Everybody lies. Whether blatantly or out of omission, everyone on earth has lied about one thing or another, at one time or another. It is part of being human. I have experienced lies in every facet of life.
There is the “lesser of the two evils” type of liar. In my past life shortly after I got married (the first time) my cousin confided in me that she was pregnant. She was giddy over it. Her sister in law had been trying to get pregnant for a very long time and had finally gotten pregnant, so my cousin didn’t want to steal her thunder by announcing her pregnancy so close to her sister in law’s pregnancy. But she had to tell someone so she told me. She swore me to secrecy and I promised to not tell anyone (except my husband, which she said was fine). A couple of weeks after I learned the news, her sister in law called to talk to me. We were friends and had been roommates for awhile so we knew each other well. In the course of conversation she asked me if my cousin was pregnant. I dodged the question to the best of my abilities but she pressed me for a specific answer. So I lied to her. I told her I had no clue whether or not she was pregnant. In my mind, this was an acceptable lie. Breaking a confidence was a much worse thing to do than to tell a lie in order to keep the confidence. So I picked the lesser of the two evils and told the lie. I was in so much trouble with my husband because he disagreed that I chose the lesser of the two evils. From his perspective, the lie was the ultimate sin. But we’ll get back to him a bit later.
There are those who lie as a self preservation tool. I had a friend years ago who would tell the most far fetched stories. It was clear to me that there was something inside her that wasn’t quite right and her stories were a way of coping with her own dark reality. Her lies did not bother me. I knew that at some level she was in a great deal of pain. Her lies hurt nobody, with the possible exception of herself. I would listen to her stories and just let her talk. I did not see the point of calling her out on the lies. What good would it do? Would it help those around her by me calling her out? No. Would it hurt her? Yes. Compassion won out under these circumstances. I learned to take everything she said with a grain of salt. If this was what she had to do to deal with her own reality I was not going to be the dick who stopped her.
I had another friend who lied as a tool to try and make herself look better and feel better about where she was in life. Her lies were mostly directed towards her mother and seemed to be a way of explaining to herself why she turned out the way she turned out. It was frustrating to watch her trash her mother. I knew her mother and knew that the mother was very manipulative, so I could understand my friend’s feelings towards her but still, the lies seemed like a harsh way to go. As with the first friend, this one had demons that the lies helped her better manage. Again, I wasn’t going to be the one to call her out on it. Her lies did not hurt me. They did not affect me. There was nothing in my life that was going to be changed by the things that she said. I see the lie. I take it for what it is. I move on.
Then there are the more malicious liars. The narcissistic types who will take your words and twist them around in order to make every bad thing that happens in their lives be your fault. I have a couple of people whom I love dearly that were married to these type of liars. The destruction that it leaves in their paths is hard to swallow. This type of lying liar is a kind that makes it very difficult for me to keep my mouth shut and not call them out on their shit. The problem with this type of liar is that the moment you engage, their fire is fueled and they thrive on that type of chaos. They do their best to bait you into a conversation. I learned that with this type of liar, there is no point in attempting a rational discussion because you will never get it. You can have all the facts and truth on your side, but you can never convince a narcissist that they are a lying liar who lies. These are the dangerous types of liars.
There is the rationalization type of liar. The person who is doing things that they shouldn’t and are desperately trying to keep their indiscretions concealed. This is the type of liar that I used to be. Doing things I knew I shouldn’t be doing. Having my reasons for doing those things. But not wanting others to learn of the dirty little skeletons in my closet. This type of liar is a pro at rationalizing behavior and making even wrong things seem right. Skeletons want out of the closet, though. This type of liar can’t get away with lying for too long because the truth always comes out. Always! You can’t run away from the skeletons. Eventually, you have to either learn your lessons and regain your integrity, or you have to accept the possibility of losing the love and affection of all those who you are close to.
There are the omission liars. I said I’d get back to my husband (now EX husband) and here we are. He was adamantly opposed to lying. Lying of any kind. And yet, when I ultimately ended our marriage, he kept quiet about the role the he played in its demise. He never outright lied to anyone, but his silence and his allowing me to shoulder complete responsibility for the failed marriage was a lie. Silence can often be a lie. A really big fat stinking lie.
You know how they say that you can’t kid a kidder? Well they, whoever they are, are pretty smart. When you’ve been around the block as many times as I have you learn to spot a lie, and spot it fast. You notice the inconsistencies in a conversation. You pick up on facial expressions… a liars “tells” if you want to call it that. You can lie to my face. You can think that I’m buying what you’re selling. You might think that you’re getting away with something when you talk to me. But let me assure you that I am not fooled. I may not call you out on your lies because I’ve learned over the decades what is and isn’t worth fighting over. I may smile and have pleasant conversations with you. I will probably laugh and joke around with you. You will probably go along your smug little way feeling self assured in the tales you spin.
I’ve developed a high tolerance for liars. I’ll let you lie to me. I don’t give a shit if you feel the need to be dishonest with me. I rarely cut ties with anyone, despite being lied to. However, over the past few years I have had to draw that proverbially line in the sand. My kids, their spouses, my grandkids, my husband. They are the most important thing in the world to me. Lie to me all you want. Treat me however you see fit. The moment the lie crosses the line and hurts one of them is the moment my tolerance for the lie ends.
Go ahead. Lie to me.