The truth behind the lies we tell

August 21, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Do men and women perceive lies differently? Is it possible that what a woman considers a painful deception, a man considers a harmless little white lie? Author Anjuelle Floyd unravels the truth about lies in her new novel, "Keeper of Secrets," a fictional tale of deceit.

What is a lie/deception?

  • A lie is an untruth--a tool of deception.
  • Deception is the willful act of misleading someone.

Why do we resort to deceptions and lies? How do women and men view deception-differently, or the same?
We seek to deceive when we're afraid or feeling disempowered-that we might lose something that we seek or not achieve it. This can be a job, a car, a relationship-anything that is important to us-or that gives our life meaning.

We resort to deception when feeling threatened.

A person's relationship with her or his personal power--or the extent to which they feel disempowered-shapes how she or he views deception or whether they will resort to using it.The places in our lives where we feel powerful or in our comfort zone and those areas where were feel vulnerable or dis-empowered shape our perceptions of being or having been deceived. Our relationship with our personal power, and what we view as our weaknesses or challenges determine when and where in our lives we might resort to deception as a way of ascertaining our goals.

· Despite recent strides in attaining economic equality, a long history, wherein family and society dominated women and their choices, precedes us. Our comfort zones most often lie in the areas of home, hearth, and relationships along with our educations.

As a result women often express experiencing deception-and will often resort to deceiving/deception--in the areas of work and profession. This does not mean they do not experience it in their person lives-only that women are more aware of it at work-a place where women don't have a long history of experiencing power and comfort. This can and often does involve deception women direct towards other women. And then feeling deceived by our female colleagues, as well as male ones

Men have been groomed for centuries to go out and conquer the world--establish their kingdom, so-to-speak. Consequently men feel less experienced--more threatened--in the world of feelings and relationships. Men will most often express feeling misled, and/or resort to deception in the area of personal and intimate relationships.

Likewise women who have not witnessed their mothers establish and maintain healthy marriages and intimate relationships with their husbands and partners will express the fear, or the experience of having been deceived by men and partners.

The same holds true for men who did not witness their fathers hold healthy loving relationships with their wives, or intimate partners. These men often live on guard of being deceived by women and intimates. They have difficulty drawing close to others and establishing trust.

We resort to deception, or are most often aware of being betrayed in the areas of life where we have least experience and/or feel weak.

Money is a powerful symbol and commodity in our culture.
Most lies and deceptions revolve around or involve some level of money or what we perceive to be power. Money is power. It is also freedom-the ability to come and go-to not remain stuck. But money is not the ends. It is the means to achieving what we want or think will make us happy.

Money is no longer the gigantic tool that men held over women in decades past.
Women are tackling successful careers that men at one time dominated. Men are opening up in the area of their emotions and needs. They're choosing to be single dads, stay-at-home dads. More women now earn money on par with men. Acceptance and love/respect in intimate relationships while seeking one's passion has become the Holy Grail that both women and men now seek.

  • Money is power.
  • Love holds the greatest power.
  • Loving and receiving love--living out one's passion yield transformation,
  • healing and immortality.

A lack of genuineness, or authenticity--exhibiting an air of dispassion, the refusal to get excited about anything, acting as if nothing really you---leads to the ultimate betrayal--self-deception which most often includes self-sabotage.

Most people resort to deception when they feeling they have been or are being deceived.
Gaining a sense of the lies we tell ourselves enables us to see where we incorporate or allow others to do mislead ourselves AND/OR where and when we choose to follow others leading us astray. Parents want to identify where deception takes place in their lives so that they can become examples to our children to listen to our hearts and not allow ourselves or in essence, start down paths that are not in our best interest.

How can we live more honestly in our lives?
' Find your passion. Try a painting class. Get out of your comfort zone. Make new friends. Kiss your husband, wife, children, mother, father-today. Tell them how much you love them, how much you need and appreciate them.

If you have no one in your life to tell this to, then you need to get out and create relationships where love exists. Seek out a priest or clergy, therapist or trusted friend to help you see more clearly, challenge you to honesty. Talk to your partner or parent(s).

