a history of lying, or, ‘how i learned to stop lying’
I have a story that I was taught to lie as a child by my mom (here she is, lookin’ great).
Perhaps it was being upper middle class white females living in the suburbs. Perhaps it was inherited from her mom (it was).
Perhaps it was her own fear wound (also from my grandmother, cuz epigenetics)…
…but I’m pretty sure that when I was younger, I got a lotta maternal downloads that its OK to lie in order to:
- Avoid hurting someone’s feelings
- Prevent an inconvenience
- Cover up things — for instance, making sure dad (also pictured above) didn’t find out how much we’d spent at LimitedToo
- the list goes on + you get the idea
As a little kid, I ritually lied. I lied about having a twin sister, a pool, and a mansion, to name a few.
As a teenager, I lied to cover up things I’d said or done, I lied to get outta actual trouble…
…and as an adult, it caught up with me. A proclivity to gossip tracked to an inability to own what I’d said, so I’d lie more. A desire to be liked exacerbated the lying, so much that often I didn’t even know I was lying.
I was at my-then-coach-now-friend Lauren’s house 4 years ago, and she asked me if the salmon she’d just grilled for me was too rare.
Without pausing I said ‘no’ and accepted the plate.
But it was too rare, so I ate around the perimeter and avoided the middle.
She looked over at me and said, ‘you’re a fucking liar’.
And she was right.
I thought I was being a good guest, being polite, being agreeable — and that those values were most imp.
Not so much.
She made me see how many layers deep the dishonesty had dug itself, how much I believed it was ok to ‘white lie’, and how snarled up with fear and not-enoughness it all was.
She taught me that its not just about catching the big, goop-y lies. Its about catching the small ones — ‘do you like this on me?’ — and its about understanding that a withhold is a lie.
That’s a big one: a withhold is a lie.
I’m writing this post, cause this week, I cop’d to 2 big lies.
The first one involved a female friend who told me something private. I told another person. I wish I could say I caught myself. The friend did. He caught me and said, ‘the way you presented that — it was salacious. You didn’t have to tell me that, the way you did.’
And I knew he was right. He was so dayum right. There’s a part of me that does that — takes information, weaponizes it, adds a heaping slather of judgment onto it, and repeats it. Its one of my hardest to accept parts. I wanna hate that version of me — the version of me that does that. Its such an ugly version.
I’ve spent years mad at her. Now when she shows up, I own what she’s done, I apologize, and I forgiver her as quick as I can. I recognize she shows up when I’m stressed or fearful or unintegrated, and I see it as a sign to stop n be still(er).
Ive tried the other way — the way where I berate vs forgive. Nothing good happens there. So now I tell her I see her, and then I go to the versions of me I love most and spend time in them, to create a balance.
Back to the cop’to: I called the friend, and I own’d it all. I apologized, hard, multiple times. She forgave immediately and said she loves me (even more). It all felt good and important.
The second lie was even harder to cop’to, cause I’d realllllly lied, like in a sneaky, ugly sorta way. I lied to a co-producer on an event from last year. I lied about how much she was owed as part of our split. Just typing that out feels gross and mildly nauseating.
The fucked up part, was that it didn’t even really haunt me till recently, then once it did — it wouldn’t let go. So this week I emailed her, I told her what I’d done, and that I wanted to send the remainder. There was a bit of pain in sending it cause I really need the cash, and I wish I could say I feel ten pounds of relief now that I told her, alas I don’t.
Perhaps not the point. The point is in catching the lies. And taking responsibility. And then letting it all go and not staying bog’d down in any story about who I am and what I am. Instead, I choose to stay curious, and hopeful that I may, over time, lie less and less.
Carl Jung says this about lying:
“We lie to ourselves because we do not have the psychological strength to admit the truth to ourselves and others, and deal with the consequences that will follow.”
There’s only one path I know outta (my own) lying: self-knowledge. The more I know myself, the stronger I feel, and that inner strength has removed the need for externally sourced love / attention / likeability / acceptability — which drove a lot of my lying + gossip’ing, which I see as linked.
…but how to cultivate self-knowledge? Whew. I could write a LOT on that, but here’s a short list of tools that’ve helped me //
- Coaching w Lauren Zander / the Handel Group / the Handel Method
- Morning Pages
- Hoffman Process
- Therapy — literally since I was 12, of all kinds — I’m currently in somatic therapy + love it
- Carl Jung’s work
++ Here’s a list of resources pulled from the above, if you’re called to delve deep’r →
The Handel Method
- My coach Lauren retired, but her fam still runs the Handel Group + their program InnerU is a great jumping off point
- You can grab LZ’s book, ‘Maybe Its You’, here.
- I started my journey in earnest w a vipassana
- …and that’s an extreme start. My friend Jesse has created THIS meditation course, its super accessible and I loved taking it
- Check out Julia Cameron’s Artists Way
- Its expensive and a big commitment, but I was profoundly shifted by the experience and still feel the effect of the tools today. To learn more: https://www.hoffmaninstitute.org/
- In LA, I recommend Cathy Johnson (DM me for contact deets)
- In NYC, I recommend Clare Carr
- To learn more about somatic therapy in general: https://www.coreenergetics.org/
- A concerned reader of these ‘articles’ who happens to be a lawyer has told me that I gotta stop explicitly telling you all how to attend medicine ceremonies, so I wont pop in a link here, but I will say if/when she calls to you, you can email me and I can tell you things
- Read this. Simple + affordable.
Some q’s, if this prompt resonates w you:
- What lies are you ready to let go of? Why those?
- What truths do you stand for? Why those?
If you feel called to share your responses, I’d love to receive: firstname.lastname@example.org