Habitual lying often begins as a means to gain attention, boost self esteem, or to increase social standing. However, over time the opposite often results. Habitual liars frequently find that they have burnt numerous bridges, spend large amounts of time alone, and have a difficult time maintaining relationships and retaining a job.
If you are a habitual liar and have decided that it is time to stop there are ways to stop lying. The following tips will help you take back your life.
First and foremost, it is imperative that you find a therapist that you feel comfortable with and can be honest with. Therapy is essential to determining the causes of your behavior as well as understanding what effect your lying has on those around you. Most therapy sessions will revolve around behavior modification.
You may participate in role playing exercises or situational skits with your therapist to help you deal with situations that would normally result in you telling a lie. It is important to make your therapist aware of any setbacks you may experience so that you can work through them.
Utilize your therapy sessions to figure out what your emotional needs are and how you can make sure they are met without resorting to telling lies. You may be lying in an effort to find companionship, increase your self worth, or to make your life more exciting. Work with your therapist to find ways to honestly meet these needs. Then, make this the basis for how you interact with others.
While working with your therapist you may discover that you have underlying psychological issues that must be dealt with. If your therapist feels that you may benefit from medication, they may refer you to a physician.
You may benefit from an anti-anxiety medication if you often lie in response to feelings of anxiety. If low self esteem or depression appears to be the root cause for your habitual lying you may find that antidepressant therapy is helpful. If you are prescribed medication it is imperative that you take it directly as prescribed and not stop your medication without discussing it with your physician.
Constant lying usually results in others not taking you seriously as an individual. Once others have realized that you are a habitual liar, you will have difficulty earning their trust back. Trust can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to win back. This may be a time when you want to participate in therapy with individuals that you have hurt the most by lying. It is an ideal environment to discuss what impact your habitual lying has had on others and make amends for your previous actions.
Just be aware that once you have told others that you have confronted your behavior and intend to change it, you must do it. If you revert back to lying, there is a good chance you will burn several bridges forever.
Be aware that you may need to start small. If you have spent the majority of your life telling elaborate lies you may find it almost impossible to stop lying overnight. Commit yourself to telling a small number of truths per day and increase them as time progresses. Do not expect that you can just stop a deep ingrained behavior in one or two days. It will take time, but it is possible to stop lying for good.
Know what a lie is. Lying by omission is a lie. This can be difficult for habitual liars to understand. Be aware that remaining silent is a form of lying that can have a significant impact on your relationship with others. For instance, if you cheat on your spouse and they find out, you cannot rationalize this to yourself by saying “Well, they did not ask me about it!” Leaving information out can have the same results as coming up with an elaborate lie, if not worse.
Telling the truth will likely dramatically decrease the stress that you are under. It is much more difficult and time consuming to try and remember what lies you have told and to whom. You will find that it is great relief to tell the truth.
Stopping habitual lying is difficult. It will take tremendous effort on your part, but the results will be well worth it.