In the first five stages of the 10 Ways Lies Grow we’ve seen that they start by rationalizing it, getting away with it, telling it twice, getting good at it, and then telling those they love the lie. The lie is serious business now—it’s taken over the person’s life in many ways—it’s out of control. No one is told the truth anymore, and oftentimes the liar starts to even believe the lie, because…
6) They tell it to themselves.
All along the liar has been holding a losing hand but they have bluffed their way through it. By carefully manipulating words, situations, emotions, and perceptions everyone has believed their lie. Even those who doubted at first have been convinced by further lies—or they just wrote off the person and didn’t confront anymore.
The liar now begins to actually buy his or her own lines now, believe it or not. I’ve seen it before—when someone continues to lie even after you know the truth. Someone can be caught red-handed and still lie because they actually can’t believe the lie is not the truth. They are actually mentally a little off now—it has become a sickness really, guilt has gone on vacation for the liar now. They don’t feel guilt. In fact—the lie has become so much a part of their narrative that they almost “remember it” like they’ve said it, rather than remember it like it really was.
Walking back the lie now would be so painful, would be so overwhelming, would expose how weak of a person they are—that they are actually to the point that believing their own lies is preferable over continuing to juggle the truth and the lies. In some ways this stage may become a relief for the liar. Instead of nervously plotting their lies, the falsity becomes second-nature. The lie has a life of it’s own—the only life the liar has.
If you’re at this stage there is little hope for you. Because you believe your own lies it can be very hard to get out by this point. You’re not likely going to wake yourself up from this truthless trance. It will have to come from the outside. If any of these things happen take the opportunity to examine whether you might actually be believing your own lies:
- Friendlessness – Those who believe their own lies are “a little off” and it can affect how good of a friend you can be. One problem for liars is they can’t let anyone get too close. If you don’t have any “true friends” then ask yourself if you might be keeping people at bay because your life is full of lies. (Of course, this isn’t always the case—some of us are socially awkward, and others just are unlucky by not having good friends.)
- Marriage trouble – If you’re having unexplained marriage trouble you may believe some of your own lies. If your marriage isn’t growing and intimacy is lacking you may be holding your spouse at arms length to ensure they don’t discover your lies as well. Someone at stage 6 has usually already lied to their spouse—and even if the spouse can’t prove it, they lack the trust they used to have—or should have at this point in the marriage. Again, this isn’t always the case but a bad marriage is often the smoke that signals toward smoldering lies in the home.
- Mid-life crisis – some wake up one day and don’t really think they know themselves anymore. They wonder why they are in the career they are in—why they have the family they have. They re-evaluate everything. Sometimes a new sportscar or motorcycle does the trick for healing this season in men. However, it is sometimes a sign that you’ve lost who you really are, and have begun to believe your own fictional narrative. Use a mid-life crisis to question how truthful your career is in the first place.
- Discovery & intervention – sometimes the lie (sin) is found out, discovered by someone who cares for you. And in this case they intervene like they would for an alcoholic. (Of course, the great pain of alcoholism and other addictions are the lies that accompany it, so the patterns are often simliar. The liar is addicted to and dependent on lying much like the junkie needs a heroin fix.) If a group of people loves you enough to confront your lies it’s time to board that life raft of hope and relationship because it could be your last. You could be swimming alone in an ocean of falsity forever if not.
- Finding yourself – there was a point in your life when you didn’t lie to get along. This 16-year-old girl or 25-year-old young man is you. This 14-year-old boy or 30-year-old woman is you. If you “barely know that person any more” then there might be a problem with believing your own lies. If you had the chance to tell your life story to someone for hours on end—and the story couldn’t all fit together in one story—then you might be drinking your own Kool-Aid, friend. It’s time to find yourself… the true you. Do what you have to do to find yourself. It might mean a long vacation, it likely means counseling, it could mean a whole heap of tears, it assuredly means you need God’s help. But do what you have to do. Find yourself. You miss yourself.