Why people lie.

By David Joel Miller.

Why do so many people lie so much of the time?

Truth or lie

Why they lie.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

We talk a lot about the importance of honesty. What it comes right down to it there’s a lot more lying than telling the truth going on. When I see couples, they frequently accuse each other of lying, or they both talk about how important honesty is to them. Commonly there are heated discussions about what the truth is.

Why is it so hard to find the truth? Why can’t people stop lying? The phantom nature of truth is behind a whole lot relationship conflicts and parenting issues. Here are some of the reasons why people can’t agree on what the truth is and who is lying.

They believe what they’re telling you even though it’s untrue.

Have you ever met someone who goes on vehemently insisting that something is true when others are equally certain that it’s not true? One common reason for this inability to agree on truth versus lie is that people insist on the truth of the things they believe to be right, up until they discover they were wrong.

I find it hard to call it lying when someone tells me something and really does believe it. I think we all need to recognize that just because someone tells us something does not mean it’s true. This does not mean there lying; it just means they are mistaken in what they believe. You need to make your own evaluation of things. Especially don’t rely on others to be correct when the consequences to you of their being mistaken could be serious.

Impression management, they want you to think well of them.

Most people want to be liked. They will tell you the truth about things that make them look good while leaving out the parts that make them look bad. You ask your spouse if they paid the water bill and they say yes. What they don’t say is they forgot to mail the check, and the bill got paid two weeks late. It’s common to bend the truth not by saying things that are outright lies, but by leaving out part of the story. Kids will avoid telling you when they got a bad grade on a test.

They want to spare your feelings.

Too much honesty can hurt people’s feelings. When we know that the truth might be painful, we tend to leave parts out or sugar coat what we say. The woman asked you, does this dress make me look fat, rigorous honesty is not the best policy. Friends are often reluctant to deliver bad news. If you can’t handle the truth, people are likely to keep it from you.

To avoid conflict, you won’t like the truth.

You ask your partner if they talked to their ex, today. They tell you no because they know you would be extremely angry if you found out they were having contact with that ex. They work at the same company with that ex, and they know they will see them every day. If when they tell you the truth, you punishment them, yell or give them the silent treatment, they stop telling you the truth.

Because it works.

Lying gets them what they want, and out of doing things they don’t want to do. Little kids learn early on to say what they think you want to hear. You ask if they did their homework and they say yes. The result is they get to watch TV or play video games instead of having to do homework. Lying can do two things, get you something you want, or get you out of having to do something you don’t want to do.

To avoid punishment.

The part they told you was true, they just left some things out. You asked the kids did they do their homework. You told them no TV till after the home was done. They tell you yes, I read three chapters of history. They leave out the part about not having done their math or English homework because right now there is a show on TV, they want to watch.

When you ask someone if they did something they were not supposed to do, the most common reaction is to deny they did it.

You are using a different standard.

Ask most kids if they cleaned up their room and they will say yes. To them cleaning up the room means putting one or two things in the closet, probably they tossed their dirty clothes in there. Out of sight out of mind. To you cleaning up the room means a lot more than hiding the dirty clothes.

Those are some of the reasons people lie. Ask yourself if you have ever been less fully truthful. Why did you do it? Was it one of these reasons? Can you think of other reasons you may have lied?

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Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

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Surviving a Narcissist.

By David Joel Miller.

Some narcissists you just cope with.

a narcissist

Surviving a Narcissist.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

It may be hard, but there are plenty of times in life when you are going to have to get along with difficult people. Narcissists turn up everywhere you go. Some occupations, business management, politics and other high-pressure jobs attract people who are high in narcissistic traits. I’m beginning to believe that some jobs turn vulnerable people into pathological narcissists. Sometimes, for your own peace of mind, you must find ways to work with them.

If you are in a close, romantic relationship with the narcissist, or if they are a relative you may decide that you just have to accept them the way they are. Sometimes it’s not worth the conflict to upset your narcissist.

Here are some suggestions for surviving that narcissistic encounter.

Give that narcissist lots of praise.

Narcissists expect, need, frequent praise and complements. The best way to get along with a narcissist is to give them lots of approval. Some narcissists are insecure, and they crave praise. If you don’t give it to them, they are offended. Other narcissists believe they deserve your appreciation and will feel cheated if you don’t express your admiration. Hand out that verbal recognition in front of others to maximize its effects.

If you must criticize a narcissist, do it in private.

Narcissists expect to be praised and admired. Saying anything negative or disagreeing with them in public is likely to be taken as a personal attack. If you are forced to disagree with a narcissist or give them bad news, do it privately so that their public persona remains undamaged.

Make the narcissist the center of attention.

