“Hi Carly!

I need some advice/help. It seems that lately I have a problem with lying. I can’t help but blurt out lies. Don’t get me wrong, a good 85 – 90% of the time I am honest (no, that isn’t a lie). It’s like my mind automatically jumps to telling a lie instead of being honest. I don’t think I do it on purpose and its usually silly things that I will lie about. As you can imagine, my lies are creating issues in my relationship. What is wrong with me and how can I fix it?”

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Hello Anonymous

Well as a psychologist it is always important that I provide a non-judgmental space free from moralizing opinions etc. I think it’s safe to assume that you know that lying is generally considered wrong – it’s in the ten commandments for God’s sake (pun intended).

So let’s put aside the obvious fact that this is not a desirable or particularly virtuous character trait. The only way we’re going to get to the bottom of this is if we rather channel our energies into understanding WHY you are lying so much.

Could this be due to some unconscious fear that you are somehow inadequate and find yourself creating fictional events and stories to project onto the world in order to appear more likable, acceptable or cool?

If this is the case then I would say it is probably a good time in your life to seek professional help. We all need to come to terms with who we are and to accept and love ourselves (flaws and limitations included).

Take me for example: I have absolutely zero sporting or athletic abilities. As a child I tried my hand at soccer, hockey, tennis, cricket, netball, swimming, you name it. I was absolutely no good at any of it. At one time I thought I was quite good at tennis and that I quite liked it. I had a cool lightweight, metallic purple Dunlop tennis racket, which I thought was all kinds of swag. I used to get such pleasure hitting the ball at tennis practice…until a friend mentioned how bad I was because – and this is something that I had completely not understood until then – the point of the game is not merely to make contact with the ball but to aim the ball to land within the white lines. Mind Blown. Hopes Dashed.

So my lack of sporting abilities has just been one of those things I have had to accept. And yes, of course I could go around telling people I’m an Anna Kournikova type but it would be relatively easily for someone to see through my lies.

This may not be what your lying is about though. As you said, you lie about small things. So maybe it has something to do with the rush of knowing you have deceived someone. Desiring power in relationships is somewhat natural and if you are someone who lacks power or feels overpowered in other domains, perhaps you are seeking out situations in which you can demonstrate dominance over others (even if they are unaware).  You might struggle to accept this theory but just have a think about it. I know you say your lies are all just oopsies but from my perspective there is no human behaviour that is devoid of some (conscious or unconscious) motivation.

Above are just some ideas…maybe it’s time for you to do some self-reflection. But be careful, we are all at risk of lying to ourselves and there is fine line between telling yourself a lie to comfort or reassure yourself and being straight up delusional. Try to be honest with yourself as far as possible because the most important thing is that you know your truth and can live with yourself nonetheless.

Please continue to comment on this thread if you have more questions…