Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

When I was growing up, I lied a lot.  I lied a lot and I concocted and then told elaborate stories about myself, my family, my neighbors, the world.  I started at such a young age, that I’m not quite sure where it came from.

My mom tells a story about me being in kindergarten, and a policeman coming to my class to stay away from strangers and that kind of thing.  Apparently, I told the police officer mid-way through the presentation that when I was bad, my parents locked me in a closet and wouldn’t let me out, and that they didn’t feed me or let me use the restroom while I was locked in said closet.

Apparently my mom, who was present, and kindergarten teacher were so accustomed to my wild stories that they just shook their heads at the officer and he basically ignored my tall tales the remainder of the presentation.  Because, ya know, my parents gave me “bad drugs” and who knows what else.

Fast forward to third grade, where I told some real whammies and convinced my teacher that she couldn’t come to my piano recital because my piano teacher had died.  Well, she hadn’t, and I specifically remember being made to apologize and explain such to my teacher.  That was the first time I remember having to recant, and while I’d like to say there weren’t anymore instances, and that I learned my lesson, there would be many more stories that I would have to recant during my lifetime.

The elaborate lie-making didn’t end in elementary school.  It continued through middle school, where I made up stories about homework and forged my name on all of the disciplinary notes that were “sent home” from my German Languages teacher.  It didn’t stop there, either, although you would think having your bedroom’s contents stripped down to bed, dresser, and school-books would have inspired some sort of change.  It didn’t.

In high school, I told stories to get out of basketball practices, and when I started dating, I lied constantly about where I was, what I was doing, and who I was doing it with.  You would think that with all this practice lying, that I would have become skilled at it.  Not the case.  My parents knew every time I told even the tiniest lie and I was grounded on countless occasions.

And then I was sent off to college, to a town just an hour away, and continued with my lying ways.  I lied about taking my meds, about drinking, about staying out late, missing class, not doing homework, getting my first “C.”  Somehow the truth always came out, though.  And the results were often not very pretty.

Midway through college, I was lying about my location, for the most part.  I had a boyfriend in my hometown and I would drive back nearly every weekend to stay with him.  And when  I stay with him, I mean sleep over at his place and tell my parents I was still back at school.  They didn’t buy much of that, either.

After college, the lying became harder to do.  I was in an abusive relationship and I barely talked to my parents.  I didn’t know how to get out, how to get help, what to do.  Looking back, I could have easily moved home, but at the time I felt like that would mean I had truly failed at the game of life.

About nine months after getting out of school and into this nasty relationship, my life came to a halt.  I had moved out of the abusive boyfriend’s house and into an apartment.  I talked to my family frequently, but lied about my drinking and, in my eyes, was hiding some of the most confusing rapid cycling ever.

When I hit bottom, my parents told me I was moving back home and needed to start over.  I accepted it.  I was without even a shred of sanity and I couldn’t take anymore.  By moving me back to town, my parents likely saved my life.  I couldn’t have gone on the way I was much longer.  I was finally honest about my symptoms, and about what life had dealt me.

And for a period of time, I was more honest in everyday life.  I was upfront about what I was doing and where I was.  I was living life in survival mode, and I listened most of all to what my parents told me to do.  I’m glad I did, because I would not be here today without them and their support.

After a transition period, I moved out on my own and jumped into a relationship.  I found myself lying about this person, because I knew he wouldn’t match up to what my parents thought I deserved.  And that became the pattern for the next ten years.  I lied about where and how I spent my money, and I lied about whatever boyfriend I had at the time.  And of course, I lied to those boyfriends.

When I met DSB, one of the first thing he ever told me was that he didn’t tolerate lying.  And I was in a severe manic episode when we first got together, and I lost track of all the hundreds of tiny little lies that I told.  A few months into our relationship, he sat me down and we talked about my lying and how it affected us.  He couldn’t trust me, didn’t trust me.  It felt horrible to hear him say that.  DSB prides himself on being a man of his word, and here I was, lying away to him.

I made a concerted effort in the months after that not to lie.  We came up with a system, because sometimes a lie would slip out before I even realized, like it was a bad habit.  If I lied, I had to say something immediately.  And so I started doing that, and the lies became fewer and farther in between.  I was learning, at 30, 31 years old, how NOT to lie.  It amazes me, thinking back.

