Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Not married to the idea

Interesting case that spans ethics, philosophy and etymology. A friend asked me if there was a word in the English language for the emotion of sadness and crushing betrayal that included manipulation despite people warning you for years that the person in question is suspicious. (I think run-on sentences are acceptable when you are balling-your-eyes-out and half of your brain seems to be flowing out of your nose.)

I honestly don't think that there is such a specific word; the closest I can find is deflation. When I suggested that, they paused and then agreed. "That makes sense - the moment the realisation hit me I collapsed like a deflated balloon."

So what happened? It was an invitation to a party.

Date: Mon, 5 Dec 2016 10:33:51 +0000
Subject: My News!

Hello ████████████,
I hope all is well with you, █{partners name spelled incorrectly}█?

I got engaged █{redacted}█ We met █{redacted}█ 3 months ago.

█{redacted}█ would you do me the honour of being my best man please?! █{redacted}█ It would not be a big affair, registry office and then retreating to a beer tent for a buffet meal, etc. Mainly friends and apart from █{daughter}█, no other family. █{redacted}█

(The purple is original, the redacting and highlighting is mine.)

My friend's suspicion was up. They thought that they were friends, but not "will you be my best man" friends. Something felt wrong. Also why not invite their partner?

Their emails expressing doubt go back and forth including one reply from the groom:

Hello ████████████,
Actually I am serious! So, I would be happy to pay for your flight to and from █{redacted}█No problem re Best Man duties, I have asked █{redacted}█ to perform for me, such as it will be...

So what's up with the "no other family". My friend said, "I do not want any contact with them."
(Clearly something that causes them pain, and from the emails it seems to be understood by both parties.)

So they saved up for months and bought their own flight, (they felt it was the least that they could do, despite having no disposable income.) Which explains why their phone does not have roaming and they could not send or receive SMS or phone calls when they got to a country where they don't speak a word.

"I felt powerless and exposed. My credit card would not work. Its a strange vulnerability we have when we travel. So much trust in the travel system and that our destination will catch us. It is a leap into darkness, and when it fails its like losing a kidney."

 They had remembered the directions and "pick you up around 5 pm" so that is how they spent over 3 hours in front of a corner bodega, (between 4pm and 6:30pm). When it started to become dark they walked to the address that they had memorised and though it was hard for them to tell me through the pain and anger, "Houses have windows" more crying "you know?"

So they had become aware that they were not needed. Their friend had plenty of family there and their presence was not of vital importance. They had been manipulated. They felt betrayed and stupid.

"Its the kind of hurt that gets worse the more you think about it."
I showed them how to add email filters to delete any messages from their former friend, so that they would not be needled by seeing messages from them. Also a temporary filter to delete any message with "wedding" or related words. (I was going to write a quick Markov model to find the relevant words from their email exchange, but they thought they knew the words to us for filtering.) I also set the ring-tone on their phone to silent for that contact and tuned off vibration so that their abuser could not further force their attention upon them.

I expect that the newly married will justify their action with a sentence containing the four letters, JUST. Interestingly my analysis of this in french turns up the same four letters as the most common fulcrum of cognitive dissonance resolution.

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