Stranger in a Strange Land

For the most part, I do not understand any families that I’m associated with. They often seem like foreign countries with agendas and a language that is, well, foreign to me.

They hide things from me that they think I shouldn’t know or create attributes for themselves that they don’t possess so that they might appear noble. They do this in the name of St. Coping; patron saint of head games. But all it does is cause me confusion because their actions do not, like a badly dubbed Japanese film, match their language. I see their mouths moving but little of what is said seems to correlate to reality and, more often than not, leaves me wondering if these people haven’t actually invented bullshit.

With a few exceptions, my own family is like that, my wife’s family is like that and, not to let myself off the hook, I’m sometimes like that.

Speaking for myself, when I make crap up to suit a need, I do it because it supposedly helps me dodge some uncomfortable circumstance that I can’t deal with. I do it because the truth is confrontational and hard to handle and makes me feel like entering the witness protection program.

But that feeling of flight betrays the benefit of truth because, although painful initially, it’s way less time consuming and energy sucking than constantly manipulating the facts of the matter so you come out looking good on the other end.

I know this is true because my wife says it is.

Alright, I’m being cute here but it’s true because that is how she tries to live everyday and while she might not have a perfect track record, she adheres to the truth when it matters the most; when it’s necessary for healthy living and that’s when it should count the most. When it’s crunch time, she picks up the ‘truthteller’ standard and carries it fearlessly into battle and a lot of people are not going to like you for that.

How crazy does that sound…’people are not going to like you for that’.

No, my brother, when the truth is not welcomed you will see all sorts of flailing and bailing, denying and lying, bobs and weaves, and every manner of avoidance a person can conjure up. The more intelligent, the more sophisticated the ruse but, in the end, it’s the same nonsense.

Our neuroses take on such a powerful presence that we lose perspective on the reality of what is before us. While we’re massaging our damaged psyches we totally lose sight of actual good, for ourselves and others, that could be done if only we’d give up this mental chain-gang labor.

And it’s not only others that fact-shifters are working on…it’s themselves and it is immensely hard to convince yourself of a fiction and then sustain it for ridiculously long periods of time. Pure, back-breaking labor.

Dysfunctional families do this all the time. It’s their bowl of Wheaties; their energy drink; their psychotropic of choice and I’m beginning to have strong feelings of repulsion for the whole thing. While they’re avoiding reality, I want to avoid them.

So, here’s my pact with anyone I’m related to. If we’ve got a mutual problem and it takes a village to figure it out and you make yourself a worthless paper weight in the middle of negotiations, stop talking to me or interacting with me because you’re nothing but a distraction and I’ve got no use for you.

You know who you are…or maybe you’re so delusional, you don’t.

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