When You Know It Isn’t True
Some people lie.
Some people misrepresent the truth.
Some people have a distorted view of the world causing them to believe things which aren’t the case. Some people’s emotions lead them to misinterpret information to support their feelings. Some people’s need for recognition is so great that information is distorted to feed their need for validation. Some people are so scared of a particular outcome that they must hold on tight to a belief or point of view so as to mitigate that outcome.
There are so many reasons why what comes out of a person’s mouth may not reflect the reality of a situation.
For any of those reasons, a person may strenuously hold on to their version of the truth. A person may hold on to their version of the truth so strenuously that it can actually create doubt in the mind of others who know better. So how do we differentiate between fact and fiction? How do we determine the truth?
The challenge is to turn down the volume and look at the picture.
The person who tries to have you accept their version of the truth will try to shape your view through their words. There will be twists, distortions and outright lies. As you concentrate on what the person says, you will get caught up in their reality.
Turn down the volume in your mind…. Look at the picture.
When your child tells you they didn’t take the cookie while their hand is still in the bag, you know the volume doesn’t match the picture. Then there’s the classic lipstick on the collar or the modern day version, the texting history on the smart phone: let the picture tell the story.
In less obvious situations, you have to seek other data, other sources of information. You can trust your gut, but guts also misrepresent reality as your guts may reflect only your feelings and suspicions and not necessarily the accuracy of the situation.
Data or information is something more tangible and is independent of what a person says.
Data or information is the traces of behavior. It includes description of events by others. It includes patterns of behavior over time. It includes discrepancies between what a person says and what is observable. It includes contradictions in the persons version of events. It includes more tangible bits of data or information such as found in emails, text messages and the behavior or reports of others over time.
It may be however, that no matter how much data or information you collect that contradicts the volume (what your are told), the person giving you a distorted version of events may still hold tightly to their version. In other words, for some people being confronted with solid evidence contradicting them, it doesn’t alter what they have to say. This can be the most crazy-making of situations, particularly if you need their validation on top of the evidence.
If you require their validation on top of the evidence, then the strategy to cope is finding support for yourself. Some people will hold on to their version of events no matter what and for any number of reasons. Get support for yourself. Don’t let what you are told, override what you see. Support can help you maintain a view on what you see. Validation will not come from the person holding tight to what they say. Validation can come from the support from those who see what you see, not what is said.
In the end, to maintain your sanity, you cannot get inducted into the vortex of the other person’s distorted reality. You must build a stable view of your own, but one that is based upon the picture, independent of the volume. As a result, you then must make your own decisions for your well-being, based upon the picture and not the volume. Your supports can help you maintain a more realistic view of the situation against the persistence of the other.
Turn down the volume and look at the picture.
I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue. I am available in person and by Skype.
Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America.
If your relationship is faltering, then set it as your priority.
Read: Marriage Rescue: Overcoming ten deadly sins in failing relationships