cheat (v.):

1. to defraud; swindle. 2. to deceive; influence by fraud. 3. to elude; deprive of something expected.

Some years ago, my husband’s grandfather died, leaving his heirs land and other property worth millions of dollars. Before his death, my husband and his granddad had walked this land that had been in the family since the Land Run, and his sweet old granddad told him, “this part will all be yours, the home place, your great-granddad’s homestead too, because I know you’ll care for it.” He put his property into a trust and retained his two most trustworthy sons to administer it.

About a year after the trust was established, my husband’s grandfather went into a nursing home. While he was there and still in his right mind, one of his two trustee sons was murdered by vagrants passing through the area. Now only one son was left, the son who later developed Alzheimer’s and could not be relied upon in any way. And then my husband’s granddad died, and the remaining sons took charge and cheated my husband out of his inheritance as we sat by helplessly, in spite of having hired attorneys and gone to court and spent four years trying to litigate our ways out of being cheated.

It’s especially painful when someone you trust, like, or even love cheats you. As King David said in Psalm 55, it doesn’t bother you as much when it’s an enemy who cheats you, but when it’s a family member or friend, someone you trust, someone you’ve gone to church with, someone who has lived under your roof or with whom you’ve been intimate–oh, my. Oh my, oh my. When one you broke bread with cheats you, one who “dips his bread with me” at the table as Judas did with Jesus, then you know you’ve been cheated.

line2 by you.

Everyone has been cheated or will be cheated at some point in life. Everyone has had someone else make a promise they later broke. Everyone has been on the switch end of the old bait-and-switch cheat. Everyone has felt cheated by life or the universe or circumstances, when we don’t receive what we expected, planned, or hoped for. You marry someone you thought you knew, and six years later you discover he’s had an affair. You raise your children with every value you can muster, and when you finally have an empty nest and can look forward to a comfortable retirement with your spouse, your oldest child is diagnosed with schizophrenia. You have to raise your grandchild. You get cancer. You finally retire and go on the world cruise you both always dreamed of, and your husband dies in Ireland, on the first leg of your journey. Your child is born handicapped and you learn you will always have to take care of her. Or, as actually happened to a friend of ours, the healthy kidney is mistakenly removed and the diseased one left. “You’ll have to be on dialysis unless a donor is found,” they said. At some point or another in life, everyone is cheated or feels cheated. Being cheated is loss.

Even when they haven’t actually been cheated, everyone feels cheated from time to time due to expectations. Psychoanalyst Karen Horney wrote at length about expectations, which she called “claims,” and their use by wounded folks. She said that we often have unspoken expectations and go through life imposing them on others without getting enough reality checks to discover whether or not our claims are, in fact, reasonable. What is owed is the stuff of psychology and religion.

What do you owe me? What do I owe you? What did I give you, and what must you give me in return? How do the laws of reciprocity, of sowing and reaping, apply?  Is an outcome, a hope, a dream, an expectation, a contract, a covenant something I should be attached to? Or does all attachment lead to suffering, as Buddha taught?

Can a person ever be truly free of expectations? Ought we be? Is being free of expectations a worthy goal? What do we do when we’re feeling cheated, or when we have, in fact, been cheated? What can we do afterward with our feelings of sorrow, humiliation, shame, astonishment, and anger?

45 responses to “Cheated”

  1. Mary Jane Hurley Brant Avatar

    My limited experience with schizophrenia is that one good friend of mine’s parent was institutionalized and two of her (my friend’s) siblings have milder forms yet manage each day pretty well. Another physician friend’s parent had schizophrenia who, while in a care facility, did beautifully and was liked very much. On his own his life was difficult and overwhelming.

    I think the hopeful news is that we continue to do remarkable research and work to understand the challenges and complexities surrounding the human mind.

  2. Mary Jane Hurley Brant Avatar

    What friends did to others in the past….Sage advice, Eve, and I will always, always keep it in mind from this day forth. Thank you.

    How does the saying go, fool me once shame on you; fool me twice shame on me.

    Here’s a p.s. – my day was beautiful, fun and full of grandchildren laughing and licking ice-cream cones: vanilla and dulce de leche. Hey, it doesn’t get much better than that.


  3. Hind's Feet in High Places Avatar
    Hind's Feet in High Places

    I remember a posting you left on facebook…

    I understand being cheated.

