So now a Senator from the US has been caught out. This is not the first time a Senator has been exposed. Many are not caught out so blatantly or publicly. But here was a man who seemed to be set on the repeat button of a DVD player, being replayed again and again. There has been much in the news on Senator John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth. What makes a person lie again and again? What is it that makes those being lied to accept it again and again? Is it some delusion and mixing of the truth or is it more. Why do our eyes not see the lies?
Often in therapy clients come to therapy because they realise that some truth they believe as a truth is a truth no more. Families often have a history a code within which they operate, which ranges from extreme abuse to growth and a secure base.
A woman came to see me a few years ago. She had grown up always trusting her parents and what they said as being the ultimate in truth. She had been told never to repeat whatever happened in the home to anyone outside the home – not in school, not to her friends, not to anyone in authority. It turns out that both her parents were molesting her. She was a victim of incest from both her parents. She had thought that everyone also was exposed to the same fate. All families were the same. It was purely by chance at secondary school she discovered how wrong she was during a sex education class. That moment of truth changed her life.
Most of us do not have such experiences. But we do have other experiences which may colour our lives into believing it applies everywhere. I have often had clients whose mothers loved them so much anything they said was exceptional – no matter how mundane or dull. These clients often suffered when they went out into the real world. The world holds us to a higher standard. Their parents did not and would not hold them responsible for their actions and their words. These were the ‘too loved’ children and nothing would be discoloured by their words or actions. Boys and girls then grow up to men and women who marry and also learn to continue lying. The lines between lies and truths would never be discoloured nor discovered.
Exceptions to this rule I have found to be three things – three shocks which often wake up those who are being ‘lied to’. The ‘lied to’ suddenly stop closing their eyes. Was it not the first ever reason why the ‘liar’ married the ‘lied to’? because their eyes were so beautifully shut?
What are the reasons which often open eyes you may ask?
- Money. The fear of loss of money or sudden wealth can change how people are. They start to look with new eyes at things and those around them. many discover now around the recession as to whether they really meant to partner up with the person they are with now.
- Illness. It is when people are ill their eyes open up. A fear of death and loss opens up the lied to in many ways. Lies do not have the same effect to those who are ill. It is as though the heart opens up when the eyes are closed.
- Death. When someone close dies then the lied to cannot keep their eyes closed. Sleep is not possible any longer.
What though really makes someone lie? In this case the fear of abandonment is often at the root of the matter. The Senators wife was dying – in remission or not. She still had a greater potential to leave him. The older we are the more likely we are to die. It is a statistical probability that cannot be ignored. Add illness to that mix and the fear of abandonment is doubled. In fact the fear of abandonment has no fixed multiplier. It can be tripled. Quadrupled or more. The fear of abandonment is the ultimate fear.
It is when facing possible abandonment that we will find find if we have the strength and moral courage to act with compassion and inner silence. It is then we are tested. It is the hardest test we can have put upon us and not many of us will escape unscathed.
© 2009 Y