I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand liars. It’s difficult to form a relationship of any kind with a liar; they’re untrustworthy, unreliable and fake as hell. I’ve been thinking about the reasons why folk lie. Here are my top three:
They lie to avoid hurting others.
This is somewhat understandable. You may not want to hurt your coworker’s feelings so you compliment her hair or his shirt. You may tell your family member she’s a wonderful songstress when in actuality, her singing gives you a headache. While some people can take constructive criticism, there are those who lack the emotional strength to handle any type of constructive criticism. So you lie.
They lie to impress.
People who lie to impress others aren’t very satisfied with their lot in life. Instead of working on improving themselves or their situation, they’d rather lie and give the impression that they have it all together. In my 45 years on this earth, I found most people who lie in this manner have no real intention on improving themselves. They, again, talk a big game about all the changes they’re going to make but you’ll later discover, it was all lies.
They lie to avoid criticism or consequences.
I saw this while raising children. When you ask who spilled the juice all over the floor, most children lie and say it wasn’t them. They’re lying for fear of the consequences. As a parent, I always told my children they could always tell me the truth. Nothing is more important than establishing honesty early in children. The juice can be cleaned up. But if a parent rules with fear, children will continue to lie to avoid punishment, a beating or being yelled at.
As we mature into adults, some are still afraid of the consequence or criticism from telling the truth, so they lie.
Psychologists list a myriad of other reasons, but what’s interesting is they also distinguish between pathological and compulsive liars.
A pathological liar lies with intent.
There is a purpose or goal to their lies and they care little, if not at all, about the feelings or opinions of others. Manipulative and cunning, they get what they want without caring who it hurts in the long run. They also create their own reality and over time, are unable to separate their lies from the truth. As a matter of fact, if you even attempt to shatter this reality, they viciously attack you. So you learn to lie to avoid their wrath or to not hurt their feelings.
Psychologists suggest that those who suffer from Anti-Social Personality Disorder or Narcissistic Personality Disorder are pathological liars.
A compulsive liar lies habitually and constantly.
This type of liar exhibits very little control over their lies. There’s no purpose behind their falsehoods; they just lie about everything, anything and everyone, and tend to find the truth uncomfortable. Psychologists argue this is due to low self-esteem but if you’ve ever tried establishing a meaningful relationship with a compulsive liar, it’s damn near impossible. You’ll never really know how they really feel or what they really want because they lie all the time.
Psychologists suggest that some compulsive liars may suffer from ADHD, Bipolar Disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder.
There are more than 45 Bible verses that warn against lying and dealing with liars. Some of my favorite include:
Proverbs 12:22 – Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.
Exodus 23:1 – “You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.
Colossians 3:9-10 – Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
When I was a child and as a young adult, I lied all the time. As I got older, I realized it was because of many of the reasons noted above. I know I felt inadequate, insecure and small. Today though, I see no reason to lie. I am who I am and work everyday to become a better me.