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By | March 13, 2012 28 Comments

Authenticity – After The Sociopath, Finding Peace In Being Real

This week I’ve been thinking a great deal about how we move back to authenticity after having lived in a false reality with a sociopath. After all, like so many of us here, when I was in the grips of that particular relationship, I believed that everything was real at the time. More than real in actual fact — it was all my dreams come true! So now, I’m wondering, how do I know — really know — whether I’m living in an authentic way or once again falling in to a contrived existence that is nothing more than imagination or self-deception? Yes it’s true that I am physically free from him (and have been for nearly three years thank goodness) but am I really free from the thought patterns that had me trapped for so long? Can I really trust myself to distinguish the differences between make believe and reality?

Well, I’ve been given the opportunity to find out for sure. Four weeks ago I discovered a rather suspicious lump just under my left arm. Hot and cold shivers shot through my body the second I found it, instantly triggering memories of my mother who died from breast cancer at the age of 44. Luckily, I happened to be on the telephone to a friend when I found it. A friend who witnessed my shock and also recognized the fear in my voice. A friend who let me know that it was real. That I wasn’t imagining it. And that it was something I couldn’t ignore or pass off as being just something I’d made up — I couldn’t kid myself that it was nothing to get excited about. Nothing to worry about. It was a red-flag, and this time (unlike so many other kinds of red-flags I had pushed aside or explained away when I was married to my ex) I was jolly well going to do something about it.

The Witness

Having a real-time witness to my shock discovery played a huge part in what happened next. Looking back, I believe now that the very fact that another human being heard my instinctive response at the very moment it happened, helped me to stay focused and real and do something about it. Because regardless of whether or not the lump was anything dangerous, the fact that I was scared was enough to prompt action. I went to the doctor the very next day.

This made me think about how different my actions had been when I was living and believing the lie. Each time something shocked or hurt me, I would argue in my head that it was nothing serious — repeating the same old excuses that “He didn’t mean it” “He’s stressed and tired” “This isn’t what he’s really like” and probably the most harmful excuse of all “You’ll be ok, you can handle this — you’re fine, it’s nothing, ignore it”

The thing is though, whenever anything like that happened it would always be in private. Or if in public, the put-down would be so subtle that nobody else would notice, and I would question whether or not it had actually happened in the first place! I became used to rolling with the blows — emotionally and spiritually, I never had to deal with physical abuse — and numbed myself to the shocks.

I believe that for a long time since discovering the truth, I still kept myself numb. It was a useful survival tool. “Comfortably numb” became a way of ”˜being’ that got me through the bad days and gave me the strength to fight the never-ending stream of seemingly impossible battles. Without him in my life, though, the numbness was helpful and directed purely at finding a way through for me and for my son — when I lived with him the numbness was, quite literally, senseless.

Too Sensitive?

Over recent months I’ve sometimes wondered whether I’ve lost some of my fighting spirit. I seem to buckle and smart at the smallest things that in previous years I would never even have noticed. I am much more willing to start a conversation and raise my point when I feel hurt or upset. I am also paying much more attention to the way I respond to situations — and asking whether it is a real or learned reaction. Do I really mean that particular response? Is it a genuine emotion? Or is it just because I’m afraid, or unsure?

What do I mean? Well, for example, I sometimes find myself prickling or bristling at the tiniest innocent comment — only, incidentally, when the comment comes from a close friend. So then I start to wonder whether I’ve become a big softy? Have I become too vulnerable? Have I just lost the plot when it comes to reality”¦? No. I think the answer is something much simpler than that. I think the fact is that in the wake of the sociopath, my inner guidance system is now so highly tuned that I pick up on the tiniest words or gestures that could possibly cause upset. In the ”˜bad old days’ I would have deliberately ignored those signs. These days I’m acutely aware of so much more — and far from being a bad thing, I think it’s a very good thing indeed. I believe it’s another step in the healing process.

Because, if something ”˜prickles’ now, I have choices that I never allowed myself before. These days I can decide whether or not the gesture/comment was deliberate. If it was, then I can choose whether or not to highlight it and talk it through with the other person, or work it through myself. If it wasn’t, I can decide whether I’m actually ”˜upset’ by what happened, or instead perhaps just feeling fearful that another person is so close to me that a tiny thing can cause me to recoil? Does that level of closeness and trust make me once more vulnerable to the deliberate manipulation that my ex used against me? No, of course it doesn’t — because first of all my ex was nothing like any of my friends. They are real, he is a sociopath. And secondly, because now I am so keenly attuned to what helps me grow and what squashes my soul, I’m sure I will never again succumb to the ways of anyone who wishes me harm.

