It never takes much to know a person’s true intentions. The reason: Some things cannot be faked.
Recently, I’ve thought of a simple test to always know a person’s true intentions. This wouldn’t work in all situations, but it will work in most situations. Ask yourself the question: “Can they swallow their pride?” Whatever the answer, it will reveal more than just their intentions, but their true character overall.
If the answer is no, then always assume the worst. Someone who cannot swallow their pride is not a good person. It truly is that simple.
I’ll spend most of the post talking about the swallowing-pride test, but I want to spend a bit talking about signs – undeniable signs – that someone has good intentions.
Sun Tzu once said, “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” Basically, his advice is to allow your enemy to weaken themselves, or just plain destroy themselves. Of course, Tzu was talking about military situations, but his wisdom can be applicable socially as well.
Just this past week, I found myself in this exact situation. (Actually, I’ve found myself in this situation many times.) This most recent time, I chose, like I have many times before, to consciously go against Sun Tzu’s wisdom. I told them exactly what they’re doing wrong. Why did I do this? Because it’s never my intention to destroy people, even my enemies. Is that foolish? Maybe.
Strength is being as merciful as possible, and only striking when you have no other choice.
I criticize. That is my first resort. I don’t attack, except as a last resort. And criticism is supposed to sting, so that it teaches.
Warning my enemy has been a sign of constant good intentions. Giving your enemies chance after chance not to dig their own graves (figuratively speaking) is an undeniable sign that you do not wish to be enemies, and that you do not wish to destroy.
And to anyone who thinks it could be an act, I just have to ask you… How could being merciful and helpful toward your enemy be more beneficial than, you know, a sweeping victory?
Would I ever be shown the same clemency? Of course not. They have already tried everything they can to destroy me, legally. In fact, people have been warning me lately that the other side might switch to illegal means before too long, which I have already considered and prepared for. You have to prepare for that when you have an enemy who never stops trying to win, no matter how diplomatic you are; no matter how much restraint you show.
Back to the original topic of the post… Most of the time, to know a person’s true intentions, simply ask yourself: Can they swallow their pride?
I like to ask myself a more specific question: Can they manage a little kindness?
When it comes to my ex-wife, there have been times since our separation, and certainly after our official divorce, that I’ve been kind to her. But I will get to that shortly.
When it comes to kindness, in an emotional sense, I don’t care much for it at all. I spend 0 minutes per day concerning myself with how nice anyone is or not. The world is a shitty place; best not to get worked up over some bad attitudes. (Bad attitudes that usually stem from immaturity.)
But when it regards the subject of co-parenting with someone a person is no longer with, I still don’t care how “nice” they are or aren’t, on an emotional level, but I do care in a moral sense. In a moral sense, I care immensely, because it reveals a lot about that person’s motivations and intentions.
It’s about being able to swallow one’s pride. It speaks volumes about someone’s character if they can manage a little kindness toward someone they absolutely despise. And it speaks volumes if they can’t.
Despite all the psychoanalysis I’ve done of my ex-wife on this blog, I really never needed to analyze beyond the simple question of: “Can she manage a little kindness?” And since the answer is a solid “no,” that is the reason she lost our divorce trial, it is the reason she completely lost the second time she made us go to court, and that is the reason she will always lose. She has made it abundantly clear how immature she is, and she has made it abundantly clear that she does not have the best intentions.
People with good intentions can always manage a little kindness, even toward people they despise.
It’s not about making someone feel “warm and fuzzy.” It’s about being able to swallow one’s pride. EVERYONE with good intentions can swallow their pride.
She is the mother of our child. Does she have our child’s best interests at heart? Has she put our child’s interests above her own? I think it’s undeniable the answer to these questions is a solid “no.” Because when a person’s heart is in the right place, their actions will reflect that.
Her past actions:
- Her personality shifted drastically once our child was born.
- She consciously provoked me to give herself an excuse (in the eyes of her family) to leave me.
- She split up our family shortly after our child was born.
- She made no effort to reconcile after she left. None at all.
- When the state required us to mediate a plan for our lives after divorce, she stormed out of mediation after only five minutes. We weren’t even in the same room. (Our mediator went back and forth between our rooms.)
- Even when our case went all the way to court (when 90% of divorces don’t make it that far), she still displayed no desire to work together as parents.
Her current actions:
- To this day, she has still never displayed any remorse for her egregious actions.
- She still has not made any attempt to co-parent, or show true civility, outside of what our divorce judgment requires of her.
For the sake of honesty, I can think one, just one, minor instance of her being willing to co-parent outside of what is required of her. Unfortunately, in that instance, it was easy to deduce that she benefitted from it. So, it wasn’t genuine selflessness.
Has she done anything major? Not remotely. Never a damned thing, unless she profits from it.
Like a child – and this is why I will forever see my ex-wife as a child – she has to be ordered by authorities how to behave, because otherwise, she’ll just keep trying to take what she wants, make demands, throw fits, and have no desire to be reasonable or fair.
She thinks she’s always right no matter what, and completely lacks the ability to change her mind.
There have been times since our separation, and certainly after our official divorce, that I’ve been kind to my ex-wife.
- I have made apologies.
- I have repeatedly asked how she’s doing.
- I have repeatedly checked up on her to make sure she’s okay.
- I have repeatedly said, “Hope you sleep well.”
- I have offered her some of my own parenting time. (I’ve never had any obligation to do so.)
- For Thanksgiving 2020, I even gave her a Thanksgiving card, where I wrote, “I’m happy you are our daughter’s mother.” And yes, I meant it, at the time.
- For Christmas 2020, I asked if she wanted anything for Christmas.
Has she ever given any kindness of her own? Not once. The most she could muster was, once in a while, saying “goodnight” (always with an attitude), but even if that had been genuine, I wouldn’t consider it actual kindness. That would be more of a civility gesture than it is actual kindness.
Point is, she could never manage even a little. Not once. And that’s all the evidence required to prove she’s an abhorrent person with malicious intentions.
But I don’t need to prove it to the state. The state already recognizes her as a liar, and as ill-intentioned. That’s why my parenting days got increased, beyond what I had even asked for.
For full disclosure, I have consciously chose to stop going out of my way to show her any further kindness, until she finally gives some. I already paid enough, and the ball’s in her court. If she wants some, she has to give some now. No more one-way street in this regard. If she were to give any kind gesture, I would immediately repay it no problem. But her free trial has expired, so-to-speak, and now she has to pay for the subscription. I don’t think that’s unreasonable.
I have also decided to no longer go against Sun Tzu’s wisdom, as I talked about earlier. No more interrupting when the enemy is making a mistake.
If my ex-wife’s heart was in the right place, she could swallow her pride. If her heart was in the right place, she would value a healthy relationship with her ex more than she’d value her ego, for the sake of her child. Someone with good intentions would at least, at least, be able to fake it a little. But no. The court saw she didn’t have good intentions back when we got divorced, and the court will see it the next time we go as well.
So, to everyone in situations like mine, where you have good intentions, just keep this in mind. People with good intentions can swallow their pride. They don’t need authority to force them to behave, as if they are a child. Take note of the fact that people with poor intentions are incapable of swallowing their pride. To know what the other person is thinking, you never need to look further than that.