Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Behind the Veil of Lies

When lying becomes a way of life... when we are unwilling to be ourselves and hide behind a veil of lies... when lying takes on a life of it's own... Why does this happen? Can we stop the pattern?

We are five years old. We are a home with the babysitter while Mom and Dad have dinner out with friends. The sitter lets us stay up past our bedtime and watch TV. It is fun to stay up late and be naughty. We scurry off to bed just before Mom and Dad arrive. The next day when Mom asks if we got to bed on time, we say yes. We have learned to lie. We have learned that we can be naughty, have fun, tell a lie and get away with it.

We are fifteen years old. We go out with friends and smoke pot. We forget our curfew and come home thirty minutes late. We tell our parents that we were watching a movie and wanted to see the end. They accept the story. We learn that we can take illicit drugs, feel good, lose track of time, miss our curfew, have fun, tell a lie and get away with it.

We are twenty five years old. We are married and have a brand new baby in our life. We aren't getting enough sleep, still have to work during the day and feel overwhelmed. A coworker seems quite empathetic toward our situation and gives us much needed sympathy and attention. We begin to have inappropriate feelings toward our coworker. Our partner is unaware of the developing situation. Eventually we enter into an affair. Over the next few months we find we feel confused and guilty and end the indiscretion. Our partner has noticed our distance and asks us if there is a problem in the relationship. We say we are tired and just need more rest. Eventually the baby begins to sleep through the night and our relationship stabilizes once again. We learn that we can have a brief affair, feel good, regret our decision, change our mind, not be discovered, tell a lie and get away with it.

We are now forty years old. We have lied our way in and out of circumstances for most of our life. As a result we have never learned how to deal with the consequences of our actions and have never developed a set of strong personal values. We have been able to manipulate our way out of sticky situations and never had to face the proverbial music. Our business life has been profitable. Then the economy collapses causing us to face massive losses. We cannot lie or manipulate our way out of this situation and have no skills with which to cope. We are lost.

When lies are not caught or challenged we may learn that we can cheat the lessons of life. That is inaccurate. Sooner or later everybody's bill comes due. As we have passed through the years manipulating situations and people through our lies we have never learned how to cope with actual consequences. When we can no longer wiggle out of our proverbial bed that we have made we feel lost and unable to cope.

At this point we have a choice. We can begin to learn coping skills and adopt tools to get us through life, or we can cry foul and decry the fairness of the world. It is the choice we should have learned as a child or teen, even as a young adult that is forced upon us at midlife. How we cope and the decisions we make will be a true test of our character. Will we whine and cry? Or will we finally step up to the plate as a responsible adult? The choice is ours.

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