What are your best tips for how to deal with someone lying to you?
When my husband is lying to me, I can always tell right away (even through text), but calling him out on it in the moment usually doesn’t help and causes a bigger pointless fight.
Does anyone have any strategies for this besides to just grin and get through the day/talk about it the next day or when he’s sober? I don’t want to escalate the problem while he’s drunk, but it is impossible for me to pretend like everything is fine either. And leaving the house is usually not an option because the kids are here and I am not comfortable leaving them with him when he’s under the influence.
Any tips would be welcome. ️
What are your best tips for how to deal with someone lying to you?
How to handle the lies to your face?
The main thing is to honor your feelings and communicate how you feel. Even if there’s no boundary placed or exact resolution, just being in the practice of communicating how you feel when they lie is really helpful.
Here are my tips:
- Take as much time as you need to process your emotions. You may feel disconnected from your partner, but you can always remain connected to yourself.
- Release your ego's need to be offended. Their lie doesn't have anything to do with you; it's a response to their own thoughts/feelings.
- Attempt to understand their reason for lying. Are they trying to avoid shame, rejection, hurting you, or jeopardizing their own well-being?
- Choose your reaction from a space of peace, connection and understanding. Place a boundary if necessary. Remember: you can only be manipulated if you allow yourself to be.
- Say "I sense that you're not being honest, and I feel ______" or "When you lie to me, I feel ______"
Ah @Karilyn thank you as always, for the reminders. You always know just the right thing to say. I was able tonight to walk away and realize that how I was feeling was a lot more about my own ego and how my feelings were hurt when, you’re right, his actions are not about me at all, and 100% about his own pain.
I appreciate you!
These two things have been especially helpful for me to remember when my partner is being dishonest about use. I would hate to feel like I’m disappointing him frequently and I know he feels the same way, so I have to remember that the lies are serving a purpose for him in that moment and regardless what that purpose is, I can control my reactions and feelings about it all.
Like most of us here, I can tell he’s under the influence by the most subtle details; the way he holds his hands, the length of time he pauses before speaking, eye contact, etc. He would never believe that I could tell based off those things, but living with addiction, we become a special breed of detective and body language experts, don’t we? I am working on not asking him if he’s drinking if I know he has been. I’m setting him up for failure, as he is highly motivated to lie to avoid disappointing me, and me up for a big letdown when he does lie instead of being honest. It’s not a perfect system, but it has helped me just have to process the drinking behavior and not the dishonesty in that moment.
I’m so thankful for the support of this group. It’s truly healing to be in a space with others that understand this life.
How to handle lies and words vs. actions
Oh mylanta if you didn’t just pluck these words from my own personal thought bubble!!!
Yes yes and 100x yes!
I always say to my guy’s mom, "when he’s bs’ing me, I either suck it up to try to save the night from being a big chaotic shit show of a scene OR I in some way (I’ve tried a myriad of methods) try to confront the situation. Regardless of which I choose, I still become miserable and get all in my feels. I really stink at not saying anything, so when I choose not to, I still get very ill and it’s noticeable through my mood/attitude i.e. time ruined. If I confront him, especially when he’s under the influence, it’s becomes a big narcissistic word salad, crazy making, “I can’t even breathe the right way, much less do anything else correctly” according to him i.e. mega miserable… time ruined and highly emotional.
My boyfriend, regardless, is still in the “lie about everything even if legit solid as gold proof is right in front of him” phase!
Which makes the whole “I’m here for you. I understand you’re struggling. How can I help you?” stuff so so difficult. Because he just smirks and rolls his eyes like what I’m saying is completely irrelevant… Bc HE IS NOT LYING. Fast forward some time and after so much wasted energy expended toward catching him in his lies,… I’m bitter and resentful and PISSED and reminded that he’s going to lie no matter what until HE DECIDES TO SEEK HEALTHIER CHOICES. But I am the type of person that hates not knowing things or finding inconsistencies that don’t add up. That just makes my soul feel completely unsettled. So I’m still learning on conquering that balance of being heard and communicating my feelings versus choosing my battles with the awareness of which phase of this he is really navigating. Not the one he claims to be in… because surprise… most of the time that’s not the case.
I appreciate your question. Although I didn’t answer, I can so very much relate and empathize with your situation. I’m in the exact same boat. While I can’t offer much guidance bc i am figuring this out as I go and still pretty new to it. You’re welcome to reach out at any time if you just need a listening friend!
Sis, I think we would definitely be friends in real life! Standing with you in solidarity, and just know that the longer you work at it, and the more self-care you are able to implement, the easier it will get. Deep breaths, it has helped me so much to come to this community and know that I am not alone. Will message you soon for sure
I read your post and holy shit it’s as if i wrote it myself. Which was your original statement to someone else. It’s crazy how we all have such similar stories and struggles. I’m amazed at all of the support and advice and love that is shared. I wish all of these resources were available and that addiction was this talked about years ago when i was a young mom, alone, trying to figure out the depth and details of all that addiction entails.
Fast forward 12 years later… I too, use to try to let it go but majority of the time i couldn’t. If i could see it on his face, or casually asked and he lied. Sometimes i was too exhausted and didn’t want it all to blow up, as it usually did. But I hate not knowing the truth. I can’t let it go when things don’t add up. I need to know. I can feel it in my bones when he used or when he lied. Once we got into this roundabout argument of “i know, and you know that i know, and i know that you know that i know so why can’t we just talk about it” it was a lot of words and oddly crazy. He couldn’t understand why, if we both quietly knew, it was a problem. To me, trying to be there and be supportive needed the full truth, it was the most disrespectful thing for him to lie to my face. I’m not new to addiction and i know it’s not personal and it’s him, but man the lies always struck me in my core.
I’m with the last answer on this as I’m in the same position re the lying denial of such even when it’s right there. They are classic narcissists as is mine and the answer is to understand our codependency and get out. Lisa a Romano has some good videos on this topic. Unless they are are securely and willingly in a sober life and working to maintain that they will run the show while you tip toe through your life. Remember You deserve better.
@Mamas_regab You’re exactly right! “I know, you know I know, I know you know that I know” but I’ve said that to him (the EXACT SAME sentence) and still… crickets. Big ass elephant chilling… between us.
I’m the same way. I’ve observed him SO much at this point, I know when he’s lying through text, on the phone, sleeping, etc. Lol. I can’t just feel it. He makes it out as if that’s absolutely absurd… intuition isn’t a thing. Bologna! And that feeling starts creeping in, when I can sense he’s up to his shenanigans. I’m trying to learn to just let it go… but that’s definitely been a struggle for me!
Wow! 12 years?! If you don’t mind my asking, was your husband able to recover or is it still something you struggle with?
I’m so sorry you are feeling these same things, and please know you are not alone!
In my situation, I know my partner is not a narcissist, as I was previously married to a full-blown one, and it was NOT fun. In that case, the lying was about maintaining absolute control over me and our relationship, and in this case, I truly believe his lying is about self-preservation and shame around his alcohol use. Today, he came home and I knew he was lying, and was so frustrated, but he then made supper, which I could see (after I took a little time out to breathe and return to love) was him trying in some way to make up for his actions.
After the fact in these situations, we are always able to talk, and he always comes around, takes responsibility for his actions, and apologizes. My narcissistic ex, on the other hand, would gaslight, and turn every single situation around on me until I was somehow the one apologizing. In many ways I am thankful that I have been through this and now have the tools to stand my ground and stay in my truth.
