Father’s Day is almost here. And so my thoughts fly to Dad, along with the happy memories we shared: baking him chocolate cakes in my Easy Bake oven while anxiously waiting for him to exclaim how “delicious” they were, riding high on his shoulders at summer carnivals, stopping for banana and root beer pop-sicles on the way home from a day’s honest hard work, fishing and camping trips, an entire life-time of memories. Too many to even begin to share.
So much of who I am, I owe to my Dad. To this day, when faced with a task I would rather avoid, into my mind’s eye comes that sly grin, laying down his favorite gauntlet: “You’re not afraid of a little hard work, are ya?“ But of course not! What other choice do I have but to dig right in? 🙂 A certain strong will, a tenaciousness, and yes, a certain stubbornness, good and bad, warts and all, these too, I owe to him.
Whenever I go somewhere new and exciting, Dad’s voice reminds the child I was, “The best things here are free.” Magical memories of the love and pride glowing in his eyes, flowing into mine. The quiet strength and acknowledgement of a deep, abiding bond. To this day I can’t pass an old bum on the city sidewalk without echoes of “Don’t judge. You never know what they’ve been through.” Indeed. We never know what someone’s been through.
I love you, Dad. I hope you know I’m wishing you a Happy Father’s Day with fondness and gratitude. And that I wish I could have better seen through the bullys’ smoke and mirrors. Had better discernment of the mercenarys’ divisive “schtick”, as they tap-danced their way through our family, laughing all the way to the bank.
But Hurt and Betrayal make for dim eyes to really see. Once the dust settles, the smoke clears, once the bullies and thieves made off with what they really wanted all along, the picture isn’t so blurry anymore: Divide & Conquer, a tactic used by a few bullies to divide us all from each other. Bold-faced lies, lies of omission, distortion and “spin”, artfully mixed with just a kernel of truth to pack that powerful punch. Clever, manipulative ploys designed to create strife and divisions for power and control, along with a financial windfall.
“A favourite tactic of the bully in the family is to set people against each other. The benefits to the bully are that: a) the bully gains a great deal of gratification (a perverse form of satisfaction) from encouraging and provoking argument, quarrelling and hostility, and then from watching others engage in adversarial interaction and destructive conflict, and b) the ensuing conflict ensures that people’s attention is distracted and diverted away from the cause of the conflict.”
“Bullies are adept at distorting peoples’ perceptions with intent to engender a negative view of their target in the minds of family members, neighbours, friends and people in positions of officialdom and authority; this is achieved through undermining, the creation of doubts and suspicions, and the sharing of false concerns, etc. the bully may try to establish an exclusive relationship (based on apparent trust and confidence) with one family member such that they (the bully) are seen as the sole reliable source of information; this may be achieved by portraying the target (and certain other family members) as irresponsible, unstable, undependable, uncaring, unreliable and untrustworthy, perhaps by the constant highlighting – using distortion and fabrication – of alleged failures, breaches of trust, lack of reliability, etc…The objective is to manipulate the family member’s perceptions and create a dependency so that the family member comes to rely exclusively on the bully and see the bully as the sole source of reliable information whilst distrusting everyone else.”
Many times, try as we might, we just can’t see what’s going on right in front of us. Impossible to focus your eyes when things are way too close – distracting sleight-of-hand, smooth “antics with semantics”, emanating from the smiling gaze of a “friend”. But as in all things, we eventually live and we eventually learn. And, as in all things, lies, untruths and half-truths are eventually, one by one, exposed to the harsh light of day. Because smoke runs out. And mirrors can only falsely reflect for so long. So then, in the end, what remains after all the fancy tricks have faded from view? All that remains is what was there from the beginning, and never really left. All that remains is Love.