The higher that someone in your life is in narcissism the more they believe they should be the center of attention. If you take the spotlight off the narcissist, expect an all-out war. When they are in the room, let them shine. Your time comes with a narcissist is off stage. If you want to earn extra points, make sure you mentioned their contribution favorably whenever you get recognized.

Get clear on the narcissist’s rules.

Narcissists believe they are superior to others. If you want cooperation, make sure you know what their rules are and follow them. They may have a distorted understanding of truth, lies, and loyalty. You need to develop an understanding of when leaving negative things out will be considered lying and when not telling them your criticism will be considered loyal.

Do not cross a narcissist.

Because of the narcissist’s sense of entitlement, they are very likely to take everything personally. Before you take action, consider carefully whether the narcissist will agree with what you said and did. In making choices, your primary consideration will be making the narcissist happy. Make sure what you do will make them look good.

Keep your narcissist laughing, use humor.

Don’t get heavy or serious with the narcissist. They expect to be the source of all important ideas. Keep it light. Look for ways to keep them laughing. When you make the narcissist happy, they like you. Avoid being the one to bring them bad news. Narcissists are likely to blame the messenger. They tend to reward people who tell them what they want to hear even when it’s untrue. Narcissists are equally likely to punish people who bring them bad news even when it is a necessary truth.

More about Narcissists.

As we move through our series of Narcissism posts, feel free to ask questions and leave comments. To help you find these posts, below are some links to point you in the right direction. Keep in mind that all the posts about narcissists appeared in the narcissism category but links to future posts will not be live until future posts appear.

Narcissism category.                          Personality disorders.

Narcissistic traits.                               Psychology. (coming soon)

Narcissistic relationship partner.        Relationships.

Self-esteem.                                        Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Trapped in a bad relationship?

By David Joel Miller.

Hate your relationship but can’t leave?

Can't stop fighting?

Trapped in conflict?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Do you feel trapped in an unhappy situation? You know this relationship is not meeting your needs, but you’re not sure that anything else would be any better. One thing we find in marriage or relationship counseling is that people tend to repeat the same mistakes over and over. If you don’t discover what the problem is, it will keep happening.

Sometimes the problem is one partner or the other. If it’s you then you need to change. If at your partner, well, in that case, your options are limited. You can’t change someone else; only they can change themselves. What you can do is change the situation, change yourself, or learn how to accept the situation. You may decide that this situation needs to end.

Very often, however, the reason the relationship is unhappy lies in the space between two people, the way they relate to each other. There are certain things that people do, which keep the relationship an unhappy one. Therapists often see people who end one relationship, subsequently, start a new relationship, only to find they’re having the same problems in their new relationship.

Here are some things that may be happening in your current relationship which you need to learn how to handle if you are ever to have a happy relationship.

Avoiding conflict does not resolve the problem.

In some relationships, one or both partners are conflict avoidant. They don’t want to argue about things, and as a result, nothing ever changes. Conflict avoidance is an especially difficult problem when the conflict avoidant partner never tells their partner what they want.

Conflicts are part of life. A lack of conflict in a relationship does not mean it’s a perfect relationship. It’s not disagreements that damage relationships, but the way in which two people resolve those disagreements. Work on being able to express your disagreement with your partner in a way that they can hear. Work on finding win-win solutions rather than engaging in protracted disagreements over who is right and who’s in control.

What attracted you, may be pushing you apart.

Finding someone with the qualities you lack can be very attractive. Being with a person who is different from you can be exciting. But after you have been in the relationship a while things change, your needs change, and the qualities that brought you together may be the very things that are causing the problems.

That strong partner made you feel safe in the beginning but ends up being controlling. Your partner may have seemed like a lot of fun and helped you get out of your shell. But now you realize you have always been very responsible, and that fun person now looks irresponsible.

You don’t ask to have your needs met.

Don’t think that if your partner truly loved you, they would do things to make you happy. Very few people can read minds. Being deeply in love does not make you a mind reader. People who will not ask for what they want, create impediments to a good relationship.

You can’t win by beating up your teammate.

When aggressive, achievement-oriented people get together, they often end up competing with each other. When you are both hostile and want to win, you end up locked in a constant struggle for dominance and control.

When one partner assumes the one up position, there’s a high risk that the other partner will become resentful. The best solutions to partner disagreements are learning how to create win-win situations in which both people get their needs met. Compromising does not mean both people need to give up or lose something.

Playing the blame game and finger-pointing damages relationships.

Couples in unhappy relationships often begin to blame each other. When one person is criticized, their response is to criticize their partner for other issues. If you want to have a good relationship, learn to tackle one issue at a time. If you did something wrong admit it. Work on making it right. Pointing out all the things your partner has done wrong does not excuse your error, and mutual recriminations poison the relationship.

Needing to be right requires your partner to be wrong.