Why do we want to seek authenticity?
People who live from a place of genuineness are happier, and healthier. And they are loved. They know what they want and they get it. The first step to knowing what you want is honesty with self. Honesty with self leads to authenticity in your relationships and success.

What are some signs of deception?
Depression- Freud thought depression stemmed from a secret we held from ourself-the absence of what has never existed, and which we cannot name or identify-unlike with grief which results from a physical loss.

An inability to focus- Persistent feelings of loneliness particularly when with family, or in the midst of others

What is the ultimate deception?
Telling ourselves that, I don't need anyone- I can do it alone. Or worse, that I/we don't matter-while at the same time not realizing-unconsciously believing-that life will not go on without me.

This belief, a paradox or rather an oxymoron, is powerful and quite self -sabotaging. The power of this untruth lies in the unconscious aspect of the thought. We are either too vulnerable, or too consumed with our own experience of power or comfort to see the falsehood of the belief.

Each and every one of us matters. We need to assist others on their way in life. And we need the help of others in moving through our own lives. Another truth is that world will continue to turn on its axis after we are gone. But how much is missed-lost-when we did not live out our passion, speak our truth, give and receive love, with all our hearts?

The three areas in our lives where we most experience deception or seek to deceive are:

  • At work in our profession
  • At home with family, spouses/intimate partners
  • And with friends.

With respect to gender and how to gain a sense of where we're being deceived and/or might be deceiving ourselves--women need to ask:

  • Where am I giving myself away?
  • With whom to I feel taken advantage by?
  • What fellow co-workers do I trust? Who are the ones that come through for me?
  • Who are the people in the above three areas of my life that I feel take me for granted and do not respect me, and appreciate what I offer and bring to them?

Girls are groomed to nurture and give-to operate as saints and to live as if we hold a perpetual font of compassion. We tell our girls when they cry, "You'll be fine. Keep going. Don't wallow in your sorrows."

Men best gain a sense of where their being deceived by asking themselves, "In what relationships in the above three areas of my life do I feel hurt? We tell our sons, "Don't cry. Be strong. Men are taught to be Superman, the Savior or the Martyr."

Ask yourself: What lies do I tell myself as a way of coping with an uncomfortable situation--telling myself things will get better when my heart says they will not-without action on my part?

These questions are aimed at helping women and men uncover the areas in the their lives where they feel most powerful and most vulnerable.
These are the areas where we are most like to feel or be deceived, and then go on to commit the greatest deception of all-self-deception which can lead to self-sabotage (the unconscious coercion of others to lead you from your goals and heart's desires).

It's important to remember that while deception is the willful attempt to deliberately mislead someone or be misled by another (as in being deceived) no one can be misled without choosing to follow.

  • The ultimate deception-- self-deception-is telling or convincing ourselves that someone hold our best interest when every fiber of our being says, "They don't." This often leads to self-sabotage.
  • Trust yourself. If it doesn't feel like a safe, situation of relationship, most likely it's not. Self-sabotage is rooted in the hidden belief that, I don't deserve to be happy.

For women this may come out like, "You want too much. You're too selfish. Why aren't you happy with what you have? Be thankful. Don't get to big. Don't ask for too much. Tame your desires. You're not pretty enough."

Men experience this in thoughts like, "No one loves you. You're too soft. Be a man. You're not strong enough. Toughen up. Don't be such a sissy. I don't need anyone. I can do it myself. I don't care what others think. I do what I want. Don't ask for what you want. Take it. You need make more money."

About Anjuelle Floyd
A graduate of Duke University, Anjuelle Floyd received her MA in Counseling Psychology from The California Institute of Integral Studies, and is also a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Ms. Floyd has also studied at The Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology at the Graduate Theological Union.

She also received her MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College, Port Townsend, Washington. She has received certificates of participation from The Hurston-Wright Writers' Week and the Voices of Our Nations Writing Workshops. Anjuelle facilitates writing groups and provides individual consultation of fiction projects.

A wife and mother of 25 years, she also gives talks on The Need for Family, the Writing Process as a Path towards Self-discovery and Healing.


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