I’m not sure what it is about me, but I often feel that I am some sort of confessional magnet. Maybe it’s my perceived zen-esque attitude, or how I talk about my family, or… who knows what, but people tend to tell me things like I’m an Internet bartender.
Deep things, ‘this shit is getting real’ things, things where I want to put my fingers in my ears and sing “lalalalalalala lalala lalala,” until they stop talking, but I can’t seem to do that.
I can’t just say, “sorry, can’t help you,” even if I should, even if I know I’m getting sucked into a wormhole of crazy.
And let me tell ya, I know crazy – from everyday crazy, to highly medicated crazy, to “she should be wrapped in a net and put in a padded room” crazy. It could be that because I am intimately familiar with many levels of dysfunction, that I can listen to these confessions and honestly say “I’m not judging.”
Unless I have first-hand knowledge of continuing abuse – physical, sexual, emotional, psychological – I also know there are always two sides to every story, and I may only hear one side. I may be told a crock of shit, I don’t know, so I can’t, won’t judge anyone coming to me for help.
Take a situation like Rihanna and Chris Brown. The majority of what is known about their relationship has played out through the media. It’s pretty much a given that Brown did beat her, and now four years later, they appear to be together again. What we can’t know is what was said and done between them in private. We don’t know and most likely never will.
I know a woman who reconciled with a man who abused her as a child. If you were looking at this relationship from the outside and knew their history, how would you judge it? What we can’t know are the conversations they had that lead to their reunion.
After one rather onerous confession, I consulted my son. You may think that odd, but the confession involved someone who was having an extramarital affair, and who was also coping with a serious mental illness. While he doesn’t have the same illness, my son deals with his own thought disorders. I thought he could offer some valuable insight.
The person having the affair blamed his illness for his carnal straying. I asked The Boy his opinion… without giving him all the sordid details.
His answer was perfect – “Having (a thought disorder) doesn’t give you a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card, you still know what you’re doing.”
In essence, you can’t blame your crazy for doing stupid things, especially if you have your sort of crazy in check.
Numerous other friends have confessed affairs to me. I don’t know if they sought my blessing to cheat on their spouses, if they wanted me to absolve them of their sin, or if they merely felt a need to unburden themselves, but I’m left with this secret that I don’t know what to do with.
I won’t stop being friends with a person just because of an affair, but I try very hard to not get involved. I’ve gotten invested in that sort of drama before and it came back to bite me on the ass. I’m done with that. I won’t take sides, I won’t be a go-between, and I don’t feel it’s my place to tell the other spouse about the affair.
Okay, I may judge you for being a douche(tte) if you try denying culpability in an affair. I will taunt you for your sophistry, just ‘man-up’ and accept your full share of the blame.
It comes down to this… none of us are perfect. We all make mistakes and hope for redemption, but we need to own those mistakes. I won’t judge you for being human, I have far too much garbage in my life to criticize someone else. I simply don’t have a stone small enough to throw at anyone.