  4. Hind's Feet in High Places Avatar
    Hind's Feet in High Places

    I remember a posting you left on facebook…

    I understand being cheated.

  5. Mary Jane Hurley Brant Avatar


    I’ll bet you are an excellent judge of character. My husband, ST by temperament, says people change. Now thinking lends an entirely new perspective on being a judge of character, seriously.

    You mentioned in one of your writings of being an NT temperament. I am an NF and when someone does something so out of character, someone whom I have known for a long time I am so stunned I begin to wonder did I miss something, did I project something? God bless my mate who tells me it like it is, “No Mare I think that people change.”

    Somehow I am comforted by that thought even though it can make trusting someone a whole new deal.

    1. Eve Avatar

      Mary Jane, I agree that people can change, but my experience is that most do not. Therefore the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. I think we don’t do enough investigating when we establish trusting relationships, or we discount what our friends did to others in the past, believing we’re somehow special and thus exempt. I think we trick ourselves in many different ways, probably because of our feelings for the other person–love, empathy, compassion, all the fondness we feel.

      Though a big fan of emotions (yup, we need ’em!), I don’t think they should be treated as the only tool in the toolbox. Sadly, I know sometimes even I, a Thinker, have made the mistake of allowing my feelings for a person to overcome my thoughts or, as your Sensing husband might say, the facts of the present situation. ;o)

      1. Hind's Feet in High Places Avatar
        Hind's Feet in High Places

        I agree that people can change but most do not.
        2 people were abused and abandoned, 2 different lives, times, places. One person self examines the other doesn’t. The self examiner seeks knowledge and the truth, the other ignores self, both have anger problems. The self examiner has gained more control over anger outbursts whereas the self ignorer lets rage take over. the self ignorer becomes an abuser, the self examiner always tries to better himself.

      2. Hind's Feet in High Places Avatar
        Hind's Feet in High Places

        I agree that people can change but most do not.
        2 people were abused and abandoned, 2 different lives, times, places. One person self examines the other doesn’t. The self examiner seeks knowledge and the truth, the other ignores self, both have anger problems. The self examiner has gained more control over anger outbursts whereas the self ignorer lets rage take over. the self ignorer becomes an abuser, the self examiner always tries to better himself.

  6. renaissanceguy Avatar

    Eve, my heart goes out to you. I have not had exactly that experience, so I do not know exactly what it feels like.

    I watched my step-father cheated out of his inheritance. His brother somehow got the family property while my step-father got a few tokens. After their mother died a will suddenly turned up that completely contradicted all that my step-father had been promised by his mother. Pretty fishy!

    1. Eve Avatar

      RG, thank you. You’re fortunate to have not been cheated–and probably a better judge of character than we have been!

  7. MommaRuth Avatar

    Great expectations- I don’t know that we can rid ourselves of them even if we want to. They are layered so deeply with in us.
    I think one would have to be medicated into oblivion to not think about the world and people that surround us and what to expect from it/them.

    1. Eve Avatar

      MommaRuth, I continue to sweep away any unrealistic or unreasonable expectations or “claims,” as Karen Horney called them, and keep in mind that there are also reasonable expectations that healthy people have. The trick is discerning between the two.

      1. Hind's Feet in High Places Avatar
        Hind's Feet in High Places

        How do you deal with not knowing exactly what your expectations are?

      2. Hind's Feet in High Places Avatar
        Hind's Feet in High Places

        How do you deal with not knowing exactly what your expectations are?

      3. Hind's Feet in High Places Avatar
        Hind's Feet in High Places

        I’m not too fond of expectations.

      4. Hind's Feet in High Places Avatar
        Hind's Feet in High Places

        I’m not too fond of expectations.

  8. Eve Avatar

    Marian, yes… there is so much unknown in ourselves! “Things that go ‘bump!’ in the dark!”


  9. Marian Avatar

    Eve: I think we widely agree, I too.

    (But I can’t help it: “a strong genetic predisposition” sounds to me like “a lot of ‘mental illness’/’schizophrenia’ in the family”. And that sounds to me like non-genetic, familiar – social – heredity… And, btw, genes are not a cause, they are a symptom: epigenetics)

    1. Eve Avatar

      Marian, you probably know as well as I do that there’s a great deal of controversy over nature vs. nurture and a number of different mental illnesses. I’ve had the opportunity to study with one of the world’s leading experts on twins separated at birth and there is a great deal of convincing evidence for genetics too.

