Character Defining Moments

A person’s true character is revealed in moments of crisis. It’s not just what they did, but how they handle the fallout of what they did. I’ve always believed this.

The past few weeks, I’ve been struggling with the end of a friendship.

When someone lies to me,  it breaks our bond of  trust. Their actions give me a reason to doubt what they say. And believing them made me a fool once already. Now, they’ve provided proof that they hid things from me. That they were dishonest. They they are capable of lying to my face.

That tears through me. But they are the one who lied to me. They are the one who took my trust and set it on fire.

They are the one that needed to apologize and make amends.

Instead, I got a couple apologies followed by a kiss-off letter.

They aren’t sure how or if they can regain my trust so they wish me luck with my life. I guess it’s easier to give up.

That tells me so much about them.

It confirms that they were a waste of my time. It shows that they are a coward. A liar who takes the easy way out. It defines who they are. And they are not someone worth knowing.

It’s an Earth-axis-reversing moment, when you realize someone you trusted has betrayed you. And when they turn on you, you realize that the person you knew isn’t there anymore.

They become a stranger. Which makes you wonder if you ever really knew them at all.

Despite struggling through this mess, I am incredibly happy with myself. Because I stood up to someone I loved and I refused to let them mistreat me. And I was honest. I said I might not be able to trust them again. I can’t predict if that wound will heal when it’s still hemorrhaging. But with time and work it might.

They chose to leave me bleeding. No offer of assistance. No holding my hand while the healing began.

That is a character defining moment.

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58 Responses to Character Defining Moments

  1. It really is a character defining moment. I hope you move on from this stronger and wiser. Wishing you lots of courage and healing.

  2. Cat Forsley says:

    KUDOS BABY …..
    GOOD FOR YOU …..
    HAD MANY A MOMENT LIKE THIS
    !
    XOXO HUGS XX

    • Thanks Catherine!
      Sorry to hear you’ve been through moments like this too. But it helps to know someone else understands and made it through!

      Hugs,
      Kourtney

      • Cat Forsley says:

        YES WE MAKE IT THROUGH XX
        AND THERE ARE SO MANY KINDS OF RELATIONSHIPS IN OUR LIVES …….
        THEY SAY WE ARE LUCKY IF WE CAN COUNT 5 GOOD FRIENDS OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT ?
        AND WITH THIS DIGITAL AGE
        WHERE EVERYONE IS “ADDING FRIENDS …..”
        IT MAKES IT SO EXTRA WEIRD SOMETIMES …..

        THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE WE CONNECT TO
        AND THEN – SOME THAT “GET US ”
        AND SOME THAT DON’T …..

        WE LEARN THROUGH ALL OF THEM ..
        THAT’S THE VERY BEST PART XO

        • Very true words. 🙂 I guess the friends that will be beside us for decades are the rarity. It’s just hard when people can’t exit gracefully or politely. It tarnishes the memories and rots away at the love that once was there.

          I do appreciate the experience of it all. Even the dark painful stuff. I meld it into something beautiful with my stories. 🙂

          XO
          Kourtney

          • Cat Forsley says:

            AGREED HONEY …..
            100%
            GRACIOUSLY IS THE KEY WORD ……:) XX

            YES I ACCEPT ALL OF IT TO THE GOOD – THE NOT SO GOOD – THE ALL OF IT ……
            REMINDS ME OF YOUR POST
            YOU DID MAYBE A WEEK AGO ?
            ABOUT HOW YOU WERE BEFORE ….

            WE ARE TOTALLY THE SUM OF OUR EXPERIENCES AND RELATIONSHIPS AND NATURE AND NURTURE AND ALL THAT …….

            WHAT’S LEFT IS THE NOW 🙂

            HUGGS XO

          • Aw Catherine, did you just reference one of my older posts? That is so sweet. 🙂
            Totally made me smile. The girl who looks back on this moment–I’m kinda excited to meet her. Because I feel myself shifting, appreciating what I have and who I have in my life more. I feel a new beginning. And I am excited to see where it takes me.

            Hugs to you, my dear cyber friend. May you have a beautiful weekend!

