You’re Not Who You Used to Be

I heard part of the story about Capgras syndrome on NPR today. This is a condition in which you feel like the person you love (friend, spouse, etc) has been replaced by a stranger with the exact same physical attributes.

It is always good to hear about offshoots of schizophrenia that most of us have “suffered” from (sarcasm). If I knew about this condition earlier, I would have brought it up as a way to ease the dreaded conversation of breaking up with a girlfriend. “It’s not you, it’s me… and my Capgras syndrome”.

I won’t make any more light of this syndrome, as it is clear that many people do really suffer from it, either due to brain damage or a chemical imbalance. However, it does remind me of an interesting point that the way we perceive people has just as much to do with the person being perceived as it does with the perceiver. In fact, habit and self-delusion will often prevent us from detecting change in other people or ourselves which creates a potential gap in our relations.

Undesired change is difficult to observe. Watching a slow train wreck is stressful, especially given that doing anything about it will cause even more stress. So we suffer in our own little world with our own little bouts of Capgras syndrome. The solution is to embrace change. Constantly question the validity of your assumptions. Of course, this is a stressful existence, and perhaps in the case of relationships, sometimes a little trust in yourself and your partner can be a much needed breather from reality.

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