My sons father is an addict, we were so young so naive and so uneducated. My son is 12 and he was an addict prior to me even getting pregnant. I was probably on the brink of addiction myself, getting pregnant at 16 saved my life. I was very mean back then, it was mostly me being scared and feeling so alone. It all happened very fast and bam years had gone by. He and i are still close, we’re not together, and his addiction has gotten worse over the years. He’s been struggling for so long, he doesn’t really lie about it at all anymore, with him it turns more into a big emotional blow out about how he really wants to be clean and all the guilt he has for not being the father my son deserves. Annnnnd on my other hand, my boyfriend is the one that lies constantly about it. I moved out a few months ago. He still struggles too. They’re polar opposites but still so similar. Bf is very functional, says it helps him survive 80 hour work weeks. It’s not always daily but it’s very frequent. He said he lies because that’s just the “addict part of his brain” he says it just comes out before he can even think about it and therefore he tries to just run with it. I’ve tried every angle in the book. The one that doesn’t work for me, is trying to stay quiet. For my own peace of mind and sanity. One thing I’ve done a few times that seemed to work well, i would ask… he would lie… i would just say “ok” we’d go about our day, work, kids, hanging out in different rooms… and later i would kindly ask if he was ready to tell me the truth now. This worked for our situation because he knows, i always know and i won’t let it go. But it’s a way to give him space to process and not put him “on the spot” . He and i have been best friends since we were kids, together probably about 6 years total. Now that we’re “not together” it’s been easier for him to open up to me and be honest, without so much shame and guilt.
I had an inner battle about bringing it up or letting it go almost constantly. I didn’t want to fight. But i also didn’t want to just ignore it and him to think it’s ok. I didn’t want to leave him because of his addiction. The lies killed me the most. But i was willing to stick it out with him. One day he was high, something little happened, and he blew up. A lot of disrespectful fucked up shit was said and that’s when i knew i needed to leave. It’s so hard because i know a lot about drugs and addiction and it’s hard to differentiate is it the drugs or is he an asshole? He’s so sweet sober, so i blame it on the drugs buuuut i have inner struggles about all of that too. But we’re talking and possibly working on things for the future. Who knows.
So to summarize, they’re all still stuck in addiction. I’m overwhelmed.
@Tlee22 @Blondie I needed this today too. My partner lied to me last night then confessed this morning he’d engaged in some of his ritual addictive behavior last night (we don’t live together). He struggles with sex/meth addiction.
I had to remember my own advice. I went to yoga, then came home and cried, and I’ve been processing my feelings and journaling about it. Trying to honor him for telling me about it, looking at the steps he’s taken to make progress, honoring the progress we’ve made together in our communication skills.
These relationships are never black and white. We have to be okay with being uncomfortable A LOT. Living in the grey area.
It’s helpful to be able to share here, so thanks everyone
It’s so hard to find the balance between acknowledging/appreciating the truth and being firm on boundaries. I’ve struggled with this for a long time. Wanting to provide a comfortable safe zone for them to trust me with the truth meanwhile also wanting them to understand the hurt and pain i feel, and how scary it is that relapse can, in the blink of an eye, turn back into full blown active addiction.
I don’t know how relevant to other people this is, but sometimes in my experience it’s literally about perception, as in, my partner doesn’t know a lie is a lie for a variety of reasons, like not having awareness of what’s going on with her or not remembering doing something (which can happen with alcohol and benzos and other stuff too). I also think there can be an element of self-deception and denial. So all of those things can complicate the matter.
I am fortunate that my partner trusts me when I say do you remember and then I tell her something and trust that she legitimately doesn’t remember it. I think it can open up some conversations where she’s able to see that part of why I am concerned for her is that she is someone with a history of relational trauma, and it puts her in a bad spot in terms of power and perception with me when she doesn’t remember what happened and I do. So then I’m able to say like, look, part of why I am concerned about your use is because of the way it’s interfering with your perception and therefore your own personal power. And I think she can trust that angle. Hope this isn’t too off-topic.
That said, lies do happen and it hurts. I try to write down things that happen because it makes me feel like what’s going on is real and I know it’s real and have something to go off of if later I’m being told something else. Just helps me perception check with myself.
