Incongruent, and why it matters to you

The first time I remember hearing the word, incongruent, was in relation to geometry. Geometry is a funny part of math. Most people who study algebra and geometry either love algebra and hate geometry or hate algebra and love geometry.

I pretty much loathed geometry because my teacher was incompetent and sexist. He would not answer any questions in the class asked by females. Granted, most of the young women in my class did not care and therefore had no questions, it only mattered to me. One of my male friends in the class had mercy on me,and he would ask my questions for me. Despite Andrew’s help, I hated geometry because it seemed specific and arbitrary at the same time. The theories were very specific and seemed to have to go in a designated order in the proofs, and our ridiculous textbooks did not include the rules/reasons for the for designated order. God help us if the teacher was supposed to explain anything, especially if you were female.

I also had an outrageous algebra teacher, but I loved algebra. I loved balancing both sides of the equation and feeling like a superstar detective while I did it. My best friend’s dad tutored us after school, and went step by step to make sure we got it without being intimidated. He didn’t refuse to answer questions because we were females.

And now, back from the rabbit trail, simply put, incongruent means that one triangle is not equal to another triangle. If they are congruent, all of the angles of one are equal to all of the angles of the other triangle.

A person is incongruent when their outside expression of emotions does not equal what is going on in the mind. As a psych nurse, I can tell you that an incongruent patient can be a dangerous type of patient because while they may look happy and be the life of the party at your office, they may go home on the weekend and end it all with the nearest handgun while their spouse is at the grocery store.

I am about to give you a geometric theorem of sorts for people.

Some people are legitimately happy and well adjusted.

Some people have led tortured lives and to cope with the pain they learned to be comedic.

Both of them are in your world. You cannot tell which is which.

Therefore, keep your eyes and ears open and be kind hearted to both.

Be available if they call you out of the blue and need to “just talk.”

Listen for expressions that translate to hopelessness and helplessness.

Ask them if they are feeling suicidal. Ask them if they have a plan and the means to carry it out. If they do, call 911. Let the police evaluate them, and if necessary, get them to a place where they will be safe from self harm.


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