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Why do People Lie?

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  • #388939
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Reader:

    I had the image last night, of my mother, being maybe 30 something, maybe 40, and very anxious, like she often was, talking and talking and talking in that agitated way I remember too well, on and on and  on.. And I felt empathy for her and in my mind I took her in my arms, hugging her and hushing her.. quieting her, calming her.. because that’s what she needed! I later realized that this image I am telling about, is the image of a mother (me) holding an agitated baby (my mother) in my arms, gently comforting her.

    We daughters of very unwell mothers do get confused when it comes to who is whom. We love her so much, from such an early age.. that even after years or decades of anger at her, we still love her, still want to comfort her, to help her.

    I had a repeated dream, as an adult, I remember it clearly: there was her face looking at me angrily, silent and angry. Nothing happened in that repeated dream.

    The first time I remember her angry at me was on the night when at 5 or 6 years-old, I heard her scream out loud that she was going to kill herself during a fight with my father, then she ran into the night. I was scared but walked into the night, looking for her, imagining finding her dead. When I finally saw her on the street under the moonlight, alive, I was overjoyed. I ran to her, calling her name: Mommy, Mommy, you are ALIVE!!! When I got close enough to her, I clearly saw that she was angry at me, I remember her angry face. Her voice was angry too as she told me accusingly: “And why shouldn’t I be alive?” (Looking back, I think that what angered her was that neighbors heard the commotion, went out to the street, and when I ran to her in front of the neighbors, and said what I said, she felt that what I said made her look bad to the observing neighbors.

    The last time I saw her angry was the last time that I saw her, back in 2012 in her apartment, with guests present, she looked silently angry from across the room.

    There were many times when she was angry at me and LOUD about it, saying lots of shaming, angry things against me, hitting me etc., during hours-long marathons of rage,  but it is her Silent Anger that I remember most, and dreamt about.

    I  am guessing that she was angry at me because I was a breech baby, causing her lots of physical pain and shame, as the hospital staff gathered to watch the unusual birth. I am guessing that she was angry at me for not eating enough, for following being isolated by the hospital for weeks or longer, following a severe case of dysentery, and not allowing her to be with me (a common practice at the time), when I was finally brought to her, at a year-old or so, I turned my back to her and held on to the nurse.

    In defense of the baby that I was, I didn’t turn upside down in her womb because .. well, it was not up to me. I didn’t make it happen: she was bulimic during her pregnancy with me (and for years after) and under-weight, so much so that at 9-months, her pregnancy didn’t even show. And not eating enough after birth- she has always been in the habit of over feeding people, and being a small baby, I didn’t need much food. So, again, not the baby’s fault. Neither is turning away from her after being in the hospital for so long- it is known that a baby gets attached to the nurses when the mother is not present.

    But my.. sins against her, in her own mind, started before my birth and increased throughout decades of my life, culminating in her ongoing, intense anger against me, a timeless, frozen anger, never to thaw.  I loved her so much, chased her to love me for decades while not even knowing that I was chasing her. It was an instinct, a habit- wanting to thaw that angry face, and change her frozen Anger into warm Love. But all along, she kept building her already overly loaded case against me with lists of alleged wrongdoings on my part- against her.

    I am tired, I don’t want to detail any more of her anger, her words, those shaming words she used that burned through my soul, and how strange it was, how creepy it was to hear her say later words of love in regard to me, how creepy it was to feel her touch when it was soft. I want to close this post in this “Why do People Lie?”, with the What, not the Why: her biggest lie, in the context of her and me, was that she loved me and I hated her in return for her love and sacrifice. The truth is that I loved her and she hated me in return, sacrificing me to feed and maintain her Anger.

