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Yin to Loved One's Yang

March 13 , 2021
By Kidist Yidnekachew ( Kidist Yidnekachew has degrees in psychology and journalism and communications. She can be reached at )

It is hard to fathom how a sweet person, at least someone fwho led us to believe this of them, can become mean. Some of us would argue that they were only pretending to be good, and when they realise they cannot keep up, they show their true colours. But as we grow up, we come to realise that matters are more complex than they appear at the outset. Good people could do bad things and vice-versa. It is often up to us to what standard we hold them.

Imagine my predicament then, when I found a person close to me having committed an act I had assumed they could never be guilty of. It is an experience that puts our trust in other people under the microscope.

She is a friend of the family. Hard working, on many occasions she had proven to us how possible it was for someone to be responsible. She does her job full-heartedly and handles my finances well. She also cares for my son as if he was hers.

But not long ago she came to my house wearing my jewellery. It was recognisable as it had an engraving. But I was lost as to why it was on her neck.

Did I lend it to her or did she find it lying around in the house and wanted to try it on?

After battling with myself for several minutes to mention or drop it, I decided to bring it up and asked.

"That necklace looks like mine. The similarity is uncanny. Are you sure it isn't mine?” I said with a smile. She looked at me with a straight face and said, "You haven't seen this necklace before? I had it for three years.”

But what does the engraving on the necklace mean?

“Which engraving? Where?” she said, looking at me funny. And then after a while, “I barely wear this necklace. I never noticed. Does yours have an engraving as well?”

It did, I explained, but did not know where the necklace was at the moment. She told me to look for it. For a while, she even had me second-guessing myself. I was confused and thought maybe that was not my necklace, and she was just wearing a similar one. I wanted to check if I did not imagine the whole thing. I called my husband and told him to take a good look at the necklace. He recognised it immediately.

After that, I tried not to stare at her neck and changed the subject. Since she is dear to me, I did not want to make her uncomfortable and accuse her, but I also wondered what else she took from my family or me. It was not clear why she would take the necklace, especially as she has had access to other more expensive stuff.

More pertinent, how will this change the dynamic of our relationship if what happened was just the tip of the iceberg?

There are many questions only time can answer, but I act normal whenever I see her and try to focus on her good side and her contributions to my family.

My mother-in-law often said no matter what good we do and how strong we are, people will judge us for that one mistake we made. Most of us expect our loved ones to be perfect or to at least strive for perfection. We hold them to a higher standard, leaving them no room for mistakes.

Was what happened with my family friend a mistake? Or something more sinister?

Most of us think we are good, but certain circumstances test us and bring out the yin to our yang. When these things keep happening more than once, we are not sure which side of the spectrum we find ourselves on any longer. We are too scared to admit to ourselves that we too could be bad or do wrong. What remains is what our loved ones see of us. We mostly try to hide it as much as we can, but when it finally unravels, it is often hard to put the cat back in the bag.

PUBLISHED ON Mar 13,2021 [ VOL 21 , NO 1089]

Kidist Yidnekachew has degrees in psychology and journalism and communications. She can be reached at

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