by Madeline Laughs
So…you told a big, fat lie, huh? You got caught. People are angry. Now what are you going to do? Believe it or not, you do have options. There are many instances where folks in your position end up with absolutely no options, but in your case the situation could be salvaged. You just have to do the work to correct the mistake.
Why do people lie? I think I’ve probably covered this in other posts, but I’m not squeamish about delving into the matter once again. People lie for many different reasons. Only they know the truth about why they’ve taken this path of destruction. Even when you ask them why they did it, they’ll probably just lie about their reasons thinking the truth might be a little too close to home. Let’s face facts, if they wanted you to get close, they wouldn’t have lied in the first place. Don’t expect total transparency right away, or ever.
Some different events that can illicit lies from the most honest of all of us are fear, low self esteem, lack of self confidence, to get out of doing something we don’t want to do or to keep from hurting someone’s feelings. A lie can slip past your lips before you have a chance to stop it. Some people lie because they just can’t help it. There could be a mental disorder or an illness that causes them to create these worlds in their heads that we will never understand, but they will insist we try to.
Today I’m going to talk about the whole enchilada. So show me your shoulder because you’re getting ready to get a big syringe of truth serum.
(oh, keep reading because you are most definitely in here)
Here you are, caught in a great big lie. Now what do you do? The number one worst thing you can do is try to fix your lie by adding more lies.
Let’s say you wrecked the family car. You weren’t supposed to be driving because you lost your license for a DUI. Your wife forbid you to take the family car because it’s the family’s only mode of transportation, but you just wanted to run down the street to have a few beers with your buddies while she was working. On the way home, a little buzzed from the beers, you drive into a ditch. Will your wife believe that a hitchhiker knocked on your front door while you were watching afternoon television and robbed you at gunpoint, stole the car, locked you in the trunk for a later ransom demand and they wrecked it in the ditch, not you, if you’re sitting in the car all alone, in the driver’s seat holding the keys while you’re telling her the lie? No, she’s not going to buy that. You’re already faced with someone who is angry that you lied. Do you really think they’re going to believe anything else you tell them right now? The best thing to do is apologize and tell the truth, no matter how much you’re going to regret it.
There are all kinds of liars. People lie to get out of trouble. They lie to protect someone else. Sometimes they lie because they just can’t help themselves and sometimes they really believe the lie they’re telling. It’s up to you to decide what category of lie you’re dealing with and act appropriately.
Someone that habitually lies and creates fantasies because they’re ill, will not improve or change their ways without medical assistance. Unless they realize they need help and actively seek it for themselves, or with the help of a loved one, they are doomed to keep repeating the same scenario over and over for the rest of their lives. They will tell lies, huge lies, and they will start to alienate the people that care about them. Over the years they will be forced to move around as their illness causes them to push more people away making it necessary to physically pick up and leave an area just to be able to exist. Eventually less folks will be inclined to put up with them and old friends and family will desert them completely.
(don’t stop reading yet…the solution you seek is just around the corner)
There will be many contacts they make that will know they’re lying, but they just won’t say anything to them about it. When the person comes around they’ll smile and laugh with him like it’s just another day, except they’ll know that he has a problem with telling lies, or he’s not who he says he is. I don’t know that I’d call this enabling, but it’s damn close. The problem with this is it leads the liar to believe he’s getting away with it. He thinks he’s pulled it off successfully and can continue with life as usual. What generally happens is that over time and many lies, folks become jaded and impatient and they will walk away from him too. That leaves him to start the cycle again some place else, rather than seek treatment for his disorder.
When you know you’ve been busted lying the worst thing you can do is become defensive and try to deflect blame. Confess what you’ve done and apologize until the person you’ve lied to forgives you. Try to explain, the best way you can, why you felt it was okay to tell the lie. Then make it a habit not to tell any more lies.
That sounds too easy, but it works. People can be very forgiving and understanding if they feel you’re making an effort to correct your mistake. Just because you’ve been caught, it doesn’t mean your life is over. It just means you have some work to do, so get busy doing it.
There are people that lie just to get attention. The attention they get could be loving, or it could be negative. It doesn’t matter to them as long as they’re getting some kind of attention. All kinds of issues could be at play here. Abandonment concerns, physical or mental abuse, and traumatic events in their lifetime can all cause a person to play hard and loose with the truth in order to gain whatever they feel is lacking in their daily lives. When someone embellishes the truth to get attention and to make themselves look better or feel better and they get caught doing it, it can be embarrassing and humiliating, not just to the liar, but to the person hearing the lies too. This is never a comfortable position to be in for anyone involved. This person is not handling their life well and probably lacks good problem solving skills. These are the most fragile of all liars. These are the ones that pluck the strings of my heart and make me cry.
(get ready because here it comes)
This is one of the few times I would suggest playing it safe and allowing this person to just be. Whatever has tipped the scales in that direction must have cut deep enough to skew this person’s grasp on reality, however brief or long-term, and the best we can do is realize this and coax them to seek counseling.
But what if that person is you?
