PREVIOUS: Why ACoAs Lie (Part 1)
See ACRONYM page for abbrev.
2. Pathological Lying
3. UNTREATED ACoAs
FROM the ACoA LAUNDRY LIST : “We lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth”.
However, this does not imply that all of us are pathological liars, although some are.
Yes, everyone lies sometimes & occasionally it’s the only safe recourse, but ACoAs tend to lie when it’s not actually necessary, useful or wise. We can lie by making up untruths OR by omitting important info at crucial times (may be considered passive-aggressive)
COMPULSION: Compulsive liars (CLs) do so as a reflexive way of responding to questions. They bend the truth about most things, important & unimportant, since honesty feels awkward & uncomfortable to them, while lying (hiding) feels right.
• Lying usually develops in early childhood, growing up in an environment where telling the truth was dangerous or unacceptable. For the most part, CLs are not overly manipulative or cunning (unlike sociopaths). They do know they’re not being honest, but it’s a hard pattern to break & one that takes its toll on every relationship
PAST: Lying was often the only way to protect ourselves & get some needs met in a stressful environment. We were constantly told our emotions & observations were wrong or crazy, so we learned to hide them from others & sometimes even from ourselves. We understood very early that our parents really did not want to hear the truth, & so could save ourselves a lot of grief if we lied to them
EXP: Terry’s parents were restrictive & controlling, while being emotionally abusive & abandoning. As a teen she fell in love with a man she knew they would be violently opposed to, so she came up with a plan to see him whenever their scheduled meshed. From time to time she told her mother a few days ahead of a rendezvous – that ‘next Tuesday’ she’d be at the library after school to study (which she often did anyway).
Then every other day until then, she’d remind her mother about it so there would be no questions about her being late on that day. When Tue came Terry would get together with her guy. She was finally able to receive some desperately needed love & positive attention throughout her Senior year – by lying!
b. OVER-HONEST – another ACoA irony is that while we found lying to be a survival mechanism in our dangerous & chaotic childhood, we also have a compulsion to over-disclose (TMI), by telling:
• every little detail of a situation • the bald truth to everyone
• what we know about others (can’t keep a secret)
• everything that’s wrong with us (S-H)
• exactly what we think of someone, no matter how insensitive, inappropriate, cruel of self-destructive!
🔳 As children —> some of us tended to be quiet, trying to be invisible for safety, pretending we went along with the craziness.
— > Other of us just couldn’t tolerate being stifled, nor bear the constant hypocrisy. So we just said whatever we thought, without considering the consequences to ourself or others : “She fat, their food tastes bad, he’s ugly, why is she crying….”)
🔊 IN THE PRESENT : For the more ‘blatant’ ones of us, our Wounded Inner Child truly believes that to not tell someone what we know about them (their flaws, bad behavior, annoying ways…) or what we really think about a situation we’re upset about — is being untrue to ourselves! because:
• we want to let them know that we know (to not be ignored & to cut thru their obvious denial)
• we want to rub their face in it (our rage at their deception)
• we want them to get the message & change! (as my dear mother used to say “Wake up & die right!”)
❇️ In the present, on one level, TMI really represents is lack of boundaries, lack of good judgment & letting the WIC run amok with its outrage!
BUT behind that is an attempt to compensate for all the lies, secrets, denial & ‘mind-fucking’ we were drowning in as kids.
NEXT: ACoAs – LYING #3