Deep Thoughts and Wisdom, Stupid People

The Chameleon Personality

It sucks when your longtime friendship with someone deteriorates because their personality goes through a sudden huge change.  Sadly, this isn’t the first time I’ve dealt with this and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

I’ve been noticing something really weird about one of my good friends over the last two years, and after reflecting on it recently I was finally able to articulate it out loud.  Not to my friend, of course, because I know her reaction would go over as well as a turd in a punch bowl if I dared to mention this to her.  But after articulating my observations to some other friends of mine, I was finally able to see that I wasn’t just imagining things and that something really isn’t right here.

Several years ago my friend suddenly came out of the closet and announced that she was gay.  This was a huge shock to me as I never saw this coming AT ALL, but I stuck by her nonetheless and I always will.   I’ve known her for many years and she has been a HUGE help to me since I moved to Florida.  She has gone above and beyond for me at times when I was in need, and I’m greatly indebted to her for all she has done for me.

Once my friend finally admitted that she was attracted to women, it quickly became apparent that she was attracted to very masculine, dominant type women.   She’s always been a super girlie-girl, so maybe that has something to do with it.  Her first same-sex partner was VERY masculine.  She was a police officer and had a very intimidating appearance and demeanor about her.  And she was also physically, verbally, and emotionally abusive to my friend.  She was beating her up, holding her captive in their home, and all kinds of awful stuff.  Having seen this other woman a few times, everything about her seemed so very unappealing.  I could not at all understand what attracted my friend to her.  And she stayed with her and took her abuse for a good year or so.  That wasn’t like my friend AT ALL to put up with such bad treatment.  I had always known her as a very head-strong woman.  It took awhile, but we finally helped her get out of that abusive relationship and away from that woman.

Very soon after that she met and began dating another female cop.  They’ve been together for a few years now and are engaged to get married next year.  I’ve met her current partner a few times and was Facebook friends with her for a short time.  I don’t know her very well at all, but she has a very impressive educational and career resume: multiple college degrees, a military veteran, and now a police officer.  She seems to be very disciplined and straight laced, which I admire, but she also seems a little……authoritarian.  Despite being an openly gay woman, she’s also a VERY staunch Conservative Christian Republican.  Huh.  [scratches head]  It’s actually pretty odd to see someone with as much education as she has subscribing to that kind of ideology.  You don’t normally see very many hardcore Christian Conservatives with that high a level of education….especially when they’re also openly gay.  There has to be an incredible amount of cognitive dissonance going on there in order to live out that huge glaring contradiction every single day.  Out of sheer curiosity, I once politely asked this woman how she was able to reconcile being gay while also belonging to a political party and a religion that both denounce gay people and seek to deny them their basic civil rights.  She snapped at me that she is a Christian and a Republican FIRST and a gay woman SECOND.  Again, I fail to see how that makes any logical sense since being gay is something you are BORN as and being a Christian or a Republican is a choice.  Logic would dictate that being a gay woman–her very natural identity–would come first.

My friend used to be a pretty cool, open-minded, laid back, non-judgmental, F-bomb dropping, crude humor loving, fun-seeking gal.  But ever since she began dating this woman her personality has changed dramatically.  I’m talking a complete 180 change into someone totally different.  She’s now a SUPER religious, Trump-voting, police and military worshiping, family values-touting, Conservative Republican.  She’s no longer the same person I used to know at all.

The first change I noticed was when she suddenly went from being a messy, disorganized pack rat to being perfectly neat and organized. I knew this had to be the influence of her very disciplined and orderly military girlfriend, and I actually lauded this as a positive change since she used to live kinda like a hoarder before this.  Then she suddenly declared that she was never going to utter another curse word ever again because it was “un-Christian”.  I viewed this as kind of odd and silly and unlike her, but OK whatever.  The majority of her Facebook posts anymore are all about God and prayer, how great our military and our law enforcement agencies are, and how anyone who protests against the President or the government or any political issue is a no good, unpatriotic, America-hating, lazy piece of crap who needs to leave the country.  You can imagine how much self-restraint it has taken for me to keep my mouth shut all this time.

What concerns me the most is that this is not who she used to be AT ALL.  I’ve been struggling to make sense of how it is possible to completely change one’s entire personality and embody such a contradictory set of qualities.

