It happens to all of us at times in our life – someone we think we could trust takes advantage, lies to us or manipulates us in some way. We put our trust in someone who didn’t deserve it and later found out we were being deceived. It hurts and makes us feel foolish. The worst part is, it’s pointless telling THEM how it made us feel, because, let’s face it, they KNEW they were doing it in the first place and didn’t care about us…so why would they care now? It doesn’t matter whether it’s a partner, a family member or a friend, people we trust to have our best interests at heart sometimes simply don’t.
It can leave you feeling responsible and asking yourself ‘How did I let this happen?’ – Question this – Let it happen? You didn’t, did you? As you had no knowledge of it. Not seeing the situation in its true form is all about perspective – you see things from an honest perspective, so why would you doubt that others don’t? Research has been done on this very topic; Anita Kelly PHD (Psychology Today, May 2020) looked at individuals who scored highly on the honest perspective scale. She found that these people are more sincere, more modest, more fair-minded and less greedy – in other words, they are simply better people!. So be assured that if this is you, you’ve got a lot more going for you…
Dishonest people often have traits of narcissism (something Im going to be looking at in my next set of blogs….) who’ve spent their whole lives building a thick, dishonest web of insincere charm, and seeming trust when what they’re really after is a self – serving snack of ego boosting portions.
So, if it happens to you, how do you move on?
Forgive yourself for being fooled
The disruption and confusion that lies and manipulation can cause is literally mind boggling, and its often very difficult to see the wood for the trees – trust your instincts – if something feels off, it very likely to be – It takes a lot of years to learn about liars and abusers and to realise and accept that the responsibility for their lies isn’t yours
Don’t give them the benefit of the doubt
Someone who constantly lies or who has fabricated a narrative that suits their behaviour is NOT likely to start being straight with you, even if certain lies have been exposed or they have confessed voluntarily. You could forgive but never EVER forget. Be ready. Keep in mind that however you decide to move forward, it’s with the knowledge that this person is capable …and likely… to be this way – what you do from here is on you
Learn the basics of deception detection
- Learn how the person behaves when they’re telling the truth, in a normal non stressful conversation. This is your baseline. Other behaviour might indicate otherwise
- Listen carefully to what they say. Denials that don’t include the specific ‘no, I didn’t do that’ are probably lies.
- Look for ‘Hot Spots’ – body language is a good way – the direction a person’s feet point when they’re talking to you is an indication of their intention . Feet pointing away might be an unconscious indicator that they want to get away. A slight shoulder shrug might indicate they’re unsure and covering up. Hands brought up to stress a point could be a subconscious effort to ‘block’ your enquiries. Pursing or sucking of the lip can indicate that they don’t like what they’ve heard or if they kind of smirk or a half smile, it can indicate that they feel superior or contemptuous
- Ask follow up questions to their story and observe how they react. If they get tense they might be hiding something. Or if they look up slightly to the left it can mean they are trying to access their story telling skills
- Finally, simply ask if they have just told you the truth – quite often a person who isn’t telling the truth will use a phrase such as ‘of course I have’ or even in some instances admit to a lie !
Don’t be shy about checking things out
Its makes you more vulnerable if you’re not open to checking out the truths – bank statements, phone records or any independent verification can seem like you’re projecting mistrust but anyone who is telling the truth would be happy – in fact WANT to prove they are. Be aware of the ‘blame game’ where they say ‘well, if you weren’t like this I wouldn’t have to ….’ Or ‘I’m so sad that you don’t trust me’. If you get the opportunity to check out the truth, do …
Don’t change who YOU are
In the aftermath of being deceived, it’s very hard not to become mistrustful of everyone. It’s difficult to relate to people in an open trusting way, especially in new relationships. BUT viewing the world with suspicion creates cynicism and fear inside you which inevitably will lead to hurting yourself. So, be as honest and open as you were before but with more knowledge, see red flags early and don’t allow yourself to become caught up in the emotional upheaval of mistrust. If they turn out to be mistrustful, separate your feelings from your thoughts and let go of the negative self-talk. There are billions of people in this world and most of them are here for the best purposes.