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Cleansing the Guilt - Truth, Lies, & Responsibility

Am I channeling South Pacific with the towel on my head? Maybe! But it is more than a man that I’ve sought to ‘wash outta my hair.’

The last few months have been a release on more than one level. Yes, it’s been a relief to live without the drama and hurt, but more than anything it’s been so wonderful to be able to live in the truth. What do I mean by that? Let me explain.

When a relationship dissolves, the first thing that erodes is trust. Little lies turn into bigger lies and pretty soon you’re telling lies of your own. You justify behavior, you make excuses for broken promises to friends, you hide money for your own protection, or maybe you look for companionship elsewhere that you have to hide - either out of your own guilt or out of safety because the relationship would be misinterpreted. And though you’re reacting to the situation to fill your own needs or even protect yourself, your lies are followed by guilt that promotes reactions from others. It’s a domino effect that rarely has a positive outcome and leaves lasting scars in its wake.

Or maybe it’s more like flypaper - sweet and enticing and it feels right, but ends up corroding who you are in the end. Lies are addictive - more so for anyone with empathy. If you live with someone who lies regularly it’s hard to not feel the addictive sense of power that those lies generate. It’s so very easy to slip into the same patterns - especially since you can justify it with your own victimization. But lies - like flypaper - are a trap that destroys who you are and who people see you as being. You can easily go from a person who lies because they’re forced to or lonely or any number of justifications to someone who is a liar because it’s easier that living with hard truths. But it’s truly not easier in the long run. While under the addictive, you don’t see the damage that you do to yourself and those you care for - even those not the focus of your lies - by lying. You’ve become the very thing that drove you to lie in the first place.

The last too many years of my life, I’ve had to live with too many lies. My ex didn’t have a good grasp of reality and excused his affair attempts as ‘role-playing’ among other lies. And when I’d not buy into them, he’d fight reality with personal threats and insults. It left me lying to survive. Lying to hide my attempts to find a secure place to live, lying to hide money so that I could move or hire a lawyer, lying to hide friendships and conversations about the abuse or finding a new home. You hide tears because you don’t want to deal with the attacks those tears cause, you hide laughter because you don’t want to deal with the accusations that their projection puts on you, you hide the true depth of your pain because you don’t want to burden your friends. All of it creates this aura of guilt and stress. You end up mirroring the instability of the person hurting you while leaving a trail of hurt in your own wake.

The last few months have cleared so much of it away that I feel like an outsider looking back at another person. And I feel like a different person not having to live with the lies, guilt and ongoing emotional fatigue. It’s left me wanting to distance myself from anything that has remotely reminded me of those feelings - including some friends. It’s been hard, but until I can see clearly through the difference between necessary lies and toxic lies, I need the space to heal from years of surviving the liars cycle of abuse. In hindsight I can see my own faults in my own lies that I couldn’t see while I was in survival mode. It’s time for me to become the better person.

In many ways I feel a bit distant from people right now as I digest all these big, healing thoughts. In other ways, I feel more connected as I become aware of things the fog of abuse kept hidden from me. Overall, I feel stronger as I accept reality, face my mistakes, forgive myself, and move forward. I wish everyone could find the peace that living without lies brings - it’s worth it. I know it’s damn hard to get to this place, but do it for you. Do it for those who love you. Looking back, it’ll be the best way to find the real you.


p.s. Reading about the greeting namaste truly brings a close to this. The interpretation of the word encompasses viewpoints from recognizing the divine in each other (a belief well grounded in my being and a topic for another day) to facing life with a child’s heart. I like to see the later sentiment in this post. Children don’t naturally understand lies and looking at them through that innocent ‘why’ forces us to face our own answers. May you find yours. ❤️


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