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Awesome article. I agree with you regarding fear mongering with the pool example. Also, if I had known my dad was an alcoholic before I was a preteen, even with what little I may have understood, I might not have blamed myself for a lot of his actions. When I finally realized it, it was like a light bulb had went off (still no one told me, I figured it out myself) but it did not reverse the damage already caused. Sometimes the hard truths have to be told, hiding them doesn't really help anyone.


Hi Corrine - Thanks for your praise of the article. Many have alcoholic parents, one or both, (or abusive in other ways!) and it's useful to remember that whatever damage may have been done, it's up to us to move beyond the fear and loathing and claim our birthright to be a greater Being than the damaged child who once was helpless, but doesn't have to stay in that state any more.

Whether we want to admit it or not, we DID make an agreement "on the other side," for whatever Soul reasons, and while it doesn't excuse the abusers, it cannot help us to stay stuck in a self-image of victimization. When my light bulb went off, I actually was able to appreciate my childhood circumstances, since I realized it gave me permission to do my thing in my own way.

As for reversing damage, well, the world has ALWAYS been pretty bare-knuckle throughout the centuries, with the challenge always to become more than whatever you imagined when young and at the not-so-tender mercies of the sometimes very cruel adult world. It's NEVER been easy for kids. At least now there's a veneer of "civilization" for those of us in the "first world" while those in the third world are still condemned to child slavery, mutilation, and so forth. Personally, I prefer my own difficult childhood to some abominations still going on in other parts of our world. Speaking truth to power is never easy, but in the long run, it strengthens the Soul.


awsome indeed... what an issue 'the truth' is, and how appropriate under the current sky. Alchemy has taught me the difference between exoteric truth and esoteric truth and how truth in general is such a bendy thing... I try in turn to teach my children that honesty is a responsibility which is about honouring the Self. When we start telling the 'brutal truth' to others we aren't honoring anyone, but using words as weapons (telling a kid they'll drown if they go near the pool is what I call 'awfulizing' and to me has nothing to do with the truth!). In the middle of that is the 'complaint' which we often think of as coming out with the truth (oh kid, you really stink! how about a wash?) may be helpful, depending on it delivery, but if there's something that bothers us, its really about us.. so perhaps 'truth' doesn't apply there either.

Truth and there's a pair to examine next to each other.

joy! d


What a great article. This is a subject close to my heart. I teach elementary students and I never believe in sugar coating the world. Children just grow up to become disillusioned and cynical when they find out the truth.

I talk to my students about war. We talk about how many people believe it is ok to kill another because of their beliefs if they call it war. My students think it's crazy that people believe killing is ok.

If we pretend the world is sweet and kind, what do my students think when they are beaten by their parents? Or watch their parents beat each other? Or watch night after night as their parents sink into a world of drugs and alcohol? We need to make it ok for them to bring the truth out into the light so they can get help, not keep secrets in shame.

My ex-husband is an alcoholic. I've never hidden that from my children. He seldom has time to see them, but they love him anyway. They just know he has problems. Like many other people on the face of this planet.


I loved this article!


Hi all - I'm catching up on other things, so thanks for checking in. I absolutely agree with every single thing you've said. Sounds like four part harmony to me. And given the quick and powerful responses to this article and emails I've gotten, it'll probably yield a follow up.


Great article!!! I hope many people read it and pass it on!


Hi reinersue - Thank you. Welcome to the site. I thought it important to begin to explore a very complex subject. The gulf between "fact" and "opinion" can be as wide as an ocean or as close as one's heartbeat.


I think it was Buddha who said it -- to paraphrase -- Truth must first of all be the truth as it is reflected in your reality and secondly, it must be kind.

Telling someone the truth in a way that preserves their dignity is totally different than telling someone the same truth in a way that humiliates them. To take someone off to the side to say, "You've got broccoli in your teeth" is much different than saying loudly before a large group, "EWWWWW, what is that in your teeth?". They both accomplish the same thing but one way is kinder. Using one of the questions in the post, it is okay to keep children in the dark about their father's alcoholism as long as the children are not hurt by it. If the children are being physically or emotionally abused, however, they need to know that it is their father's weakness, not them, that is responsible for his actions. (Obviously, they need to be removed from the situation also).

To tell a truth that will instill fear in someone is a form of control and not okay. Explanations can be made such as "You need swimming lessons to go by the pool's edge" is better than yelling "You'll drown!". But the first example takes time and effort which it seems the world is in short supply of.

