Pants on Fire

So I mentioned manipulation, but it’s a complicated matter.

When I was young I lied. A lot. It was almost a compulsive thing for me because I reached the point where I was constantly testing people to see if they could discern my lies from the truth.

For the most part, they couldn’t. And that’s where I begin to feel shame about the matter, because for a time it seemed that I could use this skill for good or for evil, and I didn’t exactly use it for good. I let myself run away for a little bit with the idea of being a con artist, and for a few moments it went flawlessly.

And that’s when I began to get nervous.

What fun is life if people just give you whatever you want?

The thrill came from the idea of being caught, but everything I did seemed too easy. It may seem bizarre, but I’m the sort of person that needs a challenge.

And on top of that, the relationships I was creating were completely fictitious. It was a game, and when I began to try to make real relationships I found that I was having trouble stopping myself from lying.

So I’ve instigated a “no lying” policy, I did so a long time ago. I don’t need to lie to get people’s attention or to get them to like me because I am a genuinely interesting person. That, and I don’t care if people like me anymore. With 7 billion people in the world, if a handful don’t like me I’m not going to lose sleep over it.

Every once in a while something will slip out though, a not-exactly lie that morphs into a lie later. Or maybe I’m trying to say one thing, but I’m feeling a little manic and something else comes out of my mouth.

It usually happens with therapists, that’s why I hadn’t had one in a while until recently. It is difficult for me to have a professional relationship built on trust because once one little lie happens, even if accidentally, I feel compelled to keep lying about it. Since this usually compromises my “no lying” policy I sever my ties and get a new therapist.

I need to be able to be honest with my therapist, so once I feel the need to compulsively lie I’m really bad at knowing how to stop. So much so that it has always seemed easier to find a new therapist than stop.

Back when I first met the man who is now my boyfriend I knew right away that he was going to be an important person in my life because I made some kind of comment (that may have been a lie) and he totally called me out on it, right then and there. Nobody has ever done that in my life, and the concept that this guy had just seen right through me felt like a miracle.

This creates an interesting dynamic between the two of us, and for every time he’s thwarted one of my lies my anxiety about lying to him increases ten-fold. Somehow this is positive anxiety though, it’s a beautiful buffer that keeps me from even thinking about lying to him, and it keeps the relationship honest.

Well the problem I’m facing now is that it happened again. Not with my therapist, but with a co-worker. I said something which was true one day, but then the next day it became a lie. When asked, I  continued talking about it, and it has rolled into a big snowball now that keeps chasing me around.

I talked to my therapist about it and obviously she wasn’t thrilled, and I know I need to kill this thing once and for all.

The biggest issue here is that I’m pretty sure I’m going to need to erase the first lie with a second lie, which just feels ridiculous. If I get found out, if I tell this person that I’ve been lying there could be serious consequences.

I should know better by now, and I can’t believe this is an issue again.

It is those moments when I finally feel like I break free from the stigma around mental illness that I get pinned down by it again. If I could have been open about my situation I wouldn’t be having this problem, but after the things I’ve heard this person say to me just “between the two of us” I know they wouldn’t respond well.

I’ve lost two jobs this year because of discrimination and stigma, after getting burned like that I’m not sure I’m ready to put myself out there to lose anything else. At the same time, I’ve dug a hole for myself and lined it with sharp, pointy sticks and I keep waiting for myself to fall inside.

I’m going to decide on my next move before going back to work in 2012. I’m sure I can make this work out, I just need to figure out the right thing to say.

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One response to “Pants on Fire

  1. Really? Lying worked for you?

    I lied a lot too. Mostly to my parents. And my father could see through it every single time. He would call me out and punish me ten-fold, saying it was because I was a liar.

    Ever since then, I cannot lie. It produces this horrible, physically manifested anxiety. If I have to lie, I become paranoid. Am I as transparent as my father made me believe I was? How severe will this punishment be? I just don’t, unless it’s to really save my behind. I redirect. I don’t answer. I avoid topics I don’t want to be honest about. I make jokes about things. But, I never outright lie.

    My husband is a fantastic liar, and sometimes he does it for fun. Most of the time, he decieves to save face, though. But most of the time, he wants to see how far he can get with BS. It’s a game. And few people ever catch on.

    I am the only person who called him out. I know when he lies to me. It’s never about anything serious. It’s really stupid stuff like, “Do you like this shirt?” And “How do I look?” I know when he’s lying. There’s just something in his face that doesn’t match what he’s saying. Microexpression. He forgets that I can see that, just like him.

    He’s hilarious. He thinks I lie, because he lies. I don’t. Why would I? We’re married. There are no more secrets.

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