      1. Marian Avatar

        Eve: I just don’t like the idea, that people are told it’s in their genes, while we have no proof – no genes found – of it to be true, and while it is a fact, that those who believe in the gene-theory are much less likely to recover (!) than those who don’t. Under these circumstances, I don’t think it’s right to tell people it’s in their genes. Not even that genes probably enter into the picture. It’s an extremely disempowering message. And, as mentioned, there’s no scientific evidence to support it. The question is if we want people to recover, or if we want a convenient excuse for society. (But given the current paradigm of care this is, of course, a rhetoric question… ) And, on another note, both Robert Whitaker and Mary Boyle, among others, do a decent job debunking the twin studies. The studies are not without remarkable flaws.

        IMO, epigenetics mark the end of the nature vs. nurture controversy. But also concerning this, the question is if we want responsibility, or if we want to continue and engage in us-and-them-thinking, keeping people who don’t fit the norm, and whose way of being in this world inspires an obscure discomfort/fear in us, at a “safe” distance as genetically different (defective, and not quite human) by nature. If humanity keeps on running from its responsibility, I fear, it will ultimately be its end.

    2. Eve Avatar

      Marian, you make some good points, my favorite of which is “the question is if we want responsibility, or if we want to continue and engage in us-and-them-thinking…”.

      However, much of the discomfort that arises from being around people who don’t fit the norm is not obscure. It’s in-your-face discomfort or even fear, particularly when one is dealing with a psychiatric disorder. It’s not easy to live with on the receiving end.

      1. Marian Avatar

        Agreed. It’s a huge challenge. And not at all always one that one person alone , or even a family, can handle. Still, I think we feel discomfort and fear because we don’t recognize. The fear of the unknown – in ourselves. Which we turn into fear of the other.

  10. Marian Avatar

    Eve: There are countless kinds of abuse – or call it violence, dysfunctionality, neglect, alienation, destructiveness,… – in our world. Usually it all takes form somewhere in the grey area between consciousness and unconsciousness, out of helplessness. Conscious abuse, malice, is very rare. And mostly abuse isn’t recognized because it is perceived as completely normal. I’m with Alice Miller when it comes to this: all so-called “mental illness” is a reaction to one or the other kind of abuse. I haven’t met one single person labelled with “sz”, who’s had a childhood without one or the other kind of abuse. Not one. And I’ve met many.

    As much as I want to agree that people who obviously abuse their children are assholes (and indeed often enough do think of them as such), I don’t believe in judgement and punishment as the solution. Punishment is itself a form of violence. I believe in accountability and consciousness. Only someone who themselves have been cheated on, abused, neglected, or whatever, and who aren’t fully conscious of it, will cheat on, abuse, neglect, etc., others in their turn. If they’re punished, they will feel cheated righteously, and they will do it again and again and again.

    I’m sorry for having been snappy in my last reply to you. To the extent to which all kinds of abuse, or violence, still are a touchy matter, anger (blindness) still has a tendency to take over.

    1. Eve Avatar

      Marian, I think we agree on the major points.

      The idea of anger as blindness is worthy of quite a bit of exploration.

      I have known some people (two, actually) with schizophrenia who were not abused but who did have a strong genetic predisposition toward it.

  11. Marian Avatar

    Sorry that I went as far as to give an example of what I meant. I just find it actually dangerous to ignore child abuse and its consequences. That was my point. And the way you put it in your post, it is ignoring the abuse.

    Won’t disturb you anymore.

    1. Eve Avatar

      Marian, you’re not disturbing me. And I was not ignoring child abuse at all. I agree with you that child abuse and its consequences should not be ignored and I am pretty sure that over the past almost three years of blogging on Third Eve, I have made that abundantly clear. But just in case I haven’t, I will make it clear again: child abuse and its consequences are evil and wrong and CANNOT BE IGNORED. There.

      But I think this is a straw man of some sort, for it seems pretty apparent to me that this article isn’t on the face of it about child abuse… although I imagine you might guess that eventually it probably will be, for I don’t believe that people can grow up to be big cheaters without having been terribly cheated themselves. Even so, my one-line example in the article of the parent who looks forward to a happy retirement only to have his/her oldest child diagnosed with schizophrenia and then feeling cheated had nothing to do with child abuse. In fact, you are the first person to have raised the issue of child abuse and you did it just now in your most recent comment.

