Let me start by saying this: honesty and accountability are inseparable and when you realize that someone you know, have loved and admired for the hope and promise they brought to your life; when you realize that you can no longer overlook the fact that they cannot be counted on do what they say they will do and will then deny they ever said it, it’s time to re-consider the relationship.
I’ve been so guilty of looking at relationships and the interactions involved through rose colored glasses that I was accused by my former spouse of living in oblivion. My explanation for it was, I thought, rather noble. It went, (well if I’m really “honest” I should say, “goes” present tense) like this: If you didn’t intend to hurt or mislead me with what you said, what then was the point in making a stink about it. Now, if your repeated the behavior a second or third time then I would simply point out to you that I was offended or hurt by the action. If on the other hand, your intention was to be hurtful or offensive, then I’d be damned if I was going to give you the satisfaction of knowing you succeeded by acknowledging or reacting to you.
I’ve taken great pride in my ability to ignore the faults and foibles of the people in my life. I believe it’s made me a better person. Of course I’m not perfect. I do allow myself the occasional foray into what could best be described as gossip. When I do, it’s generally with someone I know well and trust. But, that’s it. I just normally don’t partake in the exercise of peeling someone else’s layers back.
I was raised in that environment. Mom and Dad conducted their lives in honest and accountable ways. If either of them was ever guilty of wavering from that way of conducting their lives I never knew about it.
Having been married to the most honest and accountable person I’ve ever known for the last 22 years of her life, and having had few personal relationships outside of that relationship, I fell into the habit of assuming that everyone lived by the same basic principles. They don’t. And that realization has taken a certain joy out of relating to people in the course of my daily life.
It’s one thing for me to have developed a given amount of skepticism about the real intentions of people I deal with in my job. Try as I may to draw people out and discover their real goals and abilities to actualize their dreams for their homes, there is always that insidious suspicion that they aren’t telling me the truth. Occasionally I’m surprised though not very often. But that’s the reality of business today and I can accept that and cope with it. What I can’t accept and cope with is the same behavior in personal relationships.
Heaven knows I haven’t always tried to be honest and accountable. When I was drinking I was a consummate liar. I spent years covering up one lie with another and another … and another. When Marilyn finally forced me into AA and I stayed with it for fear of losing her, I eventually got to my fourth and fifth steps and was startled to realize that the damage I’d done while drinking was almost exclusively the product of dishonesty and a lack of accountability. That realization alone and the memory of that fifth step helped me realize how valuable honesty and accountability are. I never, ever want to go through that again and the memory of it has contributed mightily to my 22 plus years of sobriety.
Sadly, very sadly, I’ve learned from experience that the value I place on those two qualities is not the norm for many people. When people who have little if any meaning in my life are guilty of lying and unaccountability it’s of little consequence to me. But, when I’ve come up hard on the realization that someone I’ve trusted; done everything they ever asked of me; placed in their hands so many expectations for my life; when that person has repeatedly failed to fulfill promises and at times just plain lied to me it crushes my heart. Maybe I’ve totally misinterpreted, totally misunderstood, totally over expected … but after painful review I don’t think so.
And I hope that’s the last I’ll ever feel a need to say on the subject.