Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers ideas for maintaining your mental health.
Things aren't what they seem. People vary so much from one situation to another. A businessman protrays the calm, intelligent exterior of a successful leader. A model glows with joy around her family. A senior citizen jokes good-naturedly with friends. All that is surface behavior. The businessman is viciously abusive with his wife and children. The model has a serious eating disorder and suffers with anxiety and depression. The seemingly jolly older man has health issues and becomes painfully sullen and grumpy at home.
A car mechanic compliments a woman's husband, saying that he'sso nice, always so polite. The woman thinks, "but he's unfaithful, a liar, a thief." How nice is that? A neighborhood woman comments about her friendly, helpful, nice neighbor, who is also dating a married man. A couple has started dating and they're so romantic and comfortable together. Neither has yet seen the other's capacity for manipulation, guilt, anger, and self-pity, which played out so avidly in past relationships.
People do change. They do show different aspects of themselves in different situations. Yet, deception is rampant, too, so be careful not to judge quickly, to suspend belief until you really know the full story, and to relaize that there are two or more sides to every image or story.