I’m going to physically beat on you every night after I come home drunk, because I love you.
I love you so much, child, I going to let my boyfriend touch your private parts.
These are the extreme situations. This is NOT what I’m talking about.
I end every year with a reflective assessment of who I do genuinely love and who I’d rather not express love towards. Then I make a quiet offering to the Universe, and I contact every single person I genuinely love and let them know I love them before the clock strikes twelve.
Call me superstitious, but at this point in my life, if I don’t account for those few blessings, I just feel lost.
2013 ended strangely. I simultaneously gained appreciation from people I just started to know, and was blatantly disrespected by people who claimed to love me. It’s frustrating, really. I thought my attenuation of nonproductive behaviors would’ve been beneficial in these situations, but, alas, no.
Here’s the thing: I’m an emotionally intelligent, self-aware, multi-cultural individual. My curiosity drives what and who I engage with, and I proceed in life trying to have more fruitful engagements than redundant ones. More happy moments than dramatic moments. More friends then fucks.
I cannot lie to someone I’ve established a connection to. I cannot lie to someone I respect. In fact, it’s easy to catch me lying; I have a very expressive face, and the details are clefted and contorted, saving any verbal expression of what I’m really feeling. So instead of trying to adapt that behavior, I just don’t lie.
The problem with that is, the normals prefer functioning in a miasma of constant non-truth in order to feel fulfilled, and it seems those people are instantly drawn to me. It’s not something I induce; I’ve walked into rooms, reserved and observative, and people just glom on to me. Immediately I pay that person respect and a compliment while also trying to figure out the end game. Side effect of being a former bureaucrat; you just can’t believe someone thinks you have on a lovely dress unless they’re trying to get money or
votes endorsements outta ya.
While these individuals are fun, charming, engaging, and very complimentary, they expect all of that back in return. Thus I spring the honesty on them. I’m emotionally indifferent. I’m not good at noticing things. I probably won’t be interested in that movie/book/performer. That doesn’t stop them, and to me it’s a relief, because, despite our differences, he or she finds me interesting, and I should honor that.
So we’re friends, we hang out, we collaborate artistically, time passes and the expressions ramp up to, ‘I’m so glad we met!’ ‘I love you so much!’ ‘What was I doing before we got together?’ All great compliments. My faith and my life experiences allow me to be open and giving, at the risk of being harmed, but I’d rather have those shining series of events then plan for failure.
Usually, 90 days into the blossoming connection, the ‘I love you, but…’ starts. The friendship/connection/love affair buckles under the weight of refrained concern. ‘You don’t compliment me enough.’ ‘How come you don’t like <enter a name>?’ and the all-time classic, ‘I can’t believe you did <something that occurred so long ago and didn’t seem like a relationship-crippling issue then, plus I’ve forgotten about it>!’
Where is this coming from? I wonder.
And that’s when it all comes streaming out. Everything this individual said they enjoyed about me, appreciated about me, is now detrimental to his or her ability to continue being connected to me. ‘You’re so confident and in control!’ turns into ‘You’re so cold and distant!’ ‘I love the way you carry yourself!’ turns into ‘You don’t care about me!’ ‘You’re such a talented artist!’ turns into ‘I can’t compete with you!’ And from there, forty-two specific points fleshed out in a never-ending critical analysis. I let him spout, because I know out of previous experience, this is the most dominion an insecure person can effect on another human being.
It’s my fault, really. Insecure, effeminate males and insecure, psychologically troubled females love to feed off me, and I let them. While I try to surround myself with talented, forward-thinking, entrepreneurial people, it’s the insecure ones whom blow the trumpet of dissonance loud and proud. And I have very sensitive ears. I coach myself through these I love you, buts by reminding their opinions of me are none of my business. If they express them, it’s because they need to feel empowered, and judgement is the only tool they have in the tool box. I don’t have the quantitative data, but I’ve been through so many of these relationships I can qualify thusly: the closer to zero instances of accountability over a population greater than four unrelated to the subject, the more likely the subject wields judgement as a defense mechanism.
Here’s my defense mechanism: I back away. The person is so invested in the drama he or she is attempting to dredge up between us, my presence is no longer valued. I’ve caused unhappiness by not liking the things they like. I’ve caused discord because I cannot connect with the people they insist I should engage with. I am not a good friend, because I’m not willing to sacrifice my comfort so he or she can feel special 24/7.
You knew this about me from Day One. Now it’s a problem, and I’m supposed to be accountable for all of it? No thank you.
Recent developments were so distracting, I lamented my frustration to a trusted friend. You know what he suggested I do? Lie. Tell white lies. Make people feel good about themselves, that’s all they want. I had to shake my head at him. I’d rather be the bearer of the ugly truth than dole out pretty little lies. Then you should be okay with being alone, he closed. Yeah, actually I am.
One of my tattoos sums my principle on social interaction: I’d rather be alone than miserable.
2 thoughts on “I Love You, But…”
In the circumstance(s) you describe above it is absolutely necessary to tell the truth to the individual. But, perhaps the person who said to you it was ok to tell a white lie didn’t realize the depth of the relationship and emotions of the two parties involved. And, meant it was ok to lie in otherwise ‘harmless’ situations. 😉
Sometimes a white lie is harmless and actually helpful, but the truth could be toxic to the person and in the end cause a lot of harm. And, holding yourself to never tell even a little white lie is a huge task and is an almost impossible standard to hold to. And, could also backfire and turn into a mighty burden on your own emotions by hurting someone when it could have been no harm, no foul.
Yes, the truth is almost always the best path, but in reality a little white lie told to spare someone unnecessary harm is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s ok to protect someone from unhappiness and/or pain. I try my best everyday to live as honestly as I can, but could never feel good about intentionally hurting someone with the truth if there was a harmless avenue.
Just my $.02
This is a well spent two cents!
To me, “unnecessary harm” is in the eyes of the beholder, and is subjective to the spiritual/emotional state of the beholden. So even in a circumstance where a white lie can prevent unnecessary harm, it can eventually build towards a toxic truth.
The question is, are we allowed to harness that level of alchemy over weaker-willed, emotionally vulnerable beings? Would the dispensation of the white lie in and of itself be an intentional form of harm?
I like your observation on the depth of relationship being a weight towards deciding to tell a lie. Many a good parent has admitted their successful parenthood is based on the skill and delivery of lying to their children (think Santa Claus). And, many marriages remain intact because the spouses check in with each other and proclaim they are happy with things as they are. As long as everyone involved is keeping each other’s best intentions in mind, no harm, no foul.
I’m just sayin’, I ain’t the one. And before someone enters into a connection with me, I feel it’s fair for them to know that up front about me. If they interpret my honesty as a mere hurdle to clear, that’s on that individual.
Thinking of American Psycho, I love how Patrick Bateman (it’s Patrick, right?) admits to the gruesome murders he committed, how many, how executed, and even openly discusses his bloodlust, yet everyone around him has this vacuous reaction. He’s admitting he’s homicidal, a necessary truth, and nobody cares.
So really, whether or not you discipline yourself to always tell the truth, it still falls on deaf ears.