First, I had to know what it was. My entire childhood was so full of lies to protect ‘family image,’ I didn’t even realize how much I lied. Sometimes the lies were omitting the truth but that was necessary for my survival. I would get punished for telling the truth. If I reported truthfully to my father what my mother had done, I was fed, “That’s just the way she is, you have to love her.” Truth was discounted, twisted, abused, until I barely believed anything. I married and tried to live my truth and moved far away from my family of origin. We raised our family and I always tried to be honest but I functioned by hiding the truth, all the time. Then came counseling. Part of the major changes was to stop lying, especially to myself. I stopped lying that my childhood was wonderful. I stopped lying that I felt great. I stopped lying that I could handle anything. I stopped lying that hurting me was ok. I stopped lying that I loved my abusers. I stopped lying to make other people comfortable. I still keep my feelings to myself but that is about setting boundaries. I also learned that many of the ‘truths’ I was raised with were someone else’s opinion dressed up as ‘Facts’. They weren’t facts, they are opinions. An opinion comes under the I-statement. Opinions are needed. Everyone should have an opinion. However, forcing someone else to have the same opinion….not acceptable. I believe in sharing opinions and ideas. If someone else agrees with me, great. If they disagree, I hope we can have a discussion and quite likely agree to disagree. The irony was I was raised with the quote, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” But I was frog marched down to the school and had my classes change to suit what my parents believed I should be doing. They believed that engineering was where the money was at. Except, I hated it. I would become physically ill just thinking about another class. I finally rebelled in my 40’s changed my major to photography and now wish that I became a math teacher like I wanted in the first place. Such is life, too soon old, too late rebelling. Yup, children with Complex PTSD often never rebel. They lie, twist their lives out of shape, ignore their own opinions desperately wanting to be accepted by the very people that are rejecting and abusing them. It is an ugly truth. My counselor slowly let me open my eyes to look hard and long at the ugliness that nearly destroyed me. I lied to survive. I am no longer in that situation. I no longer need to lie. If you don’t like my opinion don’t ask me, because I am not going to lie for someone else to feel comfortable. I believe there are basic facts. Gravity works. If it didn’t we would fly off the planet. Bodies need to be fed. Eating food that isn’t good for me will make me sick. Insomnia is an unpleasant part of my life. I’ll live through that too. My childhood sucked with some bright moments that I can cherish. I wish I had understood these things much sooner but the cool thing about truth it is there. It is constant. It is waiting for us to recognize and embrace it. However, once I did, there was no going back. I can’t lie about my past any more. I can’t lie to hide the ugly parts of my life any more. I won’t cover up the wrong doings of others so they don’t need to be accountable. Sadly, sometimes I encountered situations where people would brutally share their opinion in the name of sharing their truth. Yes, I experienced truth twisted into a club to beat a person down. It was cruel….and left me afraid of the truth for a long time. Now I know better, the abuser was using their opinion as truth and it wasn’t. I spent many hours discussing with my counselor what I believed to be true. Thankfully I had a strong counselor that was strong enough to let me have my opinion, even if I disagreed with him. He let me learn by experience that I could disagree and it wouldn’t be the end of the world, he wouldn’t quit talking to me, he encouraged me have my own opinion. I learned to enjoy discussing differences in opinion. I’m sad that so many people don’t share that. My truth, my belief system is important to me. I no longer need to be a lying chameleon to survive. I can tell the truth. I like that.