As I’m sure you can imagine, the past four weeks have provided a wonderfully fertile ground for seedlings of doubt and fear to take root. And this time, rather than push them away or ignore them, I decided to share them with people who were around me and who could help. I also chose to share my discovery with my son — thanks to the advice given by a very wise friend. I hadn’t wanted to tell him anything, on the assumption that the lump would turn out to be nothing at all. “And then what?” she questioned gently “Do you want to do the same thing to your son as happened with your mother? She kept it from you until it was too late. I think you’d be wise to trust him and share your concerns”

Share The Truth

So I told him. We hugged. We cried. We said it would all be ok. And we also acknowledged the fact that the truth was out. Nothing was hidden and the trust between us grew even stronger.

I’ve learned that it’s ok to share feelings. It’s ok to share fears. It doesn’t pay to keep things hidden away. I’d done that for far too long. There is far more peace in just being real.

The medical examination was on Friday of last week. Regardless of the results, I’d decided that we would have a celebration in the evening. A delicious meal with family and close friends, to celebrate the next part of this adventure called life — whatever it may mean.

At just gone 16.30hrs I received the news I’d been waiting for. The lump is benign, and I am clear and healthy. Tears of relief rolled down my face, and my shoulders finally relaxed. They, along with my neck, had been held tight over the previous few weeks — more so than I had realised. Now I could let it all go”¦ and I did.

My son? Well, along with the huge bear-hugs and tears, he thanked me for telling him in the first place, and for giving him the opportunity to share and to care.

I’m truly blessed to have such wonderful people around me. I am lucky to have so many opportunities to grow my spirit. And now, now that I have another ”˜all clear’ I feel lighter and clearer than ever before.

Have I lost my fight? No”¦ far from it in actual fact. Now there is no need to fight — in it’s place there is a desire that I now know for sure springs from love and acceptance. It’s a desire to reach out and to share. To join with others who have survived their own battles. To say ”˜enough is enough’ and to slowly and gently move back to authenticity. Slowly and surely shining as each of us reclaim our loving, beautiful, innocent selves. After all — that’s who we all really are, isn’t it?

With extra love, blessings and gratitude. Thank you.


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20years

Mel, thank you for this post and sharing this part of your life with us.

You always have such insightful things to say, and I appreciate how your sharing causes me to gain insights of my own.

As for the struggle to differentiate between make believe and reality, my current view is that this entire world is made up (make believe) and all of us are under one delusion or another. I know not everyone shares this viewpoint, and I respect our different takes on it. For me, I am surprised that I have come to see things this way, because for many decade I held more traditional views.

But seeing it this way, now, is a much more peaceful way to be. I think that people who are sharing similar delusions see things similarly, and judge others who have different delusions about reality. I also think that as we progress along our individual paths, we learn to see things differently, realizing that the past was one kind of a delusion, but not necessarily realizing that we are in a different sort of delusion now (rather than reality).

I apologize if I’m not conveying this well. It can be a disturbing notion — though I don’t find it that way. I did at first.

I went through my big crisis when I left my husband, where I felt so unanchored, unsure of what was unreal and what was “real.” My entire frame of reference had had a huge hole blown in it, and I needed time to recover from the shock. It took me several years to do this. During this period of shock, I knew I was “weird” so I withdrew from most people, until I could carve out a new self and some stability. Although I was successful in going through the motions to be a parent and function that way, looking back on it now, I really was just in a great deal of shock.

I think it is very, very hard to go through these illusion-shattering experiences. Those of us who wake up to the existence of evil, to seeing our relationship with our spath in a new way, go through tremendous shock. We need to be patient with ourselves, and also with others who have not gone through something similar. They cannot possibly understand.

Mel, I’m glad your lump was benign and that you were able to use this experience in a conscious way to help with your other healing, and grow closer with your son through opening up to him. Blessings to you…

Frandee

I too feel “weird” and have withdrawn, its easier than trying to explain what happened and why I act the way I do, Some people get it and what I went thru to an extent, most people dont seem to care even though they are family and “friends”, I have felt pretty alone this this whole experience, except for some online groups I joined and friends I made. I am finally after almost 2 years getting up the courage to get a physical and a referrel for therapy!!!

