Breach of Agreement by Self-Contradicting
A Strange Inconsistency
In those early years of my amateurish attempts to better understand the human nature, and my own in particular, I was frequently coming across a peculiar phenomenon in people's behavior - the one of their contradicting themselves by their words and actions.
Well, not being a shrink of any sort I don't know if it's a theme of the textbooks in psychopathology, or one of those innocent nuisances usually enjoying a protection under the umbrella of "just being imperfect humans".
However, here is my version of it, as I personally find it quite interesting, and maybe you will as well. Since many flaws in our nature can be more recognizable when presented in their extremes, I will mention two examples of such grotesque deviations from normalcy.
While not claiming to know much about psychoses, neither will I expect from you to know much, but we may both recognize schizoid characteristics in those two cases. I mean those unfortunate folks with a split personality where one version of them doesn't know what the other is saying or doing.
As for all those milder cases of self-contradicting, let me use an equally descriptive term of merely "cracked personalities". So, let's get to know a little more about both, those "quite split" and "only cracked" ones.
A Much Telling Blooper
Those folks with merely a character flaw of self-contradicting themselves would definitely qualify for the "cracked" garden variety. They were actually quite humorously depicted by one of the more memorable bloopers of the ex-president George W. Bush.
Namely, during one of his speeches he was about to make a point about some folks whose "left hand doesn't know what the right one is doing" - but then he looked at his right hand while mentioning the left one, and at his left one while mentioning the right. As that in itself was portraying him as one of such folks, he also gave us a good definition of what I am calling a "cracked" personality.
Those of you who had more to say about the president might want to interject by saying how his all career as president was one big blooper - but let's leave the man alone to enjoy his idyllic life on the ranch which was so rudely interrupted by the overwhelming demands of presidency.
At this point it could be right to say how "crackness", or self-contradicting is almost a typical personality trait of all politicians who are saying one thing and doing something opposite, which would surely refer to their promises during the election time.
However, let's take a look at those two schizoid dudes that I announced at the beginning. There examples should depict the phenomenon in question in its extreme, and easily recognizable form.
Love You...Hate You...Love you...Hate You...
After emigrating to Canada in the late 60's I stayed in touch by correspondence with a friend or two. One of them was of a "split" variety, but having a good heart I was putting up with all those pearls of extreme contradictions, one of which I'd like to share with you.
In a friendly letter from him that I was tempted to frame and hang on the wall in place of a nonexistent diploma, he said how "not only that he was happy by having me as a friend, but he was also honored." Then followed one after another some flattering things about me that probably made me blush.
But, of course, knowing him I was not falling for that shower of compliments, and I just waited for that other side of his nature to get triggered by something, anything on the list of things that easily got him all pissed off. And I didn't have to wait for long.
As soon as in his next letter he wrote: "You are a chameleon changing colors as you need it...a gelatin mass with undefined form...a liar and pretender with many masks...", and so on until the page was filled.
What further makes it interesting is the fact that, upon my asking him nicely in my next letter why he wrote all that, he completely ignored my question and continued as if nothing bad had happened in our interaction.
It certainly doesn't take a shrink to see how the dude was projecting on me what he felt about himself, one personality hating another in a constant inner war. Well, some years had passed before that correspondence became just a nuisance and we broke up our beautiful "friendship".
Hey, I got Myself a New Friend!
I met the other guy of the similar "split" in his personality during my visiting the family in my native European country. After a single conversation he seemed to get fascinated with something about me. He was not gay, so, well, it must have been my charisma - so they always tell me.
We had those "deep" kind of talks, and at a few instances I thought the dude was going to take some notes, along with compliments that were generously coming my way. At one point he asked "why I wouldn't return to my homeland". Quite casually I said my reasons, careful not to put down anything about my native country.
But it seems like I was not careful enough, because he gave me as hostile version of criticism as I was able to take without having to walk away. All wound-up he was giving me a lecture in patriotism, and maybe only my calm gaze at his eyes with hardly any blinking had something to do with him abruptly stopping and switching to something completely different..
Just like in the first story with another schizo, he suddenly changed the tune as if nothing had happened, and you believe it or not, he laughed at my jokes patting me friendly on the back after we joined others at the party. He had a few more of those episodes in the days to come, and by then I was ready - I derailed the train of his tirade with a smile and by turning my back on him.
One of the "cracked" ones explained so nicely his "policy" about friendship with words: "Today I take your head off, tomorrow I put it back".
O.K., before you get some ideas about my friendships, I do have many normal friends, you know.
It Takes a Trigger Word
Earlier I mentioned how this self-contradicting is actually quite common, even though in much milder intensity than in those two mentioned cases. Indeed, we could say that in so many folks their "left hand doesn't know what the right one is doing".
In my personal experience with such individuals, first I thought that had a lot to do with my somewhat radical stand in many areas of discussion stemming from my out-of-box thinking - as if they didn't know whether to love me or hate me. But then I noticed how they were displaying the same behavior while interacting with other people.
My conclusion in the matter was that some people have certain unconscious triggers that make them go ballistic. As if some words have the power to instantly open a crack in their personality allowing a "dragon" to escape from their animalistic part of the nature to mess up the momentary interacting with its primitive, out of control tantrum.
Then the crack closes on its own, and the person who had momentary lost the attachment with reality may not even register that they have acted out of whack. It doesn't have to be an exhibit of the rage intensity but something much milder, like a momentary flare up followed by calm.
But during the course of it, they may say things that you would never expect them to say, that are totally contradictory to their nature and to the nature of your relationship. A short rhyme comes to mind that I read long time ago, and I wouldn't remember the author if my life depended on it. It goes:
"I thought I had a noble mind
with courtesy and tact,
and no one's more surprised than I
to notice how I act".
They May Sweep It Under the Rug, Not Acknowledging
That's what makes it a crack - that momentary black out of awareness about the fact that you are that same person they normally trust, respect, maybe also love and admire. By acting like that they unconsciously breach that something of value that you have going with each other.
After having discharged that strange load of animosity, they quickly do a mental move similar to the cat's covering its poo with a soil of denial, oblivious of the whole process. If you let them continue without any fuss, they may never know they owe you an apology.
And if you do, you are achieving nothing, because they are bound to rationalize their words or actions, possibly even blaming you for their outburst of negativity.
It's Not about Betrayal of Trust
Even though it may be an obvious breach of agreement that has the potential to hurt the relationship - according to my experience with "cracked" personalities - it could be hasty to make a big deal out of it. Many people are truly respecting their relationship and because of an unconscious trigger, possibly amplified by fatigue, or some family, job, or health issues they may "forget themselves".
It's not even a case that would call for forgiving but for understanding, and delaying the reaction until we eventually get to the bottom of it. I don't even hold a grudge against those two dudes with episodes when their left hand really doesn't know what the right one is doing.
This article was definitely not about betrayal of trust, whether between lovers, friends, or siblings, but about a forgivable tantrum-like emotional exhibitions that folks can't help - for any conceivable unconscious reason.
Many otherwise good relationships get broken because of such a breach of agreement, and I hope that some of you may have a person in your life that would deserve mending of relationship.
There is still so much that we don't understand about human behavior, and misunderstanding of the situation should not be detrimental to a good relationship. Sometimes it's simply beyond us why we say or do certain things, and that should be taken into consideration - if there is still a leftover of a closeness present in our heart.