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The Inauthenticity Crisis

December 12, 2009

Have you ever been in a situation where you were slighted, undervalued, underappreciated, or even maybe despised…but you couldn’t say or do anything about it, because that would only increase the slight, undervaluation, underappreciation, and despicability? So you kept on going, and you hated the situation.

you hate that you have to lie every day, pretending perfectly that everything is just great (because if you don’t, then you’re a whiner, and that’s despicable). you hate this awareness…that you know that you have to do this out of necessity (for example, you can’t just walk away from the situation. For example, the job you may despise is necessary for life sustenance. you must pay bills; you must support family.)

you feel stripped of a voice completely…even though what everyone else would say is that you completely have a say. It is your fault you don’t speak out. (But what you know is that this is a false choice…because if you do speak out, you so harm your cause in a way that is utterly self-annihilating. you know that the worst thing you could do is turn your cause into a Whiner’s cause, because then, you have certainly lost all credibility.) But you so desperately want to speak out. you just want to know that SOMEONE ELSE — anyone else — understands what you are saying.

In the end, you realize that you can’t face this situation authentically. you can’t face the problem head on, because you would sabotage your cause. So instead, you try to talk to other people — who are completely separate from the situation. you have this great suspicion that they too will not understand (a suspicion born and satiated by empirical data from the hundreds of other times you’ve tried to cry out)…They too will slight, undervalue, underappreciate, and even despise you for your criticism and whining. They’ll probably tell you to “get over it” or “do something about it” and resent your cowardice. And yet, even though you know you will be battered, you will be assaulted, you will be abused psychically, you continue to cry out on the hope that even one person will understand, even if you suffer a hundred blows for that one.

you know that even in the event that you never find that one, or that it is improbable that you will find that one, or perhaps even impossible, then even as you engage in this torturing task…this eternal damnation…you press onward.


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  1. Andrew, I know exactly how you feel. Have you ever read, “The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming”? I think that little book captures some of these feelings very well. You might enjoy it.

  2. Interesting…I have not; I’ll have to look into it.

  3. Wow, it’s like you’re in my head. I’m going through this right now too.

  4. TGD, thanks for the comment. But I must admit it’s bittersweet…this is one of the posts that I wish LEAST that I am “in someone’s head” about. People deserve better…

  5. I’ve definitely been in this situation. Fortunately I was able to extract myself after a year of hating every day of having to pretend everything is OK.

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