Truthspeak

Mel………thank you so much for sharing this experience with LoveFraud members – it truly speaks to the ways our lives are so altered by the spaths.

I am grateful for your clean bill of health, and more importantly, for the honesty that you’ve thrown out there so the rest of us can learn something positive and apply it to our own experiences.

I understand the “intolerance” of innocent comments, etc., and I think it’s just triggers – I’m having the same issues, lately, and that’s what it boils down to for me. And, here I thought I was beginning to get a handle on triggers….LOL

BRIGHTEST BLESSINGS TO YOU, MEL…..

Ox Drover

Wonderful and very insightful post, Mel. I’m glad your lump turned out to be nothing but I can definitely imagine your fears.

Your decision to tell your son (I’m not sure how old he is) I think was definitely a good one. I wish I could have always made such wise decisions where my own sons were concerned.

(quote Mel) “The thing is though, whenever anything like that happened it would always be in private. Or if in public, the put-down would be so subtle that nobody else would notice, and I would question whether or not it had actually happened in the first place! I became used to rolling with the blows ”“ emotionally and spiritually, I never had to deal with physical abuse ”“ and numbed myself to the shocks.”

In the above paragraph you talk about “it would always be in private” OH YES!!!!! I grew up knowing it would ONLY be in private or “Or if in public, the put-down would be so subtle that nobody else would notice,”

I learned as a child that my opinions, my fears, my hopes, my dreams didn’t matter, even what I wanted to do for a living didn’t matter. My feelings were not important.

Lots of things in this article to ponder on, ruminate about and use as an instrument of change within my self.

Thanks, Mel!

Ox Drover

ps…Another thought came about after I finished the first comment. The “intolerance of innocent comments” that I might have ignored or “excused” before is also something I struggle with.

In a way, I wonder if I am “too cranky” or “too sensitive” but at the same tiime, I realize that many times “friends” would do spiteful or hateful things that I would excuse. Nothing “major” but definitely hurtful. I would IGNORE it, like it didn’t happen. Now, I stand up, and I try to do it in a way that isn’t “hateful” or “angry” back, but one that is FIRM and RESOLUTE, and in a way that sets a BOUNDARY about how I will be treated. Sometimes this is surprising to others who have violated my “NON-boundaries” for years and periodically treated me with less than kindness.

In some cases I have “lost” relationships that have been of very long standing and a great deal of importance to me….yet, Looking back, Ii realized that these “relationshits” were just that, and not healthy ones, but like the relationship with my egg donor, I had held on to them because it was “easier” to ignore the disrespect that it was to confront it so I excused it.

“No, Friends don’t treat each other that way” was the last thing I said to what I thought was my best friend of 30 years when she had said as excuse for how she and her husband had treated me “That’s what best friends are for, they fight and make up.”

Frandee

I too feel “cranky and overly sensitive and have recently realized the same, I will no longer allow people to talk to me and act towards me as they have in the past! Boundaries are so important.

20years

I was also struck by another thought.

That is, shortly after I left my abusive marriage, I had a period of about 2 years following that where I was hyper-intolerant of witnessing others’ snarly comments about their spouses. I mean, husbands complaining about “the wife,” and wives complaining about, “him” usually in sarcastic ways, putdowns of the other person.

I felt very sensitive and hurt when I heard these comments, because I had been on the receiving end of critical comments by my own spouse.

These days, I have low tolerance for listening to people complain endlessly about others, usually for petty things or just quirks of character or bad habits — the things that make us individuals.

On the other hand, if someone has been mistreated outrageously, I have no problem listening to them sort it out, because I think outrage is the appropriate response to being abused (psychologically, spiritually financially, physically, etc.).

As you said, Oxy, if we have NON-boundaries, then people without good boundaries themselves who like being in control of others will have a tendency to extend themselves right up until they bump into something. And so, when we do eventually get some boundaries, yep I think they might be surprised! Some will back off and you can readjust the relationship — and others might get suddenly angry or offended. In a way, you are reclaiming “territory” they’d thought was theirs.

Frandee

Ditto on this too, I am tired of the stupid bickering from friends and relatives about their significant others, people came right out and told me they didnt want to heart about ??? anymore and that I sounded like a broken record. Well I have a news update for them, I dont want to heart about their problems anymore either!!!

Ox Drover

20 years, I like what you said “you are reclaiming territory they thought was theirs.” YES!!!! They kept moving into the non-boundaries until they bumped into resistance.

