Stages of Grief: You've Been Dealing With a Disingenuous JerkS

You are an editor and one of your former writers has had a very public meltdown, having confessed to misrepresenting himself and basically being a fraud. You are feeling a lot of feelings, and none of them are good.

DENIAL

Despite a man's distant personal history, you know that a person can change and improve. You have met this person and talked to him at length; you respect his honesty and like his approach to ideas, even if you don't always agree with him. You believe in his intentions and you want to work with him.

ANGER

He is not what he led you to believe. He's confessed to being precisely the sort of person he spoke out against; he's said his work for you — work you stood behind, work you believed to be genuine — was fraudulent and insincerely motivated. He's undermined the mountains of shit you and your publication took for publishing him. He is a manipulative asshole. You are livid. How dare he?

BARGAINING

But, well, is he, like, okay? He's having a what appears at the time to be a meltdown. You're not entirely sure it's genuine but on the off chance it is — well, you are a human being who cares about the safety of another human being, and you are concerned that he or his family may be in danger. You reach out to make sure he's not going to harm himself; you want him to know that nothing is ever that bad.

DEPRESSION

You feel sick to your stomach. You are questioning your decisions, yourself, your judgment. What's happening? What have you done? You deserve to sit alone, in a darkened room, with nothing but your self-loathing.

ACCEPTANCE

You did what you thought was right at the time. You didn't quantifiably benefit from running his work, but you liked what he brought to the table. Months after you stopped working together, things got profoundly fucked up, but it doesn't entirely invalidate the exchange of ideas and the discussions that stemmed from his work. That was good. There's not much you can do at this point other than to distance yourself and walk away the wiser, having learned a few things about dealing with manipulative dicks.

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