Saturday, June 20, 2015

Putting a False Brave Face On


                                         I don't agree with this picture, keep reading....

One thing I notice about the culture here, that is stronger, then on the other side of the state I used to live on, is much higher degree of reticence and this emphasis on putting on a "brave front".  I am sure if you get cancer in NYC you can say "This sucks, my insides are rotting out!" but here, it's strange. At a book club today,  I know two people with serious health problems and they are nice people and they attend this local church that does a lot to help the poor, but they are putting on this brave face. I almost wanted to tell them, "You don't have to for me" but didn't want to embarrass them among the others saying they were brave and strong. If I was closer to them, I would tell them being ill sucks, and they don't have to sugarcoat things for a woman that has been sick almost all her life.

I know there is a code among some neurotoypicals that "complaining" is bad. It's one reason that one friendship of mine failed, but then I can't be someone else to please her.  This is something too that has grown very strong in the Christian world. Almost like this idea to prove holiness one must always keep a smile on their face, and say things like "God is in control", and "God has a plan for my life". I hate to tell people but if we judged God by people's plans for their lives on this earth, then that is troubling. The apostles died martyred, most likely penniless and losing everything. How did their life go? The Bible tells us to expect tribulation and suffering:

1 Peter 4:12-13King James Version (KJV)
12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

I think one reason the Christian world got the Duggars, is because people look for these fake, perfect acting and looking people, who in reality were hiding giant skeletons in the closet. The Duggars were trained never to complain, and to always smile, but how real are they? Not very considering the sex abuse going on behind closed doors. The "Christian" world is awash with phonies. When non-believers express disgust about the "keeping sweet" crowd, I agree with them.  Some are sincere people and perhaps even some of the Duggars are [well except for the parents and Josh] but they have taught you must look, appear and act a certain way. Some emotions are "wrong". Even the way they speak is like a script, but sadly I have seen this in a real world too.

Narcissists always demand this of their victims to keep only positive emotions and never complain and keep smiling and act in a way that is most comfortable for them. As the society grows more narcissistic, and everything becomes competition, the pressure even for those in secular society to "keep sweet" only grows. You see all those who say you must have a positive attitude and never say anything bad about anything but then where is the creativity or questioning there? It's gone. If one even thinks that a lot of art comes out of the fountain of pain, if everyone is busy putting on false faces, art will suffer too.

 It makes me sad though when I see these people suffering terrible things, and they feel this pressure, first to be quiet about it and tell no one, or secondly always present a brave, strong face to the world. If they are in the church world, these pressures are even more strong. The pressure is there to always look like you always have it together! This ties into the "be positive" ethos too which demands that everyone even put a positive spin in public even if you have stage IV terminal cancer. All of this seems exhausting to me and seems to just say to people, "You can't really talk about your troubles.", you have to prevent this fake façade to the world. I know some have been offended by this blog, including even the ex-friend, because I do expose some mighty troubles to the world. I talk about illness, severe abuse, and things many people are trained to keep behind closed doors. Some may say I am a sucker for the "confessional culture", but then I know hiding behind a fake smile would have just succeeded in destroying me.

 You know the "don't complain ethos" where one is to be brave and ever suffering and not unload their troubles on anyone else. Something worried me, how this seems so strong now, that one is to never speak of troubles anymore of if you do, it is always suppose to improve you, or be meaningful. What if it's not improving you? What if there isn't meaning in it? Bad things happen to people. It's a simple fact. I think there is such a denial of suffering in American society that it has screwed people up in the head. In fact I think this fact that we are to hide all troubles and compete even in OUR HAPPINESS leads to more unhappiness and severe depression. What intimacy is there for a cancer patient who among even their closest friends must always put a brave face? To be honest in my life, anyone who can't handle the vestiges of severe illness has already walked. This is a screening process like no other.

Often these types will say things like "God is in control, or "I know God has a plan". Here my belief system diverts, I do not think God created disease and death but it came in via Satan and sin. Satan is the prince of this earth and it's not God who gave you the giant tumor in your stomach, or any other multitude of disease processes. God is not the author of evil. God made for us to have eternal life via Jesus His Son. I realized if I believed the way they did, having been sick since the age of 28 and having gone almost deaf and recently losing more hearing, I would have ended up an atheist again.  Job gets the snot beat out of him but it's not because God cooked up trouble for him but because of the nature of this world.

This is some of the kind of stuff, that actually makes some people say forget this God business. They see these "perfect" Christians like the ones I wrote about in the last church I left.  While the church people often are "good", "nice", "kind" people on the surface, one feels almost frozen around them. Where does that frozen feeling come from but some of the social more's that means a freezing up of free expression or even exposure of emotions or thoughts?

