Telling the truth and making someone cry is better than telling a lie and making someone smile. Paulo Coelho
I finished reading the last book on my Summer Reading List last week: She’s So Fine by Jaimee Campbell. Samantha Block appears to be an ordinary housewife but an incident, when she gets mugged, takes her back to traumatic events that she experienced as a child and she embarks on a sort of vigilante campaign, punishing people that she sees abusing or taking advantage of others.
Her husband starts getting suspicious and becomes upset when he finds out that she has been keeping substantial secrets about her past from him. She argues that her past is hers and that it does not change who she is and the fact that she loves him.
Reading this book raised some questions in my mind.
Do we ever truly know the person that we share our life with?
Is omitting parts of the truth lying?
Is keeping secrets lying?
I have read somewhere that a thousand truths can be erased by one lie and that a true relationship can only happen when you can tell anything and everything. No secrets or lies.
Obviously if you live or have lived with a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, you will know that secrets and lies are part of everyday life. Narcissists are pathological liar and emotional abusers. They lie as they breathe. It is part of their making. They have to lie because the truth would destroy them. So instead, they destroy you with their lies.
Funnily, one of the qualities that attracted me to my ex-partner was his honesty! I genuinely believed that he was such an honest person that he would never lie to me or betray me. So, when his behaviour started becoming erratic, distant and suspicious, I was extremely surprised and convinced myself that I was imagining things or being oversensitive and unreasonably distrustful. However as his behaviour deteriorated and became more and more secretive, I had to face the truth that he was not the man I thought he was and that he was hiding things from me.
He lied in many different ways to keep things more confusing for me and cast a doubt on my suspicions. He omitted, altered or simply created the truth. Then his stories became his truth, his re-invented versions of events. He re-made history. He lied about the past, the present and the future.
Most of his lies were in relation to keeping too close to many ex-girlfriends or other women, although there were other lies regarding his whereabouts and time keeping. When I say too close, I mean texting almost every day. In fact with one of his ex- girlfriend (or friend with benefits as he prefers to say), Marta, we had a sort of ménage à trois. She was a constant presence in our life and the source of most of our arguments. He repetitively lied about being in touch with her and each time he promised he would stop texting her, he broke his promise and contacted her again. He even installed a new App on his phone to contact her, thinking that it did not count because it was not Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp.
When I started to realise that he was in fact insincere and I confronted him with his lies he reacted in one of the following ways:
- Subjecting me to the silent treatment by completely ignoring my pleas for an explanation.
- Stonewalling because he was too tired or hungry or busy to discuss his wrong-doings.
- Blame shifting as it was my fault he was lying because I could not handle the truth.
- Projecting his lies onto me as I was the one lying because I had had a text from an ex as well.
- Using word salad i.e. absolutely irrational stories to confuse and diffuse the situation.
- Denying everything even when caught red-handed.
- Exploding into a narcissistic rage and breaking something.
After such arguments, I would be left with my head spinning and my mind shattered by cognitive dissonance. I had the proof he was lying but he was so convincing in his denial that I had no choice but to believe him.
The lies eroded my trust little by little even when I fought to regain it and in the end there was no trust left. I turned into Sherlock Holmes, desperately trying to find proofs that he was still contacting his exes or being a bit too close to some of his clients. I became anxious, controlling and restless. His reaction was to tell me I was crazy, jealous, insecure and that is why he was lying. He never admitted that I became that way BECAUSE he was keeping secrets and lying.
After I broke up with him, we kept in touch but I still hear the same lies and the same excuses. I do not fall for it now as I know how to read him, but they still hurt. Sometimes his behaviour is so unpredictable that is difficult to make sense of things. I think I can handle the fact that he will never be truthful, but I have to ask myself why I would want to keep a person in my life whose intentions are never clear to me.
As Janell Hihi said in her last blog post How to Defeat a Narcissist :” Everything they say is partially a truth and partially a lie. If there is such a thing, narcissist are the “Inbetween People.” Who are never clear about who they are or their true intentions.” (link at the end of this post)
Secrets and lies destroy trust. Without it everything crumbles and falls apart. Relationships cannot survive deceit.