Sometimes too, we just don’t see, we are like those Jesus said “have eyes and see not, have ears and hear not.”

20years

Or we hear the clanging cymbal (believing that’s all there is to hear) but not the sweet music.

Honestly, I think our eyes and ears open when we are ready for it, and if we are willing to go through whatever it is we have to go through to get to that point (even if you are backed into a corner, haha!)

Growing boundaries is an interesting experience, as opposed to maybe having them intact to begin with. I am finding many layers to this learning experience, and I know I still have a lot to learn.

One thing which helped me a lot was learning about Bowen Theory of differentiation of self. Anyone who is curious, check it out. Very good stuff.

Ox Drover

I’ll check that out 20 years…yea there are many layers to learning to make boundaries. I’m finding that out the hard way, lots of practice. My rolodex is much thinner now. Not putting up with much carp from folks any more.

20years

same here. 🙂

slimone

Oh Gosh Mel, this is a wonderful article. I dunno, maybe our senstivity pendulum makes a wide swing after we finally come to our senses about living with a lie (the spath). I know I was super sensitive for quite a number of years.

Now I don’t feel as sensitive. I feel more solid and my perceptions of ‘slings and arrows’- they feel informative and give me direction. Whether to distance myself, or open up and be vulnerable with a trusted ‘other’, that is my choice.

Like you I am glad for being in a more authentic place with life. Having boundaries, sharing with safe people, not allowing anyone in that doesn’t feel ‘just right’ with me…..

Cutting my own magical thinking loose is one of the best things that has ever happened for me. Growing up is a good thing.

Even if you do it in your 40’s and 50’s…..

Glad you are well, Slim

skylar

Mel,
I’m happy to hear the good news about your exam.

It is good to be able to address others with honesty and pure intentions. And it does take courage. This is what the spaths lack and that is why they approach you from behind to stab you in the back.

Truthspeak

For me, my experiences have taught me that speaking plainly – truthfully, and honestly – nullifies any agenda that I may encounter. If I choose to “dance” around an issue to avoid hurting someone’s feelings (always wanting to be accepted, you know), then that door is thrown wide open for manipulations.

In trying to reclaim my life and my perceptions of who I am, I’ve realized that I don’t have to “act” for the benefit of others. To keep the peace, so to speak, I shut my mouth on so many occasions, and this just isn’t the way that open communication is supposed to be. If a friend, family member, or partner takes offense at something, then it just might be their perception and not my delivery.

This was a really strong article – a lot of food for thought.

Ox Drover

Truthspeak, you DO speak truth! Thank you.

clair

Mel,
So glad to hear you’re OK.
I relate to so much here: People gaslighting me by minimizing my reactions to passive aggressive remarks, living in numbness and learning to live authentically.

“my inner guidance system is now so highly tuned that I pick up on the tiniest words or gestures that could possibly cause upset. In the ’bad old days’ I would have deliberately ignored those signs. These days I’m acutely aware of so much more ”
Yes! Once the blinders are off, we have no choice but to see. We cannot go back to our former deaf, dumb, blind, numb selves.

“These days I can decide whether or not the gesture/comment was deliberate. If it was, then I can choose whether or not to highlight it and talk it through with the other person, or work it through myself. If it wasn’t, I can decide whether I’m actually ’upset’ by what happened, or instead perhaps just feeling fearful that another person is so close to me that a tiny thing can cause me to recoil?”
Me too!
Wonderful post, Mel. I feel your love and gratitude.

“I felt so unanchored, unsure of what was unreal and what was “real.” My entire frame of reference had had a huge hole blown in it, and I needed time to recover from the shock. It took me several years to do this. During this period of shock, I knew I was “weird” so I withdrew from most people, until I could carve out a new self and some stability.”
Me too, 20years. Shock and the resulting PTSD. Looking back, I view it as a heroic journey thru the dark night of the soul.

“I realize that many times “friends” would do spiteful or hateful things that I would excuse. Nothing “major” but definitely hurtful. I would IGNORE it, like it didn’t happen. Now, I stand up, and I try to do it in a way that isn’t “hateful” or “angry” back, but one that is FIRM and RESOLUTE, and in a way that sets a BOUNDARY about how I will be treated. Sometimes this is surprising to others who have violated my “NON-boundaries” for years and periodically treated me with less than kindness.”
Me too, Ox Drover & yes, thinner rolodex.

