more on radical honesty

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a little bit about my thoughts, past and present, on something I'm calling radical honesty.

Many of us have what is generally known as 'trust issues' and I am admittedly one of the many. I've been in relationships, romantic and otherwise, that have been strained, if not decimated, by dishonesty. (I've also been guilty of being 'that girl' - the one who won't cut a guy loose when she's not interested, and instead tries to give him hints to get him to go away, because she doesn't want to be mean. Many thanks to my friend Gary for setting me straight.)

Where was I? Oh yeah...trust issues. I acquired mine through the normal circuits. Knowing firsthand the damage dishonesty can do, I've avoided it for a while now. It was never a deliberate decision of mine to "be more honest" or anything like that. I just recognized how I didn't want to be and lived accordingly. 

And since there was no big 'moment' that shaped my view of secrecy and white lies, I've never really thought much about how different I might be in my (lack of) permissiveness toward white lies and hidden behavior.

Let me magnify that. I hate white lies. I hate secrets. And it infuriates me when people lie to me or hide things from me - especially if they're doing it "for my own good." No thank you, I'll be the judge of that. 

Does all of that mean I'm heartless and rude, saying anything that comes to mind and not accounting for anyone else's feelings? Probably not. I'm sure there are times when Dr. House might call me "CB" and I've had more than one conversation with my husband about how to be empathetic because empathy doesn't come naturally to me. In general, though, I really think a lot of what comes across as me being negative has more to do with my social awkwardness than any truth-driven abrasiveness. And here's hoping that doesn't happen too often either.

I've never been exceptionally "good" at "people." My head injury hasn't helped matters.

In looking at my recent shift, I can see that it wasn't a big stretch to go from thinking it's important to be 'more honest than most' to considering radical honesty as an approach to life and, particularly, marriage.

Part of what I want/expect/hope for my marriage is that we deliberately strengthen our bond by sharing ourselves with each other. An integral part of that, for me, is not keeping secrets. Sure, there are things about Brian that I don't necessarily 'need' to know about. I think that's true of any relationship.

But if I ask my husband questions about something, I want (and expect) straight answers. We both have access to all credit cards and bank statements, phone records, etc. I don't even hide my journal from him, and it can get pretty real in there sometimes.

I am not down with the secrecy. Not no way, not no how.

Do I practice radical honesty? No, I can't say I do. I can't say I never, ever, ever lie or mislead. But I do make an effort to be pretty close to radical.

A lot of people think it's normal to tell white lies, keep secrets, and generally mislead when it works out to their favor. What's your take?

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