You wouldn't tell your children the mechanics of reproduction if they asked, "Mommy, where do babies come from?" You tell them an age-appropriate answer. Sages tell us the Truth as it is appropriate to our spiritual age. Sometimes it is a huge gulp, sometimes it is just a grain. Is this lying? No. It is infinitely kind.

When we are asked for the truth, we should always reflect before we speak. Is it really the truth? Is it kind? Can we say it in a positive and uplifting way? If not, then maybe it is best to defer the response or not say anything at all.

Lisa Bakker

I so love flying by your site Robert...there's always a gift one way or another and it's wonderful to immerse myself in all the wisdom both from you as all reader's comments...

Now here's my comment on this heart provoking article.

Truth is a major issue right now in my life situation.
I am 41 and my father is a WW II veteran (Dutch Indies/Japanes occupation), my mother the brought up in a resistance family here in Holland during that same WW II.(German occ)

I am their co-creation.

War, children, truth! No matter what words parents use, how they phrase's the emotions the words are charged with and the accompanying bodylanguage that - I believe - children actually perceive as the truth. I speak from experience, looking back at a childhood where wartrauma's hoovered over day-to-day life, unadrressed.
Where words were spoken, yet charged with contradicitve emotions.
I've found this to be the experience of many others, when I asked them to look back at their childhood.
Apparently children respond faster to the emotional charge within the words than the actual meaning.

This - in my personal situation - has lead to much confusion when growing up.
Apparently there existed two "truths" the mental one distinctive from the emotional one.

Parenting is the world's most challenging job.
Being aware and having emotional integrity is one of the greatest gift one can bestow upon one's offspring.

Speaking the truth for me means being in congruence, aligning the words with the emotions, the bodylanguage. First and foremost being truthful is being aware of MY inner truth.
Evolution for me means lifting the emotional veils or differently becoming aware of feelings as a driving force in sharing/telling/living my truth.

Which brings me to my current "truth" dilemma.
Let me just describe the situation and pose the question to you all:
There is this person (A) who is married for quite some time. The married life has become burdenfull over the years, A expresses and shares the grief and complaints with others for multiple years. But never acts on it.
Then some day A confronts the other marital partner (B) and tells B life together is no longer an option.
A's words are charged with resentment, anger and frustration. B is flabbergasted.

A then withdraws more and more from the relationship. When being asked to cooperate in a solution, A can only adresses B with counter questions and resentment.

A starts to create "alliances" outside the marriage by sharing her experiences.

A is sun-aries/asc-scorpio
pluto retrograde in cancer/IX
saturn in sag/II
jupiter square pluto
B is sun-capricorn/asc-taurus
pluto retrograde cancer/II
saturn virgo/V
pluto square mars

I am too close, even intertwined and have lost my perspective on truth in this situation.

Here's the question's:
There's a certain awereness with person A, however it seems to be dismissed. Can unconditional truth (consciousness/awareness) actively be restored?

What is the role of expectations within truth.

Which emotions are the driving forces behind conditional and unconditional truth?

Thank you all for reading, pondering and responding.

This concludes my


Hi sonja - I agree with everything you said, just didn't respond before now. I absolutely believe that kindness and compassion are essential to recovering our individual and collective sanity. The brutality and polarization of our present collective illusion is unsustainable, given our true Higher Nature of Love, Wisdom, and Intelligence. I agree there is nothing wrong with not telling the harsh "truth" to a child, since they'll figure it out all too soon as innocence is lost in the meatgrinder of modern existence. And of course, they will never do well if we inculcate fear as a default. The only sane defaults are truth, goodness, and beauty.

Hi Lisa - Yes, how can we explain the horror of war to those that are fundamentally innocent? So the children read the emotions, and try to understand the best they're able something that is conflicted at best, insane at worst. My father was a WWII "war hero" who hated war with all his Pisces heart. He's never gotten over some of what he witnessed of human cruelty and insanity. That infused his personality when I was growing up, and he couldn't even talk of his war experience until I was in my mid-30s. There were times when I was young that he would be so explosive that I wondered what really was going on, since I couldn't make sense of his emotions. And now I understand, and have deep compassion for someone so sensitive who was forced to be a part of mass violence and insanity. I absolutely agree with your statement "Being aware and having emotional integrity is one of the greatest gift one can bestow upon one's offspring." I did that for my daughter, and she is now grown and courageous in asking questions that need to be asked and standing for integrity despite the shallowness of modern urban Americans.

