Why We Lie
Updated: Feb 13, 2019
The last thing that lying makes you is a liar!
Recently, my partner’s 3 y.o. nephew, Royce Liam, was asked why he had chosen to tell a lie. Afraid, ashamed (or both) and through tears he blurted out, “Because Aima will steal my iPad.” Well, Aima, is his 8-pound Chihuahua-Pomeranian mix breed pet. And, yes, Roycee does own an iPad!
The search for safety, understanding or love will at times lead us to confabulate and deceive. But from where does this search (and the choice to hide the truth) come from? How is it that contradictory thoughts and ideas can co-exist in one space, one psyche?
The search for safety, understanding or love will at times lead us to confabulate and deceive. But from where does this search (and the choice to hide the truth) come from? How is it that contradictory thoughts and ideas can co-exist in one space, one psyche? The answer is to be found in a truth of our psychic being called the Multiplicity of Mind. As noted by Jennie Jerome Churchill, "All natures are in nature."
To learn about and embrace our multiplicity is vital if we are to have access to our fullest potential for creating the lives we desire. Experiencing our "parts" at work offers us an opportunity to connect with our multiplicity!
Lying makes you human. If we wish to stop lying we need to understand why we feel compelled to lie. Lying is a choice made out of fear by a part of you that perceives the truth about to be revealed as threatening.
If the notion of a divided self seems peculiar, perhaps you are unfamiliar with the Multiplicity of Mind model. This model postulates that what you consider your “Self” to be is fragmentary- a mosaic made up of a potentially endless array of sub-personalities (or parts)- each with individual notions, beliefs, feelings and functions.
Individual parts of this mosaic emerge powerfully when triggered and can temporarily dominate your executive control center or ego space. When this occurs, these parts may lead us into choices (such as lying) that confound us for they may be at odds with our notion of self.
When confronted with behaviors that are extreme, try to remember that these may be driven by parts of you that learned early in your life to behave in extreme ways to protect you from perceived threats.
All subpersonalities in your mosaic of parts serve! If you refrain from demonizing your character flaws and choose instead to connect with them and understand them (as you would any member of a family you love), you can transform them and prevent them from dominating your reactions. Furthermore, transformed and unburdened of their adaptive/protective functions, their true nature of your protective parts is free to emerge and is available to contribute to the life you aim to build for yourself.
To tell the truth in the face of fear you must improve the communication between all of your parts, but especially between your Higher Self and the part of your mosaic of mini-selves that seeks to protect you by masking the truth.
Lying reveals your multiplicity of mind- the divided nature of your psyche and the power of your parts (those you are conscious of and those you lack awareness of) to override the wishes of the conscious self- those other parts of you that have falsely concluded they define your identity or “I amness.” Who you are is more complex than what these self-aware parts of you would lead you to believe.
Thus, when confronted with your tendency to lie, rather than being scared at your capacity for deception- feelings that emerge when your “I amness” concludes you are a liar and therefore “bad,” learn, instead, to detach from the narrow sense of self that your consciousness grants you, and recognize in your deception parts of you that you must get to know. When you catch yourself lying, tell yourself- “a part of me is afraid." Rather than succumbing to the critical voice that would label you a liar, choose instead to approach the lie as you would a scared child- with curiosity and compassion. Doing so will grant you a deeper understanding and appreciation of a powerful part of you (after all it has the power to override your consciously stated desire for integrity) and how it defines safety.
All of your parts will relax in the face of love and compassion. Lying is not a shortcoming to be banished. It represents a part of your divided self that has been forced into an extreme role. It equates lying with self-protection and considers the revelation of truth as threatening to the sense of self. To stop lying, get to know your liars…and they must get to know you- your emerging Higher Self- as their source of safety.
A lie then (painful as it may be to others and to yourself) is a trailhead that points the way to an inner dialogue that, if you engage in, will deepen your self-love, self-acceptance and safety. Ultimately, this self-understanding and integration makes lying unnecessary.
I invite you to converse with those aspects of your self that you judge or disown. In conversation, ask them what they would want you to know about themselves, their roles in your life and what they protect you from. If you approach these chats with an open heart and compassion, you will be surprised at what you learn. The answers will come if you are ready. To be ready means you have done the work that allows for the formation and emergence of your Higher Self.
Learning how to do this is an essential aspect of my coaching system. If this is of interest to you and you wish to deepen your understanding (and practice) of this principle, call me to schedule a complimentary session during which I will take you on a deeper dive of these concepts.