jump to navigation

Sometimes It’s Hard To “Come Clean” August 18, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Mindfulness, People.

Have you ever overheard someone recount an event (of which you 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 instigator or co-participant?

Maybe it’s the attorney in me, but when someone shares a sob story that sounds one-sided, lopsided, or far-fetched, I do not offer blind support.

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

Once upon a time, we cautioned our young niece 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.

Eyes brimming with tears, she exclaimed, “Jazz scratched me!”

We examined the scratch ~ a glancing blow issued as a “step away from the cat” warning.

“What were you doing when he scratched you?”


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


“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?”


“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.”


James-the-CatSometimes 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 hissing, scratching, tail-pulling, or worse.

But it’s worth it when we do.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Related posts:  Is Your Soul Yearning For Less Drama (Find Your Middle Ground) * You Can’t Handle The Truth





1. suzicate - August 18, 2014

I’ve known people who play the victim, seems life is always out to get them…usually that means they aren’t telling the whole story.

nrhatch - August 18, 2014

I am oft times amazed at the fictional far-fetched fabrications people tell themselves and others in order to protect the fragile Ego from facing the facts.

Looking at life through the eyes of Ego is all about skewed perspectives, cloudy lenses, and dirty filters. Reality is no where in sight. 😯

2. Val Boyko - August 18, 2014

So true Nancy. This is was an important and loving lesson for your Niece. Coming clean feels so uncomfortable when we are young because we are afraid of punishment and feel we may no longer be loved. That’s a lot of fear to handle in a young mind.
It takes guidance to do the right thing… and hugs afterwards ❤
Thank you for the link!
Val x

nrhatch - August 18, 2014

One of my earliest memories is having to come clean and admit that the roll of blasting caps belonging to a friend’s younger brother didn’t just land in my pocket.

The memory left its mark in indelible ink due to the nagging concern that Margie’s dad would no longer be willing to give me a ride to kindergarten and my parents would evict me from the house causing me to end up hungry, homeless, alone, and illiterate. :mrgreen:

It’s funny now. It was scary then.

3. Jill Weatherholt - August 18, 2014

Very true Nancy. I ended a friendship with a person who was always the “victim.” It was exhausting being around her.

nrhatch - August 18, 2014

Yes! That could be tomorrow’s post: “10 Reasons Why It’s Exhausting to Be Around Victims.”

Our compassionate center WANTS to help them ~> but they are so wedded to the attention they receive for being a victim that they are unwilling to change their perspective:

“Hardship is inevitable. Misery is optional.”

ericjbaker - August 18, 2014

I know the feeling.

4. William D'Andrea - August 18, 2014

Sometimes the best thing to do is “..just keep your mouth shut.
“You didn’t see nothin’. You didn’t hear nothin’. You’re bein’ framed.’

nrhatch - August 18, 2014

People are unhappy because they aren’t being truthful with themselves. Being truthful with yourself plugs you into your inner power. ~ Suze Orman

When you stop hiding who you are, you have more energy to become more fully who you want to be.

5. katecrimmins - August 18, 2014

I worked in HR. What can I say? I had to counsel a good friend that her daughter was fired (at another company) for a solid reason. When she told the story, although it was factual, she was missing the fact that what her daughter did was against protocol. It was the old, well everyone was doing it. Most likely not. Fortunately I talked her out of filing a lawsuit. No wonder the courts are all jammed up.

nrhatch - August 18, 2014

Ego uses deception and illusion to fool others and self-deception to fool us.

Ego stands its ground
Insisting “I’m right!” with might
Blinders block its view

When Ego wins, we lose.

6. NancyTex - August 18, 2014

The problem is magnified when the victim-types surround them selves with sycophants. At that point I think they begin to believe their own BS…

nrhatch - August 18, 2014

Yes! Victims misrepresent the facts to their sycophant followers to gain validation for the “rightness” of their position, peppering their fictionalized accounts with mischaracterizations designed to elicit blind support and sympathy from their posse:

* 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.

And if one of the posse should happen to question the tale instead of providing blind support . . . they are shot! 😎

NancyTex - August 18, 2014

Sounds about right.

nrhatch - August 18, 2014

Shooting the wayward follower serves a dual purpose ~ it shuts them up and discourages others from following suit by stepping out of formation.

Hey! Wait a minute, NT!

Are you just agreeing with me because you don’t want me to shoot you? 😛

7. Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com - August 18, 2014

Oh so true! Recognizing that “everywhere we go there we are” is never easy–much easier to blame and point fingers. But if we are only victims of circumstances then we remain largely powerless to change them. Much better to claim responsibility because then we have the power to do something about it. And Monday Morning is a PERFECT time to remember that! ~Kathy

nrhatch - August 18, 2014

Yes! As long as we play the blame game, we remain prisoners of our past. I prefer to be the architect of my future by claiming responsibility for the thoughts I think.

Among other things, it’s a better view! :mrgreen:

8. Eric Tonningsen - August 18, 2014

Exaggeration. Too oft used and oddly, encouraged; at least among those prone to being self-centric. Good topic.

nrhatch - August 18, 2014

Thanks, Eric. We use exaggerated superlatives all the time:

* OMG! That was the BEST post/comment ever!
* I love, love, love that photograph!

As long as the recipient doesn’t buy into the notion that they are THE BEST (causing them to quit their day job and end up on food stamps), no real harm done.

But, still, maybe we should all tone it down, just a bit.

I follow bloggers (e.g., Eric Baker) who use exaggeration and embellishment for comic effect to add to our enjoyment. When it’s clear that’s what’s going on, I don’t feel deceived.

In contrast, when folks use exaggeration, embellishment, and fabrication to “pull the wool over our eyes” (for their benefit, rather than our amusement), the deception rankles and I no longer trust them.

9. elizabeth2560 - August 18, 2014

Ah, what a story! I remember doing that at about the same age… getting scratched by a cat… and I tried to hide it because I had been warned 🙂

nrhatch - August 18, 2014

When, oh when, will children believe us when we say:

Touch Not The Cat Bod A Glove! :mrgreen:

10. livelytwist - August 18, 2014

“I ask a few questions first, to ascertain whether the story is factual or fictional.” Of course, it’s the attorney in you 🙂

You’re spot on. We need to take responsibility for our part in the sob story. A friend taught me about drawing a circle of blame. Whenever I do, I find that I occupy a large part of the circle, and I stop sobbing!

nrhatch - August 18, 2014

Ha! All that training and practice comes in handy when I’m interested in ferreting out the truth, the WHOLE truth, and NOTHING BUT the truth.

I love the idea of a circle of blame, Timi. Sometimes all it takes is an honest question or two for us to see that we fall within the circle’s circumference:

I am spitting MAD. X called me a liar and . . .
Wait! Why did X call you a liar?

Well X didn’t really call me a liar. He just said . . .
So he didn’t call you a liar.

Not in so many words. No.
So why did you lie and tell me that X called you a liar?

OMG! Did you just call me a liar?!
Yes. You lied to me and I called you on it.

Oh, yeah. I did.
Here’s that Circle of Blame. Tag, you’re in it.

11. lindsaycummingswrites - August 18, 2014

Being true to yourself and others always feels better! It takes up too much energy to hide the responsibility of your own actions. Great post!

My youngest has learned this lesson several times…Like when she put nail polish all over the bathroom sink and then claimed she didn’t do it. Of course, she felt better once she fessed up!

nrhatch - August 18, 2014

I think kids must think adults are stupid. One of my favorite Bill Cosby routines deals with a kid caught red-handed with his hand in the cookie jar AFTER being told NO COOKIES!

So, what does the kid do?

Holds the cookie out to Dear Old Dad and says, with a straight face, “Here, daddy. I got this cookie for you!” 😎

Glad your daughter is learning to fess up. It’s an important life skill to have:

“The most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere.” ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

lindsaycummingswrites - August 18, 2014

They must think that!

I have to agree with Ms. Lindbergh!!!!

nrhatch - August 18, 2014

I think it’s hard to vibrate at a “positive level” of peace, joy, and happiness when we know we’re engaging in negative behavior like deception.

Vive la vérité!

12. Pix Under the Oaks - August 18, 2014

I have had so many years of nun guilt I don’t know any other way than the truth. Anything else gets you in trouble down the road.. 😀

nrhatch - August 18, 2014

I try not to shade the truth in my favor ~ it’s not worth it when I look in the mirror at night. Especially since I tripped up many opposing witnesses in court by exposing a small lie which ended up calling into question ALL of their testimony:

“If they lied about that . . . what else have they lied about?”

I am happier when I tell the truth:

“People are unhappy because they aren’t being truthful with themselves. Being truthful with yourself plugs you into your inner power.” ~ Suze Orman

13. colonialist - August 18, 2014

I know ones who are limelight addicts. Any joint effort is represented as all their own work, for example.

nrhatch - August 18, 2014

It’s rather sad to see the effort some people put in to feeding their insatiable Egos.

I prefer to be around straight shooters who tell it like it is and give credit where credit is due (instead of shoving others out of the spotlight while screaming, “Look at ME!”).

