lie to thyself

With a murderer or thief, you know what you’ve got. You know what you’re dealing with, but with a liar, you never know what you’re dealing with.  In high school, part of SWS (School Within a School) was having community sharing days. We’d assemble in the auxiliary gym and hold hands to form a large circle, then we’d tumble into seated positions and wait. Anyone was able to take their turn and enter the circle to share their feelings, without response from the community. Josh Ackerman brought in a gas mask he’d purchased. He spoke about his fears, how he sleeps with the mask beside his bed, just in case. Gregg Sector entered the circle and paced when he spoke.  He paced more than he spoke, but what he said took up more room. “It fcuking sucks to be lied to by someone you trusted.” I later learned a close friend of his had pretended she had leukemia. She was a compulsive liar.

Oftentimes what we find so repellent in life is what we cannot stand about ourselves. I hate liars, but I’m not one. So there, it’s not about reflection.  I don’t lie, so I shouldn’t hate it when others do? No. I look inward and take blame. Maybe I hate liars because I’m an enabler. I don’t make it safe for them to communicate honestly with me, too busy punishing, or fighting the wrong fights.  Maybe I hate liars so much because I’m around them so often… because I create them.



  1. Lying is on the person who tells the lie. Their motives are their own, no matter what spin they put on the act. And let's say somebody lied to you because "I knew what you'd say if I told you the truth" well, guess what… it's still their personal decision to tell that lie. The weight of that one isn't on your shoulders, so jeez, lighten up a bit.

  2. I never thought of it that way, that sometimes people lie out of fear of getting in trouble. I did it all the time when I was little. But if these are adults lying to you, then I would say it's mostly their own problem. You're not going to yell or spank them, you're an adult and they are (presumably) adults.

  3. I hate liars so much, and cheaters, i mean if you are going to cheat in a game of Checkers, just to win, I think it says A LOT about the type of person you are. a flake.

  4. I lie. I use lying as a lubricant for when things are not rolling as smoothly as they should. But I don't lie when I know that lying isn't going to make things better, but only delay the disaster.

  5. A good friend of mine in college had that same compulsiveness to lie, except I had a pretty good idea when he was lying because his creations usually resembled movie premises of some sort or other. Nothing extravagant like him saving a schoolbus filled with nuns about to topple into a nuclear river filled with piranha (nor the East River), but I accepted his behavior because he was still a good friend and someone I could count on for bail money ;)

    People, whether they're compulsive liars or simply unable to handle their own slice of reality, are the way they are, for the most part, for reasons that have nothing to do with you.

    It's not a reflection on you that they're dishonest — it's themselves they're really lying to, not you — but if you tolerate and accept it without repercussion, then you're doing him/her a disservice.

    And yes, I finally let my friend know that he needs to get some meds, some help, and some reality in his life. And I didn't tell him I requested an extension on a paper because I claimed I had a family emergency in NY (and didn't explain to the professor that I woke up in the PSK house, half-blitzed, half-dressed and all hung over :)

  6. that's a really interesting insight, actually. i've wondered that myself. personally, i just think liars run rampant because it's easier to get what you want that way. if you're anything like me, you don't take short-cuts, and watching a lying, scamming sleazebag get what they want so often is infuriating.

  7. There's nothing worse than enabling a liar. I did with an ex. It's sad, because you know the person is lying, and that it's a bad thing and is stressing you out, but we let them go deeper and deeper into the lie; enabling them.

    Break the chain. Confront liars right away.

  8. there are some things in life and if our minds that are inexplainable. i have found this with age. i used to think there was a reason for everything that happens and with every thought. i don't believe that these days. there are some things in life that just have no explination. it gets a bit easier when you finally get to that place.
    just my take.

  9. "Maybe I hate liars because I'm an enabler. I don't make it safe for them to communicate honestly with me, too busy punishing, or fighting the wrong fights. Maybe I hate liars so much because I'm around them so often… because I create them."

    No, no, no, no, no! It's not up to you to make it easy for others to tell the truth…just like it's not up to you to prevent a lover from cheating. If they're good people, they'll tell the truth no matter how hard. If they're not good people, they won't no matter how easy.

