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System of Lies

I am Bina Shah, a 30 year old architect. My husband Sunil, 32 years old,  a construction engineer has a problem of not telling the truth. We have been married since 5 years now and have one child 3 years old. I have realized that Sunil does not always tell me the truth. I have recently come to know that we have a debt of 8 lakh rupees. This money was for the wedding of my sister-in-law. Sunil is a very god-fearing and mild mannered person. I have never known him to wish ill for anybody. He always abides by all the rules of life and has been an excellent partner for me and a very good father to our child. Yet, I find my trust in him declining because of these small lies. I cannot understand why this is happening. Please advise.

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Lying is not only the weapon of people with intent to deceive for manipulation and to deprive the other person of what is rightfully theirs. It is a very good defense against one’s own anxiety also. A whole of system can develop in people as a result of their inability to fight truthfully because they feel that they will lose. There are 2 types of attitudes that we have. One is our creativity or our positiveness for progress; the other is our aggressiveness or our destruction capacity. A combination of both is needed in order to make a good progress. If there is any amount of a decent progress, it is always going to be accompanied by problems or difficulties. In order to surmount these difficulties, there has to be the use of aggressiveness.

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There are people who cannot activate their aggressiveness. As a result, they either have to leave their desires uncompleted but they are unable to let go of the desires also. Therefore they resort to a lie in order to get their way around the issue. Their lying is a act of cowardice in order to get their desires without being aggressive. These people regard any act of aggression as causing severe guilt, at the same time they are able to circumvent their conscience to fit in the lie as a substitute. The logic behind this action is that the lie is not causing as much harm as would an aggression or bluntness would have caused, secondly it allows them to think of themselves as non-aggressive people, thirdly they are able to fulfill their desire which they think is right without having resorted to aggression. People like Sunil generally have encountered a very aggressive parent who has been very dominant in their behavior. As a result, dominance and aggressiveness are feared and they are unable to take up the responsibility of their lives. They use a system of lies in order to circumvent the dominance.

This persists later on. Thus the system of lies is an act of cowardice than an act of belligerence. They perceive that the other person is an embodiment of aggression and they are the positive progress wishers; in order to fulfill that goal of progress, they will have to go around the aggression and that they can do with lying. In this way the lies are justified in their mind. However, the effect of guilt always comes into play. Therefore these people are always caught in their lives. They do appear to be very remorseful for their behaviour when they are caught; but they are resistant to change also.


How can you help?

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The main task is to help Sunil in removing the fear that leads to lying. He has to stop fearing that the others are aggressive. You will have to be extremely supportive to him and model a non-aggressive method of dealing with his lies. You will have to support him in developing an aggressive stance to his problems. This will lessen his cowardice. You will also have to help him dilute his strong moralistic stance which is causing him to fear aggression so much. Lastly, you will have to help him understand to let go of certain desires he is not able to fulfill and for which he resorts to lying.

You will have to help him develop a cohesive sense of the self so that he is able to integrate all his desires and fears within himself. He will have to look very closely at his capacities and focus on building up more capability than perfect the art of lying.

Dr. Darshan Shah

Dr. Darshan Shah, a renowned psychiatrist and psychotherapist, is committed to make a difference in the area of mental health and help individuals cope with feelings and symptoms; change behavior patterns that may contribute to one’s illness and henceforth contribute to their newly improved pathway of life.