Opinion on the viewpoint 'there are two sides to every story' - Is my reaction is part of my PTSD?

kiwibird

New Here
I'm just interested in knowing how other people here react to this and whether they think my reaction is part of my PTSD.

A distant in-law relative of mine, estranged from the family, and whom I have never met, claims she was sexually abused by her father, who denies it. My sister-in-law, every time the topic comes up, breezily says 'the truth is probably somewhere in the middle'. It seems to be a catch-phrase of hers, and I find it invalidating and offensive. I would accept her saying she doesn't know who is telling the truth, but her implication that everybody's truth is equally valid seems to me a free pass to sociopaths. Whatever they do, the can neutralise it by accusing their victim of something equally bad.

A television discussion show here (in New Zealand), used to have the slogan 'there are two sides to every story'. That used to annoy me for the same reason. Some of the stories featured were sadistic crimes. Of course, during a legal trial the accused has to have the right to be heard, but it doesn't mean that they necessarily have a valid 'side'. That is something to be evaluated.

Is this something that annoys other people here?
 
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internal

Sponsor
i mean it is true that there are two sides to every story (or three, or a hundred, or a billion). whether or not that particular side is valid is a seperate statement. and who finds what part of each story valid is going to depend on who is listening.

(and in this case you seem to be dealing with perception, not evidence, which is totally different altogether-the facts are the facts. what people believe effects how they impact the situation but it doesn't actually change what happened.)

if the story is that you were abused, there are two parts of that story: you and your abuser. (there are actually more, obviously-your abuser's history, the people who impacted them, the people around you, blah blah.)

i have a hard time dealing in absolutes because it's something my brain does that i've been hammered in repeatedly that that's bad.

typically when i assess that the truth is somewhere in the middle of what i'm being told, it's because i'm rejecting an absolute out of hand. so that i can make sure i am actually perceving things correctly.

on the other hand if it's something like a serial killer, i would expect that statement to be sensationalistic and exploitative.
 

kiwibird

New Here
I do understand that there is a difference between facts and perception. But the statement that the truth is probably somewhere in the middle seems to imply that all people are equally honest/deluded, and if someone is contradicting you then you can't really be telling the truth. I don't think that is true and I think it plays into the hands of gaslighters. I think some people are far more honest than others, and we can acknowledge that even when we don't know in a particular case who is honest.
After posting my original post, I realised that I don't remember exactly what was featured on that television show, so I apologise if I wasn't accurate, but I remember thinking the slogan was insulting to the victims of crimes.
 

internal

Sponsor
the statement that the truth is probably somewhere in the middle seems to imply that all people are equally honest/deluded
i don't see how it implies this inherently. i think that people are complicated and no one is ever going to give a 100% honest recording of an event-even if they are intending to be honest-because humans are very fallible.

i struggle with this in my own therepy to even like logically construct what happened even though it happened to me and i have ptsd from it. i often struggle to seperate what i feel, from what i think, from what happened, from what it means, and on and on.

everybody tends to think of their own internal narretives as correct. that is why we think the things we do. if we thought we were wrong we would think different things. to say that in the case of me versus my father that "my father's side" is important would be stretching it, by a lot

but i do think it is importent for me to understand why he did the things that he did. because i am very similer to him. i'm an addict, i have a cluster b personality disorder, i have lapses in logic and reason, and a thousand other genetic components as well.

would it offend me if someone was like "well let's hear what he has to say?" absolutely, it would, because i would have a huge f*cking emotional meltdown and be furious and mad and scared and all this other shit. but logically speaking-

i would love to sit down with him (safely) and get a real answer and real account of why he did what he did, what his life was like, what his thought processes are like.

maybe it's morbid curiosity. i don't know. but it's something i've personally struggled with my entire life, is the pure f*cking senseless irrationality of his actions and being an atheist, you know, i don't believe in "evil" and "the devil" and whatever-it didn't happen because he was evil, being evil isn't real.

there are explanations for things, and i want to know what they are, so that i can apply it to my own life and examine the world around me with greater clarity and accuracy.