      All schizophrenia does not arise from child abuse. Therefore not all parents who have children who later develop schizophrenia feel cheated illegitimately.

      I will say this much, though, now that you’ve raised the issue of child abuse. If a person’s mental illness DOES result from child abuse, then the parent who expresses feelings of being cheated is an asshole. I don’t care if their feelings of being cheated are legitimate and they suffered child abuse themselves. I still have no sympathy for them and my sympathy is with the child. People who have children ought to get off their characterological asses and grow up enough to care for that child and die to themselves enough to give the child what he or she needs, and if they can’t do that then for heaven’s sake give the child to someone who will love him or her.

      That’s how I feel about it. I know it will sound contradictory for me to say so. However, until this moment I wasn’t thinking about actual child abuse. I was thinking more of the unconscious type of parent who sees the child is in trouble and is an idiot about it, stumbling through life unconsciously as most people do. *Most* people, Marian, live that way. Were I to accuse them I would be thinking of most of humanity as assholes.

      But I don’t. I reserve that judgment for people who abuse children and other assholes (not that I think “asshole” is an awful enough term, it’s just one that comes to mind). I hope I’ve clarified that.

    2. Eve Avatar

      P.S. Marian, I value and appreciate your always intelligent comments. Please don’t stop. Just keep in mind that I’m being quite myopic at the moment as I write this out. I haven’t even gotten to why I’m writing it out; it’s been a painful journey for me and so maybe you’re picking up on that. I may be tottering around here as a wordsmith, so please don’t be fooled by my apparent confidence. I have had a lot of feelings about this situation and where I am going is to a pretty self-revealing place. I am writing it out day by day and so if you bear with me maybe by the end of this you will be able to read with a more tolerant eye.

      And I do appreciate you keeping me honest and raising these good issues. They need to be raised. So keep it up, and thank you.

  12. Scott Erb Avatar

    Marian — the key is to choose. I agree that the goal is to be able to choose to respond in the most healthy and effective way. But humans aren’t always at a point where their emotional reactions can be chosen. Can we choose how to feel? With practice and over time we can get better at it, but it takes work.

    I agree with Henitsirk’s ideas on karma. I’m not sure why, I have no proof, but I have a strong faith that the world does work that way.

  13. henitsirk Avatar

    Of course we need to try to unattach ourselves from expectations. Of course we need to aspire to trust and generosity and honor.

    And I think we need to continue to follow those calls that come, even when they involve risk and a leap of faith. It’s hard not to get dragged down by disappointment and feeling taken advantage of. It’s hard not feel angry. But I think any act of faith in the name of love can only be of benefit, somewhere, no matter how tiny that benefit appears (if it is even appreciable at all).

    I believe in karma, a force so convoluted and esoteric that we can’t really perceive or understand it. But I think it’s real, it has real effects on our lives and future lives. Not necessarily as something that should therefore inspire us through fear, but simply as a truth: what ye sow, so shall ye reap. And karma is not solely negative: again I say that we need to continue to act from love, as that has its karmic effects as well.

    1. Eve Avatar

      Heni, yes, I agree with you about karma and love and ultimately I do not regret having followed this dangerous path that has led to pain for us but a great deal of good for our partners.

      My husband is fond of saying that we would have no regrets if the other party had fully benefitted from the transaction–that is, if they had grown enough to close the loop and do as they were done by. That they do not have the personal growth to do this is not surprising, given the facts we know about their backgrounds.

      In other words, my husband points out, regrets and bad feeling are subjective and dependent upon outcome, but love and eternal principles are not. If we keep our eyes on love, there is no disappointment. This is perhaps why St. Paul wrote that “love never fails.”

      I do appreciate you reminding me; it helps.

  14. Marian Avatar

    Eve: I disagree that it is legitimate for the cheater to feel cheated, if feeling cheated is the result of a deliberate, conscious act of cheating on the cheater’s part.

    In the unfortunately very rare cases where parents manage to get over themselves, and admit that they cheated their children, they will no longer claim it legitimate to feel cheated themselves other than to the extent that they themselves are responsible for what made them feel this way. Just as I think the people who cheated on you and your husband can’t legitimately claim to have been cheated other than by themselves.

