The above statement could not be more true. The sad part about the truth in it for me is that I was only a teenager when my name was smeared, character muddied & words were put in my mouth… and it was by a jealous, insecure adult woman… who claims to read her Bible daily & live the love of Jesus. Not to even mention that she married my dad, committing herself to my sister & I, as a mother figure. Talk about CONFUSING!
Being gossiped about is not fun, regardless of who is doing the gossiping, but when it’s family & when it’s completely dramatized & false information, it just seems like an entirely new level of being crapped on.
Lies about me were spread to more people than I am probably aware of & I am certain it is still taking place today. I was made out to be an awfully rebellious, ever-dishonest teenager… the complete opposite of who I was then and who I am now. My falsified family business was suddenly everyone’s business & I had no voice.
My father’s wife intentionally “confided in” my aunt & uncle who lived out of state & other relatives, like my dad’s cousin & his wife. All of these people had no close relationship with my dad, sister & I as a family unit or my father’s wife at any given point, so it is clear that these “confidants” were carefully & manipulatively chosen. They had no knowledge of what our family life here was like (& it wasn’t really anyone’s business anyways…). More importantly, they had zero true emotional connection with me. For some, that made it easier to lend an ear to the gossip & spread it, due to the listeners’ jealous predisposition.
For 10 years, I attended family functions in complete & total internal agony, whether it was a weekend at the lake-house or Thanksgiving lunch… it was hell. Unrest doesn’t even begin to describe what kind of state I existed in during those times. I couldn’t trust my aunt’s family in the slightest. They weren’t safe. My emotional, mental & physical response to being around them was that of someone with PTSD encountering a past attacker. I knew their perception of me was skewed, so any interaction with them was totally guarded, walls up, up, up. I couldn’t be myself… who I was to my aunt’s family & my dad’s cousin’s family was dictated by lies.
Not once was I ever or have I ever been approached by those who had been lied to to ask what my experience was. All have been content to have one side of the story. All have been content to keep my voice muted. All have been content to believe nasty, negative things about me. I shouldn’t expect more from those willing to readily lend an ear to & spread the kind of trash that was spoken of me.
So what have I done about it? I had to suit up & be the adult, as I have always have had to do. 10 years of my character being slandered. Enough. I sought out the ears that so readily ate up the lies, the lips that hastily spewed those lies & I set my story straight. I was seeking to tell my story, my experience, my truth. I wrote it all down. I read it aloud, the words washing over blind eyes, clearing them, one truth at a time… as tears rolled down my cheeks & raindrops fell onto the roof.
It took guts. I confronted wrong, long-held beliefs. I let myself be seen, my self that they’d never seen before… the self I worked so hard to protect from further betrayal. Did I mention it took guts? I am non-confrontational & very private. Guts… lots of guts… a supernatural strength that forced my brain to process the words on the papers in front of me & read them, despite the little emotional brick masons that worked to build up a few walls in the moment.
Family functions aren’t as terrible now that my story has been heard. No, I’m not BFFs with all who were lied to. I am less anxious around them, to say the least. I am having to work on allowing myself to BE myself around them, as I’ve been in protection mode for close to half my life… it’s a work in progress!
I freed myself of this false view of me that was created by someone else… and it was worth every second I was nervous & did it anyway.