A lie grows when they rationalize it, get away with it, tell it twice, get good at it, tell those they love, and start to believe it themselves. At this point the lie’s “life of it’s own” requires some extra aid to continue to exist. And so…
7) They let others tell it.
Since the lies have been told to those they love, and since the narrative is even believed by the liar—now the story begins to “be the truth” that everyone believes. Because of this other people start to unwittingly tell the lie themselves.
In the midst of the Lance Armstrong debacle of lies it was interesting to watch Rick Reilly’s perspective. Rick followed Lance’s rise to fame and success as a cyclist, and reported on it as a sports writer. What’s more, he became friends with Lance along the way. As the sport of cycling cycled into more and more doping allegations, Rick was convinced that Lance was telling the truth. He believe his lies were truth.
Lance not only lied to Rick, he used him (using all 5 of the skills from stage 4 to do so, by the way.) He spoke with such force defending himself that Rick was convinced. So Rick used his column to defend him to the bitter end. Rick got a short email from Lance once he confessed to Oprah saying:[quote_box author=”” profession=””]Riles, I’m sorry. All I can say for now but also the most heartfelt thing too. Two very important words. L[/quote_box]
Rick’s response was indignant. After 14 years of Lance letting Rick tell his lies for him, all he gets was this email. Rick doesn’t plan on forgiving Lance soon.
What can you do at this stage? Well, this is the hardest one yet—because once someone else is doing your lying for you things are so out of control you’ll never get the cat back in the box. However, there is a unique moment when you hear someone else telling your lies that can trigger the conscience. It’s one thing to tell your own lies—but when the fiction about you comes out of someone else’s mouth—then you have the chance to doubt it as something outside of yourself.
Use this opportunity to stop the person who is unwittingly lying for you. Don’t tarnish their image, don’t ruin their reputation, don’t allow them to do your dirty work for you. It’s one thing to ruin your life with lies that will eventually be found out—it’s another thing to ruin other people’s lives.