To say I grew up in a strict household is an understatement. The need to lie as I got older not only helped me break free of my naive & sheltered upbringing, but it helped me develop into my own person. It’s because of these lies that I actually enjoyed some level of a life outside of my
prison home. Lying became an art to me at one point in time. Sure, I got caught in the middle of a lie or two, but that only made me more determined to become a better liar… and avoid getting caught.
You see that? I was such a perfectionist, I even worked at perfecting the art of lying.
Thing is, today, I have a very low tolerance for liars, and I am a very open & honest person… in case you haven’t noticed. If you ask me a question, I’ll answer it honestly. Outside of the fairy-tale figures like Santa and the tooth-fairy, I am equally open & honest with my children. I have hung up my lying days, and my brutally honest foot-in-mouth moments get me into more trouble than a little white lie would.
But now… I am a mother, living with a 6 1/2 year old daughter who is already learning about lying.
Oy. How the tables have turned.
The good news is that my daughter sucks at lying right now… so it’s pretty easy to call her out on it so far. Even if she was good at lying already — because of my expertise, I know how a liar’s mind works & I can see right through fakes & liars. This is not a cool party trick though. It’s almost a burden. Knowing when someone is lying right to your face makes you question why? If I’m being honest with someone, I expect them to be honest & upfront with me as well. So when someone lies to me, they may as well slap me in the face while they’re at it, because it really does sting; makes me question the relationship I have with the liar.
This all goes back to my own childhood. I couldn’t be open and honest without being judged growing up. I was living with someone who always assumed the worst in me and simply didn’t trust me. It was not a fun time in my life. I was generally a good kid — shaddup, I was! I have references! — but I would’ve missed out on so much if I didn’t do what I had to do in order to get out of the house and be, well… social. Back then, lying = survival. I’m lucky & grateful I got through my teens with a few good mentors & awesome friends with moms who actually listened to me; they didn’t make me feel like I was ever asking a dumb question. And believe me, I didn’t know shit. I know I asked a lot of dumb questions. I learned quite a bit through my experiences, good mentors & friends… and because of those positive encounters with people who mutually respected me, I began to value the truth. So when I connect with someone today, whether it’s the hubs, my daughters, friends, etc, I speak the truth without apology, and I expect the same in return. I don’t believe anyone should feel shame for being honest. It’s a horrible feeling.
And I don’t want my daughters to feel that way either.
I’m doing what I can to nip Natalie’s lying issue in the bud now, before her lies get really extravagant. Or… she gets really good at lying like I did. The scary thing is that she is also a perfectionist. So I’m teetering on a fine line of making her feel ok about being honest about everything, and calling her out when she does lie. I’m hoping our attitude toward lying and valuing honesty with our daughters sets the stage for the future. I don’t anticipate my teenagers will be lie-free and perfect in every way… believe me, I am bracing myself for anything once those teen-years hit… hold me! However, I truly hope that by then, my daughters & I will continue to have an open & honest relationship with each other, and they will recognize & appreciate that they can talk to me about anything, whenever they need to.
How do you deal with liars?