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When You ‘Tell Your Truth’ How Much Of It Is True?

by Nicole Chardenet 7 months ago in trauma
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Your story may be true but your opinions, selective omission and creative mindreading need a fact check

When she's telling you something with a lot of spin. Photo by Personal Creations on Flickr CC0 2.0

Women love to 'tell their truths', most recently under the #MeToo label, and almost always involving bad, abusive men. Gaslighters. BDPs. Manipulators. Psychopaths. And of course everyone's fave pop-psychology label, narcissists.

I’ve absorbed the stories over the decades, including men with dysfunctional partners and exes, like one who thought he could ‘fix’ her, the way Johnny Depp thought he could Amber Heard, two people engaged in mutual physical dysfunction. Others have spoken of living with women with serious psychological issues. My ex’s son was abused by his first wife and her now-husband. She used to hit my ex, too.

Many publicly ‘tell their truths’, sharing stories of rape, sexual abuse, and childhood neglect. Fewer men do. Is it because men are less inclined to speak publicly about their problems? Or because #MeToo can be hostile to men, forgetting how women can also abuse?

I read to understand power dynamics and identify how people (especially women) can protect themselves better from dysfunctional, abusive relationships. Sometimes I like, or comment, or piss people off, or I get liked a lot when I say something that resonates. Often I say nothing at all, I lurk to learn.

Some complain they’re ‘attacked’ for ‘telling their truth’, asserting ‘they won’t shut me up.’ Women are often singled out for speaking out, most often by men. But not everything women say is true, even as they’re not lying.

A room with a wrong view

Mixed into many of these unvarnished truths are half-truths, fallacies, selective omission and interpretive mind-reading. It’s one thing to state the facts, and another to pile on what Buddhism calls Wrong View, the opposite of Right View on the Eightfold Path.

CC0 3.0 image by Krisse on Wikimedia Commons

Right View is 'clear seeing', understanding reality unfiltered through one's values, beliefs, experiences, goals, dreams, practices, family, culture, religion, etc. We all delude ourselves, thinking we know our reality better than we do. You can only tell your truth to the best of your current ability.

Some confuse their truth with their interpretation of why the other person inflicted psychological damage, prompting these armchair psychologists to blithely apply popular diagnostic labels.

The blinding lack of self-awareness and critical self-analysis explains why the world appears to be full of narcissists, almost all of them women's ex-partners.

What’s *your* pop-psychology label?

As one reads tales about abuse, bad dates and sexual harassment, one wonders what the 'truth-teller' was like. What is 'the narcissist's' side of the story? What, you can't trust a narcissist to tell the truth? How can you be sure the narcissist isn't the narrator? Or someone suffering from some other pop-psychology label.

Occasionally writers are honest about their own toxic contributions. They’re frank about past shameful actions like being abusive themselves or cheating on a partner. I salute those writers for having the labia (or the balls) to bare their imperfect souls.

Women seem especially prone to adding their own judgments and interpretations, making one wonder whether the Evil Ex owns the label. Did a medical professional diagnose them or did the writer?

Women are particularly unforgiving, especially if they’re steeped in ‘patriarchy’ victimhood-centered thinking. They'll happily analyze and diagnose the accused but almost never turn the spotlight on themselves. What did they contribute to the bad relationship? No one is ever 100% innocent. There's a typology of victimhood, with varying levels of personal responsibility.

There’s a bit of an angel/devil complex, too. Vagina = angel, Penis = devil.

Fark off, I’m in bitch mode

Women have achieved equality with men in one realm: Inventing reasons for why they're not responsible for their toxic reactions and behavior.

A time-honored female self-excuse for controllable bad behavior is one’s period, later called PMS, for which there's still uncertain evidence. When you’re older you can blame it on menopause.

When I was young, a friend blamed her irritable, snappish mood on her period, leading some to conclude she must be ‘on the rag’ thirty days out of the month.

Easier to blame her hormones than acknowledge her legendary low self-esteem and ongoing jealousy of everyone.

