When you catch someone lying, it is natural to feel betrayed. It feels like an insult, and it is very hard to step back and be objective.
People use lying for many reasons. For one, we use it to protect ourselves. Sometimes we protect ourselves against the feeling of shame. Eg. If we grew up not being good enough, we may have developed a habit of constantly trying to BE whomever someone else wanted to garner protection, support or love. We lie to get our way and for attention. We are trying to maintain our image, hide our mistakes and failures. We lie for resources. We embellish our resumes to land that dream job. We lie to our significant others during our arguments because our anxiety is triggered and the consequences of telling the truth now feel life or death. We lie to save money. It is a survival instinct. People are afraid that if they don’t lie they risk someone or everyone turning against them. It is important to understand that liars are often mistaken for malicious when they are just insecure. And you need to respond with compassion, rather than vindictiveness. Research has been conducted to study liars. Who lies, how often people lie, and why they lie. People lie sometimes out of habit. And some people are more often lied to than others. There could be something about you that invites people to lie to you, and you must be cautious. It is possible that your high expectations make people lie to you in order to meet the high bar you are setting. You think highly of someone. And they want to stay close to you. But you give off the impression you are not just close with anyone. You only expect them to show you their best side. You are so valuable, they cannot afford to disappoint you. When they do see faults in themselves, they dread telling you. So they lie. To maintain their image. They come from a good place. It is possible you have a high moral standard. Always doing the right thing, always taking the high road. You are doing a good thing. And you are being a good person. You show that with your actions, and your behavior. The issue here is the psychology of disappointment. When someone interacts with another – a person with high moral standards, they have no desire, in fact they dread having to admit to their own failures. It is possible you encompass a set of character traits that drives them to try and impress you – to make you admire them. You are in a position of power in this relationship. You have a position which affects their life and work. You have influence on her professional or financial status. It could be something in your behavior that triggers lying. Some people intimidate people by their presence, or the bully others through their social stature or knowhow. A power imbalance encourages lies. If your image is too fragile, there will be situations where people will be reluctant to say something that you will not want to hear. They will be scared of your reaction and the consequences. They think you can’t handle the truth. When one is sick in the family, parents protect their kids by embellishing the story, and it reinforces the instinct to lie.
Why is it so important to know your role? Because that is your only leverage to influence the behavior you want, more honesty. HOW TO REACT TO A LIE? 1. You can do nothing. 2. Acknowledge the lie but give the liar a chance to admit without creating an awkward situation. 3. Interrogate the defendant. 4. Call them out. Best do it without damaging the self-esteem of the liar. However you react, make sure you allow the liar to admit to their wrongdoing without harsh accusations. Lying is an instinct in a lot of cases, and protective rather than malicious. React with compassion. Ask questions. Learn about the root cause. Empathy goes a long way. What should you do if it is a close one that you are catching in a lie?
1. Calm down and try to be objective.
2. Don’t be too judgmental.
3. Stay honest, and speak your truth about the consequences for you.
4. Be patient. Only time will tell if your relationship is doomed.
5. Think about your motives.
We all lie a lot. It hurts us. It erodes trust in our relationships. But there is a way out.