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Truth Telling Through Shame

I was thinking about trust today. Trust is such a funny thing. We trust our intuition, we don't trust our government, we trust the work will get done, we trust God, we don't trust politicians. We trust and we don't trust. We can be on either side of the coin, on just about any subject.
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I was thinking about trust today. Trust is such a funny thing. We trust our intuition, we don't trust our government, we trust the work will get done, we trust God, we don't trust politicians. We trust and we don't trust. We can be on either side of the coin, on just about any subject.

Have you ever broken someone's trust? Has anyone ever broken yours?

Trust, is such a two lane highway.

Lets say Jane is the (trustor) and is willing to rely on the actions of her husband Bob (trustee) to pay the bills on time. An action that is directed into the future. In addition, and coincidedly Jane (willingly or forcedly) gives up control over the actions performed by Bob. As a consequence, Jane must remain uncertain about the outcome of Bob's actions. This uncertainty involves risk taking.

When Bob doesn't pay the bills on time and Jane finds the bills stacked behind the toaster on the counter. " I trusted you," says Jane, "I trusted you and you let me down." In fact, Jane takes this so far she says, "I just cant trust you with anything!"

Now imagine that Bob didn't pay the bills, because Bob didn't have the money. Bob didn't have the money, because he lost his job, or he got distracted, or he drank the money away, or maybe he gambled the money away. Whatever the case, Bob feels shame regarding his ability to follow through, and Bob, now paralyzed by shame, feels he can't tell Jane ahead of time, because he fears Jane will react, the way she does in fact react!

Result: Jane's angry, Bob's in shame.

Bob doesn't trust that Jane will react with love and understanding, so Bob is willing to risk not telling the truth.

What if Jane did not respond with anger, but instead responded with love? What if Jane said, "I love you and I am also losing confidence in your ability to take care of these bills, I am losing confidence in your ability to tell me the truth when you need to. What is it about me, that makes you distrust me with your truth? What can I learn from this?"

What if Bob could tell the truth? "I didn't trust that you would understand, I didn't trust that you would continue to love me, that you wouldn't be disappointed in me. I didn't trust that you would not react in anger. I didn't trust that you would love me through this."

I wonder if it is possible for two individuals to make a trust pack? In fact, I wonder if it wouldn't be the more important part of any wedding vow.

I promise to tell you the truth in advance of the lie. I promise to not be paralyzed by my own shame, but to instead choose to let you in, fully, always, completely. What if a vow of truth telling through shame were possible?

I remember telling my kids... " you can always tell me the truth." Well, they didn't. Likely because they were in shame, and, perhaps equally important, they were afraid of how I would react.
That "D" on that report card - the one that always came on the Christmas break, the progress report. It repeatedly pissed me off because I didn't see it coming. I typically reacted out of anger. "You are grounded for the rest of your life." Honestly, I wouldn't have told me in advance of the fact either.

So many of us as parents make pacts with our kids around drug and alcohol use. We tell them, "if you drink, don't drive."" I will come and pick you up, no questions asked." We promise to react out of love.

What if we promised our children we would react out of love to everything they bring to us, even the "D" on the report card. What if we made a pact with our children regarding shame. What if a pact of truth telling through shame were possible?