As for your example, it's far too complicated to address in this comment stream. I'm sorry that so many words were swallowed and so much resentment built, since there is much that can never be recovered once there are too many layers of negativity, unless one applies "spiritual" practices as solutions, which is up to individual choice. And of course, different generations have different demons to deal with, since many with Pluto in Cancer were not raised by saints, and grew up with Hitler, Stalin, and the world-wide "great depression." Very grim times, and so grim outlooks resulted regarding how to deal with problems. Perhaps your issue isn't one of "truth" but of acceptance, forgiveness, and affirming the highest good will come out of whatever wreckage is happening. Each can come to their form of "unconditional truth" but it doesn't mean that others will understand, or even accept it. All things that are true, good, and beautiful can be restored if the participants want to. But it will never be the same, since "the moving finger writes, and having writ, moves on..." to quote a great poet. Expectations usually obscure truth, unless one is expecting what is true, in which case expectations create the thought forms that result in forms of "truth." Selfish or separative emotions drive illusion, which is conditional truth. Love and Compassion drive Unconditional Truth, since these always result in more Love and Compassion. Truth begets Truth, whereas conditions result in illusions, since all conditions are impermanent.


Dear Robert,

thank you so much for your extensive, thoughtful and compassionate reply.

I cannot begin to tell how weird it is to experience all pieces of the puzzle coming together....
your reply, a conversation I just had with a mediator, the decision A and B just yesterday took...

And it's all happening at the speed of light, hardly understandable for a human being.

Nevertheless I am the last to complain ;-)

It is such an encouragement to read about the way you raised your child. Like the French say: Chapeau...

isn't humanity's potential awesome?

from the other side of the ocean
warmest regards


Dear Robert and Lisa...its an interesting topic 'Truth' one of my favourite sayings is 'the truth shall set you free' and there is no reality only perception...we all have our own truths that feel right for us...but...some people get hurt or even killed for speaking the truth so it brings me to the true role of karma...which is the ultimate truth for me and it always amazes me that dishonest people do not really believe in this natural form of justice or have a conscience. I believe what goes around comes around....if you exploit you will be exploited....until we learn there is only one way even in the harshest of circumstances against the biggest liars and that can only be walk away and leave it to karma or god. My daughter has a father who is a compulsive liar and will say anything to get what he wants and come up looking like the victim but she is the most honest perceptive intuitive bright example of what being around dishonesty can teach you also and it doesnt mean you will become like them. I am constantly proud of her integrity and the way she handles this dishonesty from someone she loves...she has certainly handled him better than i did!! Being an aries i worship honesty and think it is the most important part of our intricate personalities...maybe A in the story above just kept too much inside for toooo long and errupted like a volcanoe which can happen with aries...i have been there and its not pretty and have always been engulfed in remorse afterwards...but you have to forgive yourself and move on...saying sorry is so easy and healing for sound like a great friend just for caring and being concerned and my advice is be neutral.


Hi giverny - I agree that "karma" is a form of Unconditional Truth, even though sometimes it works in mysterious ways. Of course dishonest people avoid examining karma, since dishonest people usually don't want to accept responsibility for their actions, and blame consequences on everyone but themselves. "Walking away" can take many forms. I know of people like the one you describe, compulsive liars who are closet (or not so closet!) sociopathic personalities. It's true that often the best way to deal with such bottom dwellers is much distance between the two of you.

For children of such creatures, they can only be fooled for just so long, and often all we can do is encourage them to examine behaviors and draw their own conclusions from a dispassionate angle of observation. Children as a rule are not stupid. They usually bust our inconsistencies fairly quickly. And when they see a parent doing bad things, it doesn't mean they will become like them, and in fact it often yields opposite tendencies. My father exploded regularly at his children; I NEVER exploded at my daughter for that exact reason. I also am an Aries, and yes, we value honesty more than most other tribes. Whether that's a virtue or hinderance is often circumstantial. At least we get over things faster than the other signs. Quick to anger, quick to move on.


just be happy when you know the truth, its ur personal truth, not necessarily shared with someone, voiced or insisted on to be the truth for anyone else,


Hi abacus - If we all honored our truth without worrying whether others are agreeing or disagreeing, then the whole world would be better as long as our truth didn't violate another's ability to live their life in harmony and peace.

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