Reliability – either it is or it ain’t

By Joyce Alexander, RNP (retired)

What is the one characteristic that we must have, and must demand in those with whom we are associated? My thought is that it is reliability.

Most virtues exist on a “sliding scale.” These vary from “all the way” excellence to total ineptitude. Most folks are some where in the middle and that is pretty acceptable. The one virtue, however, that is all or nothing is reliability. You are either reliable or you are not. It is sort of like dead or pregnant either you is or you ain’t. There is no middle ground.

If I employed someone, I would be willing to put up with just about any deficiencies, but not with unreliability. The unreliable person is bound to fail you at precisely the worst possible time. There is an old saying about a Viennese man who, when asked if he had been faithful to his wife, answered, “frequently.” Of course the man who has “frequently” been faithful, has not been faithful at all. By the way, statistics from the Hite Report show that 66% of all married men have been unfaithful at least once. Yet 67% of all married men say that adultery is always wrong.

It is almost impossible to “screen” for reliability except by being around someone for a while and observing them. I heard it said that some people are like “rocks” and others are more like papier-mache painted to look like rocks, but crumble when any pressure is applied.

If you have a relationship with someone who is not reliable, it really doesn’t matter what other admirable characteristics they have if they lack that one, because you never know when they will let you down. We tend, though, many times, to overlook “one” episode of irresponsibility or unreliability and give the person “another chance.” But how many “second chances” are required to realize that someone is UN-reliable? Where do we draw the line?

We must expect consistency from those we deal with on a day-to-day basis. It doesn’t matter much if it is a friendship, a love relationship, or an acquaintance relationship, reliability is a necessity for a successful relationship.

The virtue of reliability is more than just important if we are to avoid the trauma from dealing with psychopaths, it is imperative. If we continue to deal with people who are unreliable, we will continue to experience trauma from those unreliable relationships.

By refusing to tolerate unreliability in those close to us, we make ourselves more immune to psychopathy. By tolerating unreliability in people close to us, we invite pain and emotional trauma. When we find ourselves in a relationship with someone who is unreliable, we must extricate ourselves from the relationship as quickly as possible.

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39 Comments on "Reliability – either it is or it ain’t"

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Unreliable? This is interesting because once you know a psychopath, they are totally reliable to what they are. The one I married has been reliably psychopathic, untruthful, manipulative and cruel, to his victims for 45 years while appearing to be a pillar of the community where he lives, a well dress lawyer in an immaculate house with an immaculate car and a phony, glib personality. The only outside sign I can see on him is his creepy eyes and funny gay butt walk. I suspect he is a closet homosexual because it does not fit his mask to come out.

Yeah, my X hub was a freak about organization and spotlessness…it became a huge bone of contention. He was preatty OCD, and I was a so-so housekeeper who did my best….never good enough, and he would kibbits, and tell me how to do everything. One day I was hanging laundry on the line and he stood behind me telling me the way it ought to be done. I didn’t say a word, just dropped the shirt back into the laundry basket and walked away.
I did this on several occasions, while cooking, doing dishes, whatever. Yes. It was just one more way to tip the power balance, and chip away at my self-esteem.
Interestingly, within about a year of my leaving the house was a wreck. Lot’s of unfinished projects and such.
Even my grown kids commented about it. He was always riding them, too. Funny.

This was what tipped me off that something was wrong in the relationship I had with the person who might well have been an s.

It showed me there was a serious disconnect between her words and her actions. She would routinely lie, break appointments at the last minute, apologize, and then do it again. It was scary to realize that there was nothing outside of her — no code, no established rules of conduct, no belief — that held her accountable.

This is why I agree very much that reliability is a key factor in establishing a real relationship with someone.

More than her just not being able to keep her appointments was her use of language, which made her unreliable, and which I later learned in symptomatic of an s. S-paths use language instrumentally, which means that they do not use words to convey feelings or establish trust, but rather to “get things.” In other words, “I love you” in s-path language really means “I am saying ‘I love you” so that I can get you to do things for me.” They do not really love anyone.

It led me to wonder what was going on inside her if language could not reveal it. The best guess I could come up with complete chaos entirely unregulated. When the bond is broken between language and emotion, between words and meaning, the interior life of a person becomes a wild no-man’s land. Any visitor should take care not to remain there very long.

