Honesty is such a lonely word
Everyone is so untrue
Billy Joel

Is anyone a hundred percent honest? I know I’m not. I don’t think I’ve ever been completely honest with anyone since I was a child, including my immediate family. I am closest with my wife, and one friend, and maybe my therapist, but they don’t know everything about me. I am mostly honest about my mental health in this blog, but not in real life where people either don’t need to know or would make decisions that could be harmful to me. I’m not totally revealing in this blog space, partly because of the fear of discovery, but mostly because there are a lot of topics I just won’t write about. There are secrets and shameful things that I simply don’t ever want people to know about, and that I don’t want to put in writing anywhere.

I don’t usually lie to people, unless I do it for my own protection at the moment, but I am always making a judgment about how much truth someone needs to know. I equivocate and deflect when someone is making small talk and asks “how are you?”, and I say “oh, pretty good”, when I am definitely not okay but I don’t trust the person enough to tell them how I really feel. I won’t be truthful if they don’t really want to know, or if it’s not their business. There are only a few people outside my inner circle who I will be more honest with, but I skirt the edges of the truth so that I don’t reveal too much of myself.

As a child I was taught not to trust people; I grew up in a culture of distrustfulness, but it was reinforced by the behavior of the people around me. I learned very early that if you didn’t hide your thoughts or feelings, someone would mock you, tease you, or use your words as a weapon against you in some way. If you shared too much with someone you thought you could trust, it would bite you in the ass somehow.

I feel disingenuous and deceitful when I conceal things from people. I feel like I am acting a part much of the time, but instead of it being performance art, I simply feel like a phony. It hurts knowing I sometimes deceive the people I love, but I can never be completely open. I’m too damaged for that to happen.


2 thoughts on “honesty

  1. anne


    I get it. If I was totally open about who and what I am, people would be horrified. For the record, I think you are amazing. :)

  2. Meghan

    I think all of us on the spectrum of mental illness have lied to protect ourselves. It feels like self preservation. I was trained to be far too trusting as a kid. I’ve learned over the years to protect myself more. I don’t fault you for that or think that makes you a bad person at all. I think quite the opposite, actually. *hugs*

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.