We have all lied; in fact, let’s be honest, we all do lie.
Don’t lie to yourself now, because you know you do; even if it is, only to yourself.
We have all heard the cute, quaint little sayings going back to our childhood used by parents and teachers to try and get our attention about the fact that lying is demeaning, destructive and wrong.
You know the sayings, “Liar, liar, pants on fire”, “If I’m lying, I’m dying” and of course based on the Pinocchio story, “Your nose is growing”.
We have a tendency to lessen the negative effects and destructive power of lying because we all do it; we want to make the effects less painful.
We often lie even when we don’t intend too.
When we tell a joke, expound on a horrible experience to make it sound great to our friends, imagine ourselves as something we’re not, tell our doctor we’re OK when in reality we know we are not or say we’re not bothered by an emotional letdown when actually we’re falling apart; it’s all still lying.
It doesn't matter if it is to avoid embarrassment or just reduce the pain of having to talk about it, it is still lying.
We even encourage imagination with our children and then when they become “creative liars” as teens and young adults, we suddenly wonder why?
One of the greatest examples of lying is gossip (or at least the resulting effect).
Often people pass on something heard or read from gossip which they think is true only to find our later it’s entirely false; attorneys get wealthy from defamation of character suits base on this very scenario.
In other words, if you spread a lie even though you thought it to be true, you have still lied.
Yes, we all lie; indeed we all sin and contrary to popular belief that’s why the Bible says in the Ten Commandments given to Moses “Don’t (or thou shalt not) bear false witness….” and not “thou shalt not lie” (as many think it says).
The truth is (no pun intended), lying is such a problem today, that our jails are filled with individuals who have been tripped up (or actually tricked) by clever attorneys and prosecutors into saying something which is not entirely true but neither is it entirely false; none the less it perjures them in court, during a deposition or grand jury resulting in tough suborn perjury penalties of usually a minimum of two years in jail or even more.
The bottom line is lying is bad, it is wrong and it is destructive; to both ones’ self and to others.
The consequences can be permanent for both the liar and the liar’s victims and yes people can be victimized badly by lying.
In some respects, lying can actually be worse than murder.
When someone is murdered, they’re life is gone and they’re worries are over.
On the other hand, when you lie about someone you can destroy them, their family, friends and career for the rest of their life and they must live with it.
Lying can produce in reality “The Walking Dead”. People might look and even talk like they’re alive but in reality they’re soul and spirit are gone; having been destroyed by a liar.
Lying is such a serious problem that Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Therapist, Neurologist and researchers have been studying this human action or reaction for well over a century and a half.
Lying has been dealt every term from disease, disorder, disability, behavioral or emotional problem to genetic and socio-psychopathic mental health disorder.
There are those who would simply dismiss lying as a “bad habit” or from a religious perspective, “a sin”.
For some where lies are few and far between, this might be true but unfortunately, the vast majority of lying has become an overwhelmingly psycho-sociopathic disorder.
Such a large part of our society has deemed the need to both lie and live in distrust that it has become a necessary part of their continued human survival.
Chronic lying (as used today and so labeled) is lying repeatedly but not consistently.
In modern psychiatry however, pseudologia fantastica, also called mythomania, or pathological lying, is known as a behavior of habitual or its close cousin compulsive lying (the need to lie all the time about nearly everything) and often seen as the same thing as Chronic lying.
As a Christian Psychologist/Counselor knowing that the study of lying is not yet conclusive in any way, I see chronic and compulsive lying as separate having treated both in the past accordingly.
Both however, have simply become far too accepted in our society and for many; it’s simply no longer a big deal because everybody thinks everybody else does it. So, as long as nobody gets caught and nobody gets hurt, what’s the harm if they do too?
A very sad and truthful fact is that somebody almost always gets hurt.
And so the lie about the lie continues; i.e its alright to lie.
Of course there is also lying which is more seriously associated with a range of mental health diagnoses, such as antisocial, borderline and narcissistic personality disorders of which there must be professional psychological and psychiatric help.
In addition, the mental health disorders of Confabulation, Munchhausen Syndrome and certain Conduct and Personality Disorders leave the person with the inability to be truthful; all which require ongoing medical and psychiatric attention.
In essence, for some people the old saying of, “If you lie too often you’ll start to believe your own lies” becomes true.
Fortunately today there’s a variety of options available to help people get lying under control; that will be discussed in my next article.
© 2014 Dr. Lee W. Outlaw III