Every human tells lies and they lie to save themselves. Unless you are being tortured or threatened that someone will take your life or someone’s life you love, lies are a way to help us feel less guilty, less embarrassed, less responsible for what we did, or vindicated for what we failed to do. When someone is lying to you there is only one person who should be defensive or worried, and that’s the liar. If you are receiving the lie then stepping back, being curious, and detaching are important so you don’t become the person who is out of control. The worst thing about being lied to is the voice you hear loudly inside telling you that you are being lied to, and the person lying to you thinks you don’t know. It’s humiliating, confusing, and because of the feelings you feel, you may go along with the lie just to avoid the upheaval of dissecting and resolving the lie.
Going along with the lie the liar told is much different than believing the lie. In fact, many couples that come to see me have relationship issues that are the result of having a “lie” shared between the two of them. These lies can be the manifestation of many different issues the liar tried to cover up, but most of the time the lie is about a previous relationship of one of the partners that wasn’t ever truly resolved. What is most fascinating is that the liar may still be lying with his or her mouth, but their body is telling both their spouse and me the truth. In my own professional opinion, I believe the partner knows their partner is lying to them, but they want me to say it because they cannot bear confronting the lie again.
A typical lie may look like this…in fact, this is a real question I received from a viewer who asked me what I thought. I could not answer it without seeing the couple, but what do you think?
Dear Mary Jo, I found out that my husband is still talking to his ex girlfriend online. I confronted him about it and he told me he never replied to her. I was reading all of his messages, and it shows that he does reply back to her. What can I do? Stephanie.
It is obvious this guy is lying to his wife, but many lies are not this blatant. In fact, people go to great lengths to hide their lies, and often it is very difficult to ascertain the truth. In fact, for many couples there is a point where the truth is so distorted and nebulous that they give up on ever hearing the real truth. When the non-lying partner reaches this point they have taken control of the situation. It is here where they can make their wisest decisions going forward. They no longer need the exact truth, because they see their partner for whom and what they are. It is at this point that they can usually tell their partner, “I know you have lied to me, and I forgive you. I cannot forget what you did, but I do recognize that you lied due to a weakness within yourself, and I won’t take responsibility for your weakness.”
Couples ask me if there is such a thing as being married or committed to someone who has never lied. As a professional, I would have to say, “No.” Since everyone lies, I think it is more reasonable to believe you may have been lied to. I also think the wiser choice is to watch what words come out of your own mouth and make them as honest as possible to your partner and anyone else’s life you touch. Making this your practice, you may be able to go to sleep at night and know in your own heart of hearts that you don’t lie. I think I should mention the few times I have heard a spouse say (to their partner and me in my office) that they never lied. Their body was restless and their eyes were darting side to side. My voice inside told me…they’re lying. –Mary Jo Rapini
To be remembered: There are people who are Pathological Liars. This article does not include them. Pathological Liars have a mental illness much different from the norm and if you are in a relationship with a Pathological Liar your wisest decision would be to flee the situation. If you are married to a Pathological Liar, they need Cognitive Behavioral Counseling and medication to improve their condition.
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Tags: Lying, Liar, Lies, Marriage, Relationships, Counseling, Body Language