The experiences we have in life through these senses give us personal perspective [Read The Power of Perspective blog].
That perspective begins to shape the way in which we see ourselves and others.
Positive and negative experiences also influence our perspective of what is real and what is not.
Traumas, abuses, neglects, offenses, lack of attachment and love can also impact how children develop which influences how they navigate adulthood.
When our lens in which we see the world has been damaged, neglected, abused, cracked or blurred, our ability to experience and see reality clearly is impacted as well.
All of our senses are impacted, which influences our beliefs about life, relationships and the world.
The paradigm in which we see the world and operate tend to be off or tilted.
What happens when personal perception and reality do not match?
I have noticed a sharp trend in working with couples that both want to be judged for their intentions, not their actions. Yet, they judge their partner by their actions, not their intentions.
It is the mentality of “do as I say, not as I do”, as well as, “measure me for what I say, not for what I do.”
This is also known as a verbal reality.
It is the belief that “if I say it is true, therefore it is.” “My beliefs are my reality regardless of what others think or say.”
One, or both, has this ideal self that they long to be and see themselves as, which is noble.
This ideal self can do no wrong.
They are always the hero.
They are perfect and lovable.
However, their spouse, children, friends and coworkers experience someone very different…the real you or the real self.
They may see someone who is unreliable, selfish, angry, bitter, resentful, offended, passive/aggressive, or different in private than in public.
Or, they may see someone who struggles with addictions, such as drugs, alcohol, sex, intimacy anorexia.
[View the Intimacy Anorexia Video]
They may also see someone who allows their emotions to control them.
What is reality?
Is reality as I see it or as my spouse and friends see it?
Whose reality is reality?
What if your reality….was not reality?
What if it is an illusion?
What if it is a delusion?
Many people use this as a defense mechanism to not have to face reality, take responsibility, or make any changes in their life.
This is often a characteristic found with people struggling with narcissism [Read the Narcissism & Pimp Culture blog].
This behavior can become so engrained that it can become a legitimate diagnosable thought disorder.
These types of disorders are usually a death sentence to a marriage.
It is much like a child that never wants to come out of their pretend world that they have created for themselves with their imaginary friends who always agree with them and bow to their every want and wish.
Individuals like this can become so deceived and disciplined in this reality of their ideal self that it takes the police and the court system with evidence that they really did assault, abuse, or rape their spouse with photo evidence and eye witnesses.
Still, in some instances, the person will continue to deny any responsibility, because that was not their “intention.”
This is a disregard or inability to get out of other own perspective or have any remorse or empathy.
As I work with couples, the more common episodes manifest in the areas of:
- “Misunderstandings” with my spouse
- Poor communication skills
- Budget and financial disputes
- Intimacy issues
- Religious beliefs and differences
Part of growing up and becoming an adult on all levels is to move away from our ideal self into accepting our real self and behaviors that have hurt others.
Until we take responsibility, the ideal self becomes an idol self.
Removing it takes courage, and it is a road few choose to travel.
If you are married to someone who refuses to see their real self, you most likely are very confused and in a codependent relationship.
You want them to be that ideal person, but behavior has not proven they are.
Stop making excuses for them.
You are hurting, and you are not alone.
There is hope.
Get professional help.
You are worth it!
Cory Schortzman is an author, speaker, teacher and licensed mental health professional. Since 2008, he has served as the Executive Director of Transformed Hearts Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, CO. He is the founder of SARA, the Sexual Addiction Recovery Association. Cory is passionate about helping couples and individuals overcome sex addiction. He is also passionate about bringing awareness to the public and supporting the elimination of sex and human trafficking. Cory has been married since 1998 to his beautiful wife, Kerry, and lives in Colorado with their four daughters. He and Kerry have been seen on the CBS Early Show, Inside Edition, and ABC Good Morning America, Fox 21 News, and TLC/Discovery discussing the harm of sex addiction and the joys of recovery. He has also been heard on numerous radio programs.
Cory’s books include: Out of the Darkness, Into the Light the Workbook, Into the Light the Steps, Ashes to Beauty the Steps, 301 Dating Ideas, 301 Conversational Ideas, 301 Ways to Say I Love You, 301 Ways to Love Your Children & 301 Recovery Tools & Tips.