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Deception February 3, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Mindfulness.
33 comments

When we mischaracterize events to solicit approval or sympathy from others, what have we gained from the deception? 

What have we lost?

Many times, I’ve overheard someone recount an event (of which I have first hand knowledge) by shading the truth, more than a little, to place themselves  in a better light ~ claiming the role of blameless victim to a vicious attack, rather than recognizing their role as either instigator or co-participant.

People misrepresent the facts (to themselves and others) to gain validation for the “rightness” of their position. 

Instead of accurate reporting, they pepper their fictionalized accounts with mischaracterizations designed to elicit blind support and sympathy from others:

* You did not deserve to be treated like that!
* Wow!  I can’t believe there are people like that out there.
* Seriously?  Don’t they have any compassion?
* That is so shocking. Good for you for standing up to them.

As long as we offer blind support, without knowing what really happened, people continue to “pull our legs” and manipulate us.

Maybe it’s the attorney in me, but when someone comes to me with a sob story that sounds totally one-sided, I do not offer blind support.  

I ask a few questions first, to ascertain whether the story is factual or fictional.

Many years ago, we cautioned one of our nieces (age 3-4 at the time) not to provoke our cat or she would get scratched.  Ignoring the warning, she backed Jazz into a corner and reached out to grab him.  He scratched her.

Despite her involvement, she ran to us, eyes brimming with tears, and claimed to be entirely blameless:

“Jazz scratched me!” 

We examined the scratch ~ a passing glance issued by our elderly feline as a “step away from the cat” warning.

“What were you doing when he scratched you?”

“Nothing.”

“You were just sitting there, minding your own business, and Jazz ran up to you and scratched you for no reason?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Really?  You weren’t trying to pick him up?  Or pet him? Or follow him around?  You were just sitting still and he ran over to you?”

Hesitation. 

“Well . . . he was under the table, and I just wanted to pet him, and when I got close to him, he scratched me.  But I wasn’t going to hurt him!  I didn’t mean to bother him.  I just wanted to pet him.”

Hugs. 

Sometimes it’s hard to “come clean” and see our part in the controversy. 

Our Egos don’t want to admit the part we played in escalating situations from peaceful co-existence to name calling, nail scratching, tail pulling, or worse.

When we mischaracterize events to solicit approval or sympathy from others, what have we gained from the deception? 

What have we lost?

No rules.  Just write!