Ox Drover

I thought this article might fit into the above article

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2121060/Dont-look-anger-life–make-feel-ill-future.html#ixzz1qQJVEs7Z

Dwelling on the past may not only stop you from enjoying each day to the full ”“ it could also be bad for your health.

Research suggests that people who look back at their past experiences full of regrets about missed opportunities or with bitterness about how they have been treated are more likely to fall ill and generally have a poorer quality of life.

Those who look back in anger are also more sensitive to pain, it found.

Being able to get the BITTERNESS and ANGER out of our lives, even though we have had plenty of reason to feel this way, I think is totally necessary to our physical AND mental health. Whether you call it forgiveness, indifference, getting over, or whatever term you prefer to attach to it, it is imperative that we don’t hang on to those negative feelings, that we heal and move on away from them.

It will take time, of course, but it is the goal that I stive for it is the white light out in the distance that I amm trying to move toward…it is PEACE.

Back_from_the_edge

Dear Mel: I am so happy your lump was benign. YAY!!!!
Thank you for this post. It has soothed me before I lay my head down for the night to sleep. I will heavily consider everything you said here.

I wish you days filled with endless joy and happiness.
Yes, we tend to only see the ‘sad and bad’ in our lives and completely overlook all the really GOOD stuff we DO have!!!!!

Life for us is what it is…we have to be grateful for the ‘small things’ and keep that ugliness away from us or it will snuff our light out.

Peace to you dear Mel and thank you for all of your thoughts.

Dupey

Blackheart2008

About the thinner rolodex… yes, but I never thought to look at it as a good thing, necessarily. I am reluctant to call it “dwelling on the past”, but maybe that is exactly what I am doing. I get stuck in these feelings of deep regret and remorse over what I call the “relationship graveyard”, the tombstones of relationships past that continue to haunt me. I have a long fuse, (i.e., no boundaries) and I have, historically, put up with a LOT of abuse, neglect, etc from friends as well as partners. Then, suddenly, something snaps, the last straw, and I sever the relationship and burn the bridge to the ground! They are dead to me. I honestly don’t know if that is a good thing or not.

Blackheart2008

Mel,
Sorry for hijacking the conversation here in the comments… I do want to say, thank you for sharing your story, and I am SO happy for you that the lump was benign, and that you also allowed this experience to help you grow.

I can identify with losing that “fighting spirit”. I have lost mine almost completely, and with it went a lot of good things like confidence, determination, drive, energy. I think a little bit of righteous anger, focused correctly, can actually be a catalyst for good change on one’s life.

Ox Drover

Dear Heart,

What is the point in keeping a relation-SHIT with people who hurt you and either don’t know or care?

I too have ignored “snarky” remarks and hateful things from “friends” in order to “keep the peace” but I don’t do that any more. I confront it in people close to me….and you know those that are worth keeping don’t get angry or hateful when you say, “What you said to me was very hurtful. Did you intend it to be hurtful? If not, then let’s discuss it”

Those that get angry in response to the above confronting of the hurtful comments and become even more hurtful are not worth keeping as “friends.” Those that are real friends respond with “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you.” Then they do not behave that way in the future.

Losing “friends” that intend to hurt you or don’t care if they do is no big loss.

clair

“relation-SHIT”

Every time I see that word, I laugh! But, for me, this is so true:

“What is the point in keeping a relation-SHIT with people who hurt you and either don’t know or care?….Losing “friends” that intend to hurt you or don’t care if they do is no big loss.”

I’m working on a relationship with myself and Gd: those are 2 things I can always trust.

Blackheart2008

Dear Ox,

The difference between what I have been doing and what you are describing is clear to me. What I have not done in the past, but intend to start learning how to do, is actually have that discussion where you say to the person that they hurt you. In 100% of my cases, the people never saw it coming, it was just BOOM it’s over. Phone number deleted (or screened) and no response from me to any form of communication, literally they might as well be dead. That’s my only regret, is that I have not been mature enough, or grounded enough, to have that adult conversation where I’m saying, knock it off, or I’m gonna have to delete you.

Ox Drover

Dear Heart,

I ONLY do the conversation with people who have been or are important to me…and if they do not respond in an appropriate manner then it is ONE AND DONE.

