Lies, Lies, and More Lies

What do politicians, certain entertainers and Roger Clemens have in common?  They lie!!!!  Some more than others, but always for a purpose.

According to the online dictionary a lie is:

1. A false statement deliberately presented as being true; a falsehood.

2. Something meant to deceive or give a wrong impression.

Clearly this is an accurate definition of what a lie is, but to me  it’s missing something.  Most people that I see who tell a lie have a reason why they are lying .    Some may  have an addictive disorder with the hallmark of addiction being the use of defense mechanisms to protect the person from the reality of their behavior.  Do addictive people tell lies?  Of course they do–they have to!!!  Others might be having an affair and lie to their spouse that they are not.  Again they are protecting themselves from their true feelings( guilt/shame remorse/self-loathing/fear) and are  using this non-truth to “get away with” something they’re not supposed to be doing.  Am I making excuses for lying–No.  Are we looking at  understanding this behavior, yes. 

 Ok Let’s go further–What’s missing in the above definition, I think is the person’s motive–Is the lie malicious?  Is the goal of the person having the affair to delibertly hurt their spouse?  Is the goal of the addictive person to hurt their loved ones?  In these 2 examples the motive is self-protection.  Are there lies that occur where the motive is totally malicious?  Absolutely!!!    For example, let’s say a boss told you to discuss with a co-worker a certain topic related to a project that you were both working on. The boss of course knows that this is a sensitive issue for the co-worker but sends you in head on to address the issue.  When the co-worker gets upset with you, you are the one with egg on your face.  The boss has a smirky “got you smile” on his.  His passive-aggressive lie was clearly a way to get you and he succeeded!!!  To me these types of lies are much more dangerous and hurtful than the protective ones of infidelity and addictive.  Am I saying that the people who get lied to as a result of addiction and infidelity are not hurt?  Of course not.  I’ve seen many of these people in my office as they shared their stories of great pain about their significant others consistant and persistant lies.  What I am saying is that all lies were not created equally.  Some have malicious intent,  some are protective in nature.  They all hurt, but when working through the hurt, it’s useful to ask the question about the person’s motive for the lie.  This motive asking can be useful in the healing of the pain caused by the lie since it begins to separate the person from their behavior. 

Obviously if everyone were honest then we’d have no lies.  If that were the case, this would have been a ridiculuous entry!!!!  Regardless of the motive, lots of people lie.  It becomes important however to look at the “why” of the lie, not the lie itself.

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