Pamela Reaves sheds a brighter light on 'the truth' in the AUGUST edition of Copa Style Magazine.
"The Whole Truth"
By Pamela Reaves
The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help me God. But do we really want the whole truth when it comes to those with whom we are married, engaged, or in love? When their indiscretions come to light with indisputable evidence, can we accept the truth, and if not, why are some people able to make certain decisions about the relationship and take corrective action, while others reject the facts?
A commitment to a loving relationship involves personal, emotional, and physical investment, which means that you hand over or entrust a part (and in some unfortunate cases -- everything) of us to someone else. To hand over or entrust “you” to another person brings about vulnerability. What the other person does with the part of you that you’ve hand over to them will have impact on your life. No matter how giving, trusting, or the claim of not expecting anything in return, people enter into relationships with certain expectations of a return on their investment. Expectations may vary, but all of us expect something pleasurable and fulfilling from our intimate relationships.
With time, people come to know something about their spouses, partners, lovers, or other people with whom they are intimate. Although we can never know every single thing about someone else, we do develop a certain level of familiarity with their personality, character, attributes, and flaws. Humans are not infallible and so the reality is that we learn to accept, if not at least acknowledge, who people are. To believe that those for whom you profess love are perfect is fantasy, and most of us know this. So in our quest to be realistic, we learn to accept certain flaws inherent to being human.
In this day of overwhelming access to information through a number of media and technological platforms, it isn’t uncommon to receive the dark details of the dark secrets of people. With empathy, we place ourselves in the shoes of family members, imagining their horror, humiliation, and emotional trauma. With bated breath, the court of public opinion anxiously awaits their responses to the scandals. Notwithstanding curiosity, many have a pre-conceived notion of what the response will or should be. Now when a ton of evidence is thrown into the mix, we believe there is no way in hell those who are closest to the culprit will support him or her. But people are who they are, and although we speculate, we can never know what their responses are going to be in these types of situations. Then when we finally hear from them, more sizzle is added to the scandal because in some cases, their statements (in the opinion of others), are unbelievably naive or down right delusional – especially when they acknowledge part of the offense (e.g. he/she did have an affair), but charge blame to others (e.g. It was the other person’s fault). We’re left to wonder, how in the world can one part of the story be acknowledged, while others portions of the whole story are rejected?
Here is the real deal. When faced with the devastating explosion of scandal, there is a need to self-protect; a reason to go on; an unwillingness to admit that you don’t know them as well as you thought you did; or the unwillingness to make a move that will adversely affect lifestyle or financial status. So then self-preservation is activated in the form of accepting part of the truth, but not the whole. Accepting part of the truth is the feeble attempt to address the undisputable facts; the indefensible. But then justification is needed, and justification is supported by blaming others (they seduced the man/woman whom I love in a moment of weakness); devising extenuating circumstances (excuses for their bad behavior); and worst of all self-blaming (if I had not done X, they wouldn’t have done Y; I couldn’t please them; I didn’t give them what they needed). These strategies may be unattractive or unacceptable, but it is the reality.
Those who have been drug into the scandal of their intimate partners are not stupid, unattractive, undesirable, or as delusional as some may think. Know this -- there is a part of them that is aware of their loved interest’s distractions, desires, or down and dirty proclivities. They may not know the details, but they know something is or has been amiss. I’ve been there – done that.
One of the interesting things about relationships is that good or bad, they become a part of us. Once the attachment is formed and the investment is made, it’s not always easy to disconnect. It’s easier for some, but believe me, there is at least a pause to determine what to do next. There is that part that doesn’t want to believe a mate could do anything to violate the intimate relationship. Even if the offender was good at covering his/her tracks initially, when it all comes out, retrospect turns on the light of understanding.
Public outrage and unsolicited advice is not going to change the minds of those affected by the mistakes of their intimate partners. Some of them will dig their heels in deeper, and not always because they’re stubborn, but are desperately trying to hold on to something that supports their love, investment, and relationship with this person. The people we love are a reflection of us in some way, shape, or form. So to admit that you’ve invested your heart, soul, and life into an errant person forces you to evaluate who you are?
When overwhelmed with this type of burden, clarity isn’t always front and center to remind us that each of us are responsible for who we are, the decisions we make, and the action we take notwithstanding external influence. Even if we love someone and invest in a lifetime with them, we are not to be held responsible for their behavior. Sometimes the reflection is merely what we wanted to see in them, although the reality is that they may not have the qualities we convince ourselves they own. The attraction may have been that they held something you thought you lacked, and maybe you did at one time. For example, I realize that my attraction to older men when I was younger was because I was seeking wisdom, and I believed they had it. I’m much wiser now and don’t need to look for that particular trait in another person.
Then people change. What may have been true in the past, or at the onset of the relationship can change with circumstance, position in life, or change of heart (it does happen). The ability or inability to accept change greatly influences how we handle the inevitable change when it comes. If nothing ever changes, then there is no growth and someone(s) is frozen in time. Change for the better requires accepting the whole truth. A lie never stands and at some point, we are faced with the lie without the crutches of extenuating circumstances, indefensible excuses, or delusion.
Accepting part of the truth, but not the whole does not fix the problem. It allows the problem to continue, fester, and compound. When we accept part of the truth, but make excuses for the offender or blame others for the mess they decided to become engaged in, that’s call “rewarding bad behavior”. Whenever bad behavior is rewarded, it is bound to repeat itself because there is the underlying belief that once forgiven, always forgiven. Rewarding bad behavior is excusing the hurt that was inflicted, when it neither called for nor deserved.
Dealing with the whole truth is the only way to begin and complete the healing process. The whole truth allows for the right decisions to be made based on all of the information – not a portion thereof. The whole truth is liberating, freeing us from every thread of lie that eventually unravels. The whole truth will allow us to move past the mistakes, indiscretion, or hurt if both parties accept the whole truth, and are willing to proceed on the basis of the whole truth. Truth is an exact science. Anyway you add, subtract, multiply, or divide it, you come up with the right answer. Embrace the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.