I think some people are far more honest than others, and we can acknowledge that even when we don't know in a particular case who is honest.
i do think that there is a problem with assuming that some people "appear" more trustworthy than others based on things other than the facts of what happened.

to me that gets into the same territory that permits abuse in the first place: this guy seems nice, surely he won't throw me in his trunk and murder me.
 

kiwibird

New Here
People are complicated, and I am writing about this because I am trying to clarify my own thoughts and feelings. My experience is that there are people who deliberately manipulate and lie, and so when we have two opposing accounts of events, there may be genuinely different memories or perceptions, or there may be one person deliberately gaslighting the other (to some degree or entirely). If we don't acknowledge that possibility, we are denying their victim even the acknowledgement they may possibly be telling substantially the truth.
When I told one friend some stories from my childhood, I acknowledged the possibility that my memory could have exaggerated or distorted something, even though I was telling the absolute truth to the best of my recollection. She answered that even if half of what I had told her was half true she found it quite shocking. Actually, I was a bit surprised because my family always behaved as if it was all normal. But I found her response validating. I think perhaps part of what triggered me with my sister-in-law was her dismissive breeziness about it.
I understand that you would like to understand your father's true reasons. I think we are often left to try to work that out for ourselves, as we won't be given the truth. I have worked out a lot about my mother by reading books about narcissists and sociopaths.
 

internal

Sponsor
so when we have two opposing accounts of events, there may be genuinely different memories or perceptions, or there may be one person deliberately gaslighting the other (to some degree or entirely).
this is definitely correct-when we're looking to construct the truth from statements that people are giving us, we need to keep in mind that humans do lie and abuse each other and that happens fairly often. i'm not very good at condensing my thoughts so apolegies if none of this makes sense.

but i would estimate that this is seperate from someone deciding that they are rejecting an absolute truth of one side over another-what is more likely happening is that they are trying to say they do not know who is telling the truth. but they are communecating it in a way that is telling you something different.

and i would also guess that your instinct to believe the accuser over the accused is because of your own experiences with being a victim. and with, most likely, being gaslit and disbeliefed your self. you know what that is like so you are having an emotional reaction to hearing someone else dismiss another person.

there is nothing wrong with that and it's not even very illogical. it's just something that people do a lot when we have personal experiences with things we get invested in ways that are not necesserily objective. this happens with me at my job a lot-i have to put my emotions in a box and put them away.

because the person that i am looking at-is not a convicted criminal. they are innocent until proven guilty. i cannot berate them in my mind and construct a false narretive of things based on what i'm seeing on this person's device or make assumptions or say

"it probably is this because he was accused of that"-because that's not ethical. i have to say that i do not know because i don't know. this is a person's life and what i am doing has the potential to ruin their life and subject to ridicule, abuse, shame, trauma. i do not have 100% conclusive proof until i have it.

but also i'm not going to sit there and say "the truth is somewhere in the middle" either-because that is a conclusion-it's a conclusion to reject a portion of both party's story. and when you are not involved in the situation, and if you do not have evidence, you can't really make conclusions like that.

but i do think that this is seperate to saying there's two sides to every story-to me that reads as more factual and less subjective. but it depends on the context. in the case of an "expose tv series" it sounds exploitative.

I think perhaps part of what triggered me with my sister-in-law was her dismissive breeziness about it.
it makes complete sense that what she said would create a reaction for you of this. and it is very understandeble why that would happen given your history.

in my opinion the response that was given was not very tactful or appropriate. it was likely discomfort and a refusal to commit to an opinion. she could have phrased her thoughts in a better way.

I have worked out a lot about my mother by reading books about narcissists and sociopaths.
i am glad you were able to find that informetion helpfull.
 

kiwibird

New Here
Thanks for your considered reply. Everything you have said is true. I probably am disposed to believe accusers to some extent, although I am aware in some circumstances that a gaslighting person could make a pre-emptive strike by accusing someone before that person has the chance to accuse them.
I particularly tend to believe stories people tell about their parents, because I think children start out wanting a good relationship with their parents and there is a reason if they change their minds. But my partner points out that sometimes the children might interpret the parents' words or actions in a different way from how they were intended, and I accept that that could sometimes be true.
 

Sideways

Moderator
If I use my "people are complicated" hat, a person saying "there's two sides to evrry story" where I don't know the details, could be saying a range of things. The most obvious that comes to mind is "I don't want to talk about it". Which makes a lot of sense given the subject matter, especially if this is a topic that seems to come up in conversation (which strikes me as kind of weird...).

That would be typical. People don't want to talk about it.

Or it may be that there are really 2 sides: dad remembers a happy normal childhood, the other remembers inappropriate or uncomfortable bathtime.

The 'grey area' can be surprisingly big.

If I put my "I'm a csa survivor" hat on? I'd want to slap her round the head. And, probably not want to talk about it in the victim's absence any further.
 

Friday

Moderator
Is this something that annoys other people here?
Nope. Not at all.

