By Ox Drover
There are some things in life that we accept as “truths” whether we understand just why they are true or not. We accept that the world is essentially round, that it revolves around the sun, that light is white and the absence of light is dark. We don’t have to truly understand exactly how these things work or why they are true, we just accept that they are true, and when we lie down to sleep at night and the sky is dark, we trust that in the morning the sun will be shining again. That is just the truth. That is just the way things are.
Sometimes we are told by people we love to believe the unbelievable. We don’t want to believe it any more than we want to believe that the sun may not come up tomorrow morning, or that if we drive or float far enough that we will fall off the edge of the world. But somehow, slowly, we start to believe that we can’t make it without the psychopathic partner to tell us how things are. We are compelled to believe them or to give them up. We make ourselves believe that we are mean, controlling, worthless, and that we couldn’t live without them. We make ourselves believe that our lives would be devoid of happiness without the psychopathic partner, mother, sister, brother, child.
The very thought of leaving them becomes unthinkable. The very thought of them leaving us terrifies us, and we scramble to do anything to make them stay, to make them love us. We endure the crazy-making; we force square pegs of falsehoods into round holes of what we can see with our own eyes, force them with a hammer if necessary.
When we are sad, we lie and paint on a face with a smile, so no one else can see that we have failed again to make the psychopath happy, that we aren’t really worthy for him or her to love us. Our painted faces don’t fool those closest to us though, and they know we are unhappy, but not why. If we try to share our truths with them, they don’t understand, which makes us even more unsure of ourselves. There is no validation. We only want consolation from the one that twists the truths and hurts us; he or she is the only one who can salve our wounds and make us feel better for a while.
But then they strike out again, sinking the venomous fangs of words into our flesh. We feel the pain with each strike, straight to the heart. We argue and try to defend ourselves, but they project the pain back to us—it really is our own fault, if we would just try harder everything would be wonderful.
We know we are trying hard, we know we are giving all we can give, but it isn’t enough, it’s never enough. It’s all because we didn’t believe enough, didn’t trust enough, we have to have faith. No matter if our eyes see the sky is dark, we must say it is light. We must believe it is light. We must believe they love us. To not believe is not possible; it would be too painful. What person who loved us, truly loved us, would stay with anyone like us if they didn’t truly love us and want to make us better for them? They work so hard at helping us be perfect, but we just never measure up. We must believe the unbelievable, that we are worthless.
But one day, we wake up, and the sun is really shining, and we see the truth, the real honest to God truth. We have believed the unbelievable, we have violated ourselves by denying the truths we saw, the truths we knew. We have sold our souls to this person who really didn’t love us at all. Our life can go on without pain, without twisting and turning to put the square peg of falsehood into the hole of truth.
Only the round peg of truth will fit into the round hole of truth. The square peg of falsehood held by our lover, our friend, our relative, won’t fit. No matter how we try to cram it in, or how much of a failure they tell us we are because we can’t make it fit, we see. Really see!
It doesn’t make a great deal of sense to try to cram that square peg into the round hole. Why didn’t they just accept the truth? Why did they demand we believe the unbelievable—that they loved us? People who really love us don’t treat us this way. They encourage us, not denigrate us. They support us, not knock us down.
But most of all, people who love us, really love us, do not demand that we believe the unbelievable—their lies. Then we realize that isn’t myself that is the lie, it is them. The very ones we love that are the lie. Our lives can go on and go on without the pain of trying to make ourselves believe the unbelievable—that they love us.
But we have a child together—they must love our child, all parents love their children. How could my own mother not really love me? All mothers love their children. I’ve been a good: wife, mother, friend, lover, parent; how can they not love me? It’s unbelievable that they don’t love me. I can’t believe if I try harder they won’t see the truth and love me back. Surely there is some magic phrase that I can find and say to them that will make them see. It’s unbelievable that they can’t see how they hurt me.
There comes a time when the unbelievable becomes believable and we face the truth. The painful truth that the one we love most in the world doesn’t love us. It is not unbelievable anymore; it’s a fact, just like the sun comes up in the morning. We don’t have to understand how or why the truth is the truth, we just have to believe the truth. The truth will set us free. Free from the pain of square pegs in round holes.