I’ve been thinking about lies recently.  While I’m basically a truthful person, I think there are times when not being entirely honest are good.  And I’m working on a rubric to this effect- what constitutes a lie, and the various forms.

But….

Today’s post is not about lying to others.  It is about an even worse lie- when we lie to ourselves.

When I began blogging, I never thought I would speak of the things that scare me, shame me or haunt me.  I felt that I was entirely alone in many of my feelings, and I had trouble admitting these things to myself, much less to the world.  To my amazement, when I spoke of these secrets, I felt better.  And, I found that there are a lot of people who have felt the same way as I do.  It felt good to not feel quite so unique.

Admit to the things that affect you.  Own them.  I’m not saying you have to blog about them, or stand on a mountain top and shout them out,  but be honest with yourself about your feelings.

So, how do you know you’re not being honest with yourself?  I think it manifests itself in two ways.  (I’m sure there are more, but these are the two I have seen firsthand recently)

Passive aggressive behavior.  Have you ever had someone answer you, but in a way that is basically derogatory, but veiled in niceties? The tone is entirely pleasant, but when you drill down to the words, there is only pettiness and nastiness?  I have a headcold, so I’m lost for a really good example (and I don’t want to use the example that got me thinking about this topic- because I’m trying not to be passive aggressive) but it would be something like, “Your living room looks nice considering the money you had to redo it”.

Why are people passive aggressive?  Well, I think some people are just mean and want to make themselves feel better by putting someone else down.  But then there are the people who are faced with a reality about themselves that they don’t actually want to face.  They see a trait that someone is owning up to, but they don’t want to own up to having that particular trait- so they lash out- passive aggressively.  They refuse to admit that they have thought about cheating on their spouse, or about an eating disorder, or an addiction to pain medicine.  When someone else admits the things they hate about themselves, they put some space in- distance themselves.  Lie to themselves.

The second way I have seen this manifest is the old, my equipment was bad, and that’s why I lost.  I hate this excuse.  Why do you have to blame the equipment?  Why can’t you accept that you lost because you weren’t as good as someone else?  Why lie to yourself?  And it’s not just in traditional games either.  This attitude will affect all other areas of a persons life, whether it be a job or a relationship.  They say things like, “My marriage would be so much better if we had more money.  My job would be so much better if I had a different boss.”  People like this can’t accept that they are the root cause of their issues- so they lie to themselves about it.

Does lying to yourself make you feel better?  Maybe on the surface.  But does it make for a better life?  Does it enable you to reach your goals?  Or does lying to yourself hinder you?

I’m still working this all out in my very stuffy head.  I won’t lie- I have a cold, so my thoughts are a bit muddled today.  But do you think people lie to themselves way too much?

Or do you think I shouldn’t write when my head weighs a thousand pounds?

43 thoughts on “Lying Liars Who Lie

  1. I’ve told you a million times not to exaggerate! Now, that’s a lie, it was actually only a thousand.

    I think it is refreshing to happen across someone who doesn’t normally lie under any circumstances. It can be scary, and embarrassing too.

    Those with Down syndrome, and Autism, tend to tell the whole truth, sometimes to the embarrassment of their parents/siblings/friends/partners.

    We ought really to be able to comment “I don’t like your dress, but, if you love it, that’s fine!” without it resulting in the person immediately sending the dress to the charity shop. We don’t. Instead we lie!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wonder sometimes if the person who is lying to me, doesn’t even know that they are lying to me. That their sense of self-awareness is so nonexistent that they’ll say whatever words tumble out of their mouths, regardless of the truth. They just want attention, and will get mine in the easiest way available.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I don’t know. If a person is socially nervous and/or a compulsive chatterbox who needs something to say, I don’t know how we, the listeners, can change their behavior. Unless they want to change, we’re stuck with ’em. *blah, blah, blah*

        Liked by 1 person

  3. i know some people that tell no lie. sometimes their reply are hurtful, and sometimes they choose not to answer a question at all – and you know they don’t want you to know the answer to that question. it’s frustrating, sometimes even madning. and sometimes it’s hurtful, like i said, but you know that whatever they tell you, they are tellling you the truth – at least as they see it.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Wow you definitely gave me something to think about at work tonight. Everyone see things in their own way. I think people do lie to themselves because they either can’t see.the truth or don’t want to see the truth. Great post

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Here’s hoping head cold decamps.

