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Casual Cruelty
~ the unseen damage that people do when they make promises they do not keep
BY CAROLE SAWO  [25/2/23]

One of the greatest female liars I ever met, actually said to me, “the problem is Carole, you have issues with trust”.  Sometimes the audacity (and projection) is stunningly spectacular.  “Perhaps you need to go see a therapist”, they continued.  ‘Perhaps you need to change yours’, I replied.

It would be easy, sadly far too easy, for me to draw on thousands of examples of where I’ve either observed or experienced the emotional and psychological pain that is done in the heart and mind, when those we put faith in, loved and trusted, made a promise they didn’t keep.  Promises range from relatively unimportant arrangements to meet, to life-changing commitments that alter a future, but it matters not.  To add insult to unverbalised injury, with each broken promise comes the standard cover-up.  The flippant, off-the-cuff, half-arsed apology, that is not worth the toilet paper on which it is written.  A typed word, if that, only given to manipulate the victim into the emotionally blackmailed position of not being able to speak their real truth, that their behaviour has caused them pain. 

When we pull the curtain right back on the motivators of broken promises, it ranges across a spectrum from everyday thoughtlessness to deliberate conniving.  The former doesn’t employ consciousness, and that’s the problem, they didn’t think their promise through before they made it.  Or they got a better offer? As a result, they will act offended, and protest when their behaviour is pointed out.  The latter motivator comes from pure malice, they consciously knew that they were going to feed off their victim before the stunt was pulled.  Sadly, none of these explanations makes it right or fair on the one who suffers the fallout.  Hence this article.  Written, because with every broken promise in what is truly ‘casual cruelty’ behaviour, the fabric of our world, of our communication, of our relationships, is silently, yet brutally eroded.  Or destroyed altogether.  When a promise is broken, a light goes out in a soul.

The problem with people making promises is that once they have uttered the words, the listener begins to create a vision of what will come.  Not necessarily a full-blown phantasy, but a general image of a nice meeting up, an exchange, with anyone from acquaintances, friendships and lovers.  With everything from sharing and laughter to intimacy and love. Once a promise is made, we set about accommodating for it in our lives by making arrangements behind the scenes, adjusting diaries, buying things, and clearing away to facilitate the promise unfolding.  We breathe a sigh of relief – or re-life. Sometimes going to great lengths by spending large sums of money and time, or changing up lifestyles altogether.  Not only is the one let down left to deal with disappointment, upset, or a lost opportunity for fun.  In many cases, they are left with the unrequited phantasy of unexchanged love.

Forgiveness is the subject of another article altogether.  But for here, now, and on behalf of all those who are good for their word and who suffered the casual cruelty of those who are not, the betrayers’ behaviour, saturated in excuses, cop-outs and irresponsibility for the chaos and harm that they alone created and downloaded on you, is utterly appalling.  But all karma, like boomerangs, will return. Your task then is to not have their behaviour change you or yours.  I’m mindful of a ship that must sail across emotionally turbulent seas.  Where one must stay steady at the wheel.  Undisturbed and unperturbed by the waves, sharks, storms and rocks all about them.  Focused still on the grand plan, that faithful navigation is found in the trust that one can only have in themselves.  Knowing one day, their ship will come in.


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