          • Cat Forsley says:

            YES I REMEMBERED THE KOURTNEY BEFORE …….POST …….
            SHE WAS TRES COOL AS WELL BUT IN THE END – I KNOW YOU NOW …….
            AND I DIG YOU NOW ……….
            AND THAT’S WHAT REAL FRIENDS DO
            LOVE YOU IN THE NOW ……XO

          • Thanks Catherine, you are an amazing friend. 🙂

          • Cat Forsley says:

            AS YOU ARE XO
            SO FUNNY CUZ THESE DAYS I HAVE BEEN USING CATHERINE – WHEN I INTRODUCE MYSELF MORE AND MORE ………
            I LIKE IT MORE AND MORE AND THANKS FOR ALWAYS WRITING IT .,…..
            HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEKEND
            AND THAT GRANDMA OF YOURS ………..
            TELL HER I AM A BIG FAN OF HERS ….XX
            THE SWEETNESS OF ALL SHE SAYS AND HOW YOU WRITE IT ……
            ALWAYS MAKES ME SMILE ………
            AND WE SO NEED SMILES THESE DAYS ……
            ALLLLLLLLLLLLL OF US XO

          • Thanks Catherine! I like using your full name too. Especially since Kat is my character and Kat is another friend of mine and these wretched fingers have trouble spelling “Cat” with the proper C. 😉

            I will let Grandma know. Aw thanks! I’m glad I capture her well here.

            Smiles are definitely a needed part of each day.

            Hugs,
            Kourtney

          • Cat Forsley says:

            YES THEY ARE ,,,,,,,
            SO MANY FORGET TO SMILE ………
            AND LEAVE LITTLE WORDS OF KINDNESS AND SWEETNESS ,,,,,,,,,

            XOXO
            CATHERINE XX

          • Catherine,
            Smiles encourage smiles. Kindness encourages kindness. To me it’s always important to begin there and see where things evolve to.

            Hugs,
            Kourtney

          • Cat Forsley says:

            HUGS MYT SWEET
            YES KINDNESS BEGETS KINDNESS ………
            SMILES ARE CONTAGIOUS …….:)
            GOOD CONTAGIOUS 🙂
            XX

          • A nice contagious not to be confused with a gross infectious. 🙂 LOL.

            Hugs,
            Kourtney

          • Cat Forsley says:

            YEAH !!!!
            NOT LIKE A PANDEMIC OF GROSSNESS …LOL
            🙂 XX
            XX
            C

          • LOL. That’s a fantastic turn of phrase–pandemic of grossness. 🙂

            Hugs,
            K

          • Cat Forsley says:

            IT’S THE 8O’S IN ME XOXOXOXO

  3. La La says:

    Good for you for standing up for yourself. Perhaps I am just projecting my fear of that, but I know it is not easy.

    • Thanks La La. I am not a very confrontational person. It’s a lot of stress to call someone out when they hurt you and then deal with their excuses and their defensiveness. To speak up is never easy. At least for me. 🙂

  4. I’m so sorry to hear that someone wasn’t willing to wait around to see if you could heal and regain some trust.

    • Thanks. I thought it was a cardinal rule to clean up your messes. At least, it was ingrained in me as a kid. But I guess that’s just a standard I hold myself to. Luckily, I have some really wonderful friends who will stop and bandage me up. Who will feed me chicken soup and nurse me back to health. 🙂

  5. What an earthquake in your life. It does show character – and applause for recognizing and calling them on it. For them to react in such a fashion shows more insight into their character – and their willingness to avoid taking responsibility for their actions. Not someone you would be wise to count on.
    While a sort of friendship may emerge in the future, you will always have to be wary….something of a downer – and maybe not worth the effort.
    Careful, you are sounding all grown up and secure in who you are. Yea you! (now go have a nice day- you deserve it!)

    • It definitely felt like the ground split open beneath me. I just happened to leap to the right side and make it.:) Thanks. It made me pause too. Sadly, I did not know who that person was at their core. But at least I do now. There is relief in knowing that you made a good decision. And his actions proved me right. Yeah, I wasn’t sure what could be in the future. It would take so much to forgive and extend trust again. And it wouldn’t be the same. It might be mended, but never as strong a connection as we had had. Thanks! I’m going to try. 🙂

  6. crubin says:

    Life is too short to spend it around those that bring you down. I hope your hurt lessens soon. Better go have a drink with Grandma H. She’ll know what to say.

    • Very true. I’ve been spending lots of time with my friends this past week to remind me of all the good still in my life. Funny you should mention it…Grandma H told me, “These things happen.” I understand that, but it doesn’t lessen the pain or the grief of losing one of your closest friends. I think she’s too Russian sometimes. 🙂

  7. zelmare says:

    Absolutely. I agree, trust can not (easily) be regained. But it can, depending on how the person reacts when caught out. Ouch. As we say in Afrikaans,’sterkte!’ – which translates to ‘strength’/ be strong. 🙂

    • Thanks. 🙂 It takes time for me to be willing to risk trusting again. The fact that this person just flushed the friendship down the drain, it made it clear that I was wise to not be willing to trust again right away. 🙂 I’ll do my best. 🙂

  8. Great insight, Kourtney. I went through something similar last year. On the positive side, learning another’s true colors–and reacting wisely–allows us to move on and invest our time and energy elsewhere. I love this saying: “You don’t know what kind of tea you are until you’re in hot water.” 😉

    • Thanks, August. I’m sorry you had to go through something like this too. It is good to move forward. A weight hung around my neck as I tried to find a way to move forward with this person. When they sent that email, a part of me was relieved that I wouldn’t have to put in any more work. A part of me felt betrayed all over again that my trust wasn’t worth fighting for. That’s an awesome saying! I think I’d be Earl Grey. 🙂

  9. jmmcdowell says:

    Those true lifetime friendships are rare. Even if something trust-shattering doesn’t happen, people move, develop new interests, or otherwise drift apart. It’s just so much sharper when something happens to truly break the relationship.