I find it invalidating and offensive
I agree completely with this when you’re taking about a simple yes/no situation, where 1 person is telling the truth and the other is lying, rather than a complicated one. I find it invalidating and offensive for BOTH , though, rather than it’s only invalidating and offensive for the accuser. It’s invalidating and offensive to the person telling the truth. Regardless of who is lying about them, or why.

Most things in life, however, are not binary yes/no, lie/truth.

As soon as things get complicated? I would think it would be invalidating and offensive to insist on a black and white / all or nothing summation… rather than allowing for both people telling the truth, from 2 different perspectives… with “the whole truth” being not either/or, but a combination of both.


but it doesn't mean that they necessarily have a valid 'side'.
Even if they’re innocent?
Even if they’re guilty but had good reason to do what they did?

***

All of which adds up to… Yep. I’d say either your PTSD, or your trauma history, or both are weighing in on this.

((I get the same way with the bullshit “no judgment” that’s so popular these days, amongst the spineless <insert swearish rant here> 😉 And countless other things. But that one of my 1+1=64 domino falls is probably the closest to this one.))

***

For the PTSD side of things? You’d probably find these 2 articles super useful.


 

kiwibird

New Here
Nope. Not at all.


I agree completely with this when you’re taking about a simple yes/no situation, where 1 person is telling the truth and the other is lying, rather than a complicated one. I find it invalidating and offensive for BOTH , though, rather than it’s only invalidating and offensive for the accuser. It’s invalidating and offensive to the person telling the truth. Regardless of who is lying about them, or why.

Most things in life, however, are not binary yes/no, lie/truth.

As soon as things get complicated? I would think it would be invalidating and offensive to insist on a black and white / all or nothing summation… rather than allowing for both people telling the truth, from 2 different perspectives… with “the whole truth” being not either/or, but a combination of both.



Even if they’re innocent?
Even if they’re guilty but had good reason to do what they did?

***

All of which adds up to… Yep. I’d say either your PTSD, or your trauma history, or both are weighing in on this.

((I get the same way with the bullshit “no judgment” that’s so popular these days, amongst the spineless <insert swearish rant here> 😉 And countless other things. But that one of my 1+1=64 domino falls is probably the closest to this one.))

***

For the PTSD side of things? You’d probably find these 2 articles super useful.



Thanks, I will have a look at the articles tomorrow.
 

kiwibird

New Here
Thanks Friday. They are interesting articles. There is a lot to think about, and I will need to look at them again. In the scenario where 'Jane' needed to fix part of her report, what I would be feeling in that situation is fear of looking at the report because of how it would upset me to see my own mistakes, rather than the fear she felt that she wouldn't be able to improve on it.
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
I really cannot agree with the situation you’ve depicted above. In context, as Sideways pointed, it’s just silencing. It’s true that there are many points of view. AND it is true that even the worst asshole has the right of a proper defense. It’s a check and balance against the ire of retaliation and vengeful cycles. That’s why there is justice.

But taking the idea of impartiality and suggest that perpetrator’s and victim’s sides are somehow equivalent, that’s a fallacy. It’s not symmetrical. Now that victims can in turn be perpetrators in other contexts or even in the changing context of the same case, that is true too but it doesn’t change the facts. One saying he stabbed me and the other one saying they made me do it, one saying they raped me and the other one not even sincerely noticing it doesn’t change the fact that the stabbing and the rape did occur. There are gradations in the delusion and/or the apathy, but FAR TOO OFTEN sexual assault, harassment, racial or sexual discrimination and all the yada yada, these cases are closed because deemed "impossible to prove" or, as it’s been the case often, being made impossible to prove because each step of the way, you find opposition and in fact, partiality by indifference. I rarely have heard the "there are two sides to each story" in a context that wasn’t, destined to validate the perpetrator’s point of view by maintaining a status quo.

Even taking my own example of domestic violence. I a way, I do know it’s real that my ex has been affected by it, and to some extent, got it worse than I had because of his initial state, instability, guilt and violence. He’s more at risk than I am and, probably to some extent, is finding moments I’ve been responding to his own violence by defending myself or calling the police or threatening with legal action, traumatic. And from his point of view, it is correct. I was traumatic, too. But it doesn’t change the fact that very measurably, he did cause the harm himself, to me and to himself. That something is bad/traumatic for you doesn’t automatically deletes your responsibility. Not more that not noticing that you’re causing harm magically causes the harm to disappear or never had existed.

So you can see things from the inside and have all sorts of explanations and even being impartial or compassionate, for me it doesn’t fall under what the "there are two sides of each story" thing. It’s not like it’s a word against another. And generally if people are wanting to be impartial they want to hear both sides extensively and certainly not to cut the thing by saying an invalidating platitude.
 
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