  10. You'd be surprised how many people want you to be truthful, but maybe not quite 100%, so you're not that unusual. How many guys in here think that their opinion is really wanted on design and color issues? 'you like this color' NO??? Why not!!! Don't you like my taste in colors???

    It's like if you said you liked the red napkins better than the pink, some women will roll that into meaning that you don't want to marry them. Some people just take negative feedback as a reflection of themselves. Most guy's worst nightmares are about 'does this make me look fat?'.

  11. Steph—

    You are not responsible for someone doing such a horrible thing as lying about an illness. You are not to blame for someone else lying. It's their own action that makes them do these things. Sorry you had to go through that.

    Liars sometimes get to the point where they actually believe what they are saying… Just be careful of your choice of friends.

  12. What scares me about liars is their usual answer to the question "What do you look for in others?" which of course is "honesty". Sometimes I wonder whether they really know that they are lying. And of course some of them are my creations too. Not that I had to push them too hard of course. But I made it easier for them.

  13. Small nit, but I fucking wish you wouldn't us that "fcuking" spelling in your prose. Besides, Fcuk just dropped that brand so it isn't anything anymore. Set yourself free and just spell it out: "fuck," "fucking," "fucker," and their plurals. That's one form of honesty…

  14. I have always been a liar. Not because I wanted to be, but because the need to be a perfect daughter, could never outweigh my need to be anything but perfect. I have reconciled myself with imperfection, now that I am older. But the lies I told in my life will always remind me of how I disappointed those who needed me to be the "good one". So, now… always the truth. I hate the truth, but it's all that I have to offer anyone these days…

  15. I find lying reprehensible as well. I've never thought of lying as something one could enable though, but now that I think about it, I see how it really is. I can definitely identify people in my life who enable others' lying.

  16. "because I'm around them so often… because I create them." Boy does that strike close to home… Thanks for the wake-up call… bill

  17. Talk about reflection. Wow. I hate liars too and it seems those of us who pride ourselves with being hones attrat liars and you are right it becomes harder and harder to decipher them

  18. Everything is not black and white is it? Nice of you to recognize the role of the enabler in lying. A person can easily create an atmosphere where the only real option someone has is to be lie to them. Make the cost of the truth too high for example-out of proportion to the situation. Nonetheless, it takes two and both are guilty-always. The only thing that shifts is the degree of culpability on each side.

  19. Couldn't it be that we just hate liars because they let us down and moreover because they make us feel a bit stupid? You know, "how could I believe THAT? – Did he/she really think I'm so naive/stupid/unworthy??"
    I was kind of a compulsive liar from 4 to 6 years old or so. I lied about everything, and thought people believed all my useless lies. Maybe they even did, I mean what's the use in doubting about a child saying "I had soup for dinner" while she actually had rice???
    I don't know why I did so. I was a child in the end and children often react to the environment..have to work on that..anyway I eventually grown up and quit lying and now I'm scared to death by gamblers and liars, because being betrayed is one of the bigger pains I can recall.
    Your's an interesting analysis, though. Have to think about that!
    (a bit off topic: this picture of yours is happier than the other!Those red glasses where kinda glam but you look great in your smile and curls!)

  20. I´m a notorious white liar. I feel very sorry about that, but life´s so much better, when you´re not always telling the bitter truth.

  21. Good morning Stephanie honey. How are you? How are you enjoying working from home? I've noticed your posts these days are mostly philosophical musings and not so much the Stephanie Runs Around In The Big City photologs. I wonder way? Is Judith cracking the whip so you must stay home and work on your manuscript?

  22. eh, no one "creates" liars; they're responsible for their own decision to lie. But, I understand the point that if you're a difficult person to approach with the truth, for example, overly-critical or angry, you're more likely to be lied to.

  23. Does lying in confession count? Catholic school veterans will know what I'm talking about here. You can't go in there and say "Um, yeah – I've got nothin' for ya, Father." You could actually get in trouble for going into the box sans sin. We were all supposed to be dripping with evil, but I wasn't (really, what 10 year old is?), so I went in there and lied my ass off. Damned my eternal soul, but saved my tender palms a few licks from the strap.

    Te absolvo, te absolvo, te absolvo….