Now here I am, two years later, and I can proudly say that I feel I am an honest person.  I feel like you can trust what is coming out of my mouth, I’ve stopped making up stories, and I keep my word.  If I tell you I’m going to do something, then you had better believe I’m going to do my best to make it happen.  And I will.  And I do.  DSB has helped me to be a better person by yanking the lies right out of my head.  I hardly ever tell an “accidental” lie now, and I never put thought into crafting a tale about something.

It’s a lot easier to just be honest the first time around.  Then you don’t have to keep track of what lie you told to who, when.  The other thing about keeping your word and not lying, is that you come to expect it in other people, and you tend to say something when everything isn’t on the up-and-up.  I wish it hadn’t taken 30 years to learn not to lie, but I am grateful I have people in my life who have taught me that lesson.

27 thoughts on “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

  1. With a history like that, you had two career choices: Writer or Politician.

    I lied a lot through high school, but changed when I no longer had to hide what I was doing from anyone. Growing up and leaving home resolved the problem.

    I always tell people to give truth a chance as long as it won’t put you in danger. It’s so easy to remember! Excellent piece!

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  2. I was a chronic liar also. Like you I find myself automatically starting to lie for no reason whatsoever except to make the story more interesting. Be proud of yourself for still being teachable at 30 yrs old.

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    • Ain’t that the truth in a nutshell… lying for the sake of lying. I’m not even sure ’tis to make a more interesting story, other than for oneself.

      I speak from experience, living for years with a chronic liar. 😉

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    • Well thanks, Bradley. I am proud of all the lessons I have learned in the past couple of years…just wish it hadn’t taken me so long to get here! Life could have been a lot easier, that’s for sure. And yes, I still sometimes automatically pop one off, but I generally recant quickly and I am just lucky to have a little embarrassment instead of a mess on my hands.

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  3. Oh my I used to lie my arse off, usually to make myself seem better or cooler or more indifferent than i actually was. I would try to manipulate people to my will and would lie with the greatest of ease and skill. I learned in my mid to late twenties that it’s damaging so i stopped doing it in my relationships, i would still tell the odd lie to cover for my illness, like when i had to cancel plans because i was feeling batshit crazy but didnt feel i could tell the person i had plans with the truth. now i lie for shits n giggles, nothing important. i’ll find myself lying to the girl at the grocery store who mundanely asks ‘how are you?’ – i’ll tell her something to change the bored expression on her face, but i don’t lie to the people i love.

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    • Hahah! I can imagine the poor grocery store clerk, and what you would say. Love that! And that’s the key, not lying to the people you love. Thanks for stopping by McKarlie…you always make my day!

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      • Oh I tell them all kinds of crazy shit. When I lived in England people would always think they were being funny asking if i was related to steve irwin, eventually i got annoyed and just started saying ‘yep, he’s my second cousin’. Just after I’d returned to Australia, he died!!! Suddenly all these condolence emails and messages started pouring in, I said to my mum ‘shit, i feel bad should i tell them’ she was like nah just say thank you and leave it be lol whoops!

        Moral of the story, so long as it’s not hurting anyone and you’re not breaching the trust of loved ones, lying is fun in a bun haha 🙂

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  4. There is always that circumstance that changes your world. For me, it was my disorder. For you, a person. Either way, no matter where we come from, who we are and where we’re going, we’re always going to be hit on the head by a force to be reckoned with. And that force is called change.

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  5. I found this post fascinating and liked how you went through your whole life up to this point with a focus on the lying. DSB sounds like an awesome person.

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    • Thanks, Marcy! Yes, DSB is an awesome person. Being with him has altered my life in so many good ways. It is rare when we can find someone to be there for us like that, indeed.

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  6. I don’t whether it is perhaps a reflection of one’s imaginative and creative abilities, but I have struggled with a lying habit as well. In fact, I was just about to make a post about it on my blog. This post really struck a chord when I read it. I wish you all the best.

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  7. ’tis interesting, the “need” to lie. And so tiresome for the one being lied to… as if one appears stupid enough to the liar, to actually swallow those lies — hook, line, and sinker. 😉

    The worst is lying, as anything else, becomes an engrained habit… and we all know how hard ’tis to break habits that are bad for us.

    It is never too late for change. First, wanting to, then being willing to, then taking that road less traveled.

    Would it be grand if “good” habits were as easy to pick up and entrench themselves within us as the “bad” ones? That thought requires more in-depth analyses from this QofD. 🙂

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    • Tiresome, yes, I am sure, have heard you say it. “What, do you think we’re stupid?” Over and over. It has nothing to do with my perception of you, only with my perception of myself, if that makes sense.

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