I’ve ranted about “wayward” before and the “fog,” but it only recently occurred to me that “trickle truth” is equally moronic… or Orwellian. (Moronically Orwellian? Deviously Orwellian? Anyway…)
“Trickle truth” is like “truthiness,” the term comedian Stephen Colbert coined for the rebranding of lies, omissions, and bullshit.
What is trickle truth? Well, if you’ve spent any time on reconciliation boards, you’ve read about it. The narrative usually goes like this:
“I found a receipt in Elmore’s pocket for a hotel stay. At first he denied he’d ever been to that hotel. When confronted, he said ‘Oh, I was there for a conference.’ Alone? Yes. But I’d also found a dinner for two receipt. Who spends $176 by themselves at Outback Steakhouse? Okay, he was with a ‘friend’. She later came to his room because hers didn’t have a Gideon Bible and his did. And she needed help with her Bible verses because she always says her prayers at night before bed.
I felt uneasy. But who was I to question a good man helping a woman out with Psalms? Then I checked the cell phone bill. I guess she needed help with Proverbs, Corinthians, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John too because there were thousands of text messages between them. He admitted they’d been talking, but it wasn’t what I thought! They were just friends!
I think he’s having an affair. Perhaps it’s only emotional at this point, but I don’t know. Clearly, he’s paralyzed with shame about it, so he’s trickle truth-ing me. Only admitting to the things I have evidence of. It’s driving me CRAZY. I know this is a very difficult time for him, and my questions trigger self-loathing in him, so he can’t spit it all out. But I want to know what happened! I’ve read here that trickle truth goes on for months and I should just be patient while he comes out of the fog. This is killing me!”
Let’s call trickle truth what it is — continued lies by omission.
Really at best trickle truth is leaving out the damning crap you haven’t discovered yet. It’s also minimization (she’s just a friend!) and gaslighting (I wasn’t at the hotel!) — and chumps spackle the entire thing into a phenomena they call “trickle truth.”
No — trickle truth is just a continuation of cheater think and entitlement. They enjoy the power of their secrets. They feel entitled to keep the truth from you. They feel entitled to misrepresent their affairs and lead you to believe it’s harmless and you’ve misunderstood them. If you want to get ANYTHING off this cheater, you’re going to have to work for it! And then they’ll deny and soft pedal what you found.
They aren’t “trickling” the truth in dribs and drabs. They’re throwing you off their scent. It isn’t shame that makes them withhold information — it’s wanting you to get the fuck off their backs so they can have more cake.
There’s no truth in trickle truth at all, except for the truth YOU discovered.
Truth doesn’t trickle. It’s told. Anything else is just more mindfuckery.
This column ran previously. Feel free to comment!