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Living a Lie

What is it like to live a lie?  How do you keep the stories straight?  For some people lying is a way of life- they know no other way.  Can you imagine what that must be like?  It takes a lot of energy, effort, and time to cover lies.  So why do people do it?  People learn to lie by observing others’ lying behavior and in order to avoid conflict or negative emotion.  After a time, lying behavior becomes habitual and reflexive.  Obviously, lying destroys relationships and prevents close and intimate connections with people.  In some cases,  lying is indicative of a serious personality disorder and can lead to destructive behaviors.  In other cases, lying behaviors are more subtle and covert, but can be equally as destructive.  In my practice, I witness the fallout of lying, deceit, and betrayal.  People rationalize and justify their lying, using phrases such as, “I didn’t want to hurt their feelings.”  The avoidance of conflict creates more conflict and mistrust.  One of my favorite lines from the movie A Few Good Men is “You can’t handle the truth.”  I encourage patients not to avoid the truth while making assumptions about peoples’ reactions, but to give people the opportunity to deal with the truth.  My role as a therapist is to coach people on constructive ways to share the truth and healthy ways to react to conflict.  The truth will set you free.  Make a choice to speak the truth and stop being a prisoner to deceit and lies.

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