You Are So Not Who I Thought You Were


Who Are You?

by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

Rerun based on a post from the FB group.

After my first few post-divorce breakups, I started to tell people that “anyone is capable of anything at any time.” It’s not that anyone will DO anything at any time, but they are certainly capable of it. It takes the surprise out of the equation when loving person X suddenly turns into Lastest-In-A-Long-Series-of-Mistakes X.

We say, “You are not who I thought you were.” and Person X has no answer because the answer would have to be, “Well if I showed you who I really was, you wouldn’t have had anything to do with me.” And you would say, “But I showed you who I really was.” and Person X would grin sheepishly and say, “okay, ‘m I bad.”

But that conversation doesn’t actually take place. Because you don’t want to admit that Person X is more like the latest behavior than the early “reel you in” behavior. You don’t want to admit you have been the victim of bait and switch. You don’t want to admit that you have been taken for a ride and Person X does not want to admit that he or she is a perfect jackhole capable of incredibly craptastic behavior.

You struggle to understand it. How could you say A and do B? Why why why? How how how?

You sail off on the good ship Self-Righteous thinking, “I could NEVER do that to someone else!” and then you writhe and moan when you get home, unable to wrap your brain around this completely self-centered, self-absorbed, uncaring, unfeeling behavior on the part of someone you thought was going to spend the rest of their life with you.

Did I fall in love with a mirage?

Did I fall in love with someone or something that didn’t really exist?

How do I get them to change back?

Well, you don’t. People change or change back when and if they feel like it. Chances are that Person X is going to break out the old “sweet and wonderful” costume in order to woo Ms. or Mr. New Person. They’re not going to break it back out for YOU. You’ve seen the switch. You know the phone booth costume change trick. You’re not so gullible.

Onto greener pastures with my portable personality capable of switching into Mr. or Ms. Bananahead at the drop of a hat.

And so it goes…

And so they go on….carrying the costume under their arm, waiting for the next unsuspecting person who wants them to be good and real and genuine even though they know they are no such thing.

Granted, most bananaheads have NO such insight into themselves, but this is what their behavior is saying and doing.

Meanwhile, back at the breakup ranch….

You are stunned, you are flabbergasted, your mouth is hanging open like you are catching flies. Your sentences begin with “huh?” “what?” “how?”

And you twist your brain into pretzels to understand what just happened. Who is this person? How could he or she do this to widdle ole you who just wanted to be loved and cherished? You fling yourself upon the bed and sob until you can’t sob anymore…and you wait and you wonder…and you wait for the change to come…for this nightmare to be over…for the person you loved to come back.

Bad news: it ain’t gonna happen and if it happens, it ain’t real.

Remember the mantra when you are questioning why, how, etc: IT DOESN’T MATTER. IT DOESN’T MATTER. IT DOESN’T MATTER.

So long as you are stuck on what he or she did and how he or she does not make any sense, you are postponing your own moving on. As long as you are in their head and trying to figure out this person from Planet Zero, you are never going to get over it.

Thank your lucky stars you DON’T GET IT. Thank your lucky stars you are NOT the quick change artist. Thank your lucky stars that you have enough integrity to not have been able to see this coming.

And fall back. Stop asking why how when if only. Start looking at you. Start realizing you were with someone who is capable of extreme behavior that hurts you. And that is NOT what you need and that is NOT what you want.

You can’t trust everyone out of the gate.  Even weeks or even months of “good behavior” oftentimes means nothing.  And a person who has given you NO pause about anything is probably keeping up a facade.  Real people act real.  To have no issues with anyone…everything is perfect, perfect…is not real.  There either HAD to be something or you were just totally snowed.  Either way, it’s a problem…for YOU.   You cannot and will not find a healthy relationship if you don’t own some of this. Because if you don’t own anything, you can’t change anything and if you can’t change anything, nothing changes.

Did you really talk about things?  Did you ask the right questions (review GBOT for this)?  Did you observe?  Did you listen for things that went wrong in their past relationships?  You obviously missed SOMETHING even if it’s just that this person is a gigantic liar liar pants on fire.  You can look back and see when and how the deception took place.  Maybe you could have caught it but maybe this person is very good at it.  You do have to work on you.  Something was amiss and something was missed.

So what do you  do now?

Do your grief work. Journal about the relationship, journal about you, journal about warning signs and red flags that you MISSED. There have GOT to be some there.  Reread GPYB and GBOT.  If you haven’t worked in the workbook in some time, do that as well. It is ALWAYS good to get back to basics.

Work on your affirmations. Work on your positive self-talk. Work on believing that you deserve so much more than this and that someone with integrity who is who he or she says they are IS who they are.

Work on your life history. Has this happened before? When? How often? What is the pattern here?

Work on being good to yourself. Work on giving back to you during this rough journey.

Step back and observe yourself and observe other people. Learn to hone in on people and learn to step back and allow someone to reveal things about themselves to you before you create a fantasy in your mind of who you want them to be.

Review your Standards and Compatibility from GBOT.  What did you miss?  How did you miss it?

But above all else: forget this person you fell in love with. They are never coming back. The person who LEFT YOU is more in line with who this person REALLY is than the person you fell in love with.

And stay out of their head and stop trying to make sense of it.

It doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter.

Be good to you.

Today and always.

Copyright Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.
All Rights Reserved No Duplication is Allowed Without Explicit Permission of the Author and a link back to the original content

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About Susan J. Elliott

Author, Attorney, Grief Counselor, Media Commentator, Motivational Speaker, Relationship Expert, Breakup Coach BA English Mount Holyoke College, magna cum laude, High Honors, Phi Beta Kappa M.Ed., Counseling Psychology, Cambridge College J.D. University of California, Berkeley Licensed to practice law in federal and state courts in NY. Licensed but Inactive in Texas and District of Columbia Creator of the Getting Past Your Past and Getting Past Your Breakup programs, seminars, workshops, bootcamps, videos, blogs and podcasts Author of Getting Past Your Breakup, Getting Back Out There and the GPYP Workbook
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