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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.


Posted in: Joyce Alexander

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

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  1. Louise says:

    Hoarding a lot of times is a sign of depression.



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  2. skylar says:

    Truthy,
    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.



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  3. Ox Drover says:

    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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