Wow! I’ve been unable to check my notifications on here for just a few hours and coming back and reading everything each one of you has contributed is mind-blowing in comparison of the similarities I experience in my own situation! It truly is a wonderful feeling, almost like a weight off of my shoulders, to learn of each of your individual situations. Yet realize just how connected we all are through experience. Because this definitely is a situation of its own, right? Not everyday you meet (via the Internet) people from all over that have dealt with such comparible circumstances as our own! It’s so so enlightening for me and makes me so grateful to everyone that has had the strength to weather these tumultuous situations and still be vulnerable enough to open up to possibly help the rest of us going through very similar situations. It’s humbling. I’m so very glad that I stumbled across a link for this community while randomly reading a thread about addiction on Quora! ️:heart:️:heart:️:heart:️
@Mamas_regab thank you for sharing your story I sincerely appreciate your openness. Please feel free to reach out if you ever need a listening ear!
I think this thread truly shows that many of us struggle with the lies more than we do with the drug/alcohol use. And we are in this community because we want to stay with our loved ones but how much longer can we take the lies?!? At least that’s how I feel when I catch my husband in a lie.
In the past, when there would be red flags of using and lying, I would go straight to his phone and check his text messages, map history, phone calls to get the truth. I don’t do that anymore. I just don’t want to be that person anymore. Now, I communicate my fears to him in case there actually is another explanation for certain behaviors. Of course whatever he tells me could be a lie. I have his location on my phone at all times, I can drug test him at home at any time, and still I know that none of that matters because he can lie about all of it. And he has - even when I thought we were doing good, he’s still lied about all of it. That’s where I really have to just trust myself. Trust my gut. Hold on to whatever truth I can get my hands on - I know that he loves me and my son. I know that he is capable of recovery. I know that he lies because of shame, guilt, fear, addiction. I know that the truth in this situation will be revealed to me eventually, when the time is right. I know that it will all be okay.
Other things that work for me: calling my Al-Anon sponsor or reading Al-Anon literature. Going to a meeting. Writing in my journal. Meditation, breathing, yoga. Taking a walk. Things that don’t work for me: responding with anger or silence. Obsessive thinking. Getting lost in the what-ifs.
I’m thankful for this space, too. It’s hard to talk about it with other people who don’t get it - who tell you they just would’ve left by now. They don’t see the struggle and the progress, the small wins and the big wins. We are all human and we all make mistakes and we all lie at one point or another - many of us lying to ourselves the most. When it comes down to it, what I’ve learned through it all is that the most important thing is to trust and be true to myself.
@momentsandlight I love where you mentioned trusting yourself and your gut! This is something that before my guy first told me what was going on, I had such a difficult time with. Because he’d be so convincing and I was naive to the situation. I’d question myself and whether I could be overthinking bc I have a tendency to always play out the worst case scenario. Doom and gloom anxiety. Even still today he manages to convince me that I’m reading too far into miniscule micro details.
I still do the location tracking, have drug tests on standby, etc. In my experience lately, I’ve been contemplating taking away all of those facets of “peace of mind” though. A revelation I came to just a few days ago, is these “stipulations” I’ve set in place (like location, drug testing, checking through his phone, etc) are all things that he uses to cause more stress on me. Whether intentionally or unintentionally… if his location stalls out and doesn’t update I become immediately suspicious, if I ask him if he’d mind taking a drug test and he denies (usually bc of some lame reason like I did something wrong recently so he doesn’t owe me this or “yeah sure I’ll do that for you” being a smartass), when I go through his phone I ALWAYS find stuff. So are these stipulations helping to provide me peace more than their giving him a way to cause more frustrating circumstances for me and the blaming me for it?
Plus, when I catch him in a lie, I’ll sometimes set him up to lie even more rather than just directly ask him about what I came across. Which isn’t how I see it in that moment but in hindsight it’s setting him up for failure so I can have a justifiable excuse to get super pissed off.