Ever felt like a FRAUD?
Ever been called one?
Shit I have. By close (so called) friends and members of my biological family. Often. Way too often.
So let’s really have a good look at this unwanted word FRAUD. What does it really mean to you and me?
General dictionary meanings describe a FRAUD as being a person or thing intended to deceive others, typically by unjustifiably claiming or being credited with accomplishments or qualities.
Okay well, yes then I have most definitely been a big fat FRAUD. Oh yes I’ve been the great pretender. Ironically though it was when those around me thought I was being real. And when I have been real, is when I have been called a FRAUD the most. Now that will play with your sanity. God knows I have needed professional help to untangle my bullshit from my reality.
Some of us have grown up in a biological environment where we needed to pretend for survival. Editing out any inconvenient truths like domestic violence, abuse, addiction, infidelity, financial crises or just plain unhappiness. Keeping up appearances for the outer world as children creates great adult pretenders. Yes this habit makes emotional, physical, sexual and financial FRAUDS of us all if practiced long enough. Being a FRAUD can actually become our authentic truth. It did for me. Living a lie, protecting secrets was my truth as it is for many of us. We grow up understanding that if we ever dare speak the truth, we may well be called a traitor, disloyal a liar and a FRAUD. Sadly by those we love the most.
In my experience, “coming out” as a survivor of abuse or “coming out” as an addict, these days is similar to what coming out in the1950’s was for many gay people. A huge act of courage. From the 1950’s through to the early 2000’s coming out for some people within the gay community often meant that those closest to them may well disown them and shame them. And sadly sometimes today this still is the case. However (generally speaking) “coming out” in this day and age as a gay person in families and communities is most of the time (not always granted) is a gentler, less shame filled experience within communities and families.
When we consider the statistics that approximately 70% of addicts have histories of trauma and abuse that means most of us have to face the double whammy. Not just “coming out” to face our ugly abuse history and the rejection that will inevitably cause, but the shame of also admitting to our addiction. Not a journey for the fainthearted that’s for damned sure.
Coming out as a survivor of abuse for over 90% of my clients will mean they will need to be prepared to tolerate being called a liar and FRAUD. Many will inevitably be shamed by those closest to the perpetrator that love him or her. Think of Michael Jacksons’ victims … Rolf Harris, Bill Cosby, and Hey Dad’s Robert Hughes they rarely own up to their behavior. Need I say more? The perpetrator will always call their victims a liar and FRAUD. That is to be expected. But when those who were in our orbit, turning a blind eye when the abuse was happening also call us a FRAUD, well it is devastating
I wrote my first book “A Helping Hand with Life” back in 2000 to explain the sexual and domestic abuse I endured as a little girl at the hands of a family member and the pedophile next door to those closest to me. I wanted all of those close to me to understand why I became such a mess of a female. It backfired. I was disowned and publicly called a liar and a FRAUD by all of those who loved my perpetrators.
I have made peace with this harsh reality. Of course many of those I love, that were close to me preferred to label me a liar and a FRAUD than to accept that the man they adored to be a pedophile. I understand that and forgive them for their misunderstanding. All we can do is agree to disagree and leave each other alone. It’s incredibly sad.
Coming out as an addict can also alienate us from our familiar tribe. Those we used to drink and drug with will feel abandoned. They will complain. I remember a woman I used to drink and drug with who was also recovering heroin addict when I met her. A mother of two whom I did school pick-ups with had put down heroin to become a daily pot smoker. We call that in recovery swapping the witch for the bitch. She had an alcoholic father who died as a tragic drunk of alcoholism in his 50’s. When my first book hit the top ten bestsellers list in book stores back in 2000 she rang and left a message at one of the bookstores on their voicemail at 2am one morning before I was due to do an in store book signing. She was stoned off of her lolly slurring her words as she called them to tell them that I was a FRAUD. They played me the message the next day. It was sad, she sounded so crazy and tragic but I understand now how deep her denial was. Because I intercepted my disease of alcoholism and addiction in my early 30’s of course the decay of my physical and mental capacity was not as corroded as her late fathers. She and a few others I drank and drugged with that still hit the piss and drugs hard slurred these words behind my back often when I first “came out” as an addict survivor.
“She’s no alcoholic or addict. I can drink and drug more than her and I’m fine.”
So today’s Word Vitamin invites us to revisit the word FRAUD with an open heart and mind in our own lives.
When I got clean and sober and started to speak and write my truth, I felt like an even bigger FRAUD. It felt like I was living a lie trying to be responsible, honest and emotionally transparent after years of bullshit, pretense and secrecy. I was an amateur at telling the truth. My truth. So every day I wrote, I spoke to therapists, sponsors, fellow recovering addicts and a God of my own understanding. The letters G.O. D. stand for Great Out Doors in my inner world. My God is Mother Nature and Father Time. I can still be heard talking to flowers, my dog, imaginary fairies, the sky and the ocean. It works; there is truth and beauty in talking and listening to nature that is the antithesis of FRAUDULENCE.
If you have been living a lie in any area of your life and feeling like a FRAUD lately, you are not alone. Most of us silently live chapters of our life hiding our truth from ourselves and others. Coming out and speaking our truth is really scary sometimes so it’s best to do it with someone trustworthy. A therapist, sponsor, healer, priest or I suggest my most trusted confidant Mother Nature.
Too many of us rip ourselves off and live a life as a FRAUD because we are afraid of the emotional cost. Will those around us still love and want us if we show all of who we really are? Sometimes they wont. That’s tough, take it from me, but its survivable.
These days I don’t feel like a FRAUD anymore living clean and sober. It has been almost 24 years. It took time. Like driving a car for the first time. We can feel like a FRAUD, like we don’t belong on the road in the beginning, because we are not naturals at it. Amateurs often feel like FRAUDSTERS when they start learning something new. But I console myself with the reminder whenever I try anything new that a professional at anything is simply an amateur that never gave up.
Let’s not give up on ourselves?
Let’s not emotionally, physically, financially, intellectually, spiritually or sexually live a lie for anyone, anymore?
I love this question; it is a toughie for some to answer…
“Can you bear the accusation of betrayal from another and not betray your own soul?”
What is your answer?
Self-honesty is a very expensive gift to give others and ourselves. So let us not expect it from cheap people.
Lotsa love Cynthia xxx
© Copyright 2016 Cynthia J. Morton Emotional Fitness™