Don’t lie to yourself…
I haven’t had as much time to write these last few months as I would like, life has gotten in the way. Research, however, has continued so that I am fully stocked with ammo when I unleash a barrage of words on humanity, and make my keyboard sound like a machine gun opened to full auto.
What I read, hear, and eventually contemplate frequently makes me question. The questions aren’t always clear at first, neither their reason nor their form, but eventually drill themselves down to a base question that allows me to grow a story or at least a story arc.
The question that has been drawn out of late, sometimes it takes days or weeks to get there, is simply, “which is the greatest sin?”. I’m not speaking of “sin” in the Judeo-Christian sense, although they put together a pretty decent framework to live by. I’m talking about which action keeps us, as humanity, the farthest from heaven, heaven on earth, Nirvana, being one with the universe, not accessing the god or goddess within, etc.…
Although I was born into a Catholic family, went to a Catholic school, and considered becoming a priest at one point in my life, I’m no longer a religious man, so please don’t expect a bible thumping, “All you need to do is accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior” sermon. Some of the most Christ-like people I’ve ever met are atheists, and some of the most devout Christians I’ve ever known break commandments like they were merely God’s suggestions. Stating that, I do have somewhat of a religious background and I’m sure my thoughts, and feelings, are still colored by my past. (That’s all the disclaimer you’re going to get, if you keep reading down the page… don’t blame me.)
The greatest sin, or barrier if you prefer, to heaven on earth, in the now, or elsewhere, in some nebulous eternity, must be dishonesty. Not dishonesty towards others, but dishonesty towards ourselves.
The lies we tell, as a self-defense mechanism, keep us from being who we really are and more importantly all that we can really be. They help us justify the unjustifiable; accept the unacceptable, and frequently do, and say, the unthinkable. The dishonesty towards ourselves allow us to look in the mirror and ignore the pain we see in our own eyes, the exhaustion we see in our own shoulders, and the beaten look of acceptance that shows on our faces.
We use the tool of deception to justify our surroundings. It keeps us from knowing ourselves, loving ourselves, and treating ourselves with the dignity and respect we deserve. If we don’t know ourselves, we can’t love ourselves and if we can’t love ourselves… we are incapable of loving others. If God is love, and yet we have built a wall of lies around our real selves, then how can we possibly enter his kingdom? If we only have this one life, and are meant to build our Heaven here on earth, then the wall only allows us to exist, not to live, to love, or to be loved. By allowing self-deception to take control of our beliefs, we have effectively shut ourselves off from whatever God you choose to follow. We have denied, and enslaved, the “us” we were meant to be.
Within the FBoM universe the lies and deceptions are extreme. Women lying to themselves that abusive men will change; that they love or are loved, or that vengeance is justified when done for the right reasons.
How does this relate to the upcoming release of FBoM: The Betterment? One of the underlying themes in the FBoM series deals with abusive partners and people that have suffered gasligting or have been in relationships with people on the ASPD spectrum (Anti-Social Personality Disorder). It isn’t the main theme of the novels, but it plays a role and is worthy of a novel all its own (although I may not be the one to write it). The situation is far too common, far too accepted in society, and although there have been novels and movies that address the problem, they are minimal in comparison to the media that represents the behavior as acceptable. Hollywood is still run by men, what do you expect?
Most people understand the dynamic that if you love someone, you don’t abuse them and if you are loved they will not abuse you. It’s not complicated unless you are in the situation. Those that are, understand the concept but believe their situation is different than the hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands of other people in the same situation. The gaslighting, the abuse, the lies to self, have all taken over and shut out rationale thought, understanding and respect/love for themselves. They believe staying is the right things to do. The most common self-directed mistruths I have heard and read are as follows:
“He needs me.”, No he really doesn’t. He needs to learn to stand on his own two feet and not abuse his partner out of frustration, anger, self-contempt or self-hatred. All you’re doing is enabling him to remain abusive by staying.
“I still love him.” Really? If you loved and respected yourself, you’d never let him treat you that way. If you don’t love yourself, how can you possibly love him?
“I love who he used to be.” That’s fine, might not even be a self-deception, but that person is no longer alive (if he ever really was) and isn’t coming back. The person you are with, isn’t that guy.
“I need to stay for the children.” Every day you stay for the children, you are allowing them to build beliefs and perceptions of how a relationship is supposed to be. By allowing them, and yourself, to stay with an abusive partner you are damaging the children’s future as well as endangering yourself.
“He’s trying to change.” Of course, he is. He will continue to try and change, just like the last ten times he probably promised to change, until it’s ok to revert to the abusive person he truly is. He doesn’t want you to leave, it’s difficult to find someone willing to take that kind of abuse. He has you trained, in his mind, to accept his behavior and finding another would be difficult.
“It’s my fault he treats me that way.” I don’t even know you, or understand why you might be saying that, but I can say without a doubt, it isn’t your fault. There is nothing a human can do to another human that would justify being abused, used or treated as a second-class citizen. Nothing.
Many of the women in The Betterment have broken the cycle, begun to tell themselves the truth and look in the mirror with a new sense of rightness, dignity and self-love. They don’t have all the answers, yet, and perhaps are still quite a distance from heaven on earth, but they are a lot closer than they have ever been. The truth has set them free and they will never go back to where they have been in the past.