Insincerity is NOT a benchmark of adulthood. It is a result of being brainwashed. And it is what lands us all in therapy.
What is the first thing our parents teach us when we’re little? Don’t lie. And what is the second thing they teach us? To lie. How are you feeling? No, you don’t feel that way. That doesn’t hurt. You shouldn’t say things like that (even though they’re true). Don’t lie. Didn’t I tell you not to lie? Are you listening to me? Don’t lie now. Gosh, wasn’t that movie amazing? (NO) We are taught to say only what others want to hear, that our feelings don’t matter and that we should not, by any means, ever share the ones that aren’t pretty. And definitely never tell the truth.
So when they ask us how we’re feeling, we’re “fine.” And everything inside us is a raging wildfire burning us alive but there’s no one to tell it to. And we’ve been told for so long that our feelings are not valid or real that we now don’t even know what we’re actually feeling. Or some people claim to have stopped feeling at all. And then one day we go crazy. We scream at the boss or blow up a car or run through the streets naked yelling something about George Bush and Al Gore making love at Burning Man in a pig-filled mud pit. And everyone says that we’re crazy. Oh, he was such a nice boy. But really, we’re not crazy at all. We’re just fucked up due to brainwashing that tells us we shouldn’t and therefore don’t feel the way we do and, IF we still do, that we should NEVER communicate it. (sigh) Seriously.
And it takes many years of therapy to learn to trust and to know what we’re feeling and to TELL THE TRUTH. Holy God, that’s a difficult task. Most people are truth-intolerant, you know that? They just don’t want to know. When they ask how I feel they don’t really want an answer. If I tell them, their response is certainly not helpful. Then I feel ashamed because I certainly must’ve done something wrong by HAVING that feeling AND by sharing it. Oh gosh. Now what do I do with this shame I now feel about having a feeling and the guilt I now feel ‘cuz I can’t tell anyone about my shame because that’s not something I can share either. Guess it’s another secret I have to keep.
And again, “How are you doing?” “Fine.”
Inner dialogue: DAMN, I hate my life. Nobody listens to me. Nobody cares. I’m all alone.
Inner therapist: They can’t know what you don’t tell them, Michelle.
Me: But they don’t want to know! AHHHHHHHH!
And again, “How are you?” “Fine.”
Inner dialogue: This is never going to end. I should kill myself now.
Inner therapist: Probably.
And again, “How are you doing?” “AAAAAHHHHH! I FUCKING HATE YOU!!!!!”
Other person: “What a bitch.”
Me: Damn straight. Get the fuck out of my way.
This is not a part of adulthood. This is some fucked up shit.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2011