You were just wondering how much people really loved you so you decided to test their loyalty by telling a lie. The attention you received in the beginning was overwhelming and felt great, but you got sloppy and left behind a trial of popcorn that someone was smart enough to follow, right back to you. Now you’ve been discovered, but you have no way of knowing how many people actually know you’ve lied. You wanted to come back to your circle of loving friends in a blaze of glory and instead you’re reduced to hiding out, hoping everyone will forget the original lie so you can gloss over it with a new and improved one. You’d like for the person that confronted you about your lie to just disappear and never come back so you can continue with managing your life the way you always have. You had a captive audience that respected you and thought you were the bee’s knees. The women thought you were sexy, the men listened when you spoke and you had fashioned a new family to replace the one you lost long ago. Everyone liked you a lot. Dammit! You’re angry and hurt and rather than realizing that you’re the one that perpetrated this farce, you blame the interloper that busted you. So how can you shift all of this mess into their lap while you come out smelling like a rose and looking like the hero you wanted to be, had planned to be, all along?
(it’s a major pain in the ass to get inside your head like this so pay attention)
First of all, I conclusively understand the desire to have this kind of attention. I want that for myself everyday I draw breath. Who doesn’t? To be human is to want to be admired and lauded as perfect. That’s not deviant, it’s normal.
There are ways to test your friend’s loyalty without lies though. In fact, test is probably a bad term to use. Perhaps just asking would have gotten you the information you seek. “Do you like me that much?” You’d be surprised how much people do care once you start asking for confirmation. Knowing me as well as you do, you know that all you have to do is ask me and I’ll tell you exactly what I feel and what I think. I am not so different from anyone else out there. Not everyone is a player when it comes to telling you how much they care about you. I told you a while back that I tend to ask for what I need rather than play games to get it. It’s a good rule to incorporate. Just ask.
I will not assume to educate you in the art of lying, however, the next time maybe a little homework is in order if you intend to execute a lie of this magnitude. Holy fucking cat shit! This was a whopper! Hats off for thinking of it in the first place. Somewhere in that technicolor brain of yours is a fantastic world of imagination and creativity. When I think about what you could be doing with all of that energy it just makes my head hurt. Where has this cleverness been hiding? You complain that your wallet is empty? Fill it by directing this kind of thinking in a positive direction! You could be a millionaire by now.
I also told you that I am open and direct and that this might be a challenge for you. Being open is not always that great because it allows the bad and ugly to enter just easily as the wonderful does. I don’t know any other way to be though.Today I am kicking myself because as a trained observer I never caught that whiff of unbalance until you were deep into that hole you’ve been digging for yourself. How did so much get past me?
Like I said, homework would have served you better if you had the forethought to make it more believable.That was the first clue. The manic descriptions, the nonsensical details, all gave you away. Angry that you could be so insensitive with your contact when you faced danger and the flip way you approached your friends made me cock my head to the side and wonder what I was missing. Something was definitely not right there. That was the moment I stopped being a participant and went to work figuring out what the problem was.
Take a moment to step outside of yourself. Lock your eyes with mine and try to envision what must have been coursing through me when I finally gave up doubting that I was right about my fears. Can you place yourself there? Do you feel the hairs standing up on my arms and the tears burning the backs of my eyelids? Is your chest tight with sobs that you won’t release because you know you might not stop crying if you do? Do you feel like a fool? Do you know what it feels like to be deceived past your breaking point?
I think you know exactly what this feels like. I think you’re acting out because you do feel deceived, cheated and hurt to your core. Escaping from the reality of your life has it’s comfort, but it is fleeting and unhealthy.
My best advice is to resume your life, your real life. Take it one day at a time and privately contact your friends with an apology and the truth about why this has happened. Don’t lay the blame at the feet of someone else. Don’t use the convenience of someone that can no longer defend themselves as your outlet. Own what you’ve done. The compassion you’ll receive will make your own heart burst from the impact of it. The respect you’ll feel for yourself will be the best medicine you could ever be prescribed.
All that you sought before this happened has been there all along. All you have to do is take it.
To think you would do something like this on purpose makes me wonder what else you could be capable of doing. Instead I’d rather believe that you weren’t thinking at all. However premeditated any of this was, it was not done maliciously. There is something huge missing inside of you and it will take something just as large to fill you back up and make you whole again. I can’t give you the magic answer, but I can tell you that whatever it is that you need, it is out there. You just have to start looking for it within yourself first, then look outside with clear eyes.
And the last thing I will share is about me, even though this not about me at all. I am not the enemy, merely the mirror. If I didn’t care about you I would have just let you slip into oblivion and never said a word. I have no axe to grind. I am not a friend scorned. I seek no revenge and have no intention of humiliating you. Instead I am holding you in my hand as I would a fragile, damaged bird. I ask that you be treated with the utmost care and love right now until you can heal on your own.
Break the pattern.
You will heal.
You are important to me. Yes, I have run from you because you scare the shit out of me, but I am still right here on the periphery hoping for the best for you.
Don’t let me down.
- On Leadership and The Value Of Honesty (linked2leadership.com)
- How to Recognize Liar Around You (socyberty.com)
- How To Catch If Someone Is Lying (myassgeek.wordpress.com)
- Don’t be That Girl. (pornalysis.wordpress.com)
- Adolescence and the problem with truth (psychologytoday.com)
- what did I miss? (madelinescribes.wordpress.com)