    As for the child you mention: it would be completely illegitimate of me, or anyone else, to hold you accountable if she ever was labelled psychiatrically – which I hope, and your awareness considered have great faith, won’t happen. Of course, the causes for existential crises aren’t always as clear as they are in my case. And even here, it might not have happened if it hadn’t been for the reactions – or lack of same – of my father and others involved. That’s why I mention society as a whole. In the end, also, and not least, a mh system in denial is responsible. To simply and simplistically point to the person who primarily reared the child as the one and only to blame, is a cheat in itself.

    1. Eve Avatar

      Marian, well I suppose we will have to agree to disagree. Knowing myself as I do, I suspect that I will finally arrive at a quite unsatisfying conclusion which has an “all as one” flavor to it in which cheater and cheated get to experience legitimate feelings, for I do not believe in illegitimate ones.

      Supposing the cheater begins to reap what he sowed (and he will), and in that reaping suddenly feel cheated by the person upon whom he inflicted the cheat. For instance, the employee who pilfers from the employer is finally caught. The employer feels legitimately cheated, for he can tally the amount of money it cost him to have the 250 wooden pencils stolen from him by the employee.

      The employer reacts by calling the police and having the employee arrested, and then fires the employee. As he sits in jail waiting to be bailed out, the employee suddenly feels cheated. His employer over-reacted. It was only 250 wooden pencils, for crying out loud! Now the thief is not only unemployed, but is going to owe court costs. That damn employer was just wrong! How unmerciful. How unloving. How unchristian he is.

      According to your way of thinking, only the employer is legitimately aggrieved. But according to my way of thinking, which also is an analytic way of thinking, the subjective experience of feeling cheated by BOTH people is legitimate. Certainly it could be argued that the employer did not have to call the police over 250 wooden pencils amounting to a mere $62.50 theft–less if you consider how much the pencils cost the employer for buying in bulk.

      Even more legitimate than the thief’s perception of the employer’s relative lack of mercy is the fact that the thief stole at all, pilfering something that he could easily have afforded, which makes the theft symbolic. This symbolic suffering of being cheated or done wrong is exactly what the thief was after. He first inflicted that very feeling onto another person in a gross act of projection, and then he made sure he did it to someone who is in turn most likely to react in a way that will give the thief the fix he needs. This makes the entire transaction legitimate. Everyone participates. Everyone plays.

      This is the drama of the cheat in a nutshell, and it is why even when I feel my feelings of being cheated strongly and even when I know I am right about every jot and tittle of the law, I also suspect myself in the most healthy way and look with some suspicion on my own experience of “cheated.” I also do not scoff at my partners when they feel defrauded as the result of their very own actions. We are all actors in a play and there is one stage and one director, and regardless of what we experience subjectively, there is a universal whole and a transcendent power working through all and in all, and that, my dear, is why it is all in the end legitimate.

      Having said that, I acknowledge that for whatever reason you may need to disagree with me and to have things your way, black and white, good and evil and so on. You seem to need to have the bad parent be bad and the good parent be good–and in fact this is exactly where I’m going with this tale of woe (I write that with a smile on my face, for on some level it’s all rather amusing in spite of all the legitimate and ‘illegitimate’ feelings).

      This story, after all, is not about you Marian. It’s about me and some people who cheated me and my husband. I hope you’ll try to keep that in mind. :o)

      Oh… but on the other hand it IS about you. I’m glad you’re making use of it and hope you’ll pardon me for continuing to think it’s about me. ;o)

  15. Marian Avatar

    Scott: Of course the feeling is real, and should be worked through as such. That’s what taking responsibility implies. Whether it is legitimate, that someone feels cheated by something/-one outside themselves, when in fact what has happened is that they have cheated both someone else and themselves, is another question. Would you say it is legitimate if I, in spite of the fact that I have achieved a level of consciousness that allows me to freely choose whether to react “psychotic” or not, chose the “psychotic” reaction, thus inflicting pain on both me and others? I certainly wouldn’t.

  16. Scott Erb Avatar

    When things like that happen to me, I take some consolation in the fact that I would rather be the one cheated than the one who cheats others. Those who cheat you are doing far more harm to themselves than they have done to you — I’m convinced of that. To be honorable has its own rewards. Still, intellectual recognition of that fact and emotional acceptance are two different things. I think putting it out there on your blog is a really good way to deal with that sort of thing. You can’t work through anything if you keep it inside and try to just ignore it.

