Lying can hurt a relationship and make us feel isolated from others. Whether we are being lied to or struggle with lying, there is hope to find understanding and healing. TheHopeLine is a place to reach out for help.
What Makes Something a Lie?
What people sometimes call “brutal honesty” is often painful for the recipient of the advice and can be alienating for the person giving it. Though some people may feel that anything other than brutal honesty is a lie, you can be honest without hurting others. Softening your words to protect the feelings of someone you care about is not lying. Lying happens when we deliberately conceal truth to protect ourselves and our image from negative consequences in our lives and relationships.
Why Do People Lie?
There’s no single reason that everyone lies, but people who lie are more than just “liars”. They’re whole people who often struggle with emotions or situations they feel they can’t manage, so they hide parts of themselves and how they really feel from the world, even from the people closest to them.
Why is telling lies so common? Here are some common reasons we’ve noticed for patterns of lying in the lives and relationships of people we talk to at TheHopeLine.
- Fear: People who lie often don’t want the truth to be known for fear they will not be accepted, or that they will be judged.
- Shame: Rather than guilt, which focuses on sorrow for wrongdoing, shame is an intense belief that you are a bad person. People who lie often feel ashamed about themselves or their choices, and deceive others in an attempt to shield themselves from further feelings of shame. This is why lying is often cyclical. For example, in an effort to hide shame from damaging relationship choices like cheating or anger issues, people who have made those choices tend to cover them up. Because they’re hiding the behavior rather than getting help, it often continues in future relationships.
- Hiding Addiction: People with addictive behaviors feel both fear and shame, both because of the harm their addictive behavior causes and the way addiction is stigmatized in our society. Hiding behaviors or substance use from loved ones is a common warning sign that someone is addicted, and that they need to get help right away.
- Control: When they feel like they’re losing control, people often lie in an attempt to manipulate people and situations around them to regain a sense of control. This manipulation often leads to emotional abuse and other behaviors that can develop into a toxic relationship.
Getting Help When Lies Hurt Your Relationships
If you’re being lied to or victimized by manipulation and emotional abuse, you can break free from those harmful relationships and redevelop healthy connections that affirm your self-worth. Talking to a therapist, confiding in a friend, and spending time in places and communities that nourish you are great first steps.
If you’ve used lying to hide addictive behaviors, or if it’s caused isolation and pain in your relationships, you can get help to stop lying and recover from the pain it’s caused you. Reach out for help at TheHopeLine today.