Adult Children of Divorce often find themselves in the fallout of parental lies.
Sometimes both parents have lied in the past. Sometimes one has been deceptive in the past and now both are lying in the present. At times there is one who has lied in the past and betrayed the other parent, and those untruths threaten to damage or succeed in destroying the family that has been known. Lies are often told in cases of marital unhappiness because there is an inability to solve ones own problems or the problems of the couple. Secrecy can be conducted when conflicts are not resolved. The degree of the secrecy and lies effects the severity of the damage.
One of the places I have found support is the discussion board entitled Adult Kids of Divorce on Yuku. While scanning entries today I came across the following paraphrased statements, many which could have been echoed by me, or by you , if you are a fellow acod.
"we all thought we had a nice, cozy family, when the lies came out"
"lifetime of lies"
"betrayals and lies"
"mother hides everything"
"mother lies to my brother and sister and tells different stories"
"mother and her friend came up with unreal concoctions of lies"
"dad lied about where he was going on weekends"
"he/she lies without realizing it"
"I wonder if my childhood was all lies"
In my case, the lying and deceit was one of the most difficult things for me to reconcile.
I had been taught by both parents to "tell the truth" and that "honesty was the best policy" and the 10 commandments of the Bible were held as rules by which to live. Naturally , therefore, the discovery that my dad had lied so deeply and for so long and about something so important caused my sense of mistrust to skyrocket!
I felt as though I didn't know how to trust people, if I couldn't even trust my own father.
This insecurity in my ability to spot lies, caused me to educate myself. I read a book called
Lie spotting by Pamela Meyer. If there is any 'silver lining' in my experience, it is that I feel I may be better at spotting a lie when I see or hear one in the future.
Here are just a few tips from the book Lie spotting on how to possibly spot a lie:
- listen for a context of truth
- listen and look for intense emotions
- listen for answers that give too much information or very little information
- pay attention to whether the question is avoided
- ask yourself if there is a defensive tone
- ask if there is extreme language when denying ( "did NOT", "I swear to God")
- notice if the person's body language, words and emotions do not match up ( there may be nice words, with an angry face)
When ACODs reflect on being lied to , and know how badly it hurts and breaks down relationships, they often consider more honesty in their own personal lives.
Truth and honesty are qualities that we need to take seriously and commit to building and guarding in our interactions with others. But why keep it honest if others don't?
As I talked with my counselor about this issue, she repeated two phrases to me that I wrote down so I would not forget them. Truthfulness builds Trust and Honesty builds Intimacy she said. If you need a concrete reason as to why honesty is the best policy, that is it. Relationships that encourage the growth and love that we all desire, are built with honesty as the foundation.
So how do we keep it honest? The DOs and DON'Ts:
DO try to talk to people face to face or by phone so each person can "read" the other best
DO invite others to be honest with you , or to begin to be honest with you
DO be kind and strong if you need to expose an untruth, while still giving freedom of choice
DON'T underestimate the power of honesty in a relationship
DON'T let yourself be controlled by a lie
" When you tell a lie, you become a slave to something that isn't real"..."you become a servant to that lie" ---- taken from At Home In Mitford novel
SHARE WITH ME/US HOW LIES AND TRUTH HAVE PLAYED A PART IN YOUR ACOD EXPERIENCE.
The grief stage of Depression will be our next topic .
Make time for me (Serenity) next week as we find Help and Hope for depression as Adult Children of Divorce !!