    I have to disagree with Marian about who is cheated when a child is labeled. I think ‘being cheated’ in this sense is a subjective reaction, a person feels cheated. I don’t see ‘being cheated’ in this sense as an objective fact that you simply label. If a parent feels cheated, that feeling is real and legitimate and should be treated and worked through as such.

    1. Eve Avatar

      Scott, what a very good point and great way of looking at being on the receiving end of someone else’s unhappy choices. I too would rather be the cheated rather than the cheater.

      Each person in an exchange or a ‘deal,’ whether the terms of the deal are made explicit or not, has opportunity to feel satisfied, dissatisfied, or both. I would not be surprised if the very people who cheated my husband and me somewhere down the road begin to feel cheated themselves, since our logical and reasonable reactions to seeing their character (or lack of it) has a domino effect. We can’t trust them with our selves any more to any great extent, and once they see the actual results of their actions in our relationship and among others observing the situation, they will no doubt experience the ideas and feelings of having been cheated, too. So, yes, everyone has his or her own reaction to the idea of being cheated. It’s an experience, to be sure.

      1. Hind's Feet in High Places Avatar
        Hind's Feet in High Places

        I think I understand what you mean when you say that the feeling of being cheated is a legitimate feeling for both parties (all feelings are really felt), but what I don’t understand is how the party that did the cheating has a right to feel cheated? How can someone who knowingly does wrong to someone (not in the case of revenge) make it right in their mind to also feel cheated (If they are not career criminals). Especially if they claim to be children of God?
        How does a mother make it right in her mind to make her toddler her victimizer and then continue in that for the rest of that child’s life?

      2. Hind's Feet in High Places Avatar
        Hind's Feet in High Places

        I think I understand what you mean when you say that the feeling of being cheated is a legitimate feeling for both parties (all feelings are really felt), but what I don’t understand is how the party that did the cheating has a right to feel cheated? How can someone who knowingly does wrong to someone (not in the case of revenge) make it right in their mind to also feel cheated (If they are not career criminals). Especially if they claim to be children of God?
        How does a mother make it right in her mind to make her toddler her victimizer and then continue in that for the rest of that child’s life?

  17. Marian Avatar

    I’m aware that people think I’m ruthless and insensitive, something, on this one, but I definitely want to protest the idea, that a parent was cheated when his oldest child is labelled with “schizophrenia”. The only person, who definitely is cheated in this case, is the one who receives this label. First of all, because developing a reaction pattern, that qualifies for the label is a result of having been – grossly and continuously – cheated by one or both of one’s parents, second, because the label itself is a cheat as it blames the victim.

    “Forgive them for they don’t know what they do”? Two aspects here too: first, it’s interesting, that the mh system keeps on yattering about that one would have to forgive. Forgive what? According to the very same mh system it’s all genes and biochemistry. So, if that is so, there is nothing to forgive. Second, my mother used to tell me, more than once, how she witnessed me turn from a somewhat cheerful two-year-old into a withdrawn and never-smiling three-year-old. Apart from a whole lot of other evidence of me obviously not thriving, that couldn’t and in fact didn’t escape her attention, as a teen I confronted her with the fact, that I’d tried to commit suicide. She chose to have me understand, that the matter was an absolute no-no, never to be as much as touched on again. Although it originated in her own helplessness, her denial was her deliberate choice. She did know.

    All this doesn’t mean, that I won’t ever forgive. Forgiving my mother happens as I go through mourning, and forgiving myself. As an inevitable result. Nevertheless, forgiveness doesn’t imply, that I would deny the fact, that my mother cheated me. On the contrary. It means that I can face the fact to its full extent and in all its details, that I can speak of it candidly, and that I can point out this kind of cheating by parents on their children, holding parents (and society as a whole) accountable, which I’ll never stop doing, without feeling the need for revenge. I’m working on it. It takes time.

    1. Eve Avatar

      Marian, from the parent’s perspective, the parent has been cheated out of a great many imagined goods when his or her child is diagnosed with a debilitating mental illness that few fools in the treatment spectrum can do anything about and particulary when these days it is not the fashion to take people with schizophrenia or any other major mental illness seriously. Instead, we medicate people into oblivion and call it healing work.

