For some the mantra is “never be dishonest”…is this realistic?
As kids we are taught that we must always tell the truth but when aunty asks mum “does my bum look big in this?” and mum says “no” when in fact it does look big we get confused…we have been introduced to the ‘white lie’. Another area where we begin being dishonest as kids is that of admitting we have done something wrong. This generally happens because we are scared of being punished and/or ridiculed. I guess that the reality is that things are rarely black white with almost everything being varying shades of grey.
Perhaps a mantra such as “always be honest except in circumstances where being dishonest avoids hurt or harm” would be more realistic?
Dishonesty may exist in a relationship for a variety of reasons. Some examples are:
- The deliberate passing of false information to work colleagues in order to sabotage work or progress careers
- Illicit affairs such as intellectual, emotional or sexual
- Protecting charges, such as children, from the truth where it is deemed they are not ready for it
- Sparing feelings such as giving the most appropriate answer to that minefield of a question…“Does my bum look big in this?”
- Preserving relationships
- Terminating relationships
Motivations for introducing dishonesty in to a relationship include:
- Fear of losing the relationship
- Concern about reactions to the relationship terminations
The most devastating form of dishonesty is self deceit. When we are in this state not only are we not aware that we deceiving ourselves but more pertinently we are not aware that we are deceiving others. A full discussion of this is outside the scope of this article but in summary self deceit is a form of mental illness the causes of which are many. In my experience the most common form of self deceit in relationships is the overuse of denial. Denial is a necessary psychological mechanism that gives us some breathing space before having to deal with devastating, traumatic or overwhelming issues – how often have we said to ourselves “I don’t believe this!” before the denial passes and we get on with the job of dealing with the issue. It’s when we get stuck in the denial that we start to deceive ourselves and, by extension, others.
Stay strong and serene.