Is Honesty Always The Best Policy?

I have always believed honesty is the best policy.  No matter what, when it comes right down to it, if you don’t know what to do; go with honesty and let the pieces fall where they may. Lying only perpetuates more lying and almost invariably it will back fire in your face. Lying about other people is a real sore spot with me, mainly because I have been the victim of a smear campaign and dealt with people who chose to believe the lies and refuse to even entertain the idea that they are believing lies. I have had to end friendship’s with people who believed the lies even though they professed to not be taking sides. Sometimes there is no choice, people have to choose sides because if they don’t they are condoning or agreeing with the lies or behavior. 

I really hate dealing with conflict and have always preferred to keep the peace at all cost but I have found since the narcissist I have anxiety attacks at the first sign of dishonesty or if I hear slander or gossip. 

I suppose that’s because while with my ex the honesty line got blurred from black and white to a solid grey and eventually the narcissistic fog obliterated it from sight all together.

My ex was forever being accused of stealing and every job he ever had was lost due to being “falsely” accused of stealing. He lied about cheating on me, about how much money he made, he lied about having 6 months to live for God sake!

He lied when he didn’t even have to lie. It got to the point I just automatically assumed he was lying and was pleasantly surprised when he wasn’t. 

In the beginning I would bring him up on it if I caught him lying. (*hint. If you have to teach a full grown man about the virtues of honesty. Run!!) 

I thought the lying was a rare thing and due to low self confidence or out of fear of losing me. Haha. Rather ironic, I believed he lied about inconsequencial things because he had lied to me about how all the women in his life had screwed him over and left him. I was going to show him what real love was all about. Gawd! Thinking back I was SO naive!

 As time went on I realized his lies weren’t always so innocent and I would try to tell him it was wrong to lie. (If you find yourself trying to teach a grown man how to be a responsible adult, run!)  

I struggled with his lies; I was embarrassed by them, it went against my values and it bothered me.  

Cognitive dissonance had me telling myself that his actions weren’t a reflection on me. I was not responsible for his actions as long as I remained honest. It was not my position to act as judge and jury. 

But it doesn’t work that way. If you live with a liar you are assumed to also be a liar. If you are an honest person and you know your significant other is scamming someone is it your responsibility to warn them? 

Does it depend on the severity of the crime? If you are the wife of a man who sexually abuses under-age girls and you know. As long as you don’t participate in it are you responsible for ensuring he doesn’t abuse any more girls? Should you be punished for turning a blind eye?

As we are seeing now with various celebrities bring accused of molesting women; are the people who knew about it and didn’t say anything also guilty?

As much as I told myself his actions weren’t a reflection on me, I noticed I had become very cautious about who I told he was my boyfriend. I started wanting to warn people, I was not proud to be his girlfriend.   

After losing a 3rd job for being falsely accused of stealing, I found myself explaining to him that when you take things that don’t belong to you people tend to think you are stealing. People are funny that way. (*hint. If anyone is over the age of 3 and doesn’t know this. Run!!)

I had to ask myself why I was with someone I was ashamed to admit I was with? But by that time I was in so deep I didn’t see a way out. He had sabotaged my truck to the point it was only running maybe a 1/3 of the time. The repairs kept me broke, I was fighting a losing battle. 

He started to not come home at night and I didn’t even lose sleep. I knew to get angry was useless. I had gotten really good at suppressing my emotions. If I cried I heard, “That’s all you ever do is cry”. If I got angry I heard, “This is exactly why I don’t come home. You’re always angry!” If I was suspicious I was called jealous and paranoid. I started keeping track of every time I cried or got angry on a calendar. 

But I never left. So I just prayed he would tell me a good enough lie that I could lie to myself. I knew he was lying, that wasn’t the point; I didn’t believe anything he said anyway. But as long as he was lying I didn’t have to face reality. As long as he was lying he still “cared” and I still had a glimmer of hope that maybe he wasn’t lying this time and he really did love me. 

