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4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

3/23 Interactive Board: He's Changing... I'm Not...

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11/7 Interactive Board: Is This Abusive?

12/29 Interactive Board: There Goes the Wife...

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10/8 Interactive Board: Seeming Impossibility

9/8 Interactive Board: My Ex MisTreats Our Son

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4/7 Interactive Board: Too Guilty!

Keeper of The Truth

Keeper of The Truth

From:  Peter
To: <>
Sent: Friday, June 11, 1999 10:47 PM
Subject: Just how important is...

...truth in a relationship?
To quote a well known doctor:
"The next time you're considering whether to nit-pick, or to correct someone's misstatement or fact which may be slightly out of place, or correct someone's opinion or plan of action, reconsider what you have to gain and lose. You may offer your opinion, once, twice. Then drop it. You will be happier if you choose not to engage in that argument. It is a choice, and you have the power to make it." 

If somebody makes a misstatement, and they also happen to be someone you love deeply, why would it be good to let them continue to be wrong? Why would it be "powerful" for me to let those who I care about to remain wrong?

Why is it "controlling" (to use your vocabulary) to insist that people tell the truth, when it can be discerned? Most "truths" I would agree are problematic and it is sometimes very hard to arrive at the truth. Most arguments are purely subjective, where there are no rights and wrongs. It comes down to an opinion or feeling. Other times, however, there is no mistaking what the truth is.

If somebody tells me that 2+2=5, and I want to let it be known that they are incorrect, why would it be wrong for me to tell them that they are mistaken? Even if they don't believe it after telling them 50 times? What in the world is gained by letting somebody to be misinformed about reality? If I am certain of my fact, and I also think the person knows what they are purporting is false also, (in this example, I know that the prevaricator has a college education, and they know that 2+2=4) isn't it natural to get angry, if they continue present their false side as the truth??

And also, why is it that people end up sticking to their "truths" when they are shown to be incorrect anyway? Why do humans do that? What is to be gained by a temporary obfuscation? You talk about a temporary feeling of  "power" to be right. If someone is lying (mistaken) but could be proven wrong soon (or aren't absolutely positive about their facts), why are they engaging in that behavior at that time?

 If I understand your "I'll never be Happy" article, are you claiming that happiness comes from not caring too much about the truth? Is that the answer: sympathize with those who won't own up to the truth and forget about  "honesty", because life's too short and humans aren't very good at it? The "choice" is to let the mistaken person to "win" and but for yourself to "lose",  for no good reason other then because it's more pleasant?

I want to know why one person's pride (self-esteem) should be placed above another person's sense of honesty (truth).  I've read your information about angry-guys and abusive people, and their case studies. I am an angry person when I feel that someone I care about is trying to deceive me. All my trust for them goes out the window if I think that somebody feels that the truth isn't important, certainly not important enough to ruffle anybody's feathers. Even though, when we depart from this world, really all we leave is our integrity. We are remembered for our integrity or lack thereof. Integrity is a synonym for "honesty". I feel that a person's integrity is what makes other people care, trust and love them. If there isn't a reciprocation of honesty, I feel that there isn't a basis for a good relationship.

If you have the time, I would love to hear what you have to say. Thanks for your time.

Dear Peter,
To cut to the quick: You can bring a horse to water but you can't make them drink. That's why. The article has nothing to do with "the truth." It has to do with the fact that you have no power over anybody but YOURSELF. The article also has to do with the fact that since you have no power over anybody else, the best you can do under the circumstances is to RESPECT the other person's position, right or wrong. 

By the way, is it possible that the other person's reality is different from yours? Or that mitigating factors exist that you are not aware of? Or, even that the other person needs their self-deception? Why do you take it upon yourself to "correct" those who are not asking to be "corrected"?

Unless, of course, the two of you decide it is OK to engage in some sort of battle, which is perfectly within your respective rights. If you want to knock your head against a wall and get zero appreciation for it, enjoy yourself. 

Dr. Irene
Ps: Who made you keeper of "The Truth?"

Dr. Irene

Ps: Who made you keeper of "The Truth?"

Well, to quote you again:

"Too often, the codependent partner, lacking a strong sense of self, gives
up his or her own reality in favor of the distorted reality of the abuser!"

Apparently you do believe that there is a "reality". If that is the case, then somebody could decide NOT to give in to a DISTORTED reality. That's my point-- I don't let other's with a distorted sense of reality "off the hook", just because it's cheery and civilized. Don't you think it is just as painful and hurtful, as much as LOUD WORDS, to be DECEIVED (or, to listen to somebody saying, "I KNOW that 2+2=5!!!!")? Even though I get angry, I would characterize myself as a frustrated co-dependent, who sometimes takes the mirror of truth and holds it up to the face those who would not see it.

I have to ask you again, because I guess I did not make myself clear: Do you think that feelings are more important than the truth? And if so, why? Isn't appreciation (positive feelings) gained with honesty and forthrightness?

Are you suggesting that one should ALWAYS "give in". Right or Wrong? Let
people be wrong, even though you love them? Is that the key?

Another quote, " have no power over anybody but your self". You must
agree that you do have INFLUENCE over everybody you come in contact with,
in some capacity, and if the influence is meant to be helpful, then it can be worth the effort?

To cut to the quick: I feel that your answer is trite. A cliché is dandy, but I am not a horse and neither are you. Why are people stubborn with their sense of reality even when the truth has been described, realized, shown, demonstrated, and made laid bare?

And I am not saying that I know what the truth is all the time, but when I do, I think it is something to be shared, with those who I care enough about, so that they can be informed. I don't quibble with those people who don't get it if they aren't very close to me, because I have nothing to gain. When my associates, friends, family know something that they didn't before, they have "learned" something. Wouldn't you agree that this is a good thing?

I am not the keeper of truth, nor are you, or anyone. But if you have some insight why people hold on to misbeliefs, why they feel a "need" to do it, I would like to know. It really baffles me. I've explained why I act the way I do. Can you tell me what's going on inside the wall that I'm knocking my head against?

Thanks for your time,

Peter :)

Dear Peter, 

You've answered your own question as to why people hold on to their view: Look at yourself holding on to yours. You are certain your reality is right. For you, it is.

Don't you see, the "wall" is your own. You have difficulty accepting that others do not see things your way. You think you are right; I think you are wrong. If it bothers you so much that I am wrong, for example, or that the person you are trying to correct is wrong, the place to go is inside: What is making you so uncomfortable? That is where your answers are, but that's one place you don't want to go to.    Dr. Irene