Lying: “I get so mad that my family lies to me all the time.”

"Lie to me" Jonny Lang by Mimi Stuart
Live the Life you Desire

Would you have lied to a Nazi during WWII if you had been Jewish? Most of us probably would have, because the consequences of telling the truth would have been deadly.

This is an extreme example, but take it down dramatically. People often learn to distort or hide the truth when they fear dire consequences or over-reaction.

People learn to react to emotionally-dangerous circumstances in different ways. These ways include being rebellious, disappearing physically or emotionally, and being compliant, which may lead to lying.

Part of being compliant is adapting to what we think the other person wants in order not to arouse an adverse reaction. A compliant person might hide the truth or distort it in order to avoid hostility or to gain connection.

You won’t stop lying by pounding your fist on the table or by seething with anger. You’ll just cause others to avoid you and become more astute in their deviousness.

So if your family members hide the truth or lie to you in order to please or appease you, it’s worthwhile for you to look at whether your reactions have something to do with it. Consider whether you tend to react with a lot of drama, criticism, or hostility.

Ask yourself whether you can handle the truth.

Although you can’t guarantee truth-telling, the way to promote it is by being compassionate and reasonable. This doesn’t mean that there can’t be consequences for bad behavior. But if you generally respond with reasonable discussion and suitable consequences, people will be more willing to be honest with you.

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

Read “Manipulation: I can’t stand dealing with people who are manipulative.”

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5 thoughts on “Lying: “I get so mad that my family lies to me all the time.”

  1. Anonymous

    Hi Alison, I am girl form India who recently got married. It is a love marriage and of course we both are in love with each other. I am facing a general problem where mum-in-law doesn’t like me and it is causing tiffs b/w me and my husband. My husband loves me a lot but he can’t tell his mother that she is wrong. Rather he gets angry with me and say that I should understand that she is like that.

    Above mentioned narration is not my problem. My problem is my anger. I get so impatient and fight with my husband. Shout and throw stuff, hurt myself. I am so sad with my behavior but I don’t see myself bringing any changes to that.

    Can you please help me to understand how I can work on it? I read many articles on anger management but nothing works on me. I am getting frustrated because I don’t want “her” behavior to hurt me, but it does, I don’t want to discuss these trivial things with my husband but I do… I am so disappointed with myself…:(

    1. admin Post author

      Thank you for your comment. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but from the bit you’ve told me, it sounds that your shouting and throwing stuff is a result of not having an empowered way of dealing with your anger.

      Anger is usually a sign that something valuable to you is being demeaned or ignored, or that someone is taking advantage of you or hurting you. The anger is not the problem. Anger is a helpful indicator that you need to listen to. However, simply venting or even managing the anger without listening to the underlying valuable message is usually ineffective, and can lead to worsening outbursts and great frustration.

      It will take courage and growth perhaps to learn to stand up for that part of yourself in such a powerful way that you can do it quietly and calmly to both your husband and mother-in-law. Often the best way to make such changes is by considering all the small specific situations that have gotten under your skin, and imagine how you could have responded more effectively. That way, you start preparing yourself for the next unexpected situations. Specific examples, role-playing, or at least imagining how to replay the situations with the right words and tone of voice is extremely helpful. Even having in your mind role-models from history or movies of the type of strength you would like to embody is very helpful.

      If you want to, you could give me one or two discreet, even small, examples of something your mother-in-law or husband has said or done that led to your anger. Then let’s look at the inner part of yourself that feels impotent and can only burst out in frustration–making you weak and giving more power over you to others. In arguing with your husband, you may be hoping to get him to stand up for yourself in situations you are afraid to. Yet, as you’ve noticed, you weaken yourself by doing so.

      One way to deal with a mother-in-law who clearly dislikes you is to call her on her rudeness or attitude toward you in a matter of fact, polite way in a moment when she has been rude. Don’t sound weak and complaining though–just matter of fact. “You sound as though you dislike me. Is there something I’ve done to hurt you?” It helps if you don’t sound meek or hostile. You can say it makes you sad, if it does, but without sounding desperate. In other words, speak up when you dislike what’s occurring, but without defensiveness, hostility, or meekness.

      If she continues to be openly hostile, for example, you can say, “If you won’t be polite with me, I will not be visiting you, which is a pity for everyone.”

      A couple of real examples would be most helpful. Good luck!

  2. Pingback: MANIPULATION: I value honesty and can’t stand manipulative people | Healthy Relationships and Solutions to Happiness and Love

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