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.

11 thoughts on “Regaining Trust

  1. As you well know, I’ve had my share of crap that has left me feeling much like you and Prairie feel. I very rarely blog, and when I do, it’s friends-only over on Vox. It’s been so hard to let people in anymore – who the heck wants to deal with being hurt again, and why would anyone in their right mind want to leave the door open to potential drama, dishonesty, and generally ugly behavior? Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    I hope the two of you find some peace with things. If you ever need to talk, you know how to find me, babe. :) big hugs

  2. I’m sorry that you and Prairie had that awful of an experience. Betrayals of that sort take time to get over and you have every right to feel angry. It’s only natural to feel the need to be cautious when it comes to friendships after so callousy being taken advantage of. I hope something or someone happens to you and Prairie both to restore your faith in people. I’d do it myself, but there’s that whole 3 hour flight thing that I’m not so good with :-) Love ya and thinking about ya.

  3. “we’re the only people we can really trust”

    As sad as it is to say, that’s true. Trust in each other, and if your collective trust is extended to another, they’re blessed; be they damned if ever they give cause for you to take it away.

  4. Trust, what a wicked word it turns out to be, eh?

    Trust (like Love) is one of those things that only really works when you give it your all and you give it freely. You can’t almost trust someone anymore than you can almost love them, you either do or you don’t and that’s the rub.

    If you do love, if you do trust, there is great joy and great happiness to be found there. Levels of peace and contentment that many people can only dream of reaching.

    Because to be honest, most people have no idea what trust is, no really, I know people that have been married 20 years and they still don’t trust their spouse. It’s not because their spouse is untrustworthy it’s because in order to trust, in order to love, you have to be vulnerable.

    It’s the only way you can trust, and it’s the only way you can love. You have to allow the other person the ability (if they choose) to inflict serious emotional, psychological and physical damage. And some people just can’t do it, they just can’t open themselves up enough to another person, to give that person the ability to cause that much pain. And so, they go through life, never really loving, never really trusting.

    As you begin to close off against the world, and who could blame you? I’ll point out it only proves that you did love, and you did trust, you can do these things. Gifts that others go their entire lives without ever understanding. The next time you feel the joy, the pure ecstasy that only real love can bring, remind yourself you can only feel that because that vulnerability exists between the two of you and you trust each other not to use it, or abuse it. Close that off, shut that part down and you give up a big part of the joy and happiness.

    When one is in a relationship and that trust is broken, once the heart is broken and the healing process has started, they say it takes half the length of the relationship to recover.

    Contacting her will do no good, and even if she were to tearfully ‘come clean’ how could you trust what she said, no this woman is poison, poison to your very heart and soul and further contact only deepens the damage already done and the healing process must start a new.

    Does this lessen the pain, sadly no, help the healing process? I can only hope.

    Me? I still love, and I still trust, but I’m very selective about who I give that power to.

  5. I’ve briefly followed this terrible story over the past year. I am truly sympathetic to what you and Prarie have gone through.

    The only thing I have to say is that I’ve had trust like that broken as well. It isn’t fun, it isn’t fair and I still have a lot of issues posting certain things on my blog. I went through extensive measures to privatize a lot of personal posts, because I had people from my past that I do not trust come by and gossip about what I wrote. My frequency of posting has dwindled significantly, just because I cannot trust who is going to read it and I hate censoring my thoughts when I write a post, so there is no point to posting. So, I’m taking it slow and eventually I’ll trust again, its just going to take a tremendous effort on my part to take a leap of faith and start posting like I used to.

    Trust only yourselves and your family, people and friends should have to earn your trust to begin with. Do not feel as though you and Prarie are not being fair by making people earn your trust, you deserve to give trust when you feel comfortable.

  6. You did not ask for comment and I will not give it. You and Prairie are in our nightly prayers, and always in our thoughts.

  7. I had to come out of hiding just to share some commiseration and offer up thoughts as you get past the whole sordid ordeal.

    I have to admit to not following in as much detail, having withdrawn myself for the most part -not that you might have noticed anyway since i am the ultimate lurker-

    However, I just wanted to share that although your experience does not resonate with me, the resulting point of reference is.

    People, in general, suck! not-to-be-trusted, *not-worth-time-and-effort, *waste-of-good-air-and-space … all those bitter and cynical sentiments aside… We are, ourselves people, and some of us *are worth the effort. And THOSE are the ones we have to stay connected for.

    I wish you both the best.

  8. Certainly been there. And been there. And been there. Not always with complete liars, rather more frequently with people who really seem to believe the crazy (self-contradictory and frequently self-destructive) things they say.

    And you do learn there is no talking to them or figuring out what they were thinking (they weren’t. They were feeling.) And I’m not sure you ever really let it go.

    But my husband and I have learned to recognize them much faster so that we’re less ‘in’ before we start pulling away, politely, quietly, which always send them into ‘hurry up and have a crisis’ mode, which is a lot easier to deal with when you see it coming. It can be kind of amusing but it’s always painful.

    Or at least that’s my experience.

    Been reading your blog for years, I guess, and noticed you were posting rather less and less. I was afraid you were going to be closing up shop sooner than later. So many of my favorite blogs have done it.

    Hang in there.

  9. Having been (at one time or another) part of the problem for you, I’d hope that currently on the Karmic plus side.

    I would say that for me, a little cynical paranoia is healthy. Letting it stop you from being you is up to you. And a little getting old. Don’t get old. :*-)

    /me wanders off, mumbling about loud music and those damn kids…

  10. I had a thought – through netflix, or whatever, why don’t the two of you watch a very good (though now somewhat dated) film from the 60s, starring Rod Steiger, called “The Pawnbroker.”

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