I've always had trouble with dishonestly. People who are dishonest get held at arms length. It really is my inability to process it that is my issue. Other people seem to get through fine trusting on the emotional connection with the person. Probably the way I was raised and my childhood struggle with reading people pushed me to rely on it so much. Yet, I was on Reddit today, and came across a post by someone talking about how they distort reality. Is it intentional. Do they remember that they distorted reality. It was just a great post. He is definitely correct that I can't get my head around it even though I understand it intellectually. I leave the post below as it is quite long.
It's just amazing to me. I grew up thinking I was always a bit off. In truth I am. It is only my desire to hold reality strong that keeps me in touch. Yet, how much humanity suffers from these very human issues astounds me. I remember growing up and this one friend from high school appeared to have the perfect family. Always good gifts at Christmas a warm home. Later in life, you find it is a house filled with mental illness and the friend is pretty far off his rocker to the extent many people have distanced. The older I get, the more I just keep running into human minds deviating from reality. I have no idea how to handle it. Is this most people? How can have a honest meaningful conversation with people? What have I been doing my whole life? Is this what we are as a people. Just gaming each other and even ourselves? Who knows... this post is about the one below. I just read it over and over.
It isn't conscious. I do it instinctively when threatened. Or when I perceive myself to be in a weaker position. Or when rational debate isn't working to my favor. It's some form of cognitive dissonance which just kinda happens. Reality is flexible and only the truth you 'want' or 'need' is real. And that truth is... well, inconsistent to say the least.I've observed myself pull this off several times over the course of a single conversation. If the other party catches on, I keep talking circles until they "understand what I was trying to say". Which was NOT what I said. It's blatant lying and falsifying of the truth. But, since most people have honest intents, they will genuinely believe it was a misunderstanding and the whole thing goes on.As a result, there are times I can't quite remember what 'really' happened and have to rely on outside evidence to piece together what was really going on. It makes having honest talks (especially with women, most of whom do the same thing in reverse) a nightmare. Over time I've got to the point I can differentiate fact from internal fiction. Usually. Instinct still kicks in on a regular bassis and I end up twisting stuff around just because... I can?I honestly don't know why I do this. To preserve my ego, I presume. To avoid blame and prevent having to take responsibility for things I dislike. Probably that. End of the day, the point is: this kinda manipulation is highly effective and it's a slippery slope once you start sliding down it. It took me 10 years just to realize I gaslight. And now it's so much part of me I can't reasonably get rid of it; I'd be left entirely defenseless in unfavorable social situations.
It's an extremely difficult 'mentality' to handle and I dearly wish I didn't do this at all. So I can relate to you not being able to bond. I tend to stay away from people and only let very few close for that same reason. The risk of me accidentally ruining them emotionally is too damned high.
As for how people handle it, it varies. Let's go through them.
My mother can't cope. She's a very black and white person and, while she's a cool head when in her element, she doesn't have the mental flexibility or robustness to handle my constant flipping; it frustrates her to no end and results in escalation every time. We've settled on only meeting for an hour or two every few months as a result. It's safer for everyone.
My father has it easier as he's earned my unconditional respect (which is key to keeping me from pulling too many shenanigans). He tends to handle me through calm conversation when I'm in a more rational state, and avoids confrontation altogether when not. We live together so there's an unspoken routine to it all; sit down and discuss things when it's important, but never when there's a risk of escalation. Volatile times we stay on separate floors and only exchange the usual greetings and pleasantries. That way everything remains civil.
My GF has been lucky so far, and can't really handle it. But she's stable enough mentally (and rather sane, which is a trait in most women I date) to deal with the aftermath in a calm manner. We spend a lot of time apart though, which is critical. I tend to muck with perception less when I have space for myself and time to prepare for 'seeing' people.
Most of my close friends have my respect, which helps a lot, and they've learned to give me room and not approach me unless it's safe... usually. I've started 'warning' them when things are going sideways so they can either shut me down or just get out of the way. Doesn't always work. And I've hurt a number of friends as a result.
The only one who's really good at dealing with it is a former LTR/FWB, who's able to adopt an 'ice cold' facade that deflects any emotional attack even though they're painful. Extreme self discipline there; she can hold the line even while she's crying or breaking down herself. Things calm down eventually and we'll talk out whatever caused the mess, resolving any damage that may have been inflicted by the altercation. But she's the only one who's really managed to handle an escalation in real time besides my father. She's also seen me at my worst (borderline psychopathic) and knows this isn't a joke or posturing on my behalf but a serious mental issue. Most of the other friends I'm close to haven't quite grasped how dangerous I can be (usually by accident).
Many know in theory but... well, their minds refuse to believe a human can actually go to such extremes. I just had a horrible situation yesterday that was the result of this misconception. I tried to extract myself from a social situation, knowing I was about to slide off the edge and go nuclear, and they pulled me back because they wanted an earnest talk. Usually that'd be fine and I'd be aware enough to rein myself in. But in this case I'd already slipped and there were disastrous consequences.
Worst part and the thing very few people truly understand is that I feel no sense of 'fault' for this. It was their fault for not realizing I was going ballistic. I know that's not quite true. But I can't shake my version of the truth. It's utterly fixed in my mind. Even if I admit I made a mistake, to myself or aloud, I can't fully realize what I did wrong. And I'm not usually one to shy from responsibility or accountability.
Anyways, the general trend here seems to be: there's no fool-proof way to handle it. Those who've developed means and methods were able to do so because I'm self-aware enough to realize this is happening and, as a result, actively try not to hurt them. Even so it's usually down to damage control or pre-emptive action (such as getting out of the way) than anything else.
I really wouldn't know what advice to give to someone who's dealing with me. Don't get close and don't trust me is probably the safest course of action.
The way I understand it, this kind of mental revisionism is not something a healthy mind can truly make sense of. One might be able to grasp why it happens or what the result is, but what's actually going on in the moment simply defies all logic. I can't even explain my thought processes beaus the train of thought in itself is inconsistent, at least when I try to voice it – in my head everything always adds up. My father has humorously described my mental slippage as the 'TV going fuzzy' effect, which is a good analogy IMO. Everything gets blurry and distorted. It's the same signal as should be there, just not quite getting through properly, resulting in weirdness.