7 Ways We Lie To Ourselves

Being human means being a liar.

You may be saying to yourself "But I don't lie to anyone!"  And that may feel the like the truth, but the reality of life is that you are probably lying right now: to yourself.  We may pride ourselves in being truthful or honest to others, but we can't get away from those lies we tell ourselves every single day.  And while some are small, white lies, that are no big deal (like how good do we really look in our favorite shirt?), other times, we are truly damaging ourselves without even realizing it.  And when we're stuck in these types of self-deceit, we need to find our way out as fast as we can.

So, here are seven ways that we lie to ourselves that we need to immediately stop doing:

1. We pretend we're okay with abuse.

In the case of dealing with narcissists, abuse doesn't always have to mean screaming and punching (though it certainly can).  It can be insidious, sneaky, and seemingly harmless in the moment.  It can be them them undermining your every thought and your every decision.  And when you bring it up to them, they convince you that you're making an issue over nothing.  But in reality, you are being abused without even realizing it.  The issue with this type of abuse, is that it's almost unrecognizable.  And with that, it means that your self-confidence and self-esteem could be slowly eroded away for years on end with no means to slow it down or stop it.  Self-hatred is common with victims of narcissism.  Because we are always left wondering why we are such jerks that we cause so many issues in our relationship with this person but have no idea what we're even doing wrong.  The real issue is: we're not the ones doing anything wrong.  I mean, we're not perfect, but we're not the instigators.  And after we're free from the narcs (either by leaving, being left, or their death), we're stuck with this person we don't recognize anymore: us.  We've been beaten down, dragged through the mud, and reassembled into this person the narc turned us into. 

If you don't want to lose yourself, you need to leave the narcissist and seek counseling. 

If the narcissist is your mom, check out this book
(this book helped me get out of the narcissistic cycle with my own mother):

-Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers
by Dr. Karyl McBride

(all links in this post are affiliate links--meaning that I get a small percentage of the sale that goes to help put food on the table each day in my house--if you'd rather not purchase, feel free to look up these books in the library or for cheaper price used, I only promote books I'd promote anyways, with or without affiliate links)

For more info about narcissism in general, check out any of these books
(or google books on narcissism or rent them from your library or read all the websites you can-this disorder can be fought with knowledge):

-Psychopath Free (Expanded Edition): Recovering from Emotionally Abusive Relationships With Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Other Toxic People

-Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited,

-Becoming the Narcissist's Nightmare: How to Devalue and Discard the Narcissist While Supplying Yourself

Or maybe the abuse is yelling and screaming and profane?  But because it's from a person different than the usual, that you don't quite classify it as abuse.  You may call it "disrespect", but I'd like you to put that person in the position of your spouse, would you put up with that from them?  If not, then maybe you need to reclassify this behavior as what it is: abuse.  I am talking about our children.  Kids who abuse their parents (and some parents plainly take it without punishment to the children/teens--which only makes it 100x worse) will grow up to abuse their own spouses and children.  You need to stop this behavior in it's tracks as quick as you can and stop making excuses for why it's okay.  It's not easy, but it's doable.  I used to be one of these parents and eventually found out my oldest son had O.D.D. (oppositional defiant disorder).  When we realized what was going on, we quickly nipped it in the bud (at age 18--don't wait until your kid is 18!  It would had been a billion times easier had we realized what was going on sooner) with a program we found in Parenting Your Out-of-Control Teenager: 7 Steps to Reestablish Authority and Reclaim Love by Scott P. Sells.  I also recommend the Total Transformation Program (if you can find a used version of this, it's really worth it, but only for teenagers--this does not work for younger kids).   For younger kids, I suggest  10 Days to a Less Defiant Child, second edition: The Breakthrough Program for Overcoming Your Child's Difficult Behavior.

Accepting abuse, whether it's from a parent, a coworker, a boss, a child, or your significant other (or even a friend) tells your abuser that what they are doing is okay.  And it simply isn't.  You deserve better treatment than to let anyone treat you with disrespect.  Abuse can be emotional, physical, mental, verbal, spiritual, sexual, or financial.  Learn the signs at https://www.helpguide.org/articles/abuse/domestic-violence-and-abuse.htm

This page also have hotlines you can call in order to find yourself help.