14. Grannymar - August 18, 2014

Excellent topic, Nancy. I think we all know a queen or prince of ‘pity me’. I listen for a few minutes and then remember somewhere I should have been ten minutes earlier.

nrhatch - August 18, 2014

Haha! You made me laugh, GM. Ten minutes is more than enough time to listen to a Pity Party or Whine Fest thrown by someone who’s not entirely in touch with reality.

15. Kate @ Did That Just Happen? - August 18, 2014

My boss is quite the story teller! He likes to not only make sure the he comes out the hero of a story, but if he can stir the pot and rile up others at the same time, then it’s a big win for him. I finally had to start calling him on it (in a gentle way) and letting him know that I knew the truth and even worse, others talked to each other frequently and they knew about his behavior. Fortunately, he was telling me a story about his mom and he was so upset with her behavior, and I was able to show him that it was exactly how he behaved. He’s been working on it – and no longer does he throw pity parties where he’s altered facts to make him the “hero” or the one to have all of the attention!
Great post!

nrhatch - August 18, 2014

Good for you for calling him on it (in a gentle way) and good for him for working on it. It’s hard work to change ingrained habits, but it’s so worth it . . . our FREEDOM is at stake. :mrgreen:

16. Silver in the Barn - August 18, 2014

Ultimately it’s so much easier to just come clean. If nothing else, that good ol’ Army sergeant of a Dad sure drilled into our heads to accept responsibility for our actions. No BS in our house and that has served all five of us kids very well in later life. And our egos are just fine!

nrhatch - August 18, 2014

Being willing to accept responsibility for our mistakes and missteps (as well as our achievements) pays dividends. We’re much happier when we can say, “sorry, I screwed up,” without looking around for a scape goat or feeling like a failure.

It makes us all the more human.

17. Barbara - August 18, 2014

A lesson well leaned for your niece – in more ways than one.

nrhatch - August 18, 2014

Among other things, she didn’t develop a phobia of cats since she saw the role she played in the drama.

18. ericjbaker - August 18, 2014

Ha! This reminds me of the time my cousin, who is about 6 years my junior, was following a friend and me around (we were probably 13 or 14) wanting to hang out with the “cool kids.” We told him to get lost. By the time he made it downstairs to report the incident, we had beaten him with a belt! My aunt asked to see the marks, to which he replied, “Well, they were getting ready to start thinking about it!”

nrhatch - August 18, 2014

Bwahaha! Getting ready to start thinking about it.

When my older brother was 5, he teased me (then 3) by saying, “I’m gonna hit you. I’m gonna hit you.” Terrorized, I’d run to tattle on him, “Jamie’s gonna hit me. Jamie’s gonna hit me.”

Since most things we worry about never happen anyway, mom would reply, “Well, hit him back.”

ericjbaker - August 18, 2014

Sometimes moms know best.

nrhatch - August 18, 2014

Oh, sure . . . take HER side! 😛

19. Behind the Story - August 19, 2014

Lying or shading the truth can become a bad habit. Truth-telling is just one more skill that parents have to teach their children, and sometimes it requires the techniques of a prosecutor to help them admit the actual facts to both themselves and others.

nrhatch - August 19, 2014

I suspect those who shade the truth to place themselves in a better light are addicted to the instant gratification provided by manipulating people to their way of thinking. But, one day, if they stand back far enough to see the forest as a whole, they may be horrified to see their life’s landscape littered with lies.

Parents with prosecutorial flair and acumen help keep them on the right path. 😎

20. jannatwrites - August 19, 2014

Great example of slanting the truth! I’m always suspect when something hap(pens out of the blue for no reason at all. I know that actions are rarely unprovoked. Why my kids haven’t figured this out yet, I don’t know! (My younger son’s light in his room ended up broken, hanging by wires. He tried to tell us it just happened on its own. I told him I found it hard to believe that a light would spontaneously fall apart. Finally he admitted that he ‘may have’ tossed his bath towel and hit it.)

nrhatch - August 19, 2014

Ah, yes! Wet towel + Hot lightbulb = Sparks flying.

21. Three Well Beings - August 20, 2014

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. ~ Mahatma Gandhi–What a wonderful quote! Yes, I really agree with you, Nancy. There is so much we can learn if we just own our own stuff and don’t make excuses! And yes indeed! I all to often overhear, or am drawn into a conversation when the story doesn’t match my observation. It’s often the same people over and over, and the story is told over and over, too!

nrhatch - August 20, 2014

That quote resonates with me ~ when I fill a sense of dis-ease, I first check to see whether my “inner harmony” is out of sync.

Yes! When folks are attempting to “pull the wool over our eyes,” they often tell the same story over and over. Maybe that’s a necessary step in “rewriting history” so the truth doesn’t slip out by accident. 😎

What Say YOU?

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: