Why do people lie? There is a characteristic of Adult Children of Alcoholics that says that Adult Children of Alcoholics, lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth. I have relatives that fit this description perfectly. I also am an adult child of an alcoholic and should fit this description.
I have been in recovery for many years and I still lie, but not about important things. Some may argue with that statement. I lie if it is going to hurt someone’s feelings. I think most of us do unless we delight in hurting others. I might tell someone that they don’t look fat when they actually do. I am sure that people do the same for me.
I am talking about important things. If you watch the popular television series, “Lie to Me,” you can see some of the physical behaviors of someone when they are lying. Body language is important as well as watching a persons expressions. I find the program very entertaining. I don’t know that it is always accurate. The program of course deals with extremes.
Why do people lie?
1. People lie to get out of trouble.
2. People lie to keep from hurting someone’s feelings.
3. People lie to keep what they have, such as hiding possessions or to keep a job.
4. People lie to protect others from getting hurt or losing something such as a job or relationship.
5. People lie to protect themselves from losing possessions or relationships.
6. People lie to make themselves look more important or better than they are.
7.People lie about where they have been, such as shopping and spending more money than they should.
8. People lie because they are afraid. You may not like them if you know who they really are.
9. People lie about how they feel. “I am fine!” Someone may tell you that they are fine when they are really angry or hurting inside.
10. People lie because they are sociopaths. These are probably the hardest people to deal with, and to be able to detect when they are lying. They don’t always know that they are lying, or they have become so good at it that they can look you straight in your eyes and lie without blinking an eye. They often pride themselves on their ability to lie and get away with it. Some can even pass lie detector tests because they have no conscience.
How can I tell if someone is lying to me?
There are many ways to tell if someone is lying to you. It is of course not always the case. Part of being able to tell if someone is lying to you, is in how well that you know them and their mannerisms. If they lie to you regularly it is not hard to tell if they are lying to you, because they always do. You get used to reading their facial expressions and can began to read them like the proverbial book.
I had a relative that could look you straight in the eye and lie to you. He would look completely sincere, but his lip would swell up and his jaws would clench. It became almost comical because it became so obvious to me that he was lying. Lying had worked for him many times when he was in trouble for something. Unfortunately as a child, lying often meant staying safe from abuse.
If a person hasn’t gotten help for this kind of behavior they will most likely continue doing the same thing for the rest of their lives. We have to decide if we want to have people like this in our lives.
Many times when people are lying, their eyes will dart from side to side.
If someone is lying they may not look you in the eye. Sometimes though if someone is shame-based they have a hard time looking into other people’s eyes, so this is not always the case.
People may cross their arms and take a defensive stance if they are lying.
The best way to tell if someone is lying is by knowing the person well. If they usually lie, then it is pretty obvious that they will continue to lie The best prediction of future or present behavior, is past behavior.
It is not easy to live with someone who habitually lies. It is also hard to learn when you can trust new people in your life. Go slow in new relationships and learn whether you can trust those in your life. My son taught me a valuable lesson. You would think that I should have taught him but instead he taught me.
I asked him if he liked a certain person that he was friends with that he had met recently. He told me that it was too soon to tell. Wow, I was used to judging people by first impressions. Coming from extreme dysfunction, it took me a long time to learn that you have to get to know a person for a long time before you know who they really are.
Trust your gut. If someone seems to be dishonest, and has been dishonest with others, they will be dishonest with you. Many times those who lie, will brag about things that they have gotten away with when dealing with others. Run for the hills if someone brags about lying to others. If they will do it to someone else they will do it to you too.