[Somehow, as I wrote the title, I heard it in Martha Stewart’s voice. Heh.]
I have had a few relationships over the years, but only one was truly toxic. The others were variations of two incompatible people being attracted to each other at the wrong time. Except my last relationship, of course. That was true love, at least from my side. But I digress. The truly toxic ex was an expert in dragging me down, and one of the things he always said is that I change my mind too often.
At the time, I strenuously objected to being ‘vilified’ thus, and made huge, often ridiculous, attempts to prove otherwise. I had once said I find African-American men very attractive, and a few months later I said I didn’t. This example sticks out most in my mind, because he was a jerk about it. [As an aside, I realise that my attraction to any given man doesn’t factor their race into the equation.]
Many years down the line, I read a lot about psychology to understand the workings of my mind and its reactions. There, I came across something called consistency bias.
In short, consistency bias is a memory bias that makes you believe that your thoughts, beliefs, tastes, and attitudes are the same as they are now. And no, they aren’t.
Not only does our environment change, but we as individuals change dramatically as well. Our life experiences are hardly ever stagnant, and our reactions to those experiences is always slightly different.
There was a time in my life when I hated food. Or at least I thought I hated food. Of course, that no longer holds true. I was just eating food that didn’t agree with me, and I created a mental association between feeling poorly and eating.
Today, I am a vastly different person to the innocent, gullible child I was, not understanding so much of what happens around me. I have matured and become kinder, by understanding the guiding forces behind people’s behaviour.
If I ever meet the toxic ex again, I will feel terribly sorry for him. His poisonous mind can’t have made life pleasant for himself. Or for those around him.