More Reality…Or Not?

A month or so ago I wrote a couple of blogs on reality and perception – in fact, I used a reference made by a respected family therapist and expanded upon that, with her permission, to delve deeper into the dynamics of relationships.

Today I came across a quote from a friend of mine and, again with permission, am borrowing this and taking a look at how it can be applicable to my own situation – and others, as well.

Please do take a moment, soon, to click on her name and view some of her work – it’s fascinating stuff, cuts to the heart of the matter, and very on-target.

“Your perception is your reality until your knowledge is changed. Once that is changed, your perception changes to fit that added knowledge. If your knowledge doesn’t change, your perception remains unchanged. What is your perception? What is your knowledge?”
Rella Ingram, Helium

So, back to blogging. Now, let’s take a look at this quote – perception is reality; I think we can agree that this is true. If one is perceives that something is a certain way, then it surely is – for that individual. All they say and do is based on that perception, ergo, that reality.

For example, if a driver cuts me off in traffic, I may perceive that he’s a complete jerk; my reality is that he is not a nice person, or maybe that he’s just a horrible driver. However, that may not be true, or “reality”. This person could be a wonderful example of humanity, he may even be a professional driver – perhaps he’s ill, or rushing someone to the hospital. There may be any number of reasons for him to cut me off, but the fact remains that IN MY PERCEPTION, he’s a jerk, therefore he’s also a jerk in MY REALITY.

Now, suppose that I, too, am on my way to the hospital but probably not in such a big hurry as he. As I step out of the car, I see this “jerk” helping a staggering woman who is gasping for air; he’s trying to get her inside the ER and nurses and orderlies are flocking outside to help. I now have additional KNOWLEDGE and, most likely, my perception has changed. If I hadn’t witnessed the driver’s act, I would have no new knowledge, and would likely continue thinking he was a jerk.

But what if I persisted in thinking that anyway? What does that mean? Is it evidence of a disorder, or simple stubbornness? Many people acquire knowledge but refuse to change their opinions of one thing or another – witness a racist, who knows darn good and well that the facts show that one race is not superior over another, but continues to believe that a particular race is inferior to his own. That would likely be mere obstinacy.

However, when it comes to facts, it’s pretty hard to argue. My son insisted that I hadn’t taken him to the dentist in three years; one phone call to confirm his appointment and checkup last August, and his response was, “well, I must have forgotten.” No argument, true – but seriously? This is one of his “escape routes” – he conveniently “forgets”.

He missed a family therapy appointment, even though I had reminded him the night before. He told his foster parents that there was no session scheduled, but told the therapist he “forgot”. He claimed he hadn’t been reminded, but had no answer for the lie he told. His reality, in this case, has no basis in fact.

He stated that the reason for the first police call to our house was that he had cleaned up his room – but left one sock lying on the floor. Anyone ever heard of a parent who called the police over something like this?? Mommie Dearest, perhaps? The police report, however, will show something very, very different – not only my words, but his too. I’m quite sure he will claim another memory lapse.

The problem, of course, is that in some situations there are no written or documented facts, no witnesses; some things that have happened are merely products of my son’s imagination…or whatever term is more appropriate. He has often claimed things about himself that pertain to my life, such as things relating to a younger sibling, or a beating that was inflicted on me – but never on him.

He feeds on drama – which is as good an excuse as any to manipulate the truth. He also is partial to victimhood. True victims, however, are lost and unable to cope with their situations – he takes control and attempts to maneuver the facts, and the people involved, to reach his desired outcome.

So my son’s knowledge has been changed, many times, yet he continues to resist changing his perception to fit the facts. Is this a symptom, or is this his reality? Either one, whatever is to be done?


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