Seems like some folks are getting into the editing business.  Unlike the editors of this fine publication, these folks  are trying to rewrite their own history whether it  is personal, historical,  or political.  

I am a proponent of looking into our past— what we left behind, what we still carry, and what we still carry that’s downright counterproductive.  Doing so may help us decipher how we arrived at this point in our lives. However, rewriting our personal history lends itself to inauthenticity, and quite frankly, relationship problems. 

Research clearly indicates that on a purely psychological level, people rewrite their personal  history to avoid looking at the  buried skeletons lurking in their past. They invent a brand new shiny cover story-that is acceptable to their psyche but dangerous to their health.  Studies reveal that suppressing emotions can lead to depression, anxiety, fatigue, addictions and a myriad of other ailments. 

Some folks rewrite their history to gain something they want. These duplicitous folks will go to  any length to spin or twist the facts around. Sadly, the more times they tell the story, the truer the twisted version is to them. Think George Santos. 

Possibly, rewriters suffer from self-esteem issues.  Perhaps  they do not feel that they are good enough or exciting enough.  Inventing a past that raises their status, at the very least to  themselves,  fills up the “not-enough cup. ” That is, until someone comes along with more status and their cup is metaphorically drained.  Oh, my!  Scrambling to find a way to deaden painful truths is a precarious way to live. 

It intrigues me when I know the truth about a situation, and yet, someone will reinvent a new reality.  Not to be confused with “I see it differently“ scenario, but a downright lie.  I have found myself flabbergasted when this happens. If the story-teller is questioned, gaslighting is the next tactic.  

Gaslighting and lying are identical twins with subtly different characteristics.  Gaslighting can make the victim feel crazy. Some instances:

You are suspicious of your partner’s behavior and question them.  You may hear:  I’m not cheating, you are just paranoid.   

You take umbrage  at your partner’s snarky remark:  The reply: I didn’t say that;  you are too sensitive.

It’s hard to spot a gas lighter, they are slick and manipulative. They attempt to rewrite our reality by trying to implant a different memory. Things you know happened are flat-out denied. Their version is considered the absolute truth. Gaslighters flip the situation and place the blame on you. 

Liars disseminate false information.  We have all done it. It can be as innocuous as saying “the traffic made me late.”  ( A favorite of mine, given that it’s summer on the North Fork.) More serious is when a partner doesn’t own up to a betrayal.  Think Bill Clinton: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

The difference between lying and gaslighting is nuanced but important.  Gaslighters are hell-bent on emotional abuse through denying and dismissing our  feelings.  Lying is when someone withholds the truth. 

 We can slice and dice their differences, however, gaslighting is based on lies and every lie is gaslighting. And they both involve editing the “story.”  Consider these scenarios: 

President Biden winning the election of 2020 should be a non-issue, yet, for some it is not. To this day, election deniers are still spewing misinformation, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  Think January 6. 

What happens in our town is mind-boggling.  I read and post on the comments section of various media outlets. The contradictions from our leaders have me scratching my head! Invariably the truth gets distorted and the story takes on a life of its own.   

Nowadays, the sad reality is that whole chapters of personal, historical,  and political accounts  are  rewritten to fit.  Kinda like having a garment made to order.  Despite overwhelming evidence, there are some who deny the Holocaust happened.   

Some believe climate change is a myth, science is not to be trusted and medical  advances only serve to make big pharma and doctors rich.  Some are now rewriting history books to fit their narrative.  Talk about historical fiction! 

Part of being human and living in society lends itself to finding clever ways to express and to conceal our truths.  Deniers will substitute a more acceptable story. Those who disseminate false narratives, especially those in a position of authority, hijack folks who do not take the time to explore the facts.  

Being honest with our personal, historical,  and political narratives is imperative. Instead of bad  history repeating itself, we learn from our mistakes, thereby creating a better-informed and compassionate society.  Otherwise, the truth we hide becomes the lie we live. And who wants to live a lie? 

Heed what the poet Mary Oliver writes: “Oh the house of denial has think walls and very small windows and whoever lives there, little by little, will turn to stone.”

See you next month, Folks!

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Celia Iannelli is a native New Yorker enjoying a second career — in 'retirement' — as a freelance writer. She lives in Jamesport.