      In the “what is due me” category, both the person with mental illness and the people who love them can legitimately entertain ideas of having been cheated. Before we can go to the principles involved, we must (I think) deal with the subjective thoughts and ideas surrounding “cheated.” This is exactly why I’m writing about this, for I have experienced this more than once in my life and have a lot of thoughts about it.

      I have a child who has a great long history in her biological family of mental illness, including shizophrenia. I have seen the tendency toward flights into great light and darkness and deep magic in her since she was an infant. Though I do not know what the future holds for her, I do not for a minute think she is ill or will become so. Rather, I take her seriously by supporting her ideas and feelings and keeping her safe in a way that she understands “safe.” If your mother had done the same, perhaps you wouldn’t now feel as you do. I’m with you on this one: your mother might have done something different and gotten a wakeup call from your behaviors, which clearly were saying something. But she didn’t, and that puts her at fault.

      I can see that each of you might have reason, whether warranted or not, to feel cheated.

  18. deb Avatar

    I think that a part of me is a simpleton. I do honestly expect to be treated as I treat others, I am chronically disappointed and yet I persist. Then I am angry at both myself and the person who disappointed me. And round and round it goes. It would seem I have a ways to go.

    1. Eve Avatar

      Deb, I can sympathize with your simpleton tendencies for I am one, too. One of my oldest friends told me one year that I am naively optimistic, which she finds a childish but endearing trait. Once children grow up, they don’t trust so easily any more because of their many experiences with untrustworthy people.

      Perhaps our confusion occurs because we understand that the Golden Rule, or rule of reciprocity, is in fact a rule or a spiritual law. It’s the “right thing.” Some personality types hold onto principles and values far more strongly than others, and have a built-in idealism that makes them good poets, writers, healers, mothers, priests, and so on. Others are more realistic and thus more pessimistic about themselves and others.

      We probably fall into the idealistic personality type that will hold onto a principle come hell or high water. For me, the trick has been to hang onto who I am while learning to live in the world without bitterness. This is what I grapple with.

  19. Lee Avatar

    I have been cheated emotionally and financially as well. With the financial I have learned that I will not lend money. If I am able and am asked, I will give money. I ask only that the recipient pay it forward in some way instead of pay it back. I found this to be very healing. It did me no good to feel angry and cheated because family members, people I truly trusted, went on about their lives not feeling the need to repay a loan. A gift has no strings.

    I have not really found a way to prevent the kind of emotional pain that comes from being cheated in the relationship sense. The friend who one is there for but doesn’t reciprocate for instance in an hour of need. I look forward to future posts on the topic though and wish you healing and happiness.

    1. Eve Avatar

      Lee, I’d venture a guess that there’s not a person alive who hasn’t been, or at least felt, cheated at one time or another. I think it must be part of the human condition.

      I like the solution you arrived at over lending money. We too have loaned money and never seen it repaid–sometimes by the same person. We learned from having a couple of family members who were borrowers but never repaid that we should give gifts if we could and let it go. When we did, we learned that we had fewer bad feelings about it, were more prudent when we did give, and that the recipient actually needed us less often rather than more. It’s as if lying to oneself is counterproductive on both sides of the ‘deal’–not really surprising, if you think about it!

  20. deb Avatar

    I think that you and I are alike. I have expectations, expectations that I meet but others do not. Come to think of it though, perhaps I am not meeting their expectations. Great.

    Maybe I should just let go of all of my expectations and live in chaos for awhile.

    1. Eve Avatar

      Deb, I think that all of us who make deals hope for the best. I try to keep the agreements I make with others explicit, so that each person knows what’s expected. But, as you can tell from reading this particular blog entry, clarity is not insurance against loss.

      I can’t know whether I’m meeting people’s expectations or not unless I ask them to evaluate how I’m doing. I try to do this regularly, but do make the mistake of assuming people will let me know if I’m disappointing them somehow. The people with whom I’m closest have always been good about that.

      I don’t think anyone can let go of all of their expectations. We live with invisible contracts all the time, don’t we? I expect that when the traffic light turns red, I’ll stop and so will everyone else. I do not expect that someone will ignore it and plow into me because they’re in a hurry. So, yes, if we let go of all expectations, chaos would result. How unhappy.

      I find that I have to look at the expectations that are giving me the most grief or interfering with my ability to be effective, if they do. The ones that tie me up in knots are the ones that need attending to, for that’s where my complex is, my “issue” (as in “I have issues with ____”).

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