Milena recently wrote about how she could never lie as a kid. I, on the other hand, was quite good at it. I'm sure the reason is that my parents created an environment in which telling the truth had little benefit. Why would I tell the truth if the punishment was always sure to far outweigh the crime?
When I was in high school, my dad was so strict, that had I not lied, I would have never left the house! (at least in my mind). For example, Dad had a rule; "PG" (as in movies) stands for "Pig!" That meant I was not going to be allowed to see a movie past the G-rating. Never mind that I was 17 years old. So, if asked what movie I was going to, I'd offer up the latest G-film title, and Dad would accept it. I ask you, is that such a horrible lie?
It got worse, though; I was so desperate for attention as a child that I would lie at the drop of a hat, just to gain someone's attention. As if that wasn't pathetic enough, I also had a desperate need to fill any moment of intimate silence with chatter. I remember often making up complete falsehoods (nothing wildly unbelievable), just to make conversation. For example, if there were a lull in a conversation, I would fill it with a story about going to the mall that weekend, or how my dog got lost and found, etc. The idea of sitting in silence in any relationship was terrifying to me; I avoided intimacy at all cost and felt much more comfortable lying to fill the void.
Of course, lying came naturally. There were lots of lies flying around in our house, not to mention that we were living a lie; the lie of omission regarding Dad's alcoholism (for example) so I lived in a sort of lying culture within my own home.
I not only lied to others, but I lied to myself; "My [emotionally abusive] boyfriend really loves me. He really doesn't mean anything when he treats me badly. We're a great couple, and if I love him enough, he will change." My cheerful demeanor? Of course it's sincere! What would I have to be sad about? Why do I cry every time others cry? Why, because their stories are sad, not because it taps into any sadness of my own; I have none! How silly!
Lies, lies, lies.
When I finally started going to Adult Children of Alcoholics Meetings and found people living in truth, I felt like I was being welcomed home. I was finally ready to face the truth about my abusive childhood, my co-dependency, and my other unhealthy relationships, and I did it in a safe place. In a short time attending meetings, reading books about co-dependency, and seeing a therapist, I finally learned that the truth can be a safe thing to look at. I wholeheartedly embraced truth and left behind the need to spin a yard, deny my feelings, or hide the truth of others. I embraced honesty and have never let go. How liberating! To be able to just be real! And it was so much easier than telling lie after lie to cover the last lie. Living in the truth; it washes over me like a clean shower, and I could stand in it for hours.
So do I ever lie nowadays? Of course not! Just kidding. (See, I can't lie!) Truthfully, I do my best to avoid it. I think it's Deepak Chopra who says that everything we do, we do from a place of love or fear. If I feel a temptation to lie, I consider my motive first. If you ask me if you hurt my feelings, I will be honest. If you ask me if I think you've done the right thing (when you haven't), I will gently give you my honest opinion.
But if you ask me how I like your new haircut, I just might tell you, "It's awesome!" when I'm really thinking "It's awful!"
I might lie....just because I love you.