One of the themes of my best selling novel, Invisible, is how people can’t always see what is right in front of them, despite it being blindingly obvious to onlookers. It’s something I am sure we have all been guilty of at some point in our lives, either by looking at someone else and thinking ‘why on earth can’t she see what’s going on?’ or by being blinded ourselves to the truth. I interviewed somebody for a magazine only yesterday who had gone into total denial about her relationship.
This lady’s boyfriend was addicted to porn and she had no idea. She says now, looking back, it seems crazy that she was in such denial. She was paying half of the huge monthly phone bill he ran up calling sex lines, and also half of the cable company’s bill for the pay per view adult stations he was watching while she went to bed alone and cried herself to sleep. Yet she continually fell for his lies and excuses, and she even started to feel like a nag for complaining about the size of the bills every month.
Eventually, things came to a head and she finally called things off. Now she finds it hard to believe that she could have fallen for such blatant lies – she is intelligent, articulate, and holds down a responsible job, yet she was taken in completely. She doesn’t understand why she put up with it, and says it feels as though she was a different person whilst in that relationship.
It’s something which comes out again and again in my interviews with people who are lied to by their loved ones: they don’t believe it, they refuse to accept even when the evidence is right there in their faces. And afterwards they look back at that time and cannot understand what the hell they were thinking. That’s why I find the reaction to Invisible so fascinating. People say they’d never put up with that, but it’s surprising how many people do!
I suspect the truth is that none of us can ever really know until we find ourselves in that situation ourselves. Let’s hope the closest most of us get to knowing is reading Invisible.