Why Do We Tell Lies?

Why do we tell lies?

That might be among one of the biggest questions in the world.

University of Massachusetts psychologist, Robert Feldman has studied this issue.
He feels that lying is tied into our self-esteem.

Feldman states, “We’re trying not so much to impress other people but to maintain a view of ourselves that is consistent with the way they would want us to be.” “We find that as soon as people feel that their self-esteem is threatened, they immediately begin to lie at higher levels.”

Another reason is “avoiding conflict.”

Whether between two friends, or telling your boss you couldn’t get to work at 8:00 am because of the traffic.Some people believe that if they mix the truth with a lie then they are not lying. There is a Yiddish Proverb that speaks about this, “A half-truth is a whole lie.” Think about it. You’re not really telling the whole truth about that particular situation or matter when you mix a lie in there.

Mixing lies and truth is like mixing water and oil; it is not a combination that naturally goes together. I notice that the proverb does not seem to care what to motive is behind the lie.

Another reason people lie could be found in this statement; “perhaps how they perceive others to perceive them.”

I actually believe this to be true because I’ve seen myself worry about how others perceive me.

It is logical because perception appears to tie into the self-esteem that Feldman mentioned above.We have all heard of compulsive liars and sociopaths. Both lie, but there is a difference in their motives for lying. A compulsive liar is known who “lies out of habit.” It is an “automatic response” to things in their life “which they find very “hard to break.”

Normally, it seems to of started when they were younger. A Sociopathic liar “lies incessantly to get their way and does so with little concern for others.” They are known to “have little regard, or respect for the rights and feelings of others.”

People are motivated to lie for these reasons: fear how we feel about ourselves/perception, and selfishness.

Myself? I admit to lying. It’s a little hard for me to go “over to the dark side” when it comes to lying, because my religious beliefs tell me that it’s wrong for me to lie. And, at least it appears, that my husband can read me like a book. It’s a bit un-nerving.

When I lie it is because I’m nervous or fearful of others reactions.

I also like to avoid conflict. I become fearful when I think that someone does not approve of me and does not accepting me as an individual. A part of this fear is tied into the fact I was bullied because of my medical problems as a child, and the other part is that I did not accept and like myself because of those problems.

I prefer to avoid conflict as well.

All these are my motivations for lying. And lying about lying – which we all do. But that’s another story.






“Over to the dark side,” from Star Wars movie (the trilogy), by George Lucas

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