Saturday, April 19, 2008

To tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth... maybe

By now we have all seen the video explosion of one Tricia Walsh Smith. (If not, please find link at the end of this post.)

An accomplished playwright in the midst of an ugly divorce TWS decided to reveal the truth about her marriage on Youtube.

Most people know that this was not the smartest move. For the immediate thrill of embarrassing her husband she has covered herself with a special kind of ignominy.

TWS may imagine that she made her husband look like a sexually inadequate porn hound, but she has also made herself look bad in the process. Had she used more reason and less emotion she might have known that her husband's being in possession of condoms, Viagra, and porn might say that he was always ready, but not for her.

She may have gotten some relief and release by laying this all out to the public at large, but the good feelings that accompany such a catharsis are often followed by moments of severe anguish when the person recognizes that she has done serious damage to her reputation, her friendships, and her future romantic prospects.

Given her notoriety TWS is about to discover what it feels like to be radioactive.

But, you might be thinking, in the future she can offer to sign an NDA, that is, a non-disclosure agreement. The trouble with this is that once you descend to the level of NDAs, you have already lost the game. The existence of the agreement means that your trustworthiness is subject to doubt. No sentient individual is going to get involved, on any level, with someone who may or may not be trustworthy.

Who is at fault for this debacle? I am not ready to blame the internet or Youtube. When I ask myself where anyone would have gotten the idea that it is a good thing to let it all hang out, to overcome the sense of shame, and to express all of your deepest and darkest feelings... the answer that immediately comes to mind is: the culture of psychotherapy.

People who have suffered its influence often engage in precisely this kind of let-it-all-hang-out moment, the kind that is guaranteed to ruin any relationship.

So, let hers be a cautionary tale, If you decide to comport yourself as though you were in a courtroom-- by telling the whole truth, nothing but the truth-- then your life is likely to turn into a nasty drama indeed.

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