This is quite straight forward. At least I thought it was straight forward until clients entered my room justifying why, ‘in that situation or in that moment’ lying seemed like the right thing to do. The justification usually sounds something like, “I didn’t want to hurt you” or “I knew you were going through a rough patch at work and I didn’t want to stack on another stress in your life”. Wow, that sounds so beautiful…doesn’t it? So caring and lovely.
Umm…NO. Sorry. That ain’t going to cut it with me. Dishonesty is actually an extremely selfish act because rather than feel hurt in the moment, it is much easier to ignore the truth, so as to avoid displeasure. That person may then justify it within delusional thought processes viewing the mistruth as an act of kindness towards their partner. When has dishonesty become an act of kindness?
Let me lead by example, all of which are breaches of trust.
- Investing a considerable sum of money without notifying your partner of the ‘new investment’. If the word considerable is too vague, establish a cap on that amount.
- Enrolling your child in therapy, special classes, activities without first discussing it.
- Lending a family member money without first notifying your partner.
- Considering taking on a large project at work (which will suck up a lot of time and energy from you), which means less time for the family.
- Pretending you are attending meetings, classes, etc. to please a spouse when you are not.
Obviously, these are only a few, and to some they may sound ‘obvious’, but as a therapist, nothing surprises me anymore.
When looking at patterns of behaviour, chronic fibbing or lying can be a real concern. Afterall, we are human, and we all have weak moments when we feel too overwhelmed and tell a lie.
“The lies worth taking note of are those that are done when there is no threat to the relationship. “
The lies worth taking note of are those that are done when there is no threat to the relationship. Lying can be deeply ingrained in a person’s psyche. It may have been established when very young, for a reason that seemed logical to a 5-year-old, but as a grown adult it no longer has a purpose. Unless there is frontal lobe is damage, you have the potential to change your thoughts. Parents that raise chronic liars are typically authoritarian, dismissive and punitive in nature.
As a therapist and marriage counsellor, I try to help a client rid the habit by taking them back to the source of the problem. Sometimes, it takes only that. Finding out the ‘why’ is enough for that pattern to stop. The client realizes they are safe to come from a place of honesty. A place of love and connection. Better yet, they see intimate conversations are possible only with raw, unadulterated conversations. Showing your partner your weaknesses and fears is the key to a lasting relationship and a happy life.