I think the most annoying aspect of her new personality is this whole patriotic pro-military-and-police-force kick she’s on now.  And I know it’s all because her fiance is a cop and a veteran.  She went from not really caring about any of this at all to suddenly being like “You better support our troops and show respect to our police officers, and when the national anthem plays you better stand your ass up and show some respect for this nation!!!”  She nearly shit a brick when pro-football player Colin Kaepernick protested against police brutality of African Americans by silently kneeling during the national anthem.  I personally thought that Kaepernick’s method of protesting was quite classy and respectful, but she spoke of him as if he were the anti-Christ who hated America.  Recently she was traveling by plane and heard that a deceased veteran’s body and his surviving family were flying on the same plane en route to his funeral in another state.  She literally bawled her eyes out for hours after learning this.  For real.  Yes, I can see how something like that would be a touching moment, but is it really enough to turn into a blubbering sobbing mess over??  Come on now!   She even gets very emotional and tears up whenever she sees an American flag or any image pertaining to military or law enforcement.  I don’t know if this is all just an act or if she really is this super sensitive to anything pertaining to American patriotism, but it’s just fucking ridiculous.  I love my country too, but I certainly don’t start crying every time I see an American flag.  Seriously.  Virtually all of the men in my family have served in the military as well, and although I respect their service, I certainly don’t idolize and hero worship them, either.  She sometimes complains that she thinks EVEEYONE should be require to sign up with the military and serve for a few years.  So then why doesn’t she lead by example by marching herself down to the recruiting center and enlisting herself???  Just typical “Do as I say, not as I do” nonsense, I guess.

She’s the same way when it comes to worshiping law enforcement officers, too.  She is really throwing herself into this whole “police wife” identity.  She attends every police function, she joined a special club for police wives, she calls herself a “police wife” all the time, she puts together these elaborate functions for police wives, and she constantly posts on Facebook about how great police officers are and how they always deserve the utmost respect.  I totally understand that it’s normal to be supportive of a partner’s career, but she really takes it to a whole other level.  What’s even more irritating is that whenever another story about police officers killing black citizens appears in the news, she either ignores it, tries to brush it off by claiming that these incidents are either extremely rare or completely fabricated, or just outright says that the people who were killed did something to deserve it.  YIKES!!  In her eyes, cops can do no wrong and always deserve the benefit of the doubt.  And now that she’s marrying a cop, she suddenly thinks she’s in a league above most other people and has stopped hanging out with any of her friends who might “make her look bad”.  That’s just really shitty of her to turn her back on people she’s known for many years just because she’s marrying a cop.  Since when does marrying a cop suddenly make someone an elite pillar of society anyway???  Most cops aren’t exactly pillars of society themselves anymore, in case you haven’t heard about all of the beatings and murders they’ve been commiting with impunity against minority citizens lately, including unarmed KIDS.  And if she thinks police officers are such gods, then why hasn’t she ALWAYS worshiped them for most of her life???  Or why doesn’t she go sign up with the police academy so she can join the ranks of these people she holds in such high esteem??? She didn’t start worshiping them until she began dating one, so it’s all just a bunch of phony baloney.

She’s become the same way with church and religion, too. She never used to be much of a religious person, but now she’s in church several times a week and she often posts on Facebook about the power of God and “prayer warriors”.  Of course, it’s certainly not my place to demean or criticize someone for finding fulfillment in religion, but my point is that she did not use to be like this at all until she paired up with her current partner.

Speaking of religion, I don’t understand how she and her partner are able to sit in church all the time and listen to ministers preach to them about how their very existence as gay women is an abomination.  I mean, I can’t speak for them since I’m not them, but to me that just seems like voluntarily subjecting yourself to weekly verbal and mental abuse.  Of course, I realize that there are some churches and denominations out there that are pretty open-minded and don’t view homosexuality as a sin, but this particular church she attends doesn’t strike me as being one of them.

And here’s the strangest and most shocking change of all: My friend–who before was always very adamant about not ever wanting kids and remaining childfree–now suddenly says she wants to have a bunch of kids with her partner and play the “mom role”.  This sudden change floored me the most of all.  My friend has always been VERY steadfast in her belief that she never wanted to raise kids.  She always said she had no motherly instincts and had far better things to do with her time than change diapers.  She never wanted to have children when she was in her 20’s and 30’s and married to a man, but now that she’s in her 40’s and marrying another woman she suddenly wants to have a bunch of babies???  I don’t get it at all.  When she first mentioned this, I asked her what made her change her mind about it, but she ignored my question and never answered me.  The choice to remain childfree is not something that people do on a whim, it’s a choice that people make after a lot of thought and deliberation.  For her to suddenly do a 180 change on such a major core life decision makes me wonder if this is all really HER decision.

