Suzanne Says

Questions & Answers

December 2006

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Question: The person I am in relationship with has a problem with telling the truth. Even when it would make no difference, my partner will change the facts sometimes. Integrity and being a person of my word is one of my top values, but not so with my partner, who thinks I overreact. We have gone around and around with this and I need more information.


Answer: I will talk about why people lie. However, I ask you to look within to figure out the reasons you are drawn to and in a relationship with one who lies. Time alone to ponder your family-of-origin patterns and history is a good place to start. Look where you were conditioned and unconsciously repeating dramas. Take your time, as it is like learning a new language to study yourself, why you make certain choices, and to determine how to improve your future. You might affirm daily, "I am ready to heal my life."

It may be important in your situation to explore whether or not your partner is willing to look at this as a serious issue in this relationship. When one person lives with high integrity and the other one does not, there is a basic difference in values. The more shared values a couple has the more compatible they are and therefore it is easier to accept the things that cannot be changed in the partner. Usually the expertise of a trained third party, counselor, minister, rabbi, or priest is needed when one party does not see that there is a problem.

Now to answer your question. There are many reasons why people exaggerate and lie. Not knowing you and your partner, I can only give an overview of why some people lie.

Some of the more common reasons people lie are:

  • The person does not want restrictions on what they do.

  • It was modeled to them as children. Honesty and integrity were not taught, expected, or valued.

  • The truth got them into trouble with an angry, overactive, dysfunctional parent, so lying became a way of life.

  • It became habitual and "normal" from acting out as a teenager, who wanted to explore the world outside of the family.

  • The person was parented with an extreme parenting style, overly permissive where behavior and time commitments were not valued or overly strict and too many things were punished and usually severely.

  • There was victimization by an abusive person parent or partner.

  • There is fear of paying the consequences of telling the truth. One example would be coming from an overly strict religious environment where one would be severely punished for things that most families would consider normal and okay.

  • Low self-esteem

  • Fear of losing control

  • Fear of rejection


Most people who lie are not truthful with themselves. If you are a person who lies to others and you want to stop, you need to start with understanding yourself and loving and forgiving yourself. Much inner work is needed to understand your past, family of origin issues, to recognize thoughts and feelings as they come up that make you fearful of telling the truth and keep repeating unhealthy old patterns, to clarify and reset your values, and much more. The first step is a conscious choice to change to live your lfe with honesty and integrity. Then:

  • Re-educate yourself to stop being a victim.

  • Build your level of honesty and integrity with yourself, then with others.

  • Take risks to tell the truth and to hear the truth.

  • Build your self-esteem. Talk kindly to yourself, practicing love and forgiveness.

  • Get counseling, read self-help books, take self-awareness classes.

  • Build a healthy network of friends to support your new growth.

  • Be grateful when someone loves you enough to call you on your lying and who expects you to be a fully functioning adult.






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