How to know when “you ruin everything” means something else

you ruin everything
Photo by Kalei de Leon on Unsplash

Have you been told “you ruin everything”? Perhaps not in so many words. But expressing honest thoughts or feelings got you maligned or punished.

You may have grown up in a family where speaking the truth, any truth, got you silenced. “You ruin everything” is family code for “your truth telling threatens to expose my delusion so we need to shut you down.”

"You ruin everything" is family code for "your truth telling threatens to expose my delusion" Click To Tweet

Often, this is the function of the scapegoat in the family. The scapegoat seeks to tell the truth and deal with deeper issues in the family.

The family then gaslights the scapegoat by making them believe “you ruin everything”. They pretend you are wrecking their good time with your inconvenient truth.

However, their good time depends on everyone remaining in a delusional world where the family has no problems. This world has no space for honest thoughts and emotions and fears intimacy more than death itself.

You ruin everything with your honesty

In fact, your desire to express human emotions and tell the truth is terrifying to this family dynamic. They know their house of cards will fall in the face of any semblance of truth.

In order to keep this sick status quo in place, they must keep you quiet. They do so by making you feel you’re creating problems simply by telling the truth.

Instead of engaging with you or showing care and curiosity about your feelings, they gaslight you. They make you out to be crazy or attention-seeking because listening to you will crack their façade.

Imagine a relationship without honesty or intimacy. Any healthy person would see through this fake dynamic and insist on more.

But the dysfunctional family members fool themselves into believing the opposite. To them, lack of intimacy or emotional honesty is the key to a family’s success.

So, when you come in with your desire to speak the truth and connect at an authentic level, they must shut you down. The very existence of their tribe depends on it.

You are not alone

you ruin everything

If you’ve been told “you ruin everything” because you spoke the truth, know that you’re not alone.

If you've been told "you ruin everything" because you spoke the truth, know that you're not alone. Click To Tweet

One Thanksgiving decades ago, I arrived on time to discover my family had eaten without me. When asked why they wouldn’t wait, my sister spat, “you always have to come in and make everybody feel like shit.”

That was her version of “you ruin everything” and a prime example of gaslighting. They switch the problem from the family’s lack of consideration to my human reaction to being treated as if I don’t matter.

Any chance of discussion gets shut down as the unhealthy family members scramble to maintain their fake image. Anything to avoid that intimacy and honest emotion they fear like death itself.

And you better believe it shut me up and created more confusion and self loathing as I joined them in turning against myself. Their mission accomplished.

This is the sick, twisted, and heartless way dysfunctional family members keep their delusion intact. They attack and demean the one honest and sensitive person in the clan.

If this is you, know that these cowards fear your honesty and sensitivity. That’s why they seek to destroy it.

Choose yourself

The gaslighting you’ve experienced may have led to a lifetime of second-guessing yourself. You might struggle to share your feelings and believe doing so makes you a bad person.

You avoid conflict and silence yourself to keep other people happy. That’s because of your real and justifiable fear that people will leave if you share your thoughts and emotions.

Fact is, some people will leave if you’re honest with them. Those are the ones you want out of your life anyway.

Often these are family members you’ve been trained to stay loyal to regardless of their behavior toward you. I say it’s time you stayed loyal to yourself instead.

As Zora Neale Hurston wrote, “if you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.” Don’t contribute to your own demise by playing their game of delusion.

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  1. Love how you communicate…. Made me so sad to hear about that one (prob one of many) thanksgiving that your family was so awful to you 😢
    So glad you have chosen to learn the truth behind these appalling interactions not only helping and freeing yourself …. But so many like myself … you are so appreciated !