You know it’s wrong. We know it’s wrong. I know it’s wrong. We all know it’s wrong. Except for one person. Well, that person probably knows it’s wrong too, but why would they want to admit it at this point? They’ve already come so far. This isn’t to say we should accept a cheat or a lie. This is to save our own precious time and energy fighting it.
I recently got some great insight about why cheaters defend themselves and why supporters of cheaters defend themselves. Per usual, this sent my brain spinning from the specific example to see how it translates on a grand picture. I have followed some of these guidelines for some time, and now I’d like to offer some advice to save your precious time.
Arguing with a cheat or lie is, for the most point, useless.
There are only a handful of people who will self-reflect enough to know what they’ve done is wrong. Then, you’ll have a group of those folks who will kick themselves harder than anyone else possibly could. They’ll often apologize emphatically, beg for forgiveness, and work to earn trust.
There are also the people who self-reflect and realize what they’ve done is wrong, but they’ll keep that fact to themselves. They’ll ignore the apologies and skip the requests for forgiveness, but they’ll still work to do better and not cheat or lie again.
We also have a large group who is okay with bending and blurring lines, if there is even any belief that there are lines. Some of these will say “it’s only cheating if you get caught” or “if you’re not cheating you’re not trying.”
In any event, you can spot each person with relative ease, especially when the going gets tough and their cheating or lies start to come back to reality. Now, why is it pointless to argue with a cheat or lie?
Arguing with a person who can’t come to terms with their own cheating or lying is a waste of time because they’ve already committed the worst act.
If they cheated or lied and don’t realize it or won’t own it, what makes us believe they’ll all of a sudden say they’ve been unethical? Their definition of cheating and lying might be different. Or these might be acts they’ve engaged in forever. Why admit their entire life has been a lie? That’d be a hard fact to face.
The particular example presented to me was about a team in a particular sport. The person examined why fans stick by a team that has a clear history of cheating, deceit, and lying. Some fans shout about conspiracy and are in straight up denial, even though there is an overwhelming amount of evidence at times. The example pointed out the following:
You’ve grown up rooting for such and such a team. You’re part of the nation, their fan base. Although you might believe what they’ve done is wrong, why would you ever want to admit it? Admitting that a team you support has cheated or lied would be admitting a flaw in your own ethics, especially if you continue to represent and support them. Again, for people who have only know this team their entire life, they don’t want to accept the truth.
It becomes a matter of unconditional love that creates blindness.
And unconditional love is okay at times, but people rarely learn from the coddling and denial of wrongdoings.
Even still, some defend their own spouse caught red-handed. Some defend their criminal children or neighbors. “There’s no way he/she would ever do such a thing. They’re a quiet and polite person.” Except they did it. Some defend the sport and team they love.
For everybody else without the blinders, don’t waste your breath. Imagine somebody telling us that everything we’ve stood for forever is a lie. Many of us (although not all) wouldn’t want to hear it. Someday, however, we’ll learn the hard way. The hardest lessons are often the best well learned.