Insecure people need to always be right. They never want to hear that anything they have done was less than perfect. They often have lots of excuses as to why it’s not their fault. This “right fighting” can lead to endless episodes of arguments. Often there is no resolution. Many couples argue over things for which there is no correct answer. One person prefers one beverage while the other prefers a different beverage. The inability to allow your partner to have a different opinion than yours has resulted in couples locked in an eternal mortal combat.

Needing the last word keeps the argument going.

Once you’ve had your say, stop talking. Trying to always get in the last word doesn’t make you right. Keeping at it results in a relationship with only one topic, “who is right?” Make an effort to hear your partner out.

If you can’t hear what your partner is saying or feeling, there’s no communication.

Lots of couples show up for marriage counseling wanting to improve communication. What that often means is one of them wants the other to do something. Communication is not about being right or about arguing your partner into doing what you want. True communication in relationships furthers understanding. Make sure you’re listening to understand what your partner means. The missing part of communication is often a failure to understand what the partner is feeling.

If what you been doing or saying has been making your partner feel unloved or disrespected what’s needed is not to prove to them how much you love them or how correct you are. The best way to improve for relationship communication is to listen for the feelings behind the words that are being said. Once you get the feelings, the exact words are less important.

How many problems do you have in your relationship?

In distressed relationships, it is important to take a good look at the things you could do to improve your current relationship. Until you have learned good relationship skills, whether you stay or leave, any relationship you get into is likely to have the same problems.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother's Day

By David Joel Miller.

To all the mothers out there who have given their unconditional love regardless of what your children look like or do here is wishing you a happy mother’s day.

If you didn’t have a mother like that, then work on giving yourself that love on this day devoted to the way a caring mother can make us all happy.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Lonely.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Lonely Flower

Lonely.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Lonely.

“All alone! Whether you like it or not, alone is something you’ll be quite a lot!”

― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! and The Lorax

“You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re with.”

― Wayne Dyer

Living the past is a dull and lonely business; looking back strains the neck muscles, causing you to bump into people not going your way.

― Edna Ferber

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Surviving a relationship breakup.

By David Joel Miller.

How to recover from that relationship.

Being alone again.

Alone after the breakup?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Breakups can be traumatic. Losing a close friend is difficult. Ending a relationship with a romantic partner is especially tough. You not only lose your primary partner, the one you’re closest to, but you also may lose your hopes and dreams for the relationship you expected to have. It’s not unusual for people going through a breakup to wish they never gotten into that relationship in the first place. Some people will even tell themselves and others they will never fall in love again. Other people try to cope by immediately jumping into a new relationship. If you find yourself either swearing off relationships forever or frantically trying to find a new lover, look at some of the tips below on how to survive a romantic breakup.

Give yourself time to grieve.

We all start off relationships expecting them to be wonderful. Few, if any relationships live up to those expectations. Making a romantic relationship work is a challenge. Ending a relationship can be traumatic. While you may not be sad because the relationship you were in has ended, you may even be telling yourself you’re better off without them, you’re still likely to need to grieve the loss of the idealized relationship you had expected.

Sometimes individual problems take their toll on relationships. If one or both partners has struggled with drugs or alcohol or a mental illness those issues can damage a relationship beyond repair. Many people in recovery, who had recently ended a relationship, find that they need to spend time outside of a relationship to find themselves again.

Spend some time focused on yourself.

Periods between relationships don’t need to be sad or unhappy. The task you need to focus on is looking forward not back. These times of being single again allow you to experiment with new activities and new friends. Rather than always doing what a partner likes to do, this can be a time for you to discover what you truly like to do. The best friendships develop out of shared activities and experiences.

Pay attention to self-care.

Once out of a relationship it is important to take some time to pamper yourself. Once on your own again it may be a good time to upgrade your wardrobe, get rid of mementos that remind you of your ex. The stress of navigating a rocky relationship can take its physical toll. Proper diet, getting some physical exercise, good sleep habits, all will contribute to an improved physical and mental health.

Reconnect with friends and family.

Often in a new relationship, people spend all their time with their new partner. Once out of the relationship you may realize that your friendships and connections with your family have suffered. Use this single again time to do things with friends you haven’t seen for a long time. Invest some extra time in your family.

Avoid ruminating.

Avoid the temptation to sit and turn that relationship over and over in your mind. Avoid the temptation to over analyze who did what and what went wrong. This process of chewing on what’s bothering us is often referred to as rumination.

The more you sit and turn over the mistakes of the past, the more likely you are to become depressed. If there are lessons, you need to learn, make a note of them and then move on.

Skip the unhelpful thoughts.

