Ooooh. This hits quite a nerve for me. I hate fake people, I mean really (okay not hate) but really dislike fake people. But, I am learning the hard lesson that fake people are people too. And they deserve all the same basic things, decency, kindness and respect, as anyone else. Especially since the fakeness has probably been caused by some severe childhood trauma. Something happened. I’m not sure what. But I know a lot about fake people.
But being in a relationship with a fake person? It just doesn’t work for me. And this is sad for me because I’m in a relationship with a fake person that I just can’t get out of. It’s against the rules, because this person just happens to be my mother.
So I speak from experience when I say, for me, being in a relationship with a fake person is extremely, extremely uncomfortable. But for me it has been unavoidable and I’m making peace with it.
I think there are degrees of realness and fake ness. I think, that especially in intimate relationships, especially at first, being real is difficult because people are expecting you to fake it a little at first. Put on your best face, make a good first impression. I tell people who applaud me for being real- not to. Because it’s not intentional, usually. I’m just really bad at being fake, and many a time, I wish I could be faker than I am. But I find being fake for too long exhausting. So the real me comes out pretty quickly. Lucky for me, most people are okay with it.
But, I think at the other end of the spectrum, (believe me I’ve had a lifetime of experience with this) I think the problem with really fake people (cough, cough my mom) is that they don’t really know who they are. So they spend a lot of time being what they think the world wants them to be, but that’s a recipe for disaster because the world wants so many different things. The fake person ultimately grows resentful and exhausted because no matter how hard they try, they are always missing the mark. Also they have no way to center themselves. No way to say, regardless of all these external things, I really am this internal force that has these qualities. A lot of people mistake external as being all there is to them. But that’s a mistake, clearly. Its getting the whole thing backwards. Internal creates external. But most people don’t quite get this.
I think it’s far easier for women to fall into this trap than men, because socially the world directs men to “be someone” but women are told “be someone men would want.” Either way, it’s all externally focused, but for women the instructions are a lot more confining.
And yet, a lot of women try to do that, and that’s never going to end well, because trying to construct a version of yourself that appeals to someone else, is inauthentic and unattractive. And, women who do this are often accused of being phony or fake, but honestly, I don’t think it’s quite that simple.
Take my mother for example, she always presented an image to the world and especially to men, as being very passive and non threatening. But that’s not who she is. Not at all, and she was always working in shadows trying to undermine and manipulate around — and she actually tried to teach these things to me, saying something along the lines of “this is how you survive in this world of men.” But, I just don’t have the sort of personality for all of those machinations which I find exhausting. I always prefer direct communication, to games and subterfuge, but I think for those who have been made to feel powerless early in life, this is the way they learn to relate to people.
Unfortunately, I think a lot of women have these sorts of early life experiences. I’m not saying men don’t, but I’m saying the world around, women are constantly being told, “you’re not that powerful” and the truth is, when women internalize that message, there is kickback. It comes in the form of this insidious fakeness and passive/aggressive machinations.
Really knowing someone deeply? I don’t think it happens all that often. I think that you can never really and truly know all of anyone, but you can have enough authentic experiences to get a feel, if both people in the relationship are open and honest. Those are the only kind of relationship I am interested in. If you are able to sustain those kinds of relationships you’re lucky.
Learning to accept the deceptive nature of a fake person, is a painful experience. Can you ever relax with that person? Ever feel comfortable? It hasn’t happened for me yet, in my relationship with my mother.
And I always wonder…am I being unreasonable? Too difficult? Too demanding? To say, hey just once I want to have a real genuine and honest conversation, where you don’t tell me what you think I want to hear, or something to manipulate me into responding a certain way. But sadly, some people are just hard wired this way. Being fake is the only way they know how to be. Manipulation is the only way they feel comfortable relating. This is my mother. I find sustaining a relationship with her to be challenging, but I have to do it, because she’s elderly and widowed and she needs the social support of family.
And yet, the older she gets, the more blatantly dysfunctional the inauthentic relating gets. Plus she’s a hoarder. That compounds the dysfunction quite a bit. I find the relationship extraordinarily exhausting, at this stage of my life, but it’s never been great, because my mom has always been fake. It’s true, I think, that you can never quite feel safe, with such a personality. But your safety lies -at least for me- in knowing, hey this person is fake. They don’t mean what they say. They always have an angle, so watch out!
Well I could go on…as I’m sure you know those parental relationships do quite the mind job on people. I am certainly no exception. The crazy thing is we base our intimate relationships, very often on those parental templates.
I imagine a lot of men are struggling in relationships with women who are like my mom, because my mom utilizes a lot of typical passive aggressive energy, as do a lot of women who feel powerless.
My brothers, for example, struggle way more in their intimate relationships and in their relationship with my mom, than I do, because they are really working hard to correct that imbalance or impurity in that male/female aggressive/passive-aggressive dynamic.
It’s quite a trap to get caught up in, always in search of something authentic from someone who can’t quite provide it. It can almost become an addiction. I’m sure in many cases it does. This is how intimate relationships become train wrecks.
If you find yourself in this sort of relationship? RUN! But most people don’t see the train coming until it hits. Then it’s too late.