    Hey, people often lie to themselves due to the passive/aggressive failings of a meritocracy that can’t dare admit how mere randomness is inherent in achievement, success, and subsequent rewards.

    And that’s an existential truth the privileged have always tried to hide. And a political statement… only in the sense of recognizing an understandable aspect of human nature. No one wants to diminish the effort of their endeavors, and nor should they. And woe be it to the parent, honest enough to roll the die and clue their kid to the crap shoot nature of a possible out come no matter the excellence of the nurture. That would tarnish the “thing dreams are made of.”

    Think “Flitcraft parable” in Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon.

    Regards,
    r.Doug

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I figure if I keep banging my head against the wall the cold will break up……

      I get the whole parenting thing too…..I had this conversation this morning with a friend….parenting is a fine line, making your kids feel they are best in the world, while simultaneously telling them that their are others that are better…..

      Like

  6. Ha! I agree with everything here. I absolutely loathe passive-aggressive behavior, words, actions,etc. Say what you mean, and mean what you say, but you’re right. This is hard for people. Most people do not want to face themselves and tell themselves the truth, much less the other person with whom they’re interacting. It’s always easier (for some) to project, rather than function from the inside out.

    On a separate note, I do hope you feel better!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Delusion is often the mask that people wear for the telling of lies. I have family members (who are also expert in passive aggressive behavior) who still insist on certain “facts” despite having been told many times over why their version of events can’t possibly be accurate. Sometimes you just have to wash your hands of a conflict and realize it ain’t ever going to be resolved.

    I hope you feel better! – Marty

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Years ago a therapist once told me, “Lying is intent to mislead. If there isn’t intent to mislead, then it’s a miscommunication not a lie.” And I found that definition really helpful as I struggled a lot with trusting people and not knowing if they were lying to me. In part because people lie to themselves so often that their body language and their verbals are often at odds. So I struggled with which do I believe their words or their body language? So very often people say one thing then do another. The other big lie I’ve found is just straight up denial, ‘no I never said that.’ or ‘that never happened.’ or the one that use to drive me batty ‘I know that’s what I said, but it’s not what I meant.’ Now my default is usually to assume lack of self-awareness or lack of clarity. And then depending on the person, context and our relationship ask more questions. I bite my tongue a lot too. And I surround myself with people who will call me out on my own shit, as I don’t enjoy lying to myself or others.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. yes i think they do. i’m not entirely sure why and have puzzled over it with others in my life. some of it i don’t understand because i am brutally honest (or so i’ve been told 😉 ), but up until a little while ago, i thought that was a good thing. but being brutally honest, especially with yourself, seems to make others feel particularly uncomfortable. all i can make of it, is they are comfortable in their lies. exposing themselves or being honest exposes what a sham their lives actually are. i think i’d rather have an honest sham though, than something thats completely unreal 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I think our society encourages people to lie to themselves – or simply not take responsibility for their actions. It’s always someone else’s or something else’s fault. Blimey…the whole insurance business is now built on this. An accident is an accident – by definition of the word. Stop blaming other people. Accidents happen. Accept it and move on. People daren’t do anything these days for constantly panicking about being sued. And how about ‘We lost the game because we weren’t as good as the other team’ or ‘My marriage broke down because we just fell out of love’ There can’t always be an accountable reason for every little thing. I enjoyed this post, can you tell… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You are spot-on when you say that people are passive aggressive because they are faced with a reality that they don’t want to face. They can’t accept that they are in the wrong, so they lash out like cowards trying to make themselves feel better. Spot-on!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Have you ever had someone ‘ask you to do something’, but in a way that is basically derogatory, but veiled in niceties? Yes I’m afraid LA you’ve 😀 described a man I know all tooo well……… I enjoyed reading this post.

    Liked by 1 person

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