Now women explain their bad behavior as the result of mental illness--anxiety, depression, or the universal favorite, stress--all of which are almost never so debilitating that sufferers lose control over their behavior. Opposed to, say, a schizophrenic or psychotic or someone who's genuinely delusional, ergo less accountable for their actions.

Some will wave off their own dysfunction contributions by claiming to have Borderline Personality Disorder, PTSD or Alcohol Use Disorder (the fancy new term for ‘alcoholism’), which begs the question: What must life have been like living with her? The ex might be a piece of work, but she may be no walk in the park either.

Like, you know, Amber Heard.

Interpretive judgments aren't facts, they're opinions. Where does one end and the other start? Does the truth-teller even know?

Many women love to cite thousands of years of 'patriarchy' to explain bad male behavior. If he hit or raped her, was it because of his ‘male entitlement/privilege/narcissism’ or because he was raised in a violent, abusive household of his own? What if he’s been raped too, making him a brother in her dysfunction? What if violence is the only way he knows how to deal with his anger, if he doesn't realize he's trapped in a 'man box'? What if he’s as ignorant as she as to what constitutes a healthy, functional relationship?

She might not understand the real reasons behind his behavior, but has increased her own suffering by layering her experience with her own skewed interpretations, i.e., ‘wrong views’.

Critical gender theory takes a female-victimization view and almost always faults men, masculinity and 'patriarchy', but asking what’s at the root of his dysfunction carries uncomfortable implications for women. If we accept some women are socialized to be victimized, it’s a given that some men are socialized to be abusers. If some women simply know no other way, we must acknowledge the same for some abusive men.

The point is not to excuse abusers, but to rehumanize them.

The responsibility of truth-telling

Some women complain about pushback when their views or interpretations are challenged. Others are genuinely victimized by misogynist, angry men hiding behind cowardly anonymous accounts with their own caricatured wrong views about how women are all gold diggers, whores, manipulative puppet-masters, rape liars or whatever other pop-psychology labels they parrot from the Red Pill crowd.

Then again, 'feminists' hiding behind anonymous accounts attacking men are misandrist trolls, no different from their misogynist brothers.

Public domain photo from Pickpik

‘I’m anonymous because I need to tell my truth without gang rape, death threats or doxing attacks,’ is justifiable, but it holds one to a higher standard of truth-telling. Anonymity grants the freedom to express opinions and tell truths that might subject us to unjustified abuse. But it also grants the potential to lie, or simply be less judicious with the facts.

Interpretive mind-reading

I particularly dislike the practice of impugning motives, beliefs and values to individuals one has never met or groups toward which one is prejudiced.

I understand the frustration of decent men who get attacked for their ‘privilege’, ‘entitlement’, or ‘toxicity’ by strangers.

As a white person I’m tired of Critical Race Theorists impugning motives to what we think and feel and how we’re subconsciously racist even if we don’t know it. What the hell would they know about the white experience?

I imagine men must get tired of being caricatured as potential rapists and perpetual misogynists and don't even know where this Patriarchy they're accused of being in collusion with even holds their secret Davos summit.

I work to identify and question my own endless wrong views, perceptions and toxic beliefs. I have multiple daily lapses where I catch myself in toxic thoughts caricaturing individuals and groups I don’t like. It’s especially important to challenge one’s wrong views in these divided times where Manichaean politicians and social media turn full-fledged people into cardboard characters. Like in children’s cartoons, you can tell the good guys from the bad guys by the evil mustache.

I challenge you to separate your truths from your potential wrong views.

And enough already with the silly pop-psychology labels, ya little narcissist!

When I’m not challenging my assumptions, and yours too, I help women and others reclaim their power on my website Grow Some Labia. You can also subscribe to my Substack newsletter, and fight the self-destructive victimhood mindset.

trauma

About the author

Nicole Chardenet

"Grow Some Labia" is for women and others who are tired of self-infantilizing narratives that identify with victimhood rather than self-power. Big girls and boys don't blame 'The Patriarchy'. Twitter: @nchardenet. [email protected]

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