If you would have accused me several months ago of being a liar I would’ve pinched my eyebrows together in total offense. I am not a liar. In fact, I am a truth-teller. I tell so much truth it makes people squirm in their seats. I freely speak about my mental health, how I feel about my adopted child, my dysfunctional childhood. Depending on the person I will even talk about my eating disorder, my sex aversion, how I actually feel about my adopted child. And someone actually did accuse me of being a liar. That someone was my husband.
And he was right.
A couple of weeks ago I started reading this amazing insightful book called The Dance of Deception: A Guide to Authenticity and Truth-Telling in Women’s Relationships by Dr. Harriet Lerner. It is blowing me away. The word ‘liar’ was killing me inside, haunting me in my sleep and everything thought I was having about my worth as a wife/mom/friend/sister. But what if that word isn’t as black and white as I think it is?
As a rule, we don’t like the word ‘liar.’ A liar is a ‘bad person.’ You can’t trust a liar. Lying, putting on a brave face, keeping a secret, faking, mysterious, manipulative, elusive… they all fall under this one big, scary umbrella called ‘deception’. The truth is we are all guilty of using deception. We have to. We have to do it to survive. To keep the madness of life from ripping off our flesh and exposing all the tender parts inside.
“Pretending” is a word that may help us suspend our moral judgements about what is good or bad, better or worse, so that we can think more objectively about a difficult subject.”
I’ve been proud of my deception. Proud of the fact that for 18 years I’ve been unattracted to my husband but have put my feelings aside and stayed committed to our relationship. Because feelings don’t matter, right? You don’t make life choices based on your feelings. I made vows in front of God, and my church and my family to be one with this man until death. Besides, I truly DO love him, and I will cling to that part of my story for the rest of my life. He is the father of my children. He has been by my side through some of the worst times of my life. He treats me kindly, makes me laugh, makes me think, makes me want to be a good wife. And God knows I’ve tried to be a good wife.
Then two months ago, this man, the one who has never abused me, never yelled at me, never dishonored me, discovers that I’ve been having an affair. He finally puts all the pieces together, realizing all the lies I have told to keep my secret under cover. The times when I said I was texting a friend, on the phone with my sister, taking a walk… it all comes into focus.
But the biggest deception of all, the pain that goes so deep you can barely see the source…
I’ve been unhappy.
This is my story.
* Several weeks ago I started looking for a blog or a writer who was in my situation, someone I could follow step by step as she tries to navigate a whole new way of living, but I just couldn’t find one. Since I can’t find what I’m looking for, I decided to create one myself. And maybe someday, another woman will be looking for this same thing, and stumble across my blog entries and think, “SHE gets me.” I need a safe place where I can be real, but anonymous and I hope this will be the place.
you are most certainly not alone in your story. I remember the first day I used “pretend” to try to explain the truth to my 11 year old … And she accused me of being a liar because I worked so hard to maintain the image of a happy household. I too have looked for blogs speaking to my soul about similar situations like yours and mine. Thank you for sharing your story.
I’m looking forward to following your story.