This may sound bad but sometimes I found myself thinking as they put on the extreme brave faces, like they were reading a script. Inside they were thinking, "I am supposed to be brave and faithful in the face of severe illness/and or death and not show distress." If I was closer friends to one of them, I would say, "You can cry you know and say it sucks!".  I don't expect them to pour out every emotion to everyone but I felt troubled for them. I've been sick long enough to know too well the real emotions involved. Real life is messy, the endings are not always prettily tied up in a bow.

I am not the most stoic person. I think we should be able to tell each other our problems. I know one reason that friendship ended locally is because she has been taught the reticient school of problem dealing. One is always supposed to appear brave, and "moving forward" and as if it all has meaning.
I'm not interested in this. If I was like that I would have long ago cracked up. Who are all these people trying to impress? God knows if you are crying and in pain and the people who expect everyone to always be smiling and saying brave and good things every minute even if they are very sick, are a bunch of narcissists. Real friends don't mine hearing the troubles of friends. I and my close friends talk about everything and anything. There is none of this false front stuff. I sometimes wonder if someone people in American culture, don't even have one person they can "get real" with and that makes me very sad. This whole culture needs a can of "Get Real".

14 comments:

  1. Amen Peeps, and there's a word for happy-clappys. They're f.a.k.e. FAKE. Frankly, just being around faux-positive people just makes me want to run away - fast, before I vomit!

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    1. Yes the happy clappys are F.A.K.E. The worse thing is they expect me to be FAKE too. They make me want to run away too. Even the "nice" ones scare me because then I am thinking, everything coming out of my mouth is judged.

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  2. I know exactly what you mean Peep. I can't stand the phony smiley types either. It's as though they are allergic to REALITY. Being honest about your situation in life is not necessarily "complaining". Everything is not a bowl of cherries and roses, just ask King David or read some of his Psalms about the psychopaths and wicked people that persecuted him his entire life. "Christians" who want to go around with fake smiles on their faces like Joel Osteen and that bunch of charlatans are not true Christians. Christian means "Christ like". Jesus said that we could "cast our cares on Him, for He cares for us." Likewise, His followers are to imitate Him in caring for each other (aka real Christian fellowship). We don't need "friends" like Job's "friends" our non-families did that job already. We need to be able to speak our minds to one another. All these faux Christians who hate the truth (Jesus IS the Truth - John 14:6) and think that the mass produced Sunday school brochure is the Bible, will be getting a huge dose of reality before long, and it will probably be too late at that point. The excrement will be hitting the fan probably sooner than we think, things can't keep going the way they are. There is so much evil and abuse going on in this sick world and it just keeps getting worse. These types hate knowledge and truth just like God said in Hosea 4:3 ("because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you.....etc). They hate the word of God unless it's cherry picked by some Rockefeller controlled seminary graduate called a "pastor". Jesus was hated and nailed to a cross by phony religious people for telling the truth. Those who truly belong to Him are treated with the same disdain. "And you will be hated by all for My name's sake...." Again, His name is Truth. That's the real Jesus. That's the One I believe in.

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    1. Americans want to live in la la land and collectively all want to whistle by the graveyard. The Bible says people will wax cold, and I believe some of that is related to this the fake nice surface stuff, they want everything kept superficial for control. One thing one never can get close to the phony smiley types. You can even know one for years, and realize you are near strangers and don't know anything about them. This doesn't mean people have to share every deep dark secret but where is intimacy where everyone is "saving face" constantly?

      Many are allergic to reality, and the whole cultural thing of burying one's self in breads and circuses and "distractions" only adds to this. Yes sharing reality is not "complaining".

      Yes King David in the psalms was real. I do not see him dissing a friend for telling them a few problems.

      I think the fake Christians are scary, and it reminds me of cult thinking where one always has to be "sweet" and "smiling". God wants honesty in His relationship with people not fake appeasements. He sees what it is in the heart anyway. If people are looking and acting like they are following scripts that scares me. Believers comforting and caring for one another means real feelings not plastic stepford stuff. Yes plenty of Job's friends out there telling people they are wicked or they are having bad things happen because they have a "negative" attitude or didn't "think" the right thoughts. I think many today are subscribing not to what the Bible says or what they think the "ideal Christian" is supposed to be like and they are being deceived by the false pastors AND the culture. Yes they are spiritually blind to what is coming. I agree that Jesus was hated by the dominant religious and state organizations of his day. It's happening that way too for his followers. Those focused on appearance or the appearance of holiness have lost their way.

