Or, rather, it may be plastic (I'm holding on to a smidgen of hope).
There is this resident who came to the group home I work in just about eight months ago. He was a holy terror. Each shift working with him was an eight hour scrap-fest. But then one night, as he screamed and cried about missing his mother, I asked him if I could pray with him. Overtime, his prayers became less about him and more about others. His behavior took a major turn around. It seemed to be a miracle. Literally.
But over the past two months, this kid has unraveled. Everything about him has changed. His behavior, his way of thinking, his mannerisms, even his appearance. Its so disheartening.
I know a couple things: A) There are some great manipulators out there. But being two people at once is exhausting. Eventually the act will fade away and the real person within will be exposed. B) Trauma messes up a person, but the 'when' of it's effects is unpredictable. We repress until we can't anymore, and the stress of... whatever-it-is can make a person go nuts until they get it all worked out.
So, this kid, well... I'm debating; is he option A) or is he option B)? Or is he some weird combination of the two? Does it even matter? Should it effect my approach? Is he just bad? Because there are undoubtedly bad people out there, and bad people were kids too at one point.
"... the things that come out of a person are what defile him... All these evil things come from within..." Mark 7:15b, 23a