Have you ever heard the expression “Your perspective, your reality”? It’s long been one of my favorites. If not, the basic premise is that we all experience life through the lens of our lives. It colors how we interpret the things that occur around us.
For example, two people witness a dog being berated by its “owner”. If one of those people is highly allergic to dogs and has never liked them, while the other is an animal advocate who has 12+ dogs in their home, they are likely to view this berating very differently. The first may see it as an owner simply disciplining an unruly animal. The second as a grave injustice.
My point is that the same event can have different interpretations, all depending on your perspective. It does not always make one right and one wrong, just different.
But what do you do when you find yourself faced with something or someone whose version of events is so completely different than your own, that you instantly want to call them a liar? That person who is portraying you as something very different than what you are, in a way that offends you to your very core? When that person is so completely WRONG that you feel compelled to defend yourself and explain in grave detail to the entire world how they are a sick, twisted liar who should be burned at the stake, drawn and quartered, or stoned in the town square?
You do nothing.
That person has constructed a narrative in their mind that allows them to feel they are right and you are wrong. This narrative enables them to feel either like the victim or the victor – either of which makes them feel better about themselves.
They are usually incredibly charming people who are so skilled and detailed at explaining the stories they’ve concocted, that they can actually make you question your own memory and perception. I’ve even had instances where I had irrefutable PROOF that what they were saying was wrong/a lie, and I still found myself wondering if they were right because they were just THAT convincing.
The thing about people who have the ability to craft something that is a COMPLETE work of fiction and declare themselves to be the only person who is right, is that they are the textbook definition of narcissists. Or even worse, sociopaths. People who are that detached from reality that they construct entire versions of events that don’t resemble the truth, and actually believe them themselves cannot be reasoned with, cannot be convinced, cannot be changed.
So the best thing you can do for your own well-being is smile, nod politely, and let it go.
Is it easy? Hell no! But it really is the best thing you can do for yourself.
Mark Twain said it best – “Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.”