How To Understand Lying & Get Help When You’re Hurting

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.

Want to learn more about how lying affects relationships? Search our library of ebooks, podcasts, blogs, and other resources for answers to your questions like:

  • How Do I Know if My Boyfriend or Girlfriend is Cheating?
  • How Do I Tell People I Struggle with Lying?
  • What Does The Bible Say About Truth?

FAQ on Lying:

Why is lying bad?

Lying is bad because it harms our relationships. It makes it hard for people to trust us. After all, if someone has lied to us before, how do we know they won’t do it again? Lying is also hard to maintain. It can be a source of stress and anxiety for the person telling lies. If you struggle with lying, it’s hard to feel like you can break free from the cycle of lying. But there’s always hope.

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Most Recent Blogs on Lying

Are White Lies Ever Okay?


Should I Be Telling the Truth No Matter What? You've probably heard the old saying "honesty is the best policy". But is there ever a time when you don't have to tell the whole truth? Take a look at this message I received recently: "I never want to lie, but there are..Read more

Top Two Reasons You Should Stop Lying PLUS How Liars Get Caught


In my blog How to Stop Lying I listed eight things you can do to help break the bad habit of lying. But I don’t just want to give you tips on how to stop lying. I want to motivate you by giving you two very important reasons WHY you..Read more

How To Stop Lying


Lying is a Horribly Destructive Habit  Any destructive habit leads to painful consequences. When we choose to lie, we choose to suffer. Think how much better off we’d be if we would stop lying and live in the truth. Listen to the words of Jennifer: "I was lied to my whole..Read more

Why Do People Lie? – Reasons for Lying


Most Everybody, at One Time or Another, Has Lied. Tell the truth now: that includes you and me. In fact, some people, sad to say, lie almost all the time. Psychologists call these people compulsive or psychopathic liars. They tell lies even when they don't have to. Even the youngest of..Read more

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A guide to understanding the basics of Christianity and a meaningful relationship with God.  Do You Feel Like Life is Meaningless? Are you wondering what your purpose is? Do you have questions about what Christians believe or what it means to be a Christian? At TheHopeLine we believe real and lasting HOPE can only come […]

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