Watch out for black and white thinking. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking because this relationship ended you will never find another partner. Don’t say I will always be alone. Those all or nothing, black and white thinking problems can mislead you into all kinds of unhealthy behaviors. The fear that if you lose this partner, you might not find another keeps many people in unhealthy relationships. Watch the words you use. Never, always, can’t, should, must, all should be eliminated from your vocabulary.

Fill up your time.

Being alone doesn’t mean you must be lonely. Being alone with nothing to do gives all those negative thoughts and empty mind to play in. Stay active, consider trying some new adventures, things you always wanted to do but didn’t because your past partner wasn’t interested in them.

Pick up an old hobby.  Be creative again.

Post-relationship you need to rediscover you. When people enter new relationships, it becomes all about “us.” After a period in this relationship, it is common to begin to wonder if there’s still a “me,” now that there is an “us.” Finding yourself again is an important task.

Think about things that used to bring you joy, that you may have stopped doing while in this relationship. Consider doing an old hobby or starting a new one.

Create some space for new things.

Freshly out of a relationship you may find your living space is full of reminders of your ex. This is a good time to clean out closets. If there are things that continually remind you of your ex, pack them up or get rid of them. At some little touches to make this living place truly yours. Redecorating can help you adjust to the change.

Look at your wardrobe. Weed out the things you don’t need anymore. Get yourself some new threads. Prepare yourself for new adventures.

Consider getting some counseling.

Some sadness post-breakup is normal. It’s even common to cry. If you find you can’t get past the loss of the relationship now might be a good time to get some counseling. If this life event is interfering with your ability to work or go to school, it’s a problem. If a life problem keeps you from being able to be around family and friends, that’s also a problem. If you’ve reached the point where you’ve decided, it’s time to get over this breakup, now might be a great time to see a counselor.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Does your communication destroy your relationships?

By David Joel Miller.

How you talk to each other matters.

Old phone

Bad Communication.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Faulty communication is a major relationship destroyer.  Unfortunately, many people try to use communication like a magic wand to get them what they want.  Couples often come into relationship counseling and describe their problems as poor communication.  What they often mean is that one of them is not getting what they want.  Getting what you want as in getting your needs met involves being persuasive, assertive or learning negotiating skills.

Good relationship communication is about growing and developing relationships.  The way in which you talk and listen to other people either builds positive relationships or destroys the ones you have. Be careful that the way you’re communicating is not sabotaging your relationships.  Avoid using the following communication tools if you want to maintain positive relationships.

Stonewalling prevents closeness.

Stonewall it is the art of not communicating.  People use this technique often give others the cold shoulder.  It’s almost impossible for humans to interact without communicating something.  Giving someone the silent treatment neither improves that relationship nor the communication.

Blaming weakens your connection.

Blaming is one of the ways of communicating their results in a relationship where one person is above the other.  Think about what it looks like when a parent is scolding a child.  Often this is accompanied by finger-pointing and yelling.  When adults resort to this method to communicate with other adults the effort to blame and shame the other person damages the relationship between them.

Placating reduces communication.

Placating is the way a little child might talk to an angry parent. You would hear them say, yes mommy; I’m so sorry mommy.  Among adults placating takes the form of saying you will do things but never doing them.

Passive-aggressive behavior builds hostility.

The passive aggressive of the world spend their lives slamming doors and muttering under their breath.  Rather than directly expressing their displeasure in an adult way they go to great lengths to display their anger.  Seething with anger that they go out of their way to get even.

Saying you’re not OK harms your relationship.

Couples, where one person is constantly telling the other partner they are defective, are headed for disaster. No one likes to repeatedly hear that they are not okay. Constantly criticizing your partner for who they are, conveys the message that you don’t think they are capable of change. If you find yourself telling your partner that they are not okay, you need to ask yourself why you picked this partner in the first place. If your partner is struggling with and emotional problem or an addiction, encourage them to seek help. You also need to be willing to look at the ways in which you are contributing to this problem.

Saying I know better damages relationships.

They are your partner, not your child. Relationships, good ones, should be partnerships, not parent-child relationships. Successful relationships require listening to the other person’s point even when you don’t agree. Trying to act like your partner’s parent curtails communication and makes for an unhappy relationship.

Telling them having a child will fix your relationship.

Many troubled relationships make the mistake of believing that they just have a child everything will turn out okay. Having a child while in a shaky relationship can be catastrophic. You can break up with a partner, but you will forever be in a relationship with your child’s parent. Both pregnancy and the early years raising an infant can be extremely stressful. Don’t try to make your child the adult in the family.

Avoid quoting what your family and friends say.

A piece of fruit with a hole in the skin starts to rot. A cell with a broken membrane soon dies. Your relationship needs good boundaries, and you need to keep family and friends out of your disagreements. Resolving conflicts is not about proving who is right. Learn to discuss and resolve problems between the two of you. Stop quoting others who agree with you.

 

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books