All that glitters is not gold

By Ox Drover

Going through my family photos I came across one of my two oldest sons. We had gone on vacation to Montana to visit a friend for the summer in 1981. They were about 10 and 11 years old. My friend took us around to all the local sights and showed us some old gold mines dug back into the solid rock.

In the photo made that summer, I saw my sons, both kneeling on a huge rock about five feet from the edge of a stream of rapidly flowing water, with a gold pan in their hands. My friend had put a handful of sand from the edge of the creek into the wok-shaped pan and showed them how to swirl the sand in the bottom and let the rushing water wash away the lighter sand, and told them that the heavier gold dust would stay in the bottom of the pan.

They were so excited to be panning for real gold and before long they started to see flakes of glitter in the bottom of their pan. It shone like the sun and made them very excited and they were talking about all the things they would buy with the fruit of their efforts. GOLD!!! REAL GOLD!!!

When they had a teaspoon or so of golden dust in the bottom of their pans, they could come to the bank of the river and put it into a plastic container. Then they would scoop up more sand and go back out on the big rock in the river’s edge. They worked for hours digging and panning for gold dust, excitedly washing the sand they dug, and keeping the glittering dust in the bottom.

As my friend and I sat on the bank of the creek watching the boys enjoying their experience, he leaned over to me and said, “I don’t have the heart to tell them it is fool’s gold they are panning.”

I sort of chuckled that day, and never really did tell the boys that their work was for naught, or that what they thought was a treasure trove of real gold was nothing but pyrite, or “fool’s gold.” Eventually, I think they figured it out for themselves, and my oldest son still has a small jar with the fool’s gold in the bottom.

I was thinking about “fool’s gold,” in terms of false things that glitter and mimic “the real thing” but are, in truth, worthless. A psychopath’s claims of loving us, their claims that they care for us, are “fool’s gold,” because in fact, they don’t have the capacity to love or care.

The miner who came back to “Deadwood” with a big poke (bag) of fool’s gold would be the laughing stock of the town for a while. Sometimes we may feel that we are laughing stocks or fools for having accepted the “fool’s gold” of the psychopath’s “love” for us as real.

Just as my sons were unable to distinguish the fool’s gold from the real gold, we are sometimes unable to distinguish what is real and what is not.

Experience, however, is a good teacher if we will listen to it. Having seen real gold dust, it is easy enough to compare the different sparkle of fool’s gold from the real thing. Having been fooled once (or twice or more) by the fake glitter of false love, we can use this knowledge to protect us. As the old saying goes, and it is so true, “not everything that glitters is gold.” As we learn that everyone who says, “I love you” doesn’t really, we learn to pick the real from the false.

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91 Comments on "All that glitters is not gold"

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Thank you Ox Drover. To the point. Fool’s gold is not gold. A spath’s love is not love.
I am revisiting the conviction I have struggled with, that the love I felt for him was real.
I accept that his love was a deception…all the facts have made this very clear to me. It hurts. I did not want to beleive it at first. I do now. That shift took a couple months. NC months.
Now ..the question of my love for him?
What do I base giving my love to another on? Evidently, I base it on some pretty sick stuff. This is not the action of a sane and concious woman.
As many of you have said, it was not love, it was… ” an illusion, a plot for my destruction, a set up to take from me what he wanted, my body/mind were under the powerful effect of his love-bombing me, the oxytocin high, my sick need to repeat a pattern from childhood..” thanks to all of the wise, learned here; for the wisdom that shines light on the fact that my love was a hypnotic state…not real love.

The feeling I had for him was more intense than I have ever had for another man. Intensity does not equal true love!?! A concept I am sorting out. Intensity may mean the biggest lesson of my life…not the love of my life~

Loving him made no logical sense. I do not love being abused, lied to, betrayed, insulted, treated with disrespect, having mind twisting conversations, being humiliated in public and private, having my body compared to other women’s, being told I have no value in subtle and sometimes direct ways, being asked to destroy my health and well-being, sitting through sudden outbursts of a rage attack (being told I better take it with “levity, or else I will be punished with cruelty”), crying till my eyes are swollen, giving my TLC and nurturing to a man who cared nothing for my needs, witnessing countless flirtations with other women in my presense, giving my body to a man that I sensed was being unfaithful, drained of my energy to a point of near physical collapse.
“that they love us…care for us, is fool’s gold” That I thought my love was real…is fool’s gold too. Just a worthless substance.
This man was a nightmare for me. This is not love. This was a lesson. Slowly sinking in. Hugs to all,


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