Family Secrets

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Liars and Deceivers

It is very difficult to stop being a liar.

Who hasn't lied? Everyone! But, why? Most people say they lie to not hurt others, so as not to say something that is hurtful or cause pain. However, this rationale, in and of itself, is a lie. In most cases, people lie to protect themselves.

We lie to get what we want, we lie to avoid embarrassment, to maintain our self- image, we lie to avoid being judged, we lie because we don't want to recognize that we have erred, and we continue to lie because we have lied.

A lie is sometimes confused with the desire to succeed. We want to be like others, like those who have been successful. On our path to success, we look for models that can teach us how they did it.
It's true that this is one of the best ways to learn: see how others have overcome and imitate their formula, accommodating it to ourselves as if to avoid failure. The old saying that "there is no need to reinvent the wheel" has much truth to it, because we can learn from others, and from there develop who we really are.

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But in this fast-paced society we live in, with the pressure to make money and succeed quickly, sometimes we do not give ourselves the time to look within and find our own answers. In turn, we look for quick "recipes for success", and then make ourselves believe that we're like those whom we admire, ignoring or forgetting who we are.

The demand for human beings to be accepted is great. We seek perfection in our attempt to conform to the image that we impose upon ourselves, creating impossible and unattainable goals that are not our own, but borrowed from others. This can only lead to frustration. Willingly or unwillingly, we create false identities for ourselves to try to build a concept of our personality- and believe in it.

This kind of lie where we create personalities that are "made to order" is often exploited in self-improvement seminars where thousands of people go to seek the personality they desire, akin to shopping for flattering clothes. It's opportunistic sales that show pictures of how to achieve what you want, or how to act if you win a certain amount of money, or how to win all of that money, causing is to forget that self-improvement is the development of our self, our own authenticity.

The lie begins when you stop being yourself, and strive to be the "other success story." It's not difficult to get confused, especially for people who are insecure or lacking solid self-esteem. Unfortunately, lying by creating a personality that is "made to order" may lead to failure, depression, or Impostor Syndrome by pretending to be in possession of something that does not belong.
The liar is never satisfied with themself because everything they do, including making a lot of money, will not meet or satisfy their expectations; they are living a fictitious life. A liar cannot appreciate what has been achieved because they do not feel it belongs to them.

The result is evident in the case of most people who live their own lies, because they cannot succeed by the same lack of authenticity. Without realizing it, they sabotage step by step what they build for their lives. Their subconscious tells them that it's not real, that their success does not belong to them. They end up destroying what they began to accomplish, for example, by wasting all the money that could have been saved, or by destroying friendships and relationships.

On a personal level, their social circle realizes the huge void behind this fragmented personality. They feel cheated and disappointed and end up abandoning the liars, either by distancing themselves or, in an even more painful act, by taking an emotional distance. Even more unfortunate are those who feel the fragility caused by their ambition to be whom they are. They end up in relationships that are little better than nothing. They comply with superfluous relationships that will not detect their "real self" because they're afraid their "made to order" personality will be discovered.

That's when their loneliness spreads. Their true self increasingly retreats into isolation, even in the company of others.

The consequences of living a lie continue as many of them fear the lies and deception of others because they know what it means. In this way, they try to protect themselves from the alleged betrayal that others may infringe upon them, in the same way that they have managed to deceive everyone else.

It is very difficult to stop being a liar. Lying can become addictive, much easier to perpetuate. Through lies, people receive coveted responses that are exciting, which then require more lies in order to maintain the previous ones- just like the alcoholic who needs the next drink to continue living and to avoid the reality that reflects who they really are.

Unfortunately, it is not easy to change. But it is not impossible. A lie is lying to yourself. You can begin the journey of "coming home." The way out of this vicious circle is in permitting yourself to be who you really are, risking criticism. It is therefore necessary to create an environment around people who live their own authenticity, who can provide their views in a constructive way, without envy or jealousy, so that you can be who you are and polish the most legitimate personality. The more demanding and perfectionist a person is, the less authentic and real. Daring to be you allows for the realization and personal satisfaction of not trying to be who you are not.

Ana Nogales is a clinical psychologist and well-known media personality, columnist, speaker, and advocate for victims of domestic violence.

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