I Got Blamed But I Didn’t Do It!

Ever been blamed for something you didn’t do or say? Discredited by someone you thought would never question your character? If so, you know how icky and awful it feels. It’s like everything you believe about yourself — and what you hope others believe about you — gets erased in the madness. What follows is my version of that madness: 

Some years back, I had the most wonderful aesthetician. I’ll call her Kat. She gave a mean facial and, afterwards, my skin would glow for a week. But I didn’t continue to see her strictly for her skin expertise. I went back for her. Over time, we developed a close friendship. I was surprised at the things I shared with her — things I hadn’t shared openly with anyone else, including my closest friends. And she did the same.

Even more years back, I stayed one night a week with a friend’s lovely family. I lived in a rural area where driver’s ed classes weren’t readily offered. My friend, who lived closer to civilization, suggested I stay with her and we’d take the class together. The bonus was that my boyfriend lived quite nearby, and, if her parents allowed it, I would be able to catch a couple of additional precious hours with him on those nights.

Both of those two memories, as written, are sweet and comforting. But both of them went haywire when I was blamed by those very people for things I didn’t do. I don’t have a great memory, so the fact that these two events have stuck with me says something. There’s something so disturbing, so discomfiting, about telling the truth, defending your good character — and still not being believed.

Here’s how the first scenario went down:

Clients would enter Kat’s treatment room alone. There, they’d undress, don a comfy robe, and drop any jewelry they were wearing into a glass dish on a small table. Nothing unusual there.

One day, after I’d left her office, Kat called to ask if I had seen a “very expensive” ring in the glass dish when I had gone into the room to disrobe. I hadn’t. I had placed my own jewelry in the dish and it was empty when I did. Apparently, the client before me believed she had left her ring in the dish. Kat was very upset but I assured her the ring wasn’t there.

It was clear almost immediately that Kat wasn’t convinced. She made comments like, “But you were the only person to go into that room after her!” I realized she was probably worried the other client would hold her responsible. But, point is, I didn’t see the ring, I didn’t take the ring, and I certainly didn’t lie about any of it.

Being accused of stealing by Kat was indescribably hurtful. I didn’t have any hard evidence to the contrary, but I did have my word. Not being believed by someone who knew me and knew my character, was the worst of it. Suddenly, all the goodwill and trust we had established was demolished by some woman who was obviously less than careful about where she left her diamonds.

Here’s the second:

One night, my friend’s parents gave me permission to see my boyfriend after class. The requirement was I be home by 9pm and not a moment later. They were on the stricter side (compared to my parents) but, hey, their house, their rules.

That night, my boyfriend and I spent those hours doing what teens did in those days: We went parking. I made it back by nine bells and was surprised to find the house very dark and quiet.

Since I was a guest, I didn’t want to disturb the rest of the family by traipsing through the house, so I decided to sleep on the living room couch. Before dropping off, someone came into the room and turned off the small lamp on the table behind me.

The next morning at breakfast (this family sat down for every meal together except lunch), my friend’s father was irate. As my friend and her mother sat by silently, her father loudly berated me for disrespecting their home and betraying their trust. He let me have it in a way I guarantee parents no longer discipline kids who don’t belong to them.

Near tears, I choked out my version: “I was home, I swear. I was on the sofa. Someone shut off the light. They must not have seen me, but I was here!

But Daddy-O wouldn’t even entertain that perhaps there was another story to be told about the previous evening. He threatened to call my parents which wasn’t much of a threat. I knew my parents would believe me.

There’s no happy or pithy ending to either of these vignettes. I stopped seeing Kat after unsuccessfully trying to contact her a handful of times (apparently her other client’s accusation held more sway than my truth). And I don’t remember if it was made clear I was no longer welcome to stay in my friend’s home, or I was too humiliated to go back. In any case, I didn’t.

Has anything like this happened to you? Have you been blamed or doubted when telling nothing but the truth? What did you do about it, if anything? I’m all ears.

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