No One Is More Blind Than The One Who Refuses To See

I never really understood this saying completely.  How can someone who is not blind actually see less than someone who is?  Well in fact this statement is very true as I have come to realize.  Not because we close our eyes and pretend not to see, at least not literally – more so because we choose to see what we want.  As when people say Love is blind.

Of course love itself is not blind.  If it were perhaps we would have a lower divorce rate and people would always forgive based on how much they love the person who hurt them.  We don’t live in a society where everyone forgives.  In fact, sometimes the act of forgiveness is viewed as a sign of weakness in an individual.  How many men/women have not been encouraged to leave their partners immediately after an infidelity by their peers and confidants without so much as a second thought?  Not that in some instances that decision is not merited, but whatever happened to independent thinking and laying all the cards on the table before rushing into a decision.  Be that as it may, when we fall in love we are blind.

We don’t see the negative attributes of our partners.  Instead we focus on the thrill of getting to know them, the first kiss, the first time, their unique little quirks that make us love them more.  And why not?  After all the beginning of a relationship is one of the most exciting things to experience in life.  Especially when it leads to a deeper, more committed partnership between two people.  Yet in this honeymoon phase of any relationship each half of the couple is putting their best foot forward.  Insecurities and the fear of rejection make us watch what we say, how we dress, how we eat, what friends and family members we bring our new love around.  Ultimately creating an altered sense of who we are and how we behave to the other person.  That’s why the real test of love is finding out whether you can live with your significant other. 

That’s when you find out he doesn’t really cook, she doesn’t bathe every day, he releases gas out of both ends at any given moment, she doesn’t shave her legs or her moustache very often, and of course that we as men always leave the toilet seat up.  If these were your most serious surprises upon unpacking your lover count your blessings.  Unfortunately for a lot of others when the honeymoon is over and the address is now shared, the discovery they make is that they never really knew their partner.  At that moment you realize all the little things you dismissed as insignificant were actually tell-tell signs you should have paid attention to.  Now you have a decision to make. 

Those who leave, move on…sometimes after a long and painful mourning period for the lost relationship.  It is those who stay who are at risk of becoming blind. 

Over the past several months I met a lot of strong, smart, independent men and women who at one point or another had been through very toxic relationships in which their partners verbally and/or physically abused them, and they put up with it – some for so many years that it was difficult for them to imagine any other reality.  What struck me most about our conversations, at the shelters where they now live, is how easily these folks recounted being knocked unconscious on multiple occasions, constantly being degraded in front of their children, and so many other horrible accounts they had to share.  One lady laughed the whole time as she went on and on about how every week her boyfriend would beat her up at the home they shared with their children.  I don’t honestly believe she thought it was funny, but this reaction was the only thing that kept her from crying at how long she had put up with his abuse (10 years).  When I asked them why they had put up with their partner’s abuse for so long all of them had the same response:  “I never thought it was that bad.”

Like the blind person who cannot physically see, these people were so blinded by their “love” and dependence on the other person that they could not see what was actually being done to them.   

And so this saying that I have heard so many times now truly makes sense to me.  As we celebrate love this Valentine’s Day let’s keep our blindness in check.