    It sounds like you’ve got your head on straight about it, and your heart will ease after the grief runs its natural course. Glad you have family and your other true friends who are helping you through the grieving process.

    • Very rare. It’s hard when someone you thought was one of your closest friends turns out to be a stranger. I much prefer growing apart or outgrowing each other to this though.

      I’m in an okay place and I’ve got some really supportive people in my life to lean on until I’m 100% again. 🙂 Thanks for listening to me vent about it and taking the time to chat with me. Makes me realize what amazing blogger friends I am blessed with. 🙂

  10. Samir says:

    You’re the stronger one Kourtney and your character will only gain from this experience even though it hurts to be on the receiving end of lies and deceit. I’ve had my share too but I’m still an optimist looking for the good in people and shying away (or pushing) away the ones that have a black cloud over their heads. I’m old enough and busy enough to not be bothered with anything or anyone that sucks my energy. All for the better I suppose, to have ended a friendship that was no longer real.

    Despite all this, I’m sorry for what you have to feel. It’s never pleasant, but you do ask an excellent question… ‘Did one ever really know this person?’

    • Thanks for your supportive words Samir! It helps to hear them. When this was going down, I had a moment where I thought do I just shut down and stop trusting? But then I realized, I want a life filled with friends and loved ones and to have that I just have to keep feeling. I have to reach out to the people who have been good to me and strengthen those bonds. 🙂

      My answer right now is I guess not. Someday, I hope it will be, I knew this person but they changed and I missed the changing moment. But one thing I’ve learned is if your gut tells you someone is hiding stuff, always trust your gut over the words coming out of that person’s mouth.

  11. klynwurth says:

    So sorry you had to go through this, Kourtney. I take comfort in something Maya Angelou said. “When someone shows you for the first time who they are, believe them.” Take care.

    • What a great quote! I will remember that from now on. It’s been a rough time, but I’ve reached out to my parents, my friends, my blog buddies, and everyone has lent their support. All of you help to propel me through all this. 🙂

  12. Yatin says:

    Absolutely Kourtney, “It’s not just what they did, but how they handle the fallout of what they did”
    Wounds will heal & scars will mend, people forget everything with time and only remember how you made them feel; happy or sad.

  13. It's the little things that make life great.berry says:

    Somebody really hurt u. Hope ur ok.

  14. Trust is pretty hard to rebuild – I guess they felt they couldn’t be the person they needed to be, to be your friend – so good judgement call maybe on both your parts.

  15. Ottabelle says:

    Proud of you for sticking up for yourself. The wound will heal, and you are better off for it.

    • Thanks! I tried to find something good in a tough situation. I am proud of how well I handled it. Proud of how maturely and calmly I spoke to the person. Of how honest I remained. Appreciate your support! 🙂

  16. Hi Kourtney, so sorry to learn of your heartache. I’ve been there, and it is devastating. One good thing came of it, and that was a much greater appreciation–a deep gratitude for the friends I still love and trust. Best wishes for peace and healing.

    • Hi Naomi! Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to chat with me. 🙂 It’s been a rough time. I’ve been pushing forward and on the outside everything looks fine. Inside, things are roiling and collapsing and melting. I’m shifting. Sometimes the only way to survive the pain is to give it its moment and then dive into work. Very true. 🙂 I appreciate the people I trust so much more now.

      • Hi Kourtney, after a bit of time and distance, you will even be able to look back and see that it probably worked out for the best. Not always, or in every way, but overall.

        Hey, thanks for the follow. I am looking forward to following your blog. Was just reading some backposts, and it looks great.

  17. 4amWriter says:

    I am so sorry about your lost friendship, but it sounds like you know what’s what. I have experienced something similar, and after time it gets easier. It’s true when they say challenges like this only make us stronger, so I know you will be feeling better before too long. Good luck! 🙂

    • Thanks Kathryn. Logically I’m in a good place. It just takes my heart a little while to get on the same page. It’s just an adjustment to live without someone who was a cornerstone of my existence for 4 years. But you are right, time will get me there. 🙂 I’m diving into work redesigning my website with the coolest web designer in the world. Drafting the new manuscript and querying away. My routine gives me that feeling of normalcy. 🙂

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