I think I was born Catholic in another life and flogged mercilessly for not telling the truth. If you are Catholic I mean no offence or disrespect. I think it can be a valuable thing to have a complete fear of lying or in any way fudging the truth. In my case, it seems to border on pathological. This can lead to some problems.
It drives my husband crazy for one. Any time we are shopping and something isn’t right with the bill – I speak up. Usually to our detriment. Case in point – his new golf bag. A few years ago I bought him a golf bag for his birthday. It was supposed to be around $90. Not much but when you are counting every penny, it was huge. It rang up at $35. He is standing behind the cash where the CSR can’t see him but he can see the total. He is frantically waving his arms at me, telling me to shut the heck up. I can’t do it. I’m afraid that as I walk out of the store, some big hairy security guy will grab me and smack me down. So I say to the CSR, “You might want to check that”. Turns out it was their error and we got the bag for the $35 but not before my husband hung his head and muttered to himself, “Here she goes again”. I’ve gone back and paid for forgotten groceries and all kinds of silly things. I just can’t stand the thought of ripping someone off even if it’s some huge store that probably gives it to me up the butt everytime I shop there. I know someone somewhere will take the hit for my “deal” and that bothers me.
I probably tell my kids the truth too much as well. I explain things up the wazoo to them but do try to keep it appropriate. This drives my mother crazy. I explain to her that I don’t want them to grow up thinking money just appears and the kind mortgage fairy lets us live here for free. I don’t want them to think that Michael and I never argue or don’t get angry. I want them to know why I am angry and that sometimes I feel sad too. What is the point of trying to raise healthy, well-adjusted children if they never see emotion or understand that parents are people too ?? Heck – that’s how I became me and we don’t want that for future generations.
I think my truth issues stem from my parents. They never told us anything. Nothing about money. Nothing about their feelings. Nothing about job changes. Nothing about nothing. We just took the fall out. My brother and I suspected for years that my dad was being less than truthful with his whereabouts on a regular basis and who he was spending this time with. We saw my parents growing apart and how they just quietly ignored it. The proverbial elephant in the room if you will. One day that elephant went on a damn crazy stampede and my family got torn apart. The elephant wanted to marry someone else and if my mother didn’t mind, the elephant was leaving the zoo. Needless to say, my mother was caught completely off guard and was totally shattered. This was a completely understandable reaction and one that I loathe to experience. I also loathe to cause that reaction in someone else. As things progressed in my parents divorce, it came out that this particular elephant had been trying out new zookeepers for sometime. It also came out that the elephant had been stashing peanuts in various locations and had decided not to let my mother know. Deception upon lies upon deceipt upon total crap.
I let my father know in no uncertain terms that he was an ass of epic proportions. I was 17 and full of bitterness. He had lied. The person I was supposed to look up to and learn from had spent most of his married life lying like a cheap rug. This was a huge turning point for me although I didn’t recognize the impact until years later. I would never cause the look on my mother’s face to anyone. I would never devastate my children and lose their respect as he had done. I would never hide things and deceive people for my own selfish gains. Did my father have some redeeming qualities ? Yes. Do I care to list them at this time ? No.
I have spent my life trying to live a truthful existence. Not only to myself but to others. This does not always work out the way I intend. There are times where I have had to speak up when I shouldn’t have as the anxiety and stress of living with what I perceive as lies just builds up to bursting. It plagues me relentlessly. I realize this sounds peculiar. I realize that as an adult I have the power and fortitude to hold back information and decide what needs to be said. My past appears to have had a stronger influence than I’ve realized on my ability to do this. If I feel like I’ve lied, I cannot rest until I put it right. I will worry at it like a dog with a bone. I am slowly overcoming this inability but sometimes my mouth will run away with me and before I know it, I’m back in the shithouse again.
What I’ve also come to realize is that I make far more of my truth issues than other people do. When I follow my gut and reveal information I anticipate a big problem. Usually it doesn’t turn out that way or at least the other person doesn’t let it appear so. I then worry about forgiveness and making sure the other person understands I meant well and truly had the best of intentions. It’s a never ending cycle that probably requires medication. People still tend to share their feelings and situations. I don’t appear to damage the friendship in a permanent way. I do worry that they feel they won’t be able to trust me when that won’t be the case. I am hopeful that they see I try to judge the best way possible for all concerned. Hope springs eternal….
I’m hopeful that by leading a truthful existence, my children will learn the same. I’m also hopeful that I am teaching them that there are times where white lies are ok. Full out whoppers inlcuding infidelity, stealing, etc. – not ok. But when Mommy asks – Do I look fat in this ? Then they have my permission to white lie. Heck, what can it hurt ? Sometimes the truth can set you free. Other times, a little white lie gets you through the day. My job is to make sure they know when to choose the right path.