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To be upset that I was wrong?

(8 Posts)
completemug101 Tue 04-Jul-17 00:45:22

I have always thought that mostly, people aren't 'all bad'. They may do bad things, exhibit behavior etc that is negative, but I have thought that with some exceptions, most people develop behavior or personality traits through circumstances, mental health issues, or lack of consequences - either there aren't any or the consequences are acceptable to them.

I have thought until recently that when someone realises the negative effect on their own or others lives then even if it takes a few goes, they will want to change that for the better.

Now I'm not talking about addictions, because they are a different ball game, or things like pedophilia or awful things like that. I'm talking about repeated cheating, lying, ghosting friends, not facing up to responsibilities with children or family etc. More social damage maybe? Making themselves a target of someone elses anger through their actions.

I have known someone a long time and yet again we're at the crunch of a crisis again - all brought on by themselves. They say they know their behaviour is wrong, they hate all this, they don't want to be like that - then go and do exactly the same thing again!

I am past being upset or even very much involved now, but I have come to the realisation that I was wrong, some people will just not change no matter how self destructive they are, how they ruin their own lives and how they impact on others lives. That has upset me, I was in a cycle of behaviour years ago, it was self destructive and destroyed others and cost me good relationships, though I can never repair the damage I have accepted that part of my life and I have changed it, because I truly didn't want to be that person any more and I'm not now.
I can't get my head around someone who wants to be like that - am I just being really naive? I want to see the best in anyone, and think that no one is really all bad but I am starting to doubt that outlook and that saddens me.
Thoughts?

user1495025590 Tue 04-Jul-17 07:40:31

A leopard doesn't change its spots

Cocklodger Tue 04-Jul-17 07:43:40

Just because someone exhibits damaging behaviour doesn't necessarily mean they're a bad person.
But it doesn't mean you can help them either it's a cliche but they can only be helped when they decide they need the help.
They may not want to be that way and still be resistant to help for several reasons.
Distance yourself and wish them well is my advice

RuggerHug Tue 04-Jul-17 07:47:44

I know exactly what you mean. My attitude for ages was that people are not 'bad' or 'cruel' on purpose and most should be given the benefit of the doubt if they say or do something hurtful. They probably didn't mean it that way/didn't realise etc.
Was tough to realise this is not the case and some people really don't give a shit or try to not hurt people sad

Marmalady75 Tue 04-Jul-17 07:49:05

Very few people make a change and stick to it. I find it's often driven by laziness - taking the path of least resistance.

Bluntness100 Tue 04-Jul-17 07:50:21

I think you need to give context, is this someone who does all this " 'm talking about repeated cheating, lying, ghosting friends, not facing up to responsibilities with children or family etc*?

lanouvelleheloise Tue 04-Jul-17 08:21:32

I also have a friend like this. It's very frustrating.

I don't think one case proves or disproves grand theories about change, however. It's more that sometimes change is a stubborn, intractable thing with one step forward and two steps back. A friend of mine posted this quote on social media, and it's so very wise:

"Those transitional, soul-level-change moments we experience are never dramatic. Epiphanies don't really happen. They're a myth. Real transformation is boring and uncomfortable...Change slips in unnoticed while you're busy trudging through something pretty unremarkable."

The other side of this is that change can't just be simply willed - it's a process of creating new habits, a new lifestyle, that has to happen over time. The commitment required to do that isn't necessarily that great in the case of individual decisions, but it has to be sustained - it's time, not will, that is the difficult bit.

I think the thing is that in cases where you are a bystander, you can't make someone take the decisions they need to take - efforts to do so quickly become codependent in most cases. Sometimes you just have to walk away for a while.

completemug101 Tue 04-Jul-17 15:54:16

Bluntness - yes this person does all those things, but ultimately although they are causing others suffering the only person they are really destroying is themselves.

Ruggerhug - yes, that's exactly it and the person concerned can be loving and wonderful and do the most amazing things whilst simultaneously stabbing you in the back, and say all the right things when it comes to a head but then be still stabbing you in the back...... is it learned reactions do you think? That they have learned the 'appropriate response' to reduce fall out but actually there's no substance at all? I can't get my head around that at all.

*lanouvelleheloise Tue 04-Jul-17 08:21:32
I also have a friend like this. It's very frustrating.

I don't think one case proves or disproves grand theories about change, however. It's more that sometimes change is a stubborn, intractable thing with one step forward and two steps back. A friend of mine posted this quote on social media, and it's so very wise:

"Those transitional, soul-level-change moments we experience are never dramatic. Epiphanies don't really happen. They're a myth. Real transformation is boring and uncomfortable...Change slips in unnoticed while you're busy trudging through something pretty unremarkable."

The other side of this is that change can't just be simply willed - it's a process of creating new habits, a new lifestyle, that has to happen over time. The commitment required to do that isn't necessarily that great in the case of individual decisions, but it has to be sustained - it's time, not will, that is the difficult bit.

I think the thing is that in cases where you are a bystander, you can't make someone take the decisions they need to take - efforts to do so quickly become codependent in most cases. Sometimes you just have to walk away for a while.*

I really identify with what you've said, when I 'changed' I didn't just get up one day and think, right this is what I am going to do and how I am going to do it! It happened gradually without me realising until one day I realised that I was a different person.

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