My new favorite handbook on all things love related is Nathaniel Branden’s What Love Asks of Us.
A particularly haunting and troubling point was made regarding the effects that parental lying to children causes.
It basically fucks them up.
I was thinking of this yesterday when I spoke with my dad regarding some XMAS money he’d sent for the holidays. Sending a bit of holiday cheer wasn’t enough. There had to be mention of all the millions that were forthcoming.
As much as I care for my dad, I have come to the realization that always waiting for the big deal that will single handedly change our existence is pointless, stress inducing and a big, fat lie. While none of my sisters are expecting him to swoop in and save the day, he valiantly takes this on and risks disappointment and upset when things don’t work out. All of this could be prevented by simply telling the truth.
Part of the function of lying to our little ones is that we get massive rewards via Capitalism.
Let me be clear in stating that unexamined capitalism is vile and build on some highly disturbing psychoses. Let me also be clear that any “rewards” granted by Capitalism regardless of the longevity of their existence are temporary.
My parents, like so many in American society, got bamboozled via society that what matters most is what others think.
My parents never acknowledged or claimed my artistic merit( which began at age five) until the world began to provide me with greater visibility and a paycheck for my endeavors.
Upon making a brief appearance on a popular soap opera, my mother could suddenly recall why I had moved to NYC and what I was doing there for ten years. The lie being that what I was doing was a hobby, something anybody could do and since it was unpaid labor didn’t matter.
My parents viewed people responding to my gifts and years of hard work with disbelief.
This was extremely difficult for me to handle because so many of their lies were part of the myth of my life and my assigned role within the family of origin. I accepted enough of the lies to be able to divert attention away from what my real dreams were.
As a result, it has taken me years to recover and pursue things that matter to me.
When you start believing things that are untrue you seriously run the risk of moving into some hard core psychological issues.
When presented with the truth, things can grow and change us.
It has been presented to us since we were children that lies prevent hurt feelings and will keep us safe (protect us).
It has been presented to us as children that while lying is unacceptable, it is permitted once we are grown, have our own lives and a group of people we get to lie to in an unconscious effort to continue the cycle.
Our young people are not fooled by our lies nor are they impressed with our ability to spin yarns and reconstruct history.
My mother and I often had words wherein at one point she would inevitably state : I don’t remember that.
This would always lead us to my tried and true response : Just because you don’t remember it, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
What would happen if we took on the great experience of not lying for a day ? A week ? An hour ?
What kind of world could we all co-create if we held ourselves and others to the truth of their agreements or made agreements based in truth.
Not agreements based in wishes, shoulds and whatever the status quo throws at us ? We could live some very different lives and create some very different relationships.
Many of my arguments and hurt feelings in relation to my parents have to do with lies they told me or lies they refused to acknowledge once they were caught.
As a child my father would often bully me into ingesting his latest crock of bs with the accusation posed as a question: Are you calling your father a liar ?
As a sensitive child who was always planning his great escape, I could do nothing but acquiesce. I have yet to develop an adult response when he starts to rail on about something.
As a teacher and someone who now has nine children ages 6 months to 14 years old in his life, I struggle to not reinvent the truth to spare the feelings and influence the life decisions of my small charges.
Often times, it appears easier to just spit out something that is partially true, true or adequate enough for the given situation and worry about damage control later.
Part of my ability to effectively teach and influence children is getting them to question everyone and everything including me and then moving beyond my momentary uncomfortability and sharing the truth.
When I teach, I am often accused of being too familiar, sharing too much and crossing boundaries, this allows students and those that I have been granted the responsibility to instruct, love and nurture to go further and risk in ways that will change their lives.
Nobody takes a risk when they tell a lie and nothing ever changes.
As of today, I will tell my real age, height and weight.
What will you come clean about ?