising, then, is that all this has introduced some added stresses to our home life. Neither of us feel that there’s any Impending Doom as far as our relationship with each other goes, but we have been recognizing that there are some new discomforts that weren’t there before.
Much of what we did last year is colored by Xebeth’s involvement. Until now, we’ve both thoroughly enjoyed going out to the annual Pride Parade…but as that was one of the events we took Xebeth to last summer, it’s lost some of its luster, and while the photography bug might pull me out there again, Prairie isn’t looking forward to it like she used to. It’s hard for us to talk about our trip to Vegas without feeling uncomfortable, as that trip was, in large part, supposed to be something of a “last hurrah” trip before Xebeth was going to be unable to travel any more.
I’ve always been an incorrigible flirt, and, while Prairie isn’t as into the club scene as I am, she’s never had any issues sending me off to bounce around and have fun, returning home later on to tell her tales of who I ran into, which girls (or guys, this being Seattle) inquired about my kilt, and other such sillinesses. Now, when I go out, I find myself second-guessing my interactions with my friends, and the “guess what happened tonight” stories aren’t as entertaining anymore. The trust in each other is still as strong as it ever was, but the trust in other people isn’t what it once was.
Rather sad how it only takes one psychotically self-absorbed pathological liar to destroy your faith in people.
So, if there’s ever any question as to why I’m not as talkative here as I used to be, why I don’t relate as much of my life as I used to, why we don’t go out and interact with people like we used to, and why we spend so much time solely with each other — it’s simply because right now, we’re the only people we can really trust.
The next step, then — and this is a large part of why we’re making this post (I wrote it, and Prairie’s read it) and putting all of this out in the public eye — is to get past this and to start rebuilding what we’ve lost in our relationships, with each other and with other people. It’s not likely to be an easy or particularly fast process, but it’s a road we need to take. We’re starting out on our own, and the conversations we’ve had over the past days are a big step (it’s something of a cliché, but recognizing an issue really is the first step), but it’s a start.
We don’t want to hate the world. We’ve just been running out of reasons not to.