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Monday, October 17, 2011

Trust and Secrecy

On more than one occasion here, I have been accused of lying. Truth be told, I once was a prolific liar.  It was a survival mechanism. I am choosing to be vague about the situation in my life that led me to lie because it is deeply personal and it is in the past … a past I choose to use to make me a better person and not to create who I am today.

With all that said, I find that many people here just assume that a person is lying or has some hidden agenda. It seems directly linked to the sheer volume of secrecy I find here as well. No one is willing to speak the truth loudly and clearly. Of course, all of this is a personal experience. But I have found this to be true at my work as well as in situations as mundane as the post office or coffee shop. People tend to not say what is in their head. It seems that people here want you to believe what they show you. That is, what is on the outside: the car, the clothes, and the “bling”. It is a kind of “look at me” situation that doesn’t allow anyone into the personal side. People seem to be out to get what they can and there seems to be no real care for anyone that gets in the way. To me, it is a fear. And greed.

A real example here are the self-help groups. I am fortunate to have some friends who attend some self -help groups in Poland and their stories are quite revealing. The is no trust in the rooms of these groups. The people in the group find it difficult to talk about what is really happening in their lives and in their minds for fear of the people in the room using this information in a detrimental way. I have met several people who would rather spend a lot of money on a therapist or psychiatrist when the answer to their problem would simply be a 12-step group.

Another disturbing trend I see is Pole against Pole. It is not uncommon for Poles to not trust another Pole when he/she meets one outside of Poland ... or so I am told. I have heard the same about the Irish. I know from experience that African Americans definitely fall into this trap. I do not think it is a coincidence that  the three aforementioned groups were all persecuted in some way in their histories.

All of this is not to say that Poland or Warsaw is alone in these vibes. I can write with certainty that it exists in my home country. But I felt a need to say this out loud … or “write it out loud” as the case may be.

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