A Misadventure to ruined relationships
A deliberate obfuscation of the facts that spiraled into a macabre and bizarre facsimile of a relationship filled with jejune tatters of communication. ~tHe sTrEeT pRoPhEt~
Being in a relationship with somebody who lies is tough. It’s not that you don’t love them or care about them, it’s just that you can’t connect.
Without trust, there’s no relationship.
Henry Cloud and John Townsend say people lie for one of two reasons.
The first is out of shame or fear. Somebody may believe they won’t be accepted if they tell the truth about who they are, so they lie. You can see how religious communities that use shame and fear to motivate might increase a person’s temptation to lie.
People who lie for this reason can get better and learn to tell the truth. Until they do, however, it’s impossible to connect with them, all the same.
The second kind of liar is less fortunate.
Some people lie simply because they are selfish. These liars are pathological. They will lie even when it would be easier to tell the truth. Cloud and Townsend warn that we need to stay away from these people. Personally, I think people like this are pretty rare, but I agree, we simply can’t depend on them emotionally or practically.
Still I wonder if people who lie understand what they’re doing.
I think some people want grace and certainly they can get grace, but when we lie, we make the people we are lying to feel badly about the relationships and about themselves. We like people who make us feel respected, cared about and honored. Lying to somebody communicates the opposite.
When my friends lied, I felt disrespected and unimportant. They didn’t seem to care about me or trust me enough to tell the truth. This made me feel bad about myself, as though I were not important or trustworthy enough to be told the truth.
When I found out the extent of one of the lies, I felt like a fool. Technically, my one friend didn’t really lie. She just told me “part” of the truth. It was as though she were testing out whether she was safe to be vulnerable. (She told many other lies, but this was just one of them). But it backfired. When I found out things were worse than she’d made them seem, I felt tricked and deceived. Again, without meaning to, she’d made me feel bad about myself because I felt like somebody who could be conned.
I thought less of my friends. I knew they were willing to “cheat” in relationships. When we lie, we are stealing social commodity without having earned it. People can lie their way into power, and in one instance with a friend, she lied her way into moral superiority. Still, none of the authority or moral superiority (such a thing exists, and while it’s misused, it’s not a bad thing not unlike intellectual superiority or athletic superiority. It just is. An appropriate use of those two examples of superiority might be to lead a team or teach a class.)
I felt sad and lonely. When we think we are getting to know somebody, we are giving them parts of our hearts. But when they lie, we know they’ve actually held back their hearts while we’ve been giving them ours. This made me feel lonely and dumb.
I felt like I couldn’t trust them. The only thing more important than love in a relationship is trust. Trust is the soil love grows in. If there’s not trust, there’s no relationship. When my friends lied, our trust died. As much as I wanted to forgive them, and feel like I did and have, interacting with them was no longer the same. I doubted much of what they said. Sadly, I think both of them began to tell more and more of the truth. But it didn’t matter. Once trust is broken, it’s extremely hard to rebuild.
If they didn’t confess (or lied in their confession) I felt like they didn’t care enough about me to come clean and make things right. They were still thinking of themselves.
Lying is manipulation, so if a person is a manipulator and gets caught lying, they are most likely going to keep manipulating. They may tell more lies to cover their lies, or manipulate by playing the victim. They may try to find things other people have done that they see as worse and try to make people focus on that. What they will have a hard time doing is facing the truth (which would be the easiest way out of their dilemma. It’s just that they don’t know how to do it. (They’re survivors, scrappers and have learned to cheat to stay alive socially.)