The reality of one man in a documentary I’ve recently finished really had me thinking deeply about the realities of many, including myself.
Without going into lengthy detail, the man had spent a great amount of his adult life convincing himself of something that simply wasn’t true. He added lies to his story for his book and, later, documentary. He crafted manipulative, strategic bluffs and weaved them into his story. The result was an excellent head-scratcher that sold the books, had skeptics throwing their money and making him rich, and the documentary made for an interesting way for me to pass the time in the evening hours after dinner.
Unfortunately, many proved that he was a fraud.
The commentary form the professionals (a psychologist, reporters, researchers, police, family and a few of his colleagues) towards the end of the last episode of the series was descriptive of the wool that has been pulled over the eyes of the naive. The man truly had a good story; a very convincing one. He crafted something out of truth and deception. He spent many, many grueling hours and years coming up with facts, with, unfortunately, a great amount of fiction that was not easily detected. The Christian man–adopted and raised by a Christian family, abandoned by his birth father and neglected by his birth mother–longed for closure.
The man claimed that his birth father was one of the most wanted men in history, and he made every effort to prove it. Like I had said, he didn’t prove anything, and his credibility was destroyed by his own hand. But, that’s not my objective within the writing for today.
Within the whole series, and right from the very opening moments of the first episode, the essence of the man’s need for closure was subtly evident. Being adopted, he wanted to know why he was abandoned. His birth father had left him in a stairwell when he was just months old. He wanted to know if the man he claimed was a serial killer had ever really loved him. He certainly struggled with his own identity, not knowing his father (but he did carry an off-and-on, dysfunctional relationship with his birth mother). He also struggled with loving himself and others. He had been married several times. He couldn’t maintain healthy relationships because of his obsession to find an answer to his nagging, internal questions about his father. It controlled his life.
Was it all conducive to his obsession with the picture of the serial killer that looked like his father? Were his uncertainties and his feeling of abandonment the reason why he made this man out to be one of the most awful humans possible: a serial killer?
The Psychologist had touched on the idea of the man having (bear with me, I’m not a Psychologist and I cannot repeat verbatim what was said) a set of beliefs that were true, without a doubt, to him. He believed the father he never knew was indeed the killer, and even if it entailed fabricating lies, it was still part of his belief of the truth. The Psychologist compared it to religion, and I could totally see his point. He stated that, in many cases, once someone is adhered to a set of beliefs, nothing can shake them, no matter what is presented. It was sad reality, the more I thought about it. The man who’d believed his father, and still to this day believes, was a serial killer, most likely has this belief because of the abandonment he felt and still feels.
I thought about my own issue with the same, yet different, feelings of abandonment. I felt as though my father had abandoned me for many years–that he didn’t make a true effort to love me. I was not adopted, but I know a few who were. One in particular is a guy that I work with. He is always looking for his birth family, and he longs for that same, “closure”. I can see how it could be and would be hard to think that someone could throw their flesh and blood away, so to speak. It has caused a great amount of bottled up grief and bitterness within my buddy. It leaks out when he talks about it. Without a doubt, I’ve carried the same bitterness. It still resides and leaks, at certain times. But, I have realized many truths about my father since thinking about his realities. I now know some of the realities of my dad, and it has helped me lay to rest my frustration. Unfortunately, many adopted people never receive the chance to know their parent’s reality, so they never get a chance for closure.
It’s hard to know why things happen the way that they do. It’s a real bitch having to deal with the consequences, emotions and the way we perform as we go forward, because of the choices of others. If one feels abandoned by someone, most usually have a lot of resentment towards them. They ruminate about those people–fabricating the thoughts and assumptions that may not be true, and those decisions that were made by the killer, completely destroy their victims.
Do we–do I– add lies to the story for the book? Do we craft manipulative, strategic bluffs and weave them into our story?