~Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Disclaimer: You are probably not going to understand this post. Details have been left out to protect my privacy. And that's okay with me. I know what it means and that's all that matters at this moment.

One of the most helpful exercises my therapist gave me was to sit down and write out every lie he told me. I tilted by head back and gave the first belly-rolling laugh I have had in months.

"Do you know how much ink and paper that will consume?" I shrieked.

She smiled.

"Just lies, or lies that I think he told, but have no proof?" I asked. I'm still not sure she knew what she was asking of me.

"Both. Even if you think he was being dishonest, write it down," she confirmed.

Once again I laughed and laughed and laughed.

The exercise took a week to complete. And several sheets of paper (front and back with no spacing to be exact). And both a blue and a green pen. It was like a floodgate. I started with something minor and simple (He was out buying gas) and soon my handwriting became jumbled as I tried to write as fast as the lies came to me. As fast as he told them to me.

She didn't tell me to do this, but I wrote the lies exactly as he told them. I wrote "My coworkers stole money out of my purse," not "He stole my money." And after I was done, I read what I had mostly believed for the past several years. Seeing it on paper in my own handwriting helped me to provide clarity at a time when I lost faith in that deep, important part of myself that feels appropriate feelings, senses truth, and has confidence in my ability to handle life's situations*. Lies that I unknowingly written on this blog and yet couldn't see the truth through the true-type font.

With the recent revelation, I pulled out a new sheet of paper and began to write the lies out yet again. Version 2.0. The original sheets are supposed to be burned/flushed/buried or destroyed as a symbolic way to release yourself from the lies, but I kept them because I wanted them to serve as a reminder of what I refused to believe again.

To not repeat myself I re-read that first list, and there are a few but distinct instances where I inadvertently added a single word to the lies. And the word I had added made the need for a new list redundant. I already knew. Somewhere deep inside me, I already knew the truth.

When I cried to my mother why when I found out this weekend, she told me that I ended up lying to myself as a survival tactic. "You were living in such deep denial because if you knew the truth at that time, you would not have been able to deal with it."

Looking back at that strategically placed word, I know my mother was right. I've never understood how some people can black out memories or information or fail to draw that fucking line between the dots like I did, but it happens. It happens and it's real.

*Codependent No More by Melody Beattie. © 1987.


Dawn said...

Ah. The blocking out. It's absolutely a survival technique sometimes.

My mother died when I was four years old. (I'm 44 now.) When I was 21, and about to leave for a summer in Europe, I got this dizzy spell that lasted a few days. My doctor was away on vacation so I went to see my friend's mother's doctor. Of course he wanted family history and when I told him that my mother had died, he asked me how. I told him that I didn't know. "What? Find out!" he said. When my father got home, I asked him. "You know. You know how your mother died." I told him I didn't. He had told me when I was young, then again when I was older, and my aunt had talked with me about it also. But I didn't remember. I didn't remember that she had killed herself. I wasn't ready to absorb that information. I needed to block that out in order to survive. No, it wasn't a lie that I blocked out and turned into a truth, but the survival technique is the same -- it's the only way that you can live with the information.

So my father "officially" told me when I was 21. I was ready to hear it, I guess, because I haven't forgotten it again.

Melissa said...

Dawn and your mother are so right. We come to the truth when we need to. Your mind protects you at times when you need it, and when you are strong enough, you lose the scales from your eyes. You're recovering from a long battle - because that's what living with him was like - and it's going to take time to heal.

Biro Chic said...

I'l try that excersise,.they say stms we believ in lies so we'd learn to trust few.

Arwen said...

That's a great exercise to get emotions out! I might try to use that when I think too much about a situation (which I often do) and want to deliberately think through it.

Thank you for sharing with us your triumphs and struggles. As you are learning, so are we!


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