Great post. I wish this was common sense. People who feel worthless and powerless dig their heels in further when they can sense that the person attempting to get them to admit fault are taking some kind of pleasure in it, which only makes them resist harder. Cat and mouse. Drop the rope.
My mother lies the way the rest of us breathe. It's endearing and almost funny now but wasn't as cute when I was trying to rely on her when I was 12. Really mum? Other kids hitchhike? I feel like that's not true. Can I just have a ride? (No such luck.)
What I've discovered in my adult life, both through relationship repair with family and in my work in human service is if you bring compassion to every conversation it creates a natural space for truth to show up. If the person holding the defense can trust that you're not out to get them, whether their lie was very big or very small, they'll be more forthcoming. I'm not saying throw accountability and consequences out the window, but maybe put down the pitchfork. I think my mother admits things form the past now because I'm an independent adult who lives far away and wants or needs nothing from her, except her devil dog recipe. They only taste good when she makes them. I've tried. It's just not the same.
There is a place for our anger. Which is why god invented therapists. Anger is a healthy, appropriate response to the spectrum of lying. But confronting someone who already feels worthless with all our angry facts is only going to prolong the conflict. This applies to families, criminal justice, politics, schools, your grumpy neighbor.
I don't always feel like being nice. Sometimes I resent being the bigger person, having to model emotional intelligence to other grown people, but the alternative is fighting and I don't like fighting. So I choose love. Sometimes I choose a nap first.
There's a way to hold someone accountable that helps restore a sense of personal worth or power, as opposed to shaming or humiliating them. Compassion. Maturity. Understanding.
Which brings me back to my original hope; if all this were common knowledge and people grew up knowing how to meet fear and insecurity with understanding we'd have a more peaceful, resilient world.
Cue the doves.