When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth.
― Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner
How true. And how sad. Everybody has lied at one time or another. I won’t lie and say I’m any different, but I’ve written about lying before because it has become the major deal-breaker in my life. So apologizes if you’ve heard this before.
All children lie even if just by omission. My children lied. ‘I don’t know who squirted all the toothpaste out of the tube.’ ‘No, Mom, I didn’t eat the last of the pizza.’ Well, if neither child ate the pizza and they are the only two in the house…. hum…. But still they would maintain to the end of time that they hadn’t eaten the pizza. Where then are the stray kids hiding in my house, eating the pizza, squirting the toothpaste, and every other thing my children swore they never did.
So where do we draw the line between childhood lies when lying means ‘the thing never happened, was never eaten, because they don’t yet understand the difference between lies and truths,’ and adult lies meant to intentionally deceive? Or are they are both the same thing just on a different scale?
My children lie now, at 19 and 22. Small wonder. Their father taught them lying to avoid responsibility was the acceptable way to be a man. He also taught them that lying to their mother was an acceptable way to avoid taking responsibility for their own lives.
My Ex spent 20+ years lying about everything and, yes, he stole my right to a truthful life. In order to maintain the fantasy of what I thought life should be, I lied to cover him. In a previous job, I had to lie to cover the owner’s inability to run the business properly. I hated lying, but I didn’t know how else to survive. I wasn’t strong enough to stand up and say ‘no,’ when it might impact my job or my marriage.
I am strong now which goes a long way to explain why I now have an Ex and not a husband. I still have the same kids, however, and retraining them is a long, grueling battle. How do I show them that lying steals my right to the truth, and to a truthful life. How do I make them see, above and beyond anything else, lying is disrespectful, both to me and to themselves? How do I teach them the courage to stand up and tell the truth no matter the consequences and the courage not to steal anybody’s inherent right to truth?