2. We tell ourselves that it's our job to do everything when others can pitch in. 

Those of us who are moms or the women of the house, whether we're working or not, are a lot of times are expected to do all the chores around the house.  Especially if we are homemakers.  And not all of us are organized, so our houses are in various stages of disarray.  And then others in our house complain that we aren't pulling our weight.  As if us not having jobs equates to being maids, cooks, or at the worst, slaves.

The issue isn't as much when we realize we need help and ask for it, it's when our significant others tell us it's our job to do the chores, and we accept that as fact.  That we are inferior to our working SO's and that means everything falls onto us to get done, by ourselves.  Or we have spoiled children who sit around and make you do everything for them.

Let's take a step back, and really assess the situation: what do you do around the house and what do others do?  Who cleans the bathroom?  Who mows the lawn/shovels?  Who washes the dishes?  Who takes out the garbage?  Who cooks?  Who vacuums?  Who cleans your kids' rooms?  Who mops?  Take stock by writing it all down.  Now, does it look balanced to you?  Can your kids be doing more?  Can your SO be doing more?  Can you be doing more?  Usually you'll seen an imbalance, and most of the time the load is weighing more heavily on you than others (if not, then rebalance it the other way 😉).

Now, get to delegating.  I love these chore sticks, even for teens.  I have a pencil holder for each person in the house with a chalkboard tag on each one with everyone's names on them (I use a chalk pen so it doesn't rub off) and I put these chore sticks in each one.  We divvy them up together and the kids can trade with each other or with me or dad.  At ages 18 and 15, they still don't mind the sticks and always get their chores done when we utilize them (and we've had them for years!).

If others in your house are perfectly capable (and you may be in a mindset that certain people just "can't" do certain things--cut that out!  They can!)  of helping you out or doing their fair share of the chores?  Then make them.  Nobody else is going to make them.  If that means you have to leave your teenage son's clothes all over his room and never wash them again so he will eventually do it?  Then do it.  Nothing gets people off their asses (though usually with a complaint, but so what?  Let em complain!)  faster than you not doing their work for them anymore.  And this brings us to #3.

3. We let others take advantage of us.
This goes along with #2, but we're going to take it further.  Are you the one in your circle of friends who always drives?  Are you the one kid in your family who does everything for mom and dad?  Are you the one at work doing the brunt of the actual work? 

Let's build some boundaries, shall we

Above, we talked about delegation with our families.  Now we need to delegate with others.  If someone always asks you to drive, have a chat with them.  Say "Can you drive this time?"  If they say "Why can't you?"  Say something like "I think we should take turns, or everyone needs to pitch in gas money.   Your choice."  Don't give them an out.  Tell them "This, or that. Period."  And always bring it back to that.  "Yes, I know you can't drive this week, but then I need some gas money."  Don't let them get out of it.  Be firm.  If you have trouble being firm with them, then state plainly "I am sorry, this just isn't working out.  I can't go anymore (or I'm busy that night)."  When you put the person taking advantage of you in the hot seat, aka--either they listen to you or you quit whatever it is, then most of the time, they will back down. 

When it comes to work, and you're the only one pulling your weight, then I either suggest to just do your own work and stop doing anyone else's.  Also, make up a chart of what needs to get done, and who needs to do it (delegating again!) and post it where everyone can see it.  And put check marks next to each thing that way the people can check off what they've gotten done.  That way if anyone has a complaint about something not getting done, it's clear who's job it is to do it.

I've always found, for myself, that the worst type of users are my neighbors.  Whether it's me watching their kids for free, or borrowing my food, or asking me to sew something because I was the only person they knew who sewed, or asking to use the items in my house, it was always the same: knocking followed by asking for something (I even removed my doorbell at my current house for this reason--though it was a batter operated one, not a house one LOL). 

