“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!”
– Sir Walter Scott
Ah, the art of deception! Sir Walter had no idea how often this quote would be used, misused and mis-attributed (to William Shakespeare apparently)
In your ever-increasingly complex world of FTD, the web of “therapeutic fibbing” grows daily. Untruths lead to more untruths. And so your world, like that of Walter Mitty, becomes something else. Two Walters, three if you count Walter White of “Breaking Bad” fame. Liar, liar pants on fire!
It’s not that you would ever want to deceive your loved one per se, more a matter of survival. FTD brings out new characteristics in all of us – the afflicted and the people around them. It’s a matter of being in the moment and doing what’s right just now.
- Just say “OK”. To whatever it is. You can always renege later – they won’t remember.
- Leave the room (on a pretext if you have to) then come back in and present or ask whatever it was you wanted them to do again. They’ll probably acquiesce.
- Don’t argue – they have no sense of reason or logic, remember?
- You can even tell them that whatever you’re giving or telling them is actually what they want. For example, strawberry instead of raspberry flavor (same color). Non-alcoholic beer/wine. Having four of the same tee-shirt they love.
- Don’t tell them in advance of a field trip. “Are we there, are we there yet?” “Is it today?” “Is it today now?” Just give them a little warning, Or none. Just go. Sometimes that works even better if you have a semi-compliant person who will go wherever as long as it’s with you. I got my husband to an in-patient psychiatric unit by telling him it was where a Dental Specialist was. (He had just had dental surgery and was in a lot of pain and was very angry). Remember that just because they will do it today doesn’t mean they will tomorrow.
- Sometimes you can lie by omission. Just don’t tell them what you’re doing or why. Don’t volunteer any information that isn’t necessary for them to know.
- Ask yourself “How will it be better if I tell him/her exactly whats going on?”
Come on, which one of you ladies has not hidden a purchase in the closet and then got it out a couple of weeks later, saying “Oh this? No, this isn’t new, I’ve had it for a while!”
See, you’ve done it before.
It takes a little practice, but it works.
And before you’re done, you will be capable of Oscar-worthy performances.
Now I know that doing these things to your spouse/father/mother/sister/friend seems terrible. But remember, your spouse isn’t the one standing in front of you anymore. Well, it’s his or her body, but the person you respected and loved has, to all intents and purposes, gone.
You now have to learn to be just you. They’re not your support, partner, friend anymore. It’s a harsh lesson but you have to stop pretending that they even care about anything significant anymore.
Self-preservation. Retention of your sanity. FTD is a long haul. There is no way you will survive telling the truth all the time. You may need to make your peace with your higher power, but believe me, it will be worth it.
It’s not wrong. You’re not a bad person.
Loving someone means making sacrifices. You will have made and will make many more before the FTD is done.
The bastard disease will make you do things you never thought possible. Things you previously thought wrong or bad. Maybe they were before.
But not anymore.
Now the whole playing field is different.
All bets are off. It’s you against the bastard disease and it will do its damndest to make your life hell.
Save your sanity. Be a Walter.