False accusations and the power of words

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False accusations can lead a person to jump off a bridge. Defending yourself and fighting suspicion becomes overwhelming. Strong opinions are formed with little information. Actions are taken without evidence. We see this every day in politics and in our personal lives.

Untrue allegations are like bullying. Psychologist Dr. Carrie Barron writes, “Even if one is rich and successful, the psychological devastation can be ruinous.” If you are not believed, you are helpless. Some might even find it thrilling to hurt you.

Unbearable humiliation can result in suicide. Freud describes pain of the ego as the worst kind of pain. People with certain kinds of pathology are brilliant at looking like victims when they are actually perpetrators. They can, and will, ruin the life of an innocent person.

If you hear an implausible story, ask yourself if there is real victimization or just more to the story. If you hear a tale of woe, is the storyteller truly woeful or is there an underlying need to blame or malign for secondary gain: attention, fame, money, importance or drama? Is the person retaliating against an imagined transgression? Some seemingly intact people have paranoid fears at their very core. The goal may be to take someone else down for competitive, regressed or even unconscious reasons. They just want what the other one has.

People dramatize. Some lie. Some feel so injured for irrational reasons that they come to believe their own distortions. There are those who are at peace when they lie and those who toss, turn and torture themselves about doing so. In the movie “The Bad Seed,” a sociopathic child with a sweet face and soft voice manages to destroy many lives with her sadistic impulses. If a person is lying to hurt someone else, it is an aggressive act and the accuser needs help. Such choices do not foster a healthy existence with generous, loving relationships.

If you know someone like this, recognize it and steer clear of him. Some people are brought into this life to build, others to tear down. It is our responsibility to learn to identify which is which.

Talley Turner