Back when we used to live in an apartment (living in a house is soooooooooooooooo much better!), I had a neighbor who used to come over to my house to use my washer and dryer.  "Could I just throw this in the dryer for a second?"  We were homeschoolers and the kids were pretty young, so we were busy all day, and every 10 minutes I'd get a knock at my door.  I got to the point I stopped answering my door.  But the knocking didn't stop.  Over and over and over again, all day long.  So, because back then I was not good at confronting people head on, I made a sign that said "From the hours of 8am to 6pm, we are homeschooling (no we weren't, but hey, she didn't know that!) so I will not answer the door for anyone unless you're the landlord or the police.  If you are either of those, please call me first so I know it's you.  And anyone knocking is disrupting our school day, so please wait until after 6pm.  If this is an emergency, then contact the landlord to call me.  Thanks!"  And it worked!  This goes to show, that even if you can't create strong boundaries head on, you can sneak around them and still get the job done.  Today, though?  I'd have told her "We are busy, do not knock on my door until the weekends, thanks!" and the slammed the door in her face. 

I have a sign out front of our house that says in Star Wars font: "This house is protected by wookies.  That means no hokey religions, no imperial scum salesmen, etc. etc."  (there's more but I don't know off the top of my head).  So, when I DO get a knock from some person who didn't see it, I will open the door and say "I am sorry, can you read?  My sign says no soliciting, don't come back, thanks!"  I don't like my days being interrupted by salespeople, so I am not very nice to them.  Though once I did feel bad for a really old guy who came to my house to discuss Jesus.  I listened and thanked him for coming out on a hot day (it was summer) and took his pamphlet and said goodbye.  I am not always mean.  But young people at my door trying to sell me gas and electric crap?  Nope.  No thanks.  One those jerks conned his way into my mother's house to get on her computer to check her bill.  Ugggh!  I need to make her a sign, too.  Talk about taking advantage of the situation! 

We can't let these people, whether they are neighbors, salespeople, family, or friends use us for their own gains.  And when you finally realize it's happening to you? You'll start to see it everywhere and eventually develop a thick skin for that sort of thing.  It just starts with you seeing it in the first place.  Don't tell yourself "It's not a big deal" because while in the moment, it may not be, but in the bigger picture?  You have a much larger issue going on.  So learn to say no.  Learn to build your boundaries and what you will and will not tolerate in life.

4. We don't know how to say "no" when people ask too much of us.

This is actually a spin off from #3 (which was a spin off from #2).

Do you cringe every time a certain person calls?  Knowing damn well they are going to ask you, yet again, to do something for them?  Yet, you still pick up the phone and agree to whatever they ask.  Sometimes we feel so obligated to make others happy, that we can't bear to leave anyone hanging.  And that ends up leaving us completely out of time for our own family or ourselves. 

I have a solution to this:

Just.  Say.  No.

If you have trouble telling others no, here is a great book that's called The Power of a Positive No: Save The Deal Save The Relationship and Still Say No. In this book you'll learn how to say no without hurting anyone's feelings and to not have a confrontation (unless you're dealing with a narcissist--then there's always a confrontation--though I will say, that when I use this technique with my mother who's a narc, it usually smooths things over way easier than if I were just to flat out say no or to lie about having to do something else).  And with this technique, you don't even have to feel guilty about saying no.

Your time is worth just as much as their time, always remember that.  I had a friend who asked me constantly do things for her "Would you babysit my kids every day for a week for free while I go to  work?"  "Can you and your kids and hubby help me move?"  "Can you watch my dog who's dying while I go on vacation?"  "Can you babysit my cats while I go on vacation?"  "Can you put me on your insurance so I can get my car out of impound?" (yes, she really asked me that...)  And the best one: "Can you bail me out of jail because I was arrested for parking ticket fines?"  *sigh* &nbsp

I eventually caught wind that I was only her friend when I could do something for her.   So, I set up my boundaries: I said "Sorry, I can't help you right now, I wish I could!" over and over until she got the picture that I was no longer her servant.  And eventually?  She stopped talking to me altogether.  I was fine with that.  I am not put on this earth to be used by my friends.  Or by anyone.  And neither are you.  So check out that book, or just set some boundaries by saying "no" whenever you have to.  And soon, you may find out if that "friend" is really a friend at all.  They're just a user who needed you to fuel their own lives.  Now it's time to fuel your own life instead.  You'll be amazed at how much happier (and mentally healthier) you are when you do.