A year ago this past January a friend of 30+ years snarked me for the last time…I had set some limits about 3 years before and she seemed to respect them and had stopped the snarky comments. This last time her comment to my confrontation was “well that’s what best friends are for, to fight and then make up” My response was “NO, that is NOT what best friends are for, best friends do not treat each other like this.” I haven’t heard a word from her since then. Oh, Well. It’s a shame, because she lost a friend, but I don’t think I lost anything except my own fantasy.

I am getting pretty picky about people who are CLOSE to me, in my “circle of intimacy” and I dont’ want people who are dishonest, hateful, users, or abusers and if people want to behave like that, I don’t need them in my life. My rolodex is pretty thin, but that’s okay.

Sure I know lots of folks that are “acquaintances” that I enjoy being around some, but those people are not the kind of people I would want in my “innermost circle” of people to trust when the chips were down. For those in my inner circle, I want honest, kind, caring, good people that I don’t have to watch my back. I can just be myself and enjoy being around them. Trust them with the keys to my house and the keys to my heart.

skylar

Blackheart,
I’m the same way as you. Looooong fuse.
I don’t react, I observe. patiently.
Then BOOOOOOOM!

No, I don’t have to say anything to them and wait for them to come back with an apology/explanation/excuse, because their actions spoke much louder than their words ever will. And because I gave them lots of time for them to speak with their actions. LOTS of time. I’m VERY patient.

When you are patient and forgiving you don’t owe anyone an explanation for cutting off contact. It wouldn’t help anyway, an abuser doesn’t care about what you want, they’ll just look for a new way to abuse you.

Blackheart2008

Skylar,
Thanks for sharing… it really does make me feel better. I guess you’re right, it’s highly unlikely that confronting them would change anything.

darwinsmom

Thank you, Mel for this honest article. Glad to read that it was benign.

I recognize the “sensitivity”, although in some ways it makes me less “sensitive”… Likewise, I notice much clearer what is “offensive” and yet do not take “offense”… that sounds strange, almost paradoical. What I mean is I am more aware and cued in to insensitivity, offensiveness, crossing boundaries, but my response to it (inner and outer) tends to be a calm one where I distance myself.

I see it more and more when I’m teaching. I hardly take anything personal anymore, and yet am much better in indicating a crossed boundary and make people respect it. I ignore less, and yet it costs me less energy. It has at the very least made me a better teacher. So, I think it’s a good thing!

Little example… yesterday some pupils had a math test, it was the last hour of the day. The class enters my classroom, and it turns out there are 6 not present, of which according to several only 2 are “really” sick (they hadn’t been in school all day). I was kinda startled and inquired why the others weren’t sick then according them… Turned out they had been present all day until 5 mins before that, but disappeared after the bell rang to signal change of classes. I just took note of it, gave them a 0 (an F) on their test, and passed the info to the secretary afterwards, mentioned it to colleagues. This morning by the third hour, two of them (hypocritical girls imo… fawning, sweet talking, but acting as if they feel they can permit themselves more than others) knocked on my door: the eyes were swollen and red with one of them, the other spoke and came to give her “apologies”. She said that they had “forgotten” by accident they had an 8th hour. I told her calmly that I didn’t believe that (they’ve had an 8th hour since September). She insisted and tried to discuss it and explain how she was just coming to apologize… I smiled, “Doesn’t matter what I believe or not. You won’t “forget” anymore, will you now?” And that was it, I started grading tests of pupils again, and they left feeling even less relieved I think than when they came in. The third guy, I came across in the staircase. First he passed me, said hello politely, then stopped and “apologized” too, with the same excuse. I looked up at him and said, “As I told the others, I do not really believe your reason, since you’ve had an 8th hour all schoolyear already.” He wanted to insist too, but I stopped him and said, “You know, if you were honest enough to admit you tried to skip school and a test with an interim teacher you expected not to return after the easter holidays (but I will be returning), but got caught at it, I’d at least have some respect for it. Your excuse makes the apology worthless, but I’m fine with whatever you say. It’s not really my problem. And just like the others I’m sure it won’t happen again.” I was calm and friendly all the time. I even smiled when he said what I had been counting on one of them trying to ask, “So, do we get a new chance on the test?” I smiled and said a short, “No.”

I do believe they tried skipping school thinking they could get away with it because of the reasons I told him. Last year that would have made me feel defensive, insulted, angry, and burning with desire to prove myself. Now, I jut shrugged it all away emotionally, but kept the consequences for them to deal with. They crossed a boundary, so it’s their problem to deal with the consequences of it. They just saved me time in grading 4 tests.

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