Yep, Lebo, reliability is one thing that is important I think in ANY relationship. With people who are not reliable or responsible you can not manage to have any kind of meaningful relationship. So if either of those things is lacking, the relationship is built on sand.

Divorced from Gaslighter

Some hoarders are undoubtedly S/Ps, but most of them aren’t. I have struggled with some hoarding issues, but have gotten better over time. I think the hoarding was mostly triggered by “losing” everything that I cared about and the problem was made worse by having to relocate numerous times — each time with the loss of things that I wanted to keep. The lack of stability in my life combined with the constant moving, and never having enough storage space, etc., made me very messy at my worst point.

But while I was married to the S, I spent endless amounts of time trying to maintain our endless series of homes to his ridiculous standarsds. Anitasee mentioned the relief that she felt when her spouse left town, and I remember feeling the same way. By golly he gone for three days! I can load the dishwasher whichever way I want! I can fold the clothes the way I want!

He never lifted a finger to help, because manual labor was beneath him, but he was ALWAYS using his exquisite sense of taste to make my list of chores longer and harder. For example, he bought designer sheets in the 1980s that were NOT permanent press to use as a bedspread, because he didn’t like regular bedspreads. The bed was then very time consuming to make to have it look right, and of course, once a week I had to iron the top sheet/bedspread. He also picked out ceiling light fixtures that were extremely difficult to clean and polish, and only looked decent when they were at their shiniest. I could think of a thousand other examples. He picked out EVERYTHING we ever owned together because “it meant so much” to him to have things just so. I wasn’t cleaning “our” stuff, I was cleaning “his” stuff.

DivorcedfromGaslighter, there are different types of hoarders, I think – I know of people who hoard because it’s the ONLY thing that they CAN control – often victims of abuse. The exspath “hoarded” things that didn’t make sense and always tried to place intrinsic value on them. LMAO!!!!! After he left, he gave his attorney a “list” of personal belongings that he wanted to collect and it was just incredible – NONE of the things that littered the house were on the list – just the things that helped him to present a “normal” facade. Oh, and “his” cat that he ruined and didn’t see fit to help feed for the time that she was in my care.

“He never lifted a finger to help,” is something that I can identify with. When I was experiencing excruciating flares associated with my medical condition, he NEVER offered to cook a meal, clean the house, clean the litter boxes, do laundry, or even assist me. Instead, he would get up at 4:30am to get ready for work, turn on the overhead light to wake me up, LEAVE the light on to make SURE that I didn’t get any rest (pain-induced insomnia), and then leave for work. LMAO!!!

Ick……such a$$holes, right?

Brightest blessings

Hoarding a lot of times is a sign of depression.

I can relate to the cat thing.
We had 5 cats. One day, I was cleaning the litter box and he says, “I would never do that, clean the litter box.” He was trying to make me feel bad for doing such a dirty mundane chore. I looked at him and said, “It’s an honor to clean the litter box.”

I thought he would understand that anything I do for my cat babies is a gift because I loved them so much. But he didn’t get it, because that kind of thought process is foreign to him.

After I left him he calls me and says, “Why can’t I have at least one of the cats?” ROTFLMAO! “BECAUSE Spath,” I said, “you said you would never clean the litter box. They need a clean litter box.” Poor spath hadn’t thought that far ahead, I guess.

Divorced from gaslighter, I know several people who are “world class” hoarders who I think are DEPRESSED and that is the problem, my ex best friend, is one such. She has an abusive husband, and though I had “known” him for 30 years I didn’t really get to KNOW him until he retired, and then her HOARDING GOT HORRIBLE…and her depression got worse. Unfortunately, her depression, her denial, etc. ended our 30 year friendship…but I pray for her every day. I know that her husband is emotionally if not physically abusive, but because he traveled for work, I never really realized just HOW ABUSIVE he was until 2 years ago when I visited them and he even lit in on me. I walked out immediately. I haven’t heard a word from her since.

I realize she is terribly depressed and buying things is her outlet, but she is to the point that you can not even get into some rooms of her home and those you can it is just tiny pathways between piles of stuff. SAD.

Other hoarders may hoard out of anxiety…so there are multiple reasons people hoard (and hey, we all keep stuff we will never use!) Psychopathy is only one of the reasons people hoard.

but I also know psychopaths who are WORLD CLASS hoarders as well as FILTHY in their homes, while their persons are clean and presentable.

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