Lying is something I’ve always struggled with, never malicious lies, but constant little white lies.
Lying over small, inane things that have no place in a conversation. Lying when I do something wrong or make a mistake and panic.
I used to be convinced I was manipulative and nasty at times but that’s far from the truth.
I decided to write this because I read somewhere a few months ago that lying used to be part of the diagnostic criteria for borderline- unsure of how true that is, however, there is a reason for me bringing this up.
I wonder if this is where most of the “manipulative” stigma comes from? As I quite easily attached that label to myself for many years without thinking any deeper into it.
The reality is, my habitual lying was born as a survival tactical in my childhood.
When I made a mistake, I couldn’t just admit to it because the punishment would be severe. I was afraid to be honest, to say, “yes, I accidentally broke X”, “I’m sorry I misplaced Y”. There was never any safe space for me to see it’s okay to make mistakes or errors, it’s human.
I was very scared of his anger, I lived on egg shells from the first few months of him moving into our home and for the rest of my childhood and early adulthood.
Lying became my biggest way to attempt to avoid his wrath.
His behaviour made me hyper sensitive and afraid of people and lying became an instinctual reaction to whenever I would mess up around others. So desperate not to provoke anyone to react the way he did, so conditioned into believing that is how everyone reacts when you make small mistakes.
My lying is something I am not always consciously aware of but I do try to correct myself for the most part but this is not an easy feat.
People are unsympathetic when it comes to lying, even when it isn’t intended to hurt, it can still cause massive distrust. I am not saying it should be overlooked, not at all, but underlying reasons should be sought and understood before passing judgement.
To weigh up whether a person is unrepentant and has no conscience or whether at one point, a person simple had to lie to get through life, to cope, to avoid another day of strict punishment.


4 thoughts on “Lying.

  1. I know exactly what you mean. I did the exact same thing to protect myself from stepmother #2’s wrath, as she was always looking for reasons to punish me, belittle me, insult me and bully me from the time I was 12 til I was 17 and finally got up the courage to push back.

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  2. It’s also something I read about in an ACOA workbook as common in most types of dysfunctional families, for exactly the reasons you mentioned. Survival and because it also if it is what the parents habitually do to the kid, then how to functionally do anything else is something that needs to be actively learned. I don’t see the twelve step system as the most useful for me in a lot of ways, but there were tidbits from reading some of their materials (like “detach with love!”) that have been helpful. For you, just knowing that children from alcoholic and/or other types of traumatic families “habitually lie even when they have no reason to” and wish they didn’t might be comforting. It’s not a unique challenge.

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  3. This post makes me cry.
    I’ve often heard myself lying to protect myself and it’s not something I understand. The lies or what would have happened had I said the truth are usually nothing major, just discomfort for a moment. And people think of me as straight, honest, honest to a fault (too honest) and I feel like, the biggest liar of all – for if only they’d know that I lied to them that I wasn’t there, or didn’t hear, or forgot. Stupid things. Meaningless in a way. I don’t know what I’m trying to say… 😦 Thank you for writing.

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    1. You’re welcome and I understand. It’s complicated and it can definitely make you question your character but really, I’ve found it isn’t about your own integrity or morality, it’s about how life has shaped you. There’s a reason for everything and it’s good to look at those reasons sometimes and it’s also okay to be uncomfortable with the way we react to things and want to change.

      Liked by 1 person

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