by Dr Gonzo
Here I go again, writing on subjects no one wants to know about, let alone read. Unless???
|There is a subject few people want to deal with...truth. Oh, we're happy to talk about someone else's truth, but rarely do we wish to discuss our own. Totally understandable; after all, there would be few who haven't lived in denial at some point, and so, have a pretty good understanding of what is entailed when facing up to our own. |
When we are going through an emotional upheaval, some people use denial as a crutch, hoping it will help them through the difficult times whilst they are down. Again, totally understandable and is a conscious decision made to deny a truth that is too painful to face up to at that time. But eventually, when recovering from the trauma, the truth, which can bring so much wisdom, is often something they are reluctant to revisit, let alone speak about with others.
For each and every one of us, there exists a different truth. This is especially so when two people experience the breakdown of their relationship. They were both there. They both saw and heard everything the other did and yet, their stories will differ. And at times, these differences can be vast. There is no such thing as a simple truth when it comes to relationships, past hurt and abuse (both given and received). But, the fact of the matter is that the truth does not change, and will always be there if you have the courage and wisdom to look for it.
People will often go in search of the truth. Some will travel to far-off places to seek knowledge from those wiser and more perspicacious than they are. However, when one is seeking the truth from another, there are obvious risks involved. Scammers, liars, cheats or those looking to take advantage will tell you whatever you want to hear (and often those closer to home will do the same), but rarely will you hear 'the truth'. This is because, in reality, there IS only one person who knows the truth about you and your circumstances. And one thing is for sure, be it a guru, a psychologist or even a close friend, the only person you can absolutely rely on, to be honest, and truthful, is you. The only trouble with this is, how much denial is influencing your life.
Wouldn't it be nice if all the embarrassment, shame, sorrow and other negative emotions we may feel, emotions that can cause us to live in denial, could be made more positive by simply being honest with ourselves and the role we played that got us to that point? I'm not talking about shouting it out aloud for the world to hear. We may be ashamed of some of our past actions, but having the courage and the wisdom to acknowledge our flaws and regrets in order that we can learn from the experience is, in my opinion, more important than hiding it in our subconscious, where it will invariably bubble up in times of stress. And facing up to these truths will then make it a lot easier to share these less-than-proud moments either at the water fountain at work or over a coffee with a trusted friend; In order that they will know you better because you know you better.
The crux of the matter is if we have the courage to expose ourselves to the truth. This means exposing our actions and words for others to hear, which in turn brings accountability. Some may see this as showing weakness by admitting fault and showing remorse, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, showing our vulnerability is a strength and not a weakness. The main object of all of this is to help rid our lives of the guilt we feel and lug around like a dead weight (dead weight we don't even realise we are lugging around until we become free of it) and to realise there is nothing to fear in admitting our faults.
When I speak of truth, I am not talking about the lesser responsible, prettier version we wish was the truth. I mean the honest, no holds barred truth of what really happened. What WE did and not what they did, should be the focus. There comes a point where we shouldn't be focused on what THEY did or did not do because this is not about them, it's about you. Using a lot of them or they (she or he) statements is blaming and only limits us and what we can take from the experience. Using more I and me statements is the language of someone who has processed and accepted the new situation. This is proof that we are not hobbled by past experiences we cannot admit to ourselves, let alone to others.
An example would be the truth that comes after divorce. She said, he said, they said two completely different versions on pretty much everything, but we all know there is a third version that exists somewhere between those two other, less-than-forthright, versions.
Now, is one a liar and the other a saint? Or are they both telling the truth according to their own experiences? Memory is a strange thing at times and it depends on our subconscious mind's evaluation of the circumstances at hand on what it is we (choose to) remember. Let's be honest right now though, any subtle differences between the combatants are not due to Freudian slips or memory lapses. The 'facts' which are either left out or the exaggerations that are included, depending on the combatant's individual needs, especially when sharing the experience with others, are done to gain maximum sympathy/credit/condolences etc from friends, family and support networks.
At first, these accounts of how things were can be riddled with out-and-out blatant lies, along with the subconscious mind's dash of good intent to make all those not-quite truths the absolute truth at some point down the track. But as time goes by and the person we used to adore becomes more distant, the actual truth of what happened becomes less important. And as we go on, meeting new partners and making new friends, all of this past hurt gets pushed to the back of the mind, with an arbitrary undertaking to come to terms with it all at a more convenient time.
Something I read about our memory got me thinking. Apparently, we don't remember specific events, only the last memory we had of that event. Perhaps painful and possibly shameful experiences, especially ones we contributed to, could be like Chinese whispers, where each time we recall something from those less-than-proud moments, reality may get washed away and the better-for-us version may take a firm hold. And in extreme cases, these altered memories become the truth we believe and would swear to.
A therapist may help to unscramble why we feel and act in certain ways and under certain circumstances, but if this one-sided version is all that's brought to the sessions, progress will be limited, and the expensive sessions a complete waste. What is more likely and what most of us do is we accept we will have the occasional hissy. Absolutely, they always seem to manifest at the worst possible moments. And when in the middle of it all people who don't know us well raise their eyebrows and those who know us more than well will mumble incoherently to one another (with the rest trying to pretend not to notice) becomes just one more thing we (and everyone within cooee) have to accept.
The truly sad part is...most people don't care enough or don't have the courage to come over and ask us what's going on.
The excuses denial can and will come up with are far too easy a choice compared to the painful and shameful truths that come from digging up old wounds in the hope of finding peace (please read with a huge slice of sarcasm). Besides, we have already 'kinda' dealt with it in the past anyway. Enough so that our subconscious will allow these unavoidable, yet easily put-to-the-side issues to be put where they won't get in the way of life...in the 'to-do' basket. Good intentions that will inevitably get swept under the proverbial carpet.
Another tactic used by habitual deniers is to never for a moment stop. We all know someone who cannot sit still. They work all day and at night have hobbies or club duties or something to keep them and their minds, occupied. And even when they take leave from work, will have projects and itineraries to adhere to. For some, this is a way to avoid the to-do basket. Because once the brain has nothing else to focus on, it will invariably turn to the 'to-do' basket, and the fact of the matter is, that was never part of the plan.
And really, the question we should all be asking is who, in their right mind, wants to dredge up long-forgotten past memories anyhow?
Perhaps some crazy person, who cannot function in their typical, day-to-day lives, is who. But, for the rest of us sane and balanced folk, it's back to the ol' grindstone.