Honesty, Integrity and Damage.

Throughout my life I have been fed lie after lie. Firstly as a child, then as an adult.

Lies about people’s feelings, lies about what was going on and ultimately, lies about who I was. As a young woman, discovering the identity of my abuser, realising that the woman they called my mother, was in fact a liar beyond liars, threw my world into even more chaos.

As a result of this, honesty and integrity became my mantra. I lived every minute trying not to say anything that wasn’t true, to never mislead anyone about anything and to live an honest life in every way possible.

Over the years, I have been the butt of jokes in my family for always telling the truth and for never breaking the law, in any form. It never mattered because I was, I thought, living a good life and everyone who knew me would always be able to trust me and trust my word.

Ridicule was okay, acceptable in my book because I didn’t want any more of living in a web of lies as I had as a little girl.

In every relationship I had, I was loyal, honest and expected the same from my partners. That wasn’t always what I had in return. I suppose it was a bit unfair or a bit naive to expect others to treat me the way I treated them, although I didn’t think this at the time.

Because of my past, I brought my daughters up to always speak the truth, not to take things that were not theirs and always be loyal in relationships. I told them honesty would always pay.

Sometimes of late, I am not so sure.

Now to Integrity. This of course goes along with being open and honest and I try hard to keep my integrity in place. Yes it has lost me a great deal. Being unable to sign a statement saying something that was no longer true, cost me dearly. But I had no choice. If I had signed, that would have undermined everything I stood for. It would mean that I had not been honest and had lied. Right or wrong, I couldn’t do that. I checked if this would be detrimental to the other person concerned and was assured that it wouldn’t be. I didn’t sign. Looking back, would I have done this if I had known the price I would pay? I don’t know. I wish I could say, I would have acted differently, but the truth is I don’t know.

So being truthful is of utmost importance to me and it is the only quality I fully expect from those in my life. Relatives, friends  and everyone else. I am so often disappointed. My youngest sister Anne is like the woman they called my mother and her lies have alienated my eldest daughter and caused her cruel unforgivable turmoil. But this time my honesty and the truth has gone unheard.

In the world around me, I become angry at how easy it is for some people to lie. Politicians, doctors, journalists, with no thought to the rights or wrongs, the damage that can be done to others. Surely being truthful is the right policy. That way, even if people do get hurt, we could say it is their own fault.

Looking over this weeks papers, I have read of at least 2 occasions when a person has accused someone of a crime only to later say they had made it up! What kind of person does that?! Telling lies can never be right. Lying and blaming someone when you have no proof, accusing someone when you don’t know for sure they are guilty, can never be right.

A hoax I was involved in a few years ago, showed me how evil people can be, how telling horrendous lies is for some. Jade Louise Wood showed me that my honesty and belief in others being truthful, again was naïve.

A few years ago, I was the lead counsellor in a large Pedophile case. I was asked to work with 4 people who had been accused of sexually assaulting two young men on hundreds of occasions. As those of you who know my past will understand, this was not an easy task. But it was my job and I had to be non judgmental. There was a court case running and the accused who were not yet charged, were in need of support. As it happened, these people had to wait almost 2 years before the courts discovered that the two claimants had made the whole thing up! During that time, the people I was working with had suffered greatly. Thankfully, the village they came from, always knew they were innocent but these 2 years damaged these people beyond belief. One almost succeeded in committing suicide, one had a nervous breakdown and his marriage failed. Another’s mother died with the strain it was having on the family and the youngest woman, someone who was dynamic, talented and beautiful before the case and the allegations, changed beyond recognition,. Yes they were all innocent, but the price they paid for someone else’s dishonesty, was unforgivable and irretrievable.

Honesty within a family is in my mind, paramount. That doesn’t mean we have to tell our children everything, of course we don’t. There will be things happening that we protect our children from. But things like their birthright, things that teach them about having integrity and truth, are valuable qualitiesto learn at home. I always believed that my children needed to know about their brother, Jack. I always had a photo of him as a baby on our mantelpiece and would often talk to the girls about him. I didn’t tell them everything while they were very small, mostly because they would not understand, but they always knew about him. When I was reunited with my son, they were both very happy and wanted to get to know the baby who they had always known about. Each daughter was told the truth about their dads and I never bad mouthed either husband to my children. I was open and honest but never tried to paint them as bad men.

The web of lies and dysfunction I grew up in was not going to be repeated in my own family. My children were brought up to be honest, always tell the truth and have integrity. To never take things that are not theirs to take. Never steal or hurt anyone for the sake of it. Theft is also dishonesty. Sadly we can only teach our children these qualities, point them in the right direction and hope. The rest is up to them and the choices they make have to be theirs and theirs alone. We can do no more.

So, will I continue to be honest? Will I still always tell the truth? Will I wait until someone is proved guilty before I condemn? Yes of course I will.

I wrote my first book I DID TELL, from my memory, my trauma, my truth. Everything in both books is true, so I have a clear conscience, and, as I always say, ‘say it as it is or was’ and speak the truth , I have no problems with what is said by anyone else..

So the reason for the post today, is to ask you all to think before you act. If you accuse someone of something, please make sure it is the truth, that you know for sure and haven’t just heard rumours.  Think of the damage this could do to innocent people. Never take anything that isn’t yours for the taking, this includes someone’s good name. Don’t listen to rumours that might be lies. If you KNOW something then that’s different, but if someone else tells you something, is it the truth?

Honesty really is the best policy.

Thank you for reading and good night xx





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