The point I’m trying to make with all of this is that my friend has gone through a HUGE personality change since pairing up with her new partner and has completely changed most of her core personality traits.  It’s normal for someone to want to share the interests of their partner and be influenced by their partner in small ways, but this is just extremely excessive.  It’s as if my friend has completely adopted the life and identity of her partner and become a clone of her.  And with the way that she constantly writes these novel-length Facebook posts detailing every little thing she admires and loves about her partner, it really seems as if she is outright IDOLIZING her partner.  She’s acting like a cheerleader who has a huge schoolgirl crush on the football captain and plasters team paraphernalia all over everything.  I just don’t think that any of this is normal or healthy at all.

After finally being able to articulate what I had been observing for a long time, I finally mentioned this to several other friends of mine in private and asked them for their objective opinions on it.  They all gave the same answer:  This is not normal behavior at all and that it sounds like my friend has some dependency issues.  They said it sounds like my friend has a very weak personality–or NO core personality of her own–so she adopts the personality and interests of whomever she is dating in order to please them.  She’s like a chameleon; her personality and identity shape shifts to mirror whoever she is dating.  One of my friends even told me about how her former mother-in-law had done a complete 180 personality change FIVE TIMES when she went back and forth between her first and second husbands.  Five different times she went back and forth between being a “tree-hugging, pacifist, Liberal artist” to a “militant, staunch uber-Right Wing nutjob who collects every gun imaginable.”  I can’t even comprehend that that is even possible to do!!!  So apparently my friend isn’t the only person who has ever been guilty of acting like a chameleon.  I’ve actually seen this happen before with a few other people, so I think there is some truth to what they are saying.  Being influenced in some ways by a romantic partner is normal and expected, but completely changing your political ideologies, personal religious beliefs, and your personal stance on whether or not to have children is NOT normal.  Those are some serious red flags.

I also have to wonder how much of this drastic change has been voluntary for my friend.  Like I said before, her partner strikes me as rather bossy and authoritarian due to her career as a military servicewoman and a police officer, so I can’t help but wonder if she has in any way coerced my friend into changing so many key components of her personality.  My friend has already proven before that she is drawn to strong, masculine, authoritative types of women as partners, so she may be acquiescing to her current partner’s authoritarian personality and demands out of a sense of need to please her.  They SEEM to be very happy and this woman seems to be very good to my friend, but the truth is none of us really know what goes on behind closed doors.  I already know multiple married couples who spent years publicly portraying themselves as blissfully happy and in love when in reality they were absolutely miserable and constantly at each other’s throats behind closed doors.  I’ve heard many times before that those who proclaim the loudest to be happy are actually trying to convince themselves more than other people.  My friend certainly goes overboard with the nonstop photos and posts about how happy and in love she is with her partner and how they are going to have the perfect life together, so I can’t help but suspect that she is trying to cover up something.

One of my other friends also warned me that these types of relationships usually sputter and burn out as abruptly as they began and that I should just sit back and wait for the eventual fallout.  Now I can’t say that I WANT to see that happen, because I really do want to see my friend be happy.  But I have to admit there is definitely some truth to what my other friends have said about this weird situation.  So I guess the only thing I can do is just continue to be supportive and go along with it while half watching for my friends’ predictions to eventually happen.

It’s becoming increasingly uncomfortable to be around her when she goes off on tangents about this stuff, especially since she knows I personally don’t agree with a lot of it.  She knows I’m an Atheist, she knows I hate Trump, she knows I often curse, and she knows I am very wary and critical of the abuse of power by law enforcement officials against marginalized people.  I also must not have as much love for this country as she does since I don’t start crying when I see an American flag, either.  But so far I have mostly just ignored it and not said much of anything.  I know that she would completely lose her shit if I contradicted her, and it’s just not worth an argument.  But these types of uncomfortable friendships often have a habit of solving themselves.  She has already stated that she no longer associates with all of her old friends because some things about them would “make her look bad” if she continued to associate with them now that she’s marrying a cop.  So I have a very strong feeling that we won’t be seeing much of each other anymore anyway.  It saddens me, but it is what it is.  She really isn’t the same person I used to know and like anyway.

This has been eating at me for a long time, and I actually feel a lot better now that I have talked about it with some other people and vented my thoughts in this blog post.  Like I said earlier, I want my friend to be happy and I don’t want our friendship to completely end.  We have a lot of good memories together and I will forever be appreciative of all she has done for me when I needed it.  But I just can’t help but feel that this sudden and drastic personality change with her is a sign of something really bad.

**Update: After mulling it over for an entire day, I finally gave in and said something to my friend about her attitude lately and her willingness to so easily cut her longtime friends out of her life just because she’s marrying a cop.  I pretty much let it all out and told her everything I’ve said in this blog post.  Of course she did not respond well to that at all, but I’m fine with that.  It needed to be said.  Maybe one of these days she will really think about what I’ve said and realize there is some truth to it.**

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