Same shit, different pile
Updated: Apr 14, 2018
We fall for the same shit over and over again because it’s ours. And that’s the thing. The cold, hard, done with your bullshit truth of it.
We like to blame others because it’s easy. Easier to spot the sin, the wrong, the slight from our holy perch than it is to get down off of it. And in relationship of any kind, we can become so twisted and turned and intertwined that it becomes exceedingly difficult to sort one from the other. Like vines, versions of the truth tangle and weave themselves around us until we can no longer find the root for the wrap.
Someone lied to me recently. Well, in reality, they had been lying to me for years. Mostly about little things. A couple bigger things. I had forgiven, accepted, minimized, justified, tolerated and put up with it. Somethings I pretended just not to know. In the way that one does sometimes in relationship. Whether it’s little lies or larger transgressions, we often bargain with our integrity for harmony, cohesion and peace. For attachment.
And yet. When I uncovered the most recent lie, I was heartbroken. Outraged. Devastated. I couldn’t believe that even though the relationship had changed so significantly over time, the same patterns were unfolding. I was stunned. Wondering how they could lie to me again. I’d told the truth, kept my promises, honoured my deals. And they had done the same thing they’d always done. I was sitting with the same raw betrayal and righteous anger. Same shit. Again.
The word that is the problem there is “again”. I put my trust in someone who had repeatedly lied to me. I wanted so badly to measure them by my own standards and my own integrity that I didn’t bother to check it against theirs. Checking it might have meant a conflict, a fight, a stalled negotiation. Checking it might have meant discord and tension. Checking it might of meant a deeper fracture in a relationship that was obviously already broken.
Dr. Gabor Mate says that when faced with a conflict between acceptance (the relationship with others) and authenticity (the relationship with ourselves), most of us choose acceptance. We make the choice for harmony. One of our deepest human fears is that we will suffer disconnection in our relationships with others. And so, whether we do it consciously or unconsciously, we often sacrifice our authenticity, or our relationship with self in order to maintain our attachments to others. But the catch is, that when we do this, we disconnect from ourselves to varying degrees. And this in turn causes a deeper suffering. A deeper pile of shit.
And so there it is. The shit we fall for again and again. It isn’t about anyone else, it’s about the degree to which we’ve sacrificed our authenticity for attachment. Because in that place, that fertile space between our truth and theirs, that’s the space where the things we accept take root. That is where they grow and thrive and blossom and flourish. That is also where they can crack foundations, cover old structures and choke out anything else that wants to grow.
Finding ourselves screaming profanities at the latest pile of freshly delivered manure, wondering who in God’s name ordered it and how we fell for it again is a humbling place to be - if we can get past our anger. We fell for it because we thought it would stink less than our loneliness. We fell for it because we hoped for more. We fell for it because we valued potential and possibility more than the truth of what was. We fell for it because we believed if the relationship was harmonious all would be well. We fell for it because we thought we could live with the consequences and that it was a fair trade. We fell for it because we were afraid to make another choice.
And it’s there, hip deep in the shit that we have the opportunity to figure out how to not fall for that again. It’s not about the other person and their lies or betrayal or whatever other injustice they’ve laid at our feet. Not really.
It’s about us. Our willingness to compromise (or not) our relationship with ourself for our relationship with another. The things that matter deeply to us against anything and everything a relationship is capable of. It’s our ability to discern. It’s our ability to know the true cost of a deal and to determine a fair price, one that leaves us feeling whole. Above all, it’s about our ability to honour our own needs in relationship, again and again and again.