All victims of a narcissist live on hope and that is the hardest thing to lose. The victim knows he abuses her and treats her like shit, she knows he is cheating, she knows he is lying but she has hope. Hope is a big thing, without hope it’s hard to find a reason to go on. 

* NOTE * He is not the only one playing mind games, the worst ones are the games we play on ourselves!

I kept hearing this voice in my head saying, “How can you be with someone you are ashamed of and don’t respect?

After I left him I felt hopeless and of course he took every opportunity to make me feel hopeless. I felt totally broken and I didn’t have a clue how to put me back together, I could not ever get my innocence back. I have compared it to feeling like a puzzle someone dumped on the floor. But pieces were missing and pieces from another puzzle were mixed in. I was overwhelmed to the point of immobility. 

I knew in order to be happy I had to live according to my moral standards and if I was living with someone who was consistently dishonest I wasn’t living true to my core self.

How was I going to put myself back together and ever find my core self, who was I? 

I started the process the same way I would start putting a puzzle together; one piece at a time.

I looked at every horrible thing he told me I was. I owned what was true about me and I threw out what wasn’t. The things that were true but I didn’t like; I vowed to change.

This analysis of myself took me back to when I was a child and things I was told about myself when I was growing up. I had always been told I was “too sensitive”, I was a “flake”, I was never good enough, skinny enough, out going enough. Without even realizing it I had spent most of my life feeling like an impostor who could be exposed at any minute because I was trying to be what other people told me I should be.

When you are not living true to your core self it is impossible to have inner peace and it is very easy for a narcissist to make you feel “less than”.

Somehow I knew that if I could figure out who I was at the core and liked me that was going to be 1/2 the battle of protecting myself from another narcissist.

It has gotten easier over time, (7 years) to not succumb to the pressure from my ego. Our ego gets us in big trouble you know. My mother has a technique that my ex used also. They want you to do something or agree with them that someone else is wrong so they say something like, “You would never do something like that.” Or “You always help me, not like so and so.” My ex would say something like, “you are nothing like my ex’s, I can talk to you. You are calm and rational. All my ex’s were psycho bitches.”  It makes you better, favorable.  

* Later when he was calling ME a psycho bitch I said.

” I would be concerned if I was you.”

He grinned and snorted, “and why is that?”

Me: “Well, all your exs were psycho bitches and now you are calling me a psycho bitch.”

Him: “Yeah. So.”

Me: “Well. I’ve been thinking. Either you are attracted to psycho bitches, or you turn women into psycho bitches. Either way; you have a real problem.”

It is human nature to want to compare favorably to others, to be the “best” and it’s a very subtle way of getting someone to comply.

I have had a dilemma lately where someone I know has been lying a lot about other people and being vengeful to make herself look better. Privately I have brought her up on it. I have been trying to not play into their drama and pity party stating outright I refused to get pulled into the dysfunction. I thought I had it under control, but then they lied before I had a chance to run interference and I exposed them. 

They went on a tearful campaign proclaiming their innocence and I was made to look like the bad guy and now everyone is angry with me.

With a relationship with a narcissist I always advise going no contact but sometimes that is not possible or not easy, say; with a parent or sibling. 

I have had people come into the blog asking what they can do about the sibling who constantly makes trouble and lie’s about them or a parent that causes drama but always comes away smelling like a rose. I never know what to say and these recent events reminded me what a helpless feeling it is to deal with these toxic people. 

They won’t kill you and are not as blatant as most narcissists but damaging none the less. If it is a family member, to go no contact means you lose your whole family. You sit at home for Christmas, you are the one who is made to feel the pariah. 

It’s not so easy to live true to your core self and set boundaries when you face losing your whole family.

Have you ever dealt with a toxic family member? How did you handle it? Did you turn a blind eye or speak out? What was the outcome? 

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9 Replies to “Is Honesty Always The Best Policy?”

  1. *Deep Sigh* Where to start. First, I should have known something was wrong when my friends and my narcs friends would start to comment that he had never held a job for longer than a year. He works in sales and he was generally let go for “fraud.” He usually always claimed it was because he was black and gay, but he was always in the top 5% of his companies so you would think that would preclude their bigotry. But then I started seeing a pattern of him making false sales to friends and family. Didn’t really rattle me but one time he gave me a free state of the art phone and tablet for my birthday. I thought it was a great gift, but then my cell phone bill skyrocketed and I learned that he did a false purchase and created an account for me with a cell company so he got commission off of it and I was stuck literally with the bill. I found out he did this to several people in our circle and while they revolted, I defended him.

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  2. This: “He is not the only one playing mind games, the worst ones are the games we play on ourselves!” is so true.

    Now about the family: I am pretty much no contact with mine. My family was a toxic nest and WAS actually killing me with the stress. So no more contact with family of origin for me.

    It’s a long story to get into for a comment, but it’s actually what most of my blog is about…my family’s dysfunction and the way they treated me.

    They were particularly cruel during the 10 weeks of my father’s terminal illness. Lots of guilting and shaming. I attempted boundaries but I had reason to fear them. They had also emotionally beaten me down so hard I had a difficult time standing up for myself.

    When I was able and felt safe enough, I cut ties.

    That being said, in my specific circumstance, I was getting birthday cards from my mother til last year. Always with some manipulative BS inside the card too. More guilting and shaming. No card this year. I have been conflicted about that, but now I’m glad she didn’t send one because it makes it easier for me. The months between my birthday (early October) and Christmas are particularly difficult, emotionally.

    My sister started to send me Christmas cards again after skipping a couple. Her yearly card is a pic of her two kids. Last year there was an addition of a dog. It’s hard not to feel like that was a possible manipulation to get me over there. She knows my soft spot for dogs.

    Last summer my brother sent me a long email all about himself and what had gone on for him since our father died.

    I have never told them I never want to see them again. I wish I was that strong to be honest. But I ignore their correspondence and attempts at contact.

    Everyone’s situation is different and I know what you mean about having to cut them all out if you cut one out and the loneliness involved.

    And in my situation that is indeed the case. But none of them are “on my side.” I am the bad guy according to them and since that is their delusional point of view and they are in denial about the dysfunction and don’t want to resolve anything, there is no relationship there to have, as far as I’m concerned.

    Holidays are lonely, that’s true too. I am generally invited to join my the friend that I live with to celebrate Christmas with them and did go a couple years ago but the family member’s home where they all celebrate is such a far drive that I opted out this past year. I was home alone. And blogged a little. Read a little. And cooked a comforting meal for myself.

    I have also gone and had Thanksgiving with my friend’s brother’s family, who live close by so that’s helpful.

    I hate the saying “It is what it is” I really do. But in this case, it’s true. My family isn’t conscious, they scapegoated me horribly (and still do in their own minds probably). They treated me like a doormat, disrespected and violated my boundaries.

    There is nothing I can do to change that about them. It sucks and I wish it could be different. Seems like it should be huh? It’s family ffs.

    I began to think of it this way…if it were anyone else who wasn’t family, it would be completely normal and acceptable to cut ties with that person/those people. Why is it not OK and acceptable to do so with family when they are abusive?

    My answer: It is!

    There are other bloggers who’ve severed ties. In fact it was Kelli from The Ability to Love Blog that helped me get through my thought process and my conflict and fear about it all. I also did google searches and lived vicariously through others who had already done it while I was wanting to do it but still not able to.

    You asked about a family member, singular. But in my case there were three. My mother, brother and sister. They are all toxic in their own way and quite abusive. My father was toxic and abusive too but he passed in 2013 so although the complex PTSD I deal with has to do with his behavior, he is not relevant in the NC topic since that’s been forced anyway, through his death.

    It’s definitely conflicting. I simultaneously love and despise them. But staying away from them is absolutely pertinent to my own well being.

    Besides, they don’t deserve my presence. 🙂

    Hope this helps.
    Hugs Carrie. I’m sorry you’re going through yet another difficult time with a toxic person.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I want to clarify something I wrote above that I thought about later. When I wrote that my sister had gotten a dog and the Christmas card pic included the dog (paraphrasing my own words there) and that I wouldn’t be surprised if that was meant as part of some manipulation on her part…

      I didn’t mean that I thought she’d get a dog or even include the dog in the pic (that she sends to tons of people) just to manipulate me.

      I just meant that the presence of the dog could’ve played a role in her mind in thinking that when I see that there’s now a dog, I might be drawn to go over.

      I thought about how I’d worded that above and thought that it could sound like I think that she’s even adopting a dog just to manipulate me. But I’m sure that through most of her days, she doesn’t give me much of a thought. Just wanted to make that clear.

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  3. The tragedy is that the narc lies to you, you lie to yourself, and then you lie to people for the narc. whether it was to protect him or myself i learned to lie about what was going on. i even learned to lie to the narc to prevent abuse.

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  4. Honesty seems to make my life a living Hell .. am honest to all but do not receive the same back. It’s a shame however whole New world we live in.

    Sent from my iPhone Susan Merry

    >

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  5. James, you do know that is my ex”s name.
    Haha I still hesitate to type it.
    I would defend him to any one!! I would go toe to toe with angry big men. I was so positive he was honest, just stupid.
    One time a big guy on a Harley wanted money my ex owed this guy’s boss.
    I hward him say to my ex ,”get the money from your wife. I’m not leaving without the money.”
    I walked down to the shop and asked the guy if he liked sweet and sour meatballs. He looked at me like he didn’t hear me and said, “What did you just ask me ?”
    I said,”I heard you say you weren’t leaving until you got your money. We don’t have any money so you are going to be here a long time. I figured you’d get hungry. I made sweet and sour meatballs and I’ll bring you a plate if you’re staying.”
    He kinda snorted and said, “No, thanks, . .. .. but thanks.”
    Before I had time to take my ex dinner to him I heard the Hatley leave the yard.
    My ex said as soon as I left the shop the guy had said, “what do you have that’s worth something.?” He picked a welder and all the attachments and left.
    I asked how much it was worth and my ex laughed.
    “I don’t know. They weren’t mine. Mike left it here.”
    So his buddy lost his welder and my ex got away scot-free. Again!!
    He was forever screwing people over. He said to me once.”I’d screw my grandmother over in a business deal.”
    No conscience and they usually attach themselves with an up standing honest person to make themselves look good and the victim always defends them.
    It’s all part of the plan.

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    1. I defended him over everything. My best friend once said “Why can’t he do any wrong in your eyes?” I didn’t think about it at first, but he was right. Even now, I’m blaming myself, my friends, everyone but him. They really mess you up.

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  6. he was lying all the while .all the while .the foundation itself was rocky and I never doubted it ever coz I always wanted to truSt him despite discrepancies .I usually shrugged it away if i felt a discrepancy in mind .the reason was that he had won me over already being a platonic friend for 1.5year and then nursing heavy chemisery within for a year and being available to each other 25×7.
    the relation phase lasted 2.5months with passion and love but riife wth dramas though and balance 2 months in devaluation and hate and doubt. discard was hideous and shocking rife with abuses..and his evil lies came spilling out .everything I told him in trudt and faith during friendship was either thrown back or twisted and used as ammunitions much to my horror.
    he never had a business.he worked elsewhere .he never stayed in a mansion.it was a modest house .and everything else was a sham too.
    I am stunned how dumb and naive I could be .how stupid .how atupid to put myself in danger .
    I am unable to trust people now.I doubt everyone .

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