  24. "My work is about men's inhumanity to women and women's inhumanity to men. It's also about the whole physical world's inhumanity to us all."–Alan Ayckbourn

  25. My mother always placed a lot of emphasis on honesty. That's a nice way of saying she used to kick my ass, or put soap in my mouth if I got caught in a lie; and she ALWAYS knew when I was lying.

    The result? Brutal honesty. You want to know the truth? Ask me. But don't be taken aback when the expected sugary coating isn't part of the deal. Tact is part of the deal… Sometimes.

    Bottom line: I hate liars. Fortunately, I was blessed with some of my mom's intuition, or "lie-dar", and I can usually tell a lie a mile away; there's just this gut feeling I get when someone is lying. And once I catch someone in a lie, they're a liar – period. I'll never trust them fully.

    I understand why people lie, I just don't accept it.

  26. for a moment, i related to the possibility of creating liars. i know i'm difficult. if i don't like or agree with what i'm hearing- i'll push, prod, and demand elaboration. sometimes people would rather lie than take on this process. probably, the issue has more to do with why i choose people who succumb to strong personalities rather than creating liars. maybe i don't like the truth so much after all.

  27. While two wrongs probably don't make a right, it's probably better for the soul to hate the lie and love the liar. I'm not saying live with the liar or tolerate them, but don't waste your time resenting the liar. Forgive and move on. Life is far too short to hold a grudge.

  28. I hate liars too, probably because I do feel stupid when I realize I have been lied to. I am far too trusting sometimes and it pisses me off when someone I love and trust lies to me. I find it very hard to believe much from them anymore.

  29. Liars should never be tolerated under any circumstances. And neither should people who show up late to the movies.

  30. CJ-You're probably not all that unusual. I have found that, no matter what they profess, very few people want 100% of the truth 100% of the time. Examples:

    Most people don't want to be told that they're fat; they already know it. To be honest, unless the suit or dress looks ridiculous, why not say it looks great and allow the weight-challenged individual some sense of self-esteem.

    When your friend complains about their partner, they usually don't want to hear that part of this is their fault, or that you told them about so-and-so two years ago. They mostly want to blow off steam.

    When they complain about being tired, they don't want to be reminded that their diet stinks and that they don't exercise.

    When they complain about their kids, they don't want you to tell them that maybe if they didn't let their little darlings play 4 hours of video a day, or stay out late, etc. etc.

    I don't lie about serious issues, but blunt honesty is reserved for special indiviuals in special circumstances. Unfortunately, and it sounds bad, but honesty is way overrated.

  31. I don't know whether you're an enabler or not, and if you are, I don't know if that should be your problem, but I do know exactly what you mean.

    My partner is a lovely person; honest through and through and who's greatest hate is liars and people who do not do what they say they will do. I find myself telling little lies quite often ("Yep, I've done that" etc) because I can't face the inevitable confrontation over an issue I perceive as minor if I don't meet some standard he's set for me.

  32. I too wonder about this. I enabled a liar for two years. Things that should have been as plain as yogurt, as clear as Windex, all got past me. He got married even! His coworker had to drag my ass to the library and show me the proof before I would believe it.

    My friends tried to tell me I was being fooled. Even his mother called him a manipulative liar. But I loved him, and the only way I could keep loving him was to swallow the stories, and forget the truth.

    I am glad I am out of it now, but to live within the liar's beautiful lie, to comfort yourself in the warmth of it, can be a bliss of its own.

  33. I hate lies and liars too. (That's why I hate our lying government and complicit media.) "Beautiful Lie" is an oxymoron. Don't ever think you can't handle the truth. Question everything. Peace

  34. With regard to what Helena said: THAT merely reflects the traditional status of women in society. We have come to expect little, and therefore delight ourselves in illusion as a palliative to an unlived live.

  35. isn't this statement contradictory?

    "Oftentimes what we find so repellant in life is what we cannot stand about ourselves. I hate liars, but I'm not one. "

    Basically what you're saying is that you are in fact a liar. Which is ok. You can come clean now, you're among "friends".

  36. Joey, what you’re talking about is foisting one’s unsolicited opinion on someone else, which is also not cool. But it is not lying.

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