    As I live the rest of my life, I don’t want to feed anyone’s anger. I want to encourage people to stay away from abuse, to hold abusers responsible, but I do not want to fuel any anger that is not in the direction of a sensible, fair resolution. I want the rest of my life to be guided by.. Sensible Love, not by blind, misguided Anger.

    anita

    #389162
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Reader:

    When I started this thread almost six years ago, on December 2016, I listed one of the reason for people lie to be this: “2. Power-over: people lie to have power over other people, for various benefits. This happens within families, in the work place and in other contexts“-

    – I have a better understanding of this very reason today, following reviewing a thread that is no longer active, a thread by a member who is similar to my mother in a fundamental way, and as a result, gaining a new understanding into my own mother:

    She lied to me so to rationalize and excuse Dominating and Abusing me. She lied to me so to have an Intellectual Basis from which to spring forth domination and abuse. She lied when she claimed that I was trying to hurt her, and doing so intentionally, because this claim justified why she was about to intentionally hurt me. She lied when she claimed that I was worthless, “a big zero” as she worded it, because this claim excused her treating me like a big zero. She lied when she claimed that I was a bad little person, because this claim justified why she was about to be a bad person herself, and purposefully hurt me.

    Truth was of no value to her. Truth was to be distorted and lied about any which was so to intellectually excuse what she was about to say and do to me.

    Somehow it is easy to write about lies and abuse when it comes to other people’s parents, compared to when it comes to your own mother. You don’t want to believe that your own mother is like this, has been like this, that you were stuck with a mother like that. It is such a distasteful reality, you don’t want it to be true, you reject it, push it away whenever it touches awareness, forget it best you can, but not quite. There is something so fundamentally wrong with a mother doing this, it is unnatural, so it feels, incomprehensible, an unwanted reality.

    anita

    #389540
    stevesmith99
    Participant

    My point of view on it is that there are some people who lie want to protect others’ feelings whereas some people lie to protect their own feelings because of some fear and insecurity in them. It depends on the situation they are in.

    #389557
    anita
    Participant

    Dear stevesmith99:

    Thank you for your valuable point of view. I agree with the motivation you stated for lying, protection, be it protecting others’ and/ or protecting one own’s feelings. Examples of lying to protect another person: Person A, looking distressed, asks: do I look old? Person B says: no, you don’t look old. Example of lying to protect one own’s feelings because of an insecurity: …  can you give an example, stevesmith99?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by anita.
    #389565
    SSS
    Participant

    I’m not sure if this fits cohesively under another category, but I know someone who verbally attacks people, often with lies, in order to deflect attention and/or minimize something they did. Gun to a knife fight, kind of thing. Most people aren’t good at lying off-the-cuff, and this person isn’t, but it doesn’t stop them and their attacks and lies are brutal.

    #389566
    anita
    Participant

    Dear SSS:

    Thank you for your post. You are bringing up this motivation for lying: to attack. I am familiar with this motivation and practice, having been on the receiving end of it. Would you like to give me an example of a particular lie the person you referred to told and how he/she used that lie to attack his/her victim?

    anita

    #389571
    SSS
    Participant

    This might not be the best example, but it’s the first that comes to mind, probably b/c it ended up a four-hour “gun fight” and was the first instance of me beginning to lose compassion for this (past) friend. I’ll call her Peg. Another person in the scenario will be Kit.

    I offered to take Peg out to lunch at a casino. The second she opened my car door, she began complaining about Kit with fury. Unbeknownst to me, in the moments leading up to me calling her with the invite, Peg and Kit had had an interaction that set Peg off.

    Peg told me that Kit asked if she could have the $100 she loaned Peg several months earlier. Peg claimed Kit said it was a gift so Peg would have more money to spend on a three-day vacation. (Note: Peg is absolutely HORRIBLE at repaying anything…money, favors, etc., but when something is due her and doesn’t get it, she will dog, dog, dog you.) I’m buying the story that the $100 was a gift….

    I bought the story until Peg slipped and said she didn’t have $87 to pay her back. Wait–where’s $87 coming from?, I asked, to which Peg replied that she’d given Kit $40 one day to pick up something for her, and when Kit tried to give her the $13 in change back, Peg said to put it toward the loan. Here is where she got caught in the lie.

    She lied to make herself look like a victim while making the person who helped her out the bad guy–common behavior of hers.

