Thursday, June 5, 2014

Liars, and Tricksters, and Errs – OH MY!

How Gossip Blurs the Lines Between Restoring and Rejecting

To get to the point allow me set the stage. Someone we know well, a friend, a loved one, etc. has a fall, makes a bad and publically embarrassing decision, or has a piece of their long forgotten past come back to haunt them. Their world is turned upside down, whether by their poor choices or by other’s choices that we may or may not know about. For a while they stumble, they isolate, and they may even continue on this painful path not fully understanding the weight of the consequences.

But then, whether immediately or further down the road, they stop. They turn around and start heading back to the familiar path they have wandered off from. However, they are now met with obstacle after obstacle and may wonder if they can ever really get back or may lose hope after a while and wonder, “Is even worth it?”

The Obstacles
This piece is not about the fallen – even though the two paragraphs above describe any and all of us at different times during our lives. This piece is about the obstacles that are created by the Gossipers that stand back, watching and waiting to pounce on the next opportunity regardless of whether it is true or not. And just like how the two paragraphs above describe all of us at different times in life, sadly, so too the prior sentence.
It is one thing to wait on a person to see if they will have a change of heart and to respond to that change based on their decisions made during the wait. It is quite another thing to stand back in continual judgment of a person, broken hearted for their choices, barring any path that would allow them to return.

The Gossip chooses rejection over restoration. Why? I have a sneaking suspicion that it is easier to point the finger at the obvious offender in the room than to look in the mirror and own their own shadow. (Projection) Another possibility is that the particular target of the Gossip reminds them of someone from their own past who hurt them in a similar way, and with whom that wound has never healed. (Transference) One might even rationalize and justify Gossip because “if it’s true its not Gossip”! Have you ever heard that line before? Have you ever used that line before? What the Gossip fails to understand is that with their own projection and transference of pain it is only themselves they truly have in their crosshairs. The Gossip will either face their pain and get better or take it out on the subject of their gossip, continuing to become bitter.

And so – the human hobbling back to community, seeking restoration, if they are strong enough will withstand these blows and press through – stronger. Wiser. But for the weary soul who cannot stand it any longer and finding no one to offer shelter, sometimes they do an about-face and head back to the rough path they came from. This then allows the Gossip to announce, loud and proud, “See! You see! I told you they weren’t sincere! I told you they were lying! It’s a good thing I was here to warn everyone. Thank G-d I was here!”

Dear Gossip (AKA: any of the 7 billion people on the planet): You speak with cunning only to lie to yourself. You declare the other person a deceiver only to wear the mask of the trickster. You focus on their failure and miss the error of your way.

“Oh, Adam’s sons, how cleverly you defend yourselves against all that might do you good!” – C.S. Lewis

Written by Thaddeus Heffner, LMFT ~ June 5, 2014

Sunday, April 6, 2014

What Happens in Vagueness Stays in Vagueness

We tend to be people with fences, walls, and barriers. Many of us have built entire fortresses around our hearts, keeping safe what we truly feel and think deep inside. When it comes to being real with even those closest to us we often move into vague speech. If people really want to know us they must swim a mote of humor, scale a wall of sarcasms, only then to find the gate of our hearts bolted shut with distrust. Don’t be too clear and nobody gets hurt. Practice the art of vagueness and live to distrust another day.

But being vague has its downsides. Who can really know us if we live a life of vagueness? Who can really love us when we have a flare for obscurity?
Living in vagueness we become a people who distance ourselves from reality, left to search for relief within the virtual. Drink it away. Smoke it away. Eat it away. The bottle, the food, and the one nightstand can never truly know or love us.

Vagueness rewards us with loneliness, isolation, and a life lived with little love or truly being known. Sound familiar? Ask yourself what is at risk if I become a little more open with people who have, thus far, proven themselves to be safe and trustworthy? If it all goes south then you are no worse for the wear, left with the same loneliness, isolation that you walked in with.

But what else is possible? What if those who have proven themselves to be safe and trustworthy remain safe and trustworthy? What if they listen to you, and seek to know you better? What if they witness your moments of joy as well as your times of pain and sorrow? What might happen to your loneliness and isolation if you let others in to love you right where you are?

What happens in vagueness stays in vagueness. The power is yours. The choice has always been up to you.

Posted by Thaddeus Heffner, LMFT April 6, 2014


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