Be kind. Be content to be yourself and let others do the same. Treat yourself and others with kindness and respect.
Even now I can sometimes still hear the cruelty in my head. No one was off limits. Not anyone in either of our lives. I ignored it. I never spoke up. Tuned it out. Looked the other way. Pretended it was no big deal. But it was a big deal. It was most significant, not insignificant. I had missed it. I minimized and overlooked it. I compromised my values. I didn’t understand what was happening, what I was living. These weren’t just bad moods.
He made fun of his friends and my friends for just about anything, their brightly colored/dyed hair, he made fun of my friends for their weight, their education, their tattoos, their incomes, their “net worth” as he would often refer to, their credit scores, their physical features, their kids, their careers, their physical appearance, their physical shape, their relationships, made fun of our neighbors, his coworkers, his friends’ wives, wives who didn’t work, wives who worked but not lucratively, made fun of his friends for their golf game, their skiing ability, their needing/taking naps, their bankruptcies, their foreclosures, their divorces, their weight gain, their “hypochondria” as he would call it for their regular check ups and prescription medications, their outdoor allergies. He called them “genetically flawed.” He made fun of his relatives, my relatives and said very cruel things, even to me. You name it, it’s been ridiculed. No one was off limits. Literally no one. Anyone in his life or mine was wide open prey for criticism and condemnation and frequently was preyed upon. No one was excluded. No one was off limits. Nothing, and no one was sacred. I ignored it. I made excuses. I looked the other way. At times I even began to believe some of the criticisms I would hear repeatedly. I put on a happy face to coordinate with his mask. I pretended it was not a big deal. It was a big deal. It was cruel, cold, senseless and bizarre. It began to deeply impact me, to change me, but I continued to brush it aside as just a bad mood. Looking back I can see the immense intolerance and cruel judgement for just about everyone we knew, everyone in and around our circle and yet I protected it, protected him, and tried to hide the truth of his character from others (including myself), his real views of those in our lives. It bothered me, but I had become immune to it. It had become a regular part of my daily existence. His superiority. His sanctimony. His grandiosity. His world. I now understand where the intolerance was truly coming from. I never saw, never understood how much he hated himself, primarily because I didn’t realize how much of what I’d been told over the years was untrue. I guess I just didn’t want to see it. I minimized it. I compromised my values and in that, I lost myself for a while. I called the behavior patterns his “bad moods.” Love is sometimes blind to truth, and that blindness has its own set of consequences.
The self-hatred and the daily liquid self-destruction was painful to witness. What a helpless feeling it is seeing someone you love torturing themselves not knowing what to do, not opening up. I was in denial of his truth. What a huge burden for him that must have been to carry around all those years knowing at any moment it could all be exposed. As the long told stories and discoveries finally unraveled, so did the truth. People, I have learned, will come forward with it after the fact. They don’t share what truth they know until it’s over. I have no more false images or mirages strategically placed in front of me, just the truth. Truth is always far better than falsities.
Be real. Be truthful. Compare yourself to no one. We each have our own journey in this life. Have loyalty, character, honor, integrity. Surround yourself with good people. When and if you see questionable traits in another, see them as they are and don’t look the other way if you don’t like what you see. Avoid being blinded by created facades, mirages strategically created and placed in your path to distract you from discovering the truth of what you’ve been told.
If you feel the need to constantly belittle others coldly, cruelly, critically, if you can falsely take credit for another’s accomplishments, even so boldly and brazenly online at your former college/university fraternity, you are indeed, quite sadly, very small. You are in fact, little.