    (Once she realized she’d exposed the lie, she turned her attack on me. And a good time was had by all, lol.)

    Initially, her lie about the money included an attack on Kit’s character (Peg: Kit gave me that money as a gift then months later withdraws the offer–who does that kind of thing–a person with problems, that’s who.)

    Whenever Peg was caught in a lie, she just dug her heels in. You’d end up being frustrated with her and embarrassed for her at the same time.

    Oh…here’s a funny one:

    She found a cough drop wrapper on the floor one day and crabbed that all she does is pick up cough drop wrappers all over the house (not true). I said, “Let’s hope that’s the worst that happens today,” to which she yelled at me about how often she finds tiny pieces of my chewing gum all over her house including the couch—like I’d be too stupid to know if gum fell out of my mouth, not just once but repeatedly. 🙂

    (I was at her house a lot b/c her husband and I worked together, and Peg and I became fast friends. After three years I had to walk away, from her and the job.)

    #389573
    anita
    Participant

    Dear SSS:

    Thank you for the detailed example. Kit was nice enough to loan Peg $100. Several months later, Peg was feeling quite comfortable and pleased about keeping the $100, and not paying it back. But alas, Kit asked for the money back, and Peg got angry, as in: how dare Kit take away my comfort and pleasure at keeping the money???

    So, she lied, saying that the $100 was a gift. Later, Peg unintentionally admitted that indeed the $100 was a loan, not a gift. And when she realized that you caught her in the lie, she got angry and attacked you.

    My mother was frequently angry at me and wanted to hurt me, so to justify hurting me, she lied and said that I was trying to hurt her (offering made-up details to support her lie), and proceeded to hurt me, as a sort of payback.

    anita

    #389574
    SSS
    Participant

    Somehow, we all get damaged…usually at the hands of damaged people who possess little to no self-reflection. I’m sorry a person who was to protect you fed you to her inner-beast. I often think of how hard life must be for those like your mother, but without self-reflection, they can’t possibly know how much harder they make things not only on themselves but those around them.

    Did you/do you have an adult relationship with her?

    As for “how dare Kit take away my comfort and pleasure at keeping the money,” that’s not really it. Whenever Peg was confronted with a problem she herself created, she’d attack; I’ve never known her to hold herself responsible for anything, so being called on anything infuriates her. And this aspect sounds like your mom.

    #389575
    anita
    Participant

    Dear SSS:

    No, I have don’t have any contact with my mother.

    I often think of how hard life must be for those like your mother“- I too thought about how hard her life, I thought about it a whole lot, had so much… too much empathy for her, so much that I hurt so badly for her, for so long.

    Good thing you no longer interact with Peg!

    anita

    #389580
    stevesmith99
    Participant

    For example, you tell your partner that you like his new haircut because you don’t want to hurt his feelings by telling the truth that you really hate his new haircut.

    #389588
    anita
    Participant

    Dear stevesmith99:

    This is an example of lying so to not hurt another person’s feelings. But you end up hating his haircut… hating is a strong word, it’s unpleasant to hate something. Maybe telling him the truth in a kind way is better, telling him something like: you know how much I love the way you look, but this haircut doesn’t do you justice. You look so much better in (that other) haircut. Maybe it will be better?

    anita

    #389589
    SSS
    Participant

    I tend to bypass any direct comment about a haircut, change in hair color, etc. by gauging their reaction first…if they seem to like it and I think it’s wretched, I enthusiastically ask, “You like it?!” or “Is it what you wanted / were thinking of?”

    If they press me, I tend to refer to another haircut or color that I preferred and may make a reference why. (Your last cut was a softer cut and emphasized your whatever.)

    I had two mind-blowing experiences with one person about this type of thing. I was careful the first time, to no good end, and kept my mouth shut the second time, also to no good end.

    So…in regard to the original question of this thread, why people lie, what about when we tell only part of the truth.

    1) Are we lying when we tell a partial truth?

    2) How many of the reasons we lie are the same reasons we tell a partial truth?

     

     

Viewing 13 posts - 31 through 43 (of 43 total)

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