Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Do I Believe People Can Change - Snippets

We had a friend, TBG and I, a dear, kind, thoughtful, funny, smart, devoted friend.  He cheated on his first wife with his second wife, who was surprised and angry when he cheated on her with his third wife.  Somewhere in there we lost the connection, right around the time that I realized that he would never change, that he wasn't someone I could trust to tell me the truth.

He'd always take the easy way out - avoiding the subject, or me; lying; denying culpability; trying to cute his way out of situations he created himself.  We told The Cuters that he was fine for Saturday night, but when Monday morning rolled around he was the last person from whom to take advice.

When Little Cuter began dating in high school, she knew to steer away from those who disappointed her.  She'd seen, up close and first hand, how some grown ups just repeat the same, self-destructive patterns.
I had a friend in high school who, when I rediscovered her a decade ago, proved to be the same happy, thoughtful, friendly person who loved everyone and was loved in return.  She lost a twin, her parents, her sister, and a few husbands and jobs along the way, but her attitude was upbeat and positive then and remains so to this day.

Her basic character is carved in stone.
Daddooooo wouldn't listen to Christmas carols - not in the car, not in the house.  Yet he watched me decorate a tree in my own living room, and, as I finished, he said I get it.

He wouldn't let G'ma keep the wooden hangars we'd bought (on sale!) because they were stamped Made in West Germany, yet he loved his diesel Volkswagon Rabbit more than any car he owned.

He was ornery as a child (I saw his report cards) and ornery as an adult, but he was always open to learning.  Did he change?  On the surface, perhaps.  But buying the Rabbit seemed, to me, at least, to speak to a deeper shift.
Does it have something to do with locus of control?  Do you feel that you can be responsible for the things that matter, or are those things largely out of your control?

Was our philandering friend so certain that life would continue to screw him over (and he did not have an easy time growing up) that he tossed caution and veracity to the winds?

Is my girlfriend so confident in her ability to influence the currents of her life that she doesn't waste time moaning and groaning, but just gets on with the work at hand?

As for my father, I cannot figure him out at all.


  1. I think people can change but they have to want to. I also believe we are born with certain characteristics that come more naturally to us. Some think that's astrology. Some believe it's reincarnation. For others, it's all about DNA or even the earliest upbringing including in the womb. It helps to realize some might tend to be a certain way for things beyond their easy control, but that doesn't mean a person should establish a close relationship with them.

    1. Yes, to all of that. Change isn't easy, and wanting to change is even harder. I see much of my mom in FlapJilly... is that transmigration of souls since Little Cuter discovered she was pregnant the day my mom died? An astrological explanation comes out of more mouths than I care to hear, but that's my personal bias. ONe thing I do believe is the immutability of character - deep down, we are who we are.


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