The problem with telling the truth is that everyone claims that they want to hear it, but the truth is the majority of people really don’t like telling the truth. Maybe Jack Nicholson would have been more correct if he had said “You can’t handle telling the truth!” One of my favorite in-laws called me this morning. She was feeling really upset by some recent gatherings among the family that she felt both her, and her sister had been selectively excluded from attending. I listened with great empathy because I know how exclusive this bunch can be first hand.
This weekend involved an annual 3 day gathering where numerous family members rented cabins in a park. Saturday was an invite for a family picnic that everyone was invited to with great openness. Her issues were with all the other less than open gatherings among a certain click within the family circle. Let me say to you right up front I have been a member of this family for 33 years, and I am not an invited member within this particular group. I am personally okay with the exclusion. Since she grew up with these family members, and had always previously been included to the exclusive click she was very hurt by her obvious exclusion.
She went further to say she actually expressed her feelings to one of the Aunts (A queen bee in the click), and she was further hurt because she could tell that the explanation she received was a lie. She went further to let me know that there was a great deal of anger over our loved one who recently passed’s private internment service the evening prior to the huge family reunion. This was a decision made by our loved one’s wife. Her request was just the immediate family.
I am a huge fan of the truth. Even if it is uncomfortable for those involved because I believe that it is the only way to build genuine bonds between people. It’s also a great way to keep misunderstandings at bay. What happens when you know the truth, but the truth is not yours to tell? In this case I do happen to know why she was excluded. Unfortunately I am bound by the confidence of another family member not to speak about the reason.
Since I had given my promise not to share this information I kept my word. I feel very badly about the entire situation. So I simply told her that I was sorry that she had been hurt. I told her that I couldn’t explain the behavior of the others within the exclusive click. I will never understand how mistreating someone could be easier than just truthfully telling someone what they did to offend you, and allowing them a chance to explain, apologize, or fix the damage.
I personally would have given an open invitation to anyone who wanted to have attended our loved one’s internment, but it was not my decision. I find it ironic that the exclusive click was so indignant about someone else’s choice to be exclusive. The problem with telling the truth is that so many people rarely do so. 😉