Growing up it was a big deal in our family, telling the truth. I still remember the talks my mother would have with me as a child and onward, about lies. My mother is a very expressive person and when she gets to sharing, her hands start to move in poetic synchronization with her words. Her face lights up and her eyes sparkle as she shines that jovial smile of hers. Lessons of wisdom from her were like reading an elaborately expressive storybook. It always helped to drive the meaning of the story, home. She used to tell me how great the truth was, how it frees us. She would go on to say that when we lie, we not only have to remember our lies but we start creating more lies just to cover up the original one, and how it becomes an endless cycle. She told me we also have to live with the guilt from them and hold up those facades continually in remembrance of what they are and WHY they are. That it’s an exhausting effort which in turn eats away at us and hardens our heart to bitterness. She always made sure that I understood that the lie does far more damage as the web spins, than simply telling the truth. And boy was she right!
This has been one of the hardest years in many, for both my family and myself. To unexpected illnesses to surgeries to death of loved ones. Adding insult to injury, the family having been efficiently ripped apart by an outsider’s persistent need for solidarity through vicious lies. It is disconcerting at the least and saddens me inside. Family is hardly a stranger to gossip and nastiness. It seems to be the norm in families to push each other to their breaking points. Or maybe it’s just normal in dysfunctional families, but I digress. As one of my favorite phrases go “I chew on a problem ’til it loses its flavor and then stick it in my hair,” in over-analyzing every issue as I do, it gives me no other option than to face it and gain insight… Eventually. It got me thinking of how quickly one single lie — just one — can turn so many lives upside down. The lie itself being so minimal in the end. The effects of it however, stay reverberating indefinitely.
I held my Mother’s shared wisdom close to my heart and conscience all of these years. I knew of all the things that I learned in adolescence, this would prove to be priceless. However, I did not understand how closely being truthful would place me on the side of solitude. Whether it be for the lack of others in my life wanting to hear the truth, or those who didn’t believe in its necessity. The defensive Hillary Clinton sound clip heard round the world of “At this point, what difference does it make?!” springs to mind. Though to the person being hurt by the misrepresentation of truth and disregard for its aftermath, it makes all of the difference in the world. As I got older it seemed that I had become a magnet for people who didn’t find strength in the invaluable truth and there weren’t many loyal to it and the ones they care about. Each time that I looked up I was being faced with another person close to me, letting me down in this right. I started to feel like I was the one out of place. That my own desire to receive what I had believed was necessary to show, would at the most, be returned void and it usually was. It has hurt and at times angered me so much over the years that when it happened again – I found myself thrown back into that same original point of pain, frustration and disappointment. I unraveled in the midst of it. It became my trigger. That hot button that once pushed, a massive explosion ensues. Yeah, this was my button. I’ve always been somewhat of a short fuse to say the least, and in not too long of a time passed, I was one quite often. I blamed it on my hot tempered Latin blood, but… That turned out to be more of a cop-out for lack of self control.
Somehow upon creation I was given the “human lie detector” gene. My ex-husband hated it and I’m sure my husband now isn’t too fond of it either. I’d say it’s a gift, but quite honestly – it’s not. When you know inside of your gut that someone is being untruthful it creates a revolving door of mistrust for everything and everyone you come in contact with. You know when they’re lying, you don’t know how you know, but you KNOW with every ounce of your being. That intuition for me is like booming sirens going off each time. I couldn’t overlook it no matter how much I wanted to. “Ignorance is bliss,” is an accurate saying, though I’ve never had the luxury of experiencing it in these situations, I sure would have loved to be afforded the luxury.
Through this passing year, I have struggled greatly with the understanding of why people lie. I have raked over and over this perplexing dilemma of mine so much so that I have mulched the leaves, decimated the dirt and hit bedrock. And then I remembered my Mother’s sage words as I was a child. When people lie about you, it is due to their own insecurities and covering up of whatever they are hiding within themselves. When they choose to believe lies, it is due to their own ignorance and need for belief in the person that they trust, showing them loyalty and honesty. The truth never has variations. It doesn’t waver between one story and another, it isn’t added to or taken away from, it is not stretched beyond its perameters, it stays consistent. (See Mom – your advice did stick!)
I discovered that most people will lie out of fear and the need to protect themselves. That they will not stand up if it means they have to sacrifice anything in the process. In the interim I have taken up the response of immediately walking away from those unwilling to tell the truth or stand in it alongside me. This used to (and probably still is) a sign of me running from an issue to some, but I don’t duck and cover, I face the problem, make my stance known and walk away. For me to look someone in the eye and be truthful, I am telling them that I respect them and hold their trust in high regard. That I will stand for them, even and especially when no one else will. Through this, I am showing love for and to them. As I get older, it has become increasingly more important to be surrounded with people who are like-minded in this.
