I lie to myself all the time.
But I never believe me.
S. E. Hinton in “The Outsiders”
Inspired by Skyfall and the women who inhabit the world of James Bond, here’s a film noir series (with a splash of red because I can’t help myself) and an excerpt from Harriet Lerner’s “Dance of Deception:”
In the name of “truth” we may hurt friends and family, escalating anxiety nonproductively, disregarding the different reality other people have chosen for themselves, and moving a situation from bad to worse. We lie or keep a noble silence to escape disapproval and censure, to avoid complication or having our disclosure used against us, to keep our emotions at bay, or to protect ourselves. We believe our choice to be honorable, constructive, at times even acting on “higher” principles of loyalty and solidarity when it appears to protect the greater good.
When we are not clear about what we think, feel and believe, when our priorities and life goals are not our own, when our behavior is not aligned with our professed values, we are not “centered,” “grounded,” or in touch with ourselves. As a result, we cannot be fully present in our most important relationships.
Our failure to live authentically and to speak truly may have little to do with evil or exploitative intentions. Pretending reflects deep prohibitions, real and imagined, against a more direct and forthright assertion of self. It stems naturally from the false and constricted definitions of (wo)manhood that we often absorb without question. Pretending helps us cope and survive, to suspend moral judgements about what is good and bad, better or worse, so we can think objectively about a difficult subject. Pretending can also be an indirect move towards the truth. In feigning love or courage, we may discover that it does exist–or that we can enhance our capacity for it. Pretending can be a form of experimentation or imitation that widens our experience and sense of possibility, reflecting a desire to find ourselves in order to be ourselves.
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© Sharon Birke
201 697 1947
Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother