My Dear Sister,
One of my biggest pet peeves is lying. If you want to send me over the edge into pure rage – lie to me or spin a story in a way that is not true. Falsehoods – nothing makes me angrier than a falsehood. One of my biggest areas of growth in my own recovery has been learning to detach from other’s behavior, specifically in the area of lying.
So, living with a sex addict for 11 years – as you can imagine – I was angry a lot. I didn’t have the tools and knowledge I have now. Information that could have helped me detach sooner.
First, I want to cover our time together in validation and empathy. If you notice that your spouse is frequently lying: YOU ARE NOT CRAZY!!! The Lord totally understands the frustration you feel when you are lied to. Look at what the Bible says about living with a liar.
“It is not an enemy who taunts me – I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me – I could have hidden from them. Instead, it is you – my equal, my companion and close friend. What good fellowship we once enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God.” – Psalm 50:12 -14
“As for my companion, he betrayed his friends; he broke his promises. His words are as smooth as butter, but in his heart is war. His words are as soothing as lotion, but underneath are daggers!” – Psalm 50:20-21
“Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him.” – Ephesians 5:6
“The godly hate lies; the wicked cause shame and disgrace.” Proverbs 13:5
“Then Peter said, “Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself.” Acts 5:3
Today I wanna ask you about a couple scenarios that might sound familiar to you…
“I don’t think he’s acting out but he lied to me about what he did at work today.” OR “he says he hasn’t looked at porn in a really long time but he lied to me about transferring funds on a credit card balance”. OR “he says he’s not hooking up with anyone but he lied about his work schedule”. OR “he says he’s doing his recovery program but he’s still blaming me”
Do any of those statements resonate with you? If our spouse has been caught or they have come to us to dump their guilt in our laps (outside of a proper disclosure) then we assume that they will begin to tell the truth. We assume that the “jig is up” so of course he would be honest because he is on the road to recovery, he is trying to get healthy and learn the recovery lifestyle.
I’m sorry to say Sister – we assume WRONG. It’s important to acknowledge the fact that addicts are liars. He will lie to you. Count on that. In the sex addiction recovery world it is often stated, “A person cannot be a good sexual addict without being a world class liar”
Let me be clear: I am NOT assassinating anyone’s character- I am simply stating fact.
They withhold the truth because they are afraid that if there partner knew everything they would leave. They lie about their compulsive acting out and, what’s most frustrating for us as partners- they lie about meaningless, trivial everyday things.
Let’s play out this real world situation:
Partner: “did you take out the trash?”
Partner: (feeling angry and irritated as she stares at the trash still in the bin): “no you didn’t – I’m looking at the trash right now.”
Addict: “well, I mean I was gonna take it out before you got home…” (so in his mind this doesn’t count as a lie)
What is it that keeps the addict from simply stating the truth? Many addicts will blame and push the responsibility back on their wives by saying statements like:
“It’s not safe to say no to you”
“I knew if I said “no” you would be mad at me”
No matter the situation – statements like these keep the responsibility off of the addict and push the responsibility and blame back onto the partner. Some addicts will even go as far as using innocent scenarios like taking out the trash to push their wives to the point of conflict, place the responsibility on them, and then use her response as an excuse to act out. It might sound something like this…
Partner: “For this relationship to be safe I would like you to be honest with me and answer truthfully”
Addict: “when you get angry and yell at me, you make me look for love and comfort in other places”
In other cases the addict won’t articulate this – he will just continue to lie, push the responsibility back on his wife, and use her behavior as an excuse to act out – without informing her. This blame shifting and deceit frequently plays out in the area of sexual intimacy in the marriage. Some addicts will make inappropriate sexual advances toward their wives, knowing that she will reject him. They will take this rejection and use it as an excuse to act out.
As partners, it is wise to heed the warning from Ephesians 5, “…Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins”
So what causes this insanity?!!! It is exhausting to live with and keeps women trapped on the addicts merry go round for longer then they need to be. It seems to feel like what David describes in Psalm 50, “…His words are as smooth as butter, but in his heart is war”
The short answer: Addiction.
Addiction is all about indulging in whatever behavior you need to get your next “fix”. The brain is so pre-occupied with when it can get another “hit” that nothing and no one matter to the addict. Part of the anger he may be exhibiting – may be due to that very reason. Addiction. The addict may be trying to calculate how he can get around the accountability put in place to be able to act out again. Lying is a part of his impulsive nature – whatever it takes to get that fix. Lying, anger and resistance can escalate the longer he goes without a fix and the more he starts to realize what RECOVERY ACTION will really require of him.
Another reason for compulsive lying: Childhood Abuse. Statistically, 97% of addicts have been emotionally abused, 72% physically abused and 81% sexually abused. Viewing your husband through the lens of a little boy may help you to bank on the fact that you will be lied to. Lying in childhood is a survival skill. If your husband had a care giver that was caught up in their own addiction – lying may have been modeled for him or the little boy may have adapted to lying to keep from being abused himself.
On the flip side of active abuse is neglect and abandonment. Often the little boy will lie to get attention because he is living a life neglected and cut off from any real secure emotional attachment from his primary care givers. Consequently, the child lies to feel and appear normal.
Bottom line: lying learned in childhood is the HARDEST problem to stop in adulthood. The addict might lie as self defense, or shade the truth to make themselves appear in a better light. A web of lies can be used to make the addict appear more interesting or in hopes that people will think they are more successful than they actually are.
Because of this fact: more and more research shows that women who request polygraph exams in their marriage to an addict feel safer, trust is rebuilt, and the marriage has a higher probability of surviving.
In addition to acting out behaviors, lying will be the most difficult thing for your spouse to stop. Dr. Magness states, “Recovery is impossible until sexual addicts face their behavior, stop blaming anyone else and determine that they are going to be accountable for their actions”
Let me be VERY CLEAR:
1. This is not your fault
2. This is not your responsibility
3. You cannot control whether or not he chooses to stop lying
This information helps you to grow in empowerment when situations arise where you need to ask for honesty or confront his behavior and ask that he be held accountable.
1. You won’t be shocked when he lies
2. You will be able to detach from the addict and practice healthy self-talk when confrontation is needed. It might sound like this: “I know that he will lie to me. It is not my responsibility or job to convince him to tell me the truth. He may never understand the devastating effects of his lying. He may never take responsibility for his addiction. I can grow and heal regardless of what he chooses. This is not my fault – I can establish boundaries, which will protect me and help me steward my own heart, mind and attitude.”
Sister, the journey to recovery is long whether you are going it alone or attempting recovery in your marriage. Regardless of what he does; your responsibility is to detach, set up boundaries, get safe and use your voice!
Take heart! The Lord walks with you and understands. He knows the frustration, anger, irritation, injustice and sorrow, when it comes to deception.
“They pile lie upon lie and utterly refuse to acknowledge me, says the Lord,” Jeremiah 9:6
“Rescue me, O Lord, from liars and from all deceitful people” Psalm 120:2
You are not alone.
Resources for today’s blog include: New Living Translation, Patrick Carnes “Don’t Call It Love”, Milton Magness “Hope and Freedom for Sexual Addicts and Their Partners