5. We pretend that we're okay when we really aren't.

When someone asks us "How are you today?", for a split moment way may think in our heads how we'd really answer that question if someone was asking honestly.  But truthfully, nobody really is asking, are they?

am.  I want to know how you are today.  And every day.  Because most of us aren't okay.  Most of us are dealing with awful things in our lives, some internally, some outwardly.  And if we really answered someone with the truth, they'd get all wide-eyed and run for the hills.

So instead we plaster on a fake smile and answer with our canned response "Fine.  And you?"

And then there are those of us who feel like we're almost never fine and we still answer in the same way.  We walk around with smiles on our faces, all the while we feel like we're dying inside. 

Now, I am not saying to run around and tell everyone about everything that sucks in your life (we all know people who do that), but what I am saying is that you have to find at least one person to confide in and to learn to speak up for ourselves when we're feeling bad.  This means asking for help.

Look, hiding how you feel will not make it go away.  And pretending everything is fine will only result in making you feel worse.  So tell someone.  And if nobody will listen?  Seek out different people.  Whether you talk to a doctor, therapist, your spouse, a friend, or find a support group or all of the above, you will soon find out that it may be the best choice you've ever made.  And from there, you can find other help you may need to combat whatever is going on.

Sharing what pains us is not always easy, but it's definitely worth it.  Most experts also agree that journaling how we feel can have a huge impact on our mental health.  We can work out issues without even trying when we right them down.  Also, if the reason you are unhappy is another person, talking to that person can help the other person know how you are feeling about things and it can help clear the air.  I highly suggest Marshall Rosenberg's Non-Violent Communication series to learn how to discuss issues without arguing.

6. We tell ourselves we need things that rob us of our happiness and good health. 

Fourteen years ago I used to smoke a pack a day.  Quitting wasn't easy, but it was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life.  Every single day I woke up and lit up a cigarette.  And every single night, I smoked one before I went to sleep.  In between those moments, I smoked 18 other cigarettes: after every meal, when I was bored, after a shower, during a conversation, before a conversation, after a conversation, when I was driving a car, when I was riding in a car, and ten other daily instances.  I told myself I needed these for my own sanity.  Because, when you let your body go long enough without one, it really does feel like you're going a tad insane.  So to me, cigarettes equaled good: they made the bad feelings go away.  That's the nature of addiction and how it causes us to lie to ourselves. 

We feel we need the things that hurt us.  Quite a silly aspect of human nature, isn't it?  Yet, when we do learn to let go of our vices, we feel so much better, better than we ever have in a long time.  We just need to push through to get to that point.   It's not easy, but it's doable.

7. We pretend it's okay to give up on our dreams.

Walking away from a dream that no longer suits us is perfectly okay.  And putting our dreams on hold because of life circumstances sometimes is necessary.  But giving up on them because of some silly reason like we're "too old", or we "just don't have the time" (and sometimes, we legitimately don't, but usually this is just an excuse we tell ourselves so we feel better about walking away), is just plain wrong.  We can always make time to do what we love.  We can always change, be different, and grow.  And we're never too old to anything, ever.

Look at David Bowie.  He was 69 years old, dying from cancer, and not only made an entire album, but also created videos for the songs.  And then he died 2 days after the album's release.  I am not saying we should all be like Bowie and work our asses off until the end of our lives, but he's living proof that nobody is too old to do anything, ever. 

Here's a great post I saw on Facebook the other day that sums up this idea very well:

And that really sums up that idea: whatever you were born to do, even if it's just something small or if it's something huge, you can still do it.  You can always still do it.

So, where in your life are you lying to yourself right now?  Take a magnifying glass to your life and really look deep....I bet there's at least one place, if not more.  Just as I know there is in my own life, as well.  When you find out where, take action to replace those lies with truths.  Just pick something small and work up from there.  Eventually, those small choices will turn into bigger and bigger ones, and eventually will snowball into the truth.

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