In turn, the opposite is true when you are lied to or about. Therein resides the pain and consequent upheaval of relationships… We find ourselves jumping to our own defense because we often know or at the least believe that no one else will. The disconnect begins, in forgetting to stand silently and watch the truth unfold, as it is its very own defense. Instead self-sabotage takes over with the muddying of the waters by showing our own human response to being hurt. Thus giving the ones that need to be exposed, a reaction to hide behind and a useful manner by which to deflect. As well as giving the spectators a lovely shade of angry to view you through. Say goodbye to long standing relationships and be prepared to be the outsider going forward, when you are naturally a defender of truth. Regardless of your intention to not let the fodder slink away Scott-free, your response is typically used against you and will usually wind up being the catalyst. And there you are, the drama to be avoided.
I’ve thought about all of the many characters I’ve had the unfortunate pleasure of being up against in my life. The ones who take lying to such new art forms that they almost make it believable. The Emotional Manipulators – You know the ones. That use tears to gain overwhelming sympathy for their story. Playing on your emotions and making you believe that they are telling the truth by their crying and words of, “I just want everyone to get along.” When the truth is, they don’t know normalcy outside of manipulating others through show of emotion. They will take a situation personal to you and spend 1% of the time concerned with how it affects you and the rest of the time discussing how much they are affected by it. Again to gain sympathy and be the center of attention. At the end of an encounter you walk away feeling sorry for them, often times apologizing for somehow hurting them. It isn’t until you’ve gotten clear of their trap that you realize the apology due to you was never given nor the issue acknowledged. They walked away feeling vindicated and you, feel liking nothing was solved.
Then there’s the Narcissist… Anyone who has ever had to deal with these types of human beings know that you leave the encounter feeling that somehow you were the one completely in the wrong and they, the saint. Their story was the only one that could possibly make sense and you had better apologize for speaking in honesty as it has offended them. There is no winning with these types of people, you either avoid the fight all together or you gear up for the long haul because by simply being you and not them, you have thoroughly offended them. When you try to speak the truth, if it in any way paints them in a bad light in their own mind – they will sidestep it and refer back to whatever they feel you have done. They gaslight, bombarding you with a hundred things you did wrong and distort every minute aspect to being your fault. The ultimate goal, for you to admit you were wrong and they were right. They have to be right and they have to be praised for being so right.
Then there’s the rage monger. These are probably the most deceptive as in the presence of others they are as logical and kind as the day is long. But when you are one on one, they use the lack of audience to say the most hateful and appalling things that they can, to get you to the point of submission. Often times you wind up giving in just to successfully maneuver away from the nasty war of words that will inevitably continue throughout time, if you don’t.
The bottom line though is, people lie out of fear. Fear of not living up to others expectations, fear of not being loved and accepted by those close to them for exactly who they are inside. Fear of the light being shed on the areas that maybe aren’t so glamorous. Fear of being left alone. Fear of what they will see when they look at themselves. Fear of what damage the truth could cause. Not realizing that the truth leaves little consequence. If people do not accept you for the truth of who you are, what you’ve done or said, etc. then it’s much fewer steps and trips to heartbreak in your life knowing that sooner rather than later. At least the ones who do accept and love you, do so for who you are, completely.
In being truthful, you are willingly offering up your mistakes and calling them to the forefront for everyone to pull apart as they want. There’s a big stake put up in that circumstance, every single time. You are not only allowing yourself to be examined with microscopic precision, but you are pointing to all of your flaws as they examine! ALL relationships (friendships, family, romantic) are the same in the fact that they all require effort, time, regard, respect and consideration of both individuals involved in order to stay on track. When the scales are imbalanced and one is giving more than the other is willing to, things have to change back to equality if it’s going to last. I have never regretted speaking in honesty. I’ve never looked back and felt I shouldn’t have spoken up. It may not always be pretty — the saying, “The truth hurts” is a saying for this very reason — but it was necessary.
Though my mother never taught me the life of solitude that could sometimes come from standing in the truth (THANKS MOM!) she did teach me the necessity of doing so. She taught me the freedom in it. I know now, that it is not my calling in this infinite Universe to carry the burden of the aftermath for those who cannot face the truth. Their fear does not have to become my debilitation. Instead I can separate myself from the detriment of those relationships and give myself the permission to be in peace in the truth. When we can remember that standing in the truth means JUST STANDING IN IT and allowing it to reveal itself, then my Mother’s advice is right on the money — The truth really can and will set us free.