I am certain it is a mistake to stay in any relationship with someone who has grown comfortable with lying to you. When the lying has become comfortable it means a few things. The first being that the person busy lying to you does not view you as an equal. The second thing this implies is that this person believes themselves to be clever or superior in intellect. The combination of these things implies that this person does not respect you. If you keep that relationship, do you respect yourself? Should we look for the exit sign when people become too comfortable in lying to us?
A Lie Only Benefits The Liar
I do not know anyone that is 100% honest 100% of the time. There are a lot of reasons that people do not tell the full truth and nothing but the truth. We do so to spare someone’s feelings, or to spare our own. We lie out of fear. We lie to be accepted. We lie to be loved. I grew up with the understanding that a lie only benefits the liar. It is likely a thought I will carry until the end of my lifetime.
In most cases, a liar only does this to protect themselves for whatever reasons they have. The issue here is not to define why people lie. It is to ask ourselves whether staying in a relationship built on lies is wise.
It is true that if every lie we had ever told were scrawled across our skin for all to see that maybe few would accept us. Perhaps it is the fear of not being forgiven if the truth were revealed for all to see that is scarier. Maybe this is what leads one to lie.
There are several ways to lie.
1) Lying by omission, or eliminating certain aspects of the truth.
2) Lying directly and telling nothing close to the truth.
3) Lying indirectly because maybe you did not have the full truth.
4) Witholding information in a situation.
All of these things are deceitful whether intended or not. I suspect we have all been guilty of committing one of these lies in one way or another.
I have omitted things, kept feelings to myself, or known the truth in situations and just did not speak up. To this day, there are still certain people I have not come completely clean with in specific situations. I may never come completely clean. I could sit here and justify my reasons, and I just might. I’m mostly a confrontational, let everything be in the open kind of person, but every once in a while, I refrain. I cannot deny that even in the interest of allowing certain situations to rest, keeping some things in the dark is still dishonest.
A few years ago, I found myself snooping into a situation that was affecting my life personally. I called it investigating, but really that should have been a giant red flag. The right thing would have just been to walk away as opposed to what I actually did in that situation. I felt that two people who claimed to love me, and claimed to be “for” me were lying to me. It turns out they were. I had a hunch, I investigated, and found the answers I had hoped were not true.
Sometimes it is best to let sleeping dogs lie… or at least allow them to remain comfortable in their own lies.
Neither of them knew I held the truth. I sat with them for months knowing that truth, and catching every lie they told me. There were times I used that information to poke the situation, too. It was definitely an unfair advantage that I held over them. Their behavior was wrong, but I had to ask myself if what I had done with the knowledge of their bad behavior was any better. Did it justify my actions? To sit across from someone and watch them lie over and over again while they are none the wiser is an interesting thing.
My mistake was believing that those people loved me enough to tell the truth. That did not happen. Sometimes it is just best to let sleeping dogs lie… or at least allow them to remain comfortable in their own lies. I could sit here and say that I was justified in my actions because of all the lying that was being done to me. I could likely even convince people that I was right to do so. However, a lie is a lie no matter how we try to justify it. No matter what those two people did, it does not white wash the choice I made to withhold what I knew.
There are times when a lie is necessary, but mostly they never are. It happens, we do it, and if the ends justify the means, maybe it is worth it. As far as I can tell, the ends rarely justify the means. The problem with keeping relationships with those who become comfortable with lying is that eventually, you will find yourself lying, too. You will find yourself hiding things from those people for self preservation. Eventually, you have to ask yourself why bother with the relationship at all?
Time is Valuable And Life Is Far Too Precious To Be Treated Poorly
To tell a lie once is a mistake, to do it with intention and repeatedly is a conscious choice. It has then become a habit. To do so and not take responsibility? Destructive. I do not believe we become deceitful until we refuse to take responsibility for ourselves and our actions. The lies and the reasons for lying are not the root issue. The hurtful part of any lie is the person’s refusal to take responsibility. The refusal to come clean. Rebuilding trust is one of the hardest things to do in relationships. It can never be done in repeated lies.
I fully believe that in accepting people, and humanity as a whole, it has to be understood that we are fallible. All humans make mistakes. We are all prone to dishonesty in certain circumstances. We all have reasons we justify for the lies told in those circumstances. However, the lie only benefits the liar. I have come to the understanding that a relationship built on lies is not one worth having for either party.
In a perfect world, personal responsibility would be an abundant act of compassion. We do not live in a perfect world, and sometimes the act of compassion comes from walking away from hurtful dishonesty. Compassion for ourselves sometimes requires that we allow the liar to remain comfortable with their deceit. We cannot fix other people, or how they choose to do anything.
The question is, does a person that lies to you over and over again really respect you? Perhaps it is more important to ask whether the person even respects themselves. A person who has become comfortable with their own lies will likely never be completely honest with anyone. They will not even be honest with themselves. If they cannot be honest with themselves, they do not respect themselves. If they cannot respect themselves, they cannot respect you.
This is a problem within the liar. It is a lack of respect for themselves, and their value. It is a lack of respect for their relationships. The problem is not about the person being lied to. If we set a precedent of allowing people to lie to us repeatedly, then we’ve accepted that we do not deserve their respect. This is not something I believe anyone should become comfortable with in life. What we choose to put up with is what we choose to accept we deserve.
It isn’t about the liars, or the deceivers. They’re out there. It comes down to what we are willing to accept from people and how we allow them to treat us. It comes down to taking responsibility for the direction of our lives, and the relationships we hold. It comes down to the level of respect we hold for ourselves.
Time is valuable, and life is far too precious to be treated poorly by anyone.