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  3. I wonder how many happy clappies( to borrow an excellent term from further up ) would keep a stiff upper lip being wheeled down an empty deserted hospital basement at 4 in the AM to be inserted into a huge round donut hole that sounds like a bowling ball churning in a clothes dryer. I'll be the first to tell you this is what put my stoic nature on hold long enough to get reintroduced to god with no small amount of tears and gnashing of teeth.

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    1. Yes that is scary. I can't even get MRIs done, can't lay down and breathe. I did get put in the donut hole the other day, and fit this time though they were mad I wasn't laying flat on my back like a marionette, but I fit. I still have to find out what that lesion on my kidney is so seeing the brave stoic cancer people kind of freaked me out. Even with the nice lady, I know that is not going to be me. I feel for you and given it was 4am I am sure it had to do with some scary medical thing you were wondering if you were going to survive. I've been sick since the age of 28 and have lost so much, and I can't be the perfectly smiling little stoic so many seem to want around here. I wouldn't expect that of any friends either.

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    2. MRI's are way over rated.

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    3. agree. All the modern advances, aren't all cracked up to be what they say they are.

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  4. People forget that God did everything and does everything for us. That going to the cross was all and everything. He even went beyond that and gives us strength for a season. I believe that God gives us strength, that I am not strong on my own.

    Regarding the fake people. There is no way they can be true friends. If I have to put on a brave front, I would rather stay at home where I can be myself. Sharing with people is hard, they think you are taking something from them, and they don't want to hear it. I know everything has to be put into positiveness, and this just increases the burden.

    Jesus sweated blood, He had deep emotions. And to me this means that we can have feelings too. Life is a lot of suffering, and challenges within ourselves, and this is why God gives us gifts, of strength, determination, and hopefully some friends.

    One day at a time, sometimes just one minute at a time, or a second at a time. Strength for a day so I don't go and take it like I did it on my own. But I glorify God in my small victories.

    If I can't be deep with people, then they are people that need to be out of my lives. Superficiality is something that I think an ACON can't live with.

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    1. I agree God does everything for us. I agree we need His strength to get through this world. One day we will be done with this place and in heaven with Him. The fake people, many of them are getting their reward now. You can't be real friends with a fake person, they will condemn you for having the emotions or feelings they are in denial of and wish to repress. . Yes Jesus sweated blood and also "Jesus wept". I believe we are allowed to have feelings too. The ones who can't feel sad, I tend to think can't feel love anymore or any sense of attachment. They walk away from everything so easily "moving on". Is anyone home anymore? I hope for everyone to have friends or people in their lives they can be "real" with. The ones you can't be real with like my family brought pain with me. I know I need real people around me, no more I gotta look "good" phonies even in any new future seeking of Christian fellowship.

      Yes sometimes you have to move on minute by minute. I woke up unable to breathe this morning. I don't know what happened, asthma attack, COPD troubled from weather change, CPAP mask coming off, but praising God I can breathe okay now and I did not have to go to the hospital. I am thankful for small things people wouldn't even imagine. Praise God for your small victories too.

      Yes if you can't be deep with people and yes all relationships take time to build and get to know someone, it is waste of time. With the fakes you hit the wall they have built, and just stand there, an everyone remains a stranger. I remained a stranger with my mother for my entire life. Superficiality horrifies me. I can't live with it and I don't think most ACONs can because the narcs around us just wanted the "expected image" and never cared about who we were.

      God desires realness, fakeness isn't going to get you into heaven.

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    2. It's normal and healthy to complain when things suck! Sue

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  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you very much for posting this blog! This is sorely needed, no matter what narcs and false Christians will tell you. Oh boy! People are coming out of the woodwork now! Obama sang "Amazing Grace" and preached in Reverend Clementa Pickney's funeral last Friday, Vice President Joe Biden came to Mother Emmanuel AME church in Charleston, SC for his spiritual healing since he lost his son last month, and six men heckled at Joel Osteen's church several days ago. They called him a liar and exposed his Prosperity Gospel as one of the roots or causes of all these narcissistic abuses we dealt with, and our problem with so-called Christians.

    I want to warn you that narcs, evil people, enablers, and false Christian will attack your blogs. They will claim that we are "religious" people when in reality they like these memes that offend many normal people who hate holier-than-thou religious types, or "very strictly, close-minded religious people." Please keep on posting and hollering!

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    1. Thanks anon. I agree about the people coming out of the woodwork. I think there is a reason someone came to love-bomb me at first and then wrote posts trying to defend narcs and now psychopaths. I heard about the Joel Osteen heckling. Joel Osteen preaches false prosperity and new-age positive think. yes the narcs and evil people and enablers are out to silence ACONS who are talking reality.

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