Lying, to oneself and to others, is one of the reasons people end up in therapy. And this also includes the emotional responses and fall-out clients experience from being lied to.
People have affairs and don’t tell spouses the real reasons why: “You gained weight.” “You won’t have sex with me often enough.” “You spend too much of my money.” “I’m too scared to talk about how I really feel and maybe this affair will make you throw me out so I don’t have to talk.”
People come to therapy ostensibly to work on their relationships with family members but aren’t willing to be honest with their therapist—or ultimately with their family members/parents—about their experience of growing up in their families and how this impacted them.
Some won’t tell their partner what they really like and don’t like about having sex. Others won’t risk saying what really turns them on. Folks leave spouses and partners rather than tell them the truth about their diminished interest and hurt feelings over the state of their relationship.
Children won’t be honest to their parents about their mistakes. Parents won’t be honest with their children about the mistakes they themselves made. Adolescents act out and lie to their parents to avoid the consequence of their actions. Adult siblings who harbor long-time lies and secrets about events in their relationships would rather put up with diminished emotional connection and intimacy rather than reveal their deceptions.
People lie, cheat, and steal their way through life in an attempt to avoid the feelings that ensue from finally acting in authentic and truthful ways. Some people even lie to their therapists.
In fact, people even lie about lying. Here are some of the lies they tell:
“It was a white lie.”
“It was the partial truth.”
“It would kill them if I told them the truth and I’m hiding the truth to save their feelings.”
“I didn’t lie. I just didn’t say anything when asked.”
“I’m not a habitual liar. I just lie when I need to.”
“I don’t lie. I just withhold.”
But lying to yourself and others can cause more problems than it usually solves. It can lead to:
- Stress (anxiety, elevated blood pressure, coronary problems, etc.)
- Depression and lethargy
- Exhaustion (due to the amount of tap-dancing you have to do to prevent the truth from being revealed!)
- Feelings of inauthenticity in yourself and in the people to whom you are lying
- Distance and emotional disconnect in personal relationships
- An inability to truly take control of your own life and assume responsibility for how you would truly like to live
- People feeling manipulated and deceived
Start telling people in your life the truth, be willing to face the consequences, and get real. And try telling your therapist the truth. This means all the places you hide, lie, deceive, and manipulate the facts about your life in order to prevent your therapist from seeing the real you. They can’t help you if you hide yourself in a web of dishonesty and deception. Take a risk and find the truth.