What makes people tell creative and fantastic tales that just aren't true? Why do people keep secrets from those they claim to love or have some kind of relationship with? What makes people think it's ok to be mean? What is wrong with someone who would harm a defenseless small child or animal? What makes people think they can just order other people around as if they are their own personal slaves? Why do people deny their actions, when you know - that they know - that you know that they really did do whatever it is you're accusing them of saying or doing?
Fear. Some form of fear that they justify to themselves that they believe excuses their harmful actions. Common fear justifications are addictions (or collateral damage from someone else's addiction) or a 'recognized psychological disorder' that in their mind gives them a free pass to be abusive, secretive, manipulative or controlling.
A person's fearful actions are driven by a false belief that a negative conclusion is inevitable. People who are abusive, secretive, manipulative or controlling believe something bad will happen if they don't behave the way they are behaving. The illusion of these types of behavior patterns gives them a false sense of security that they'll avoid getting into some kind of trouble that will cause them emotional pain or worse yet - physical pain if they don't do whatever it is they are doing. Sometimes their fear is that you (or someone) won't like or love them anymore if they do or don't behave this way. Lying, stealing, controlling, manipulating, coercing, threatening, yelling, screaming, physically harming, and generally treating others badly all boils down to pain aversion, and pain aversion is a natural human behavior.
I know a guy who is a master at telling really tall tales. He tells his stories with such conviction, that you almost believe him - except for the internal BS monitor that is screeching so loudly in your own mind that you want to laugh out loud. The irony is - this guy's worst fear is that you will laugh out loud, because he knows deep down that his stories are fiction. The possibility that you will call him on his lies and try to shame him somehow is actually what his subconscious mind is yearning for. It's how he was raised. He was humiliated, shamed, verbally abused, and physically abused…….it's what he's used to. It's his norm. When this guy's abuser ceased to be in a position to abuse him anymore, his patterns of behavior, of telling tall tales to avert punishment, humiliation and shame became tales to incite punishment, humiliation and shame. It's true. The paradox of human behavior is that defensive patterns of behavior become so ingrained in a person's mind that they play out regardless of a change in environment.
When this guy's abuser was no longer around to abuse him, his subconscious mind actually missed the negative attention, so he told tall tales to anyone and everyone, and the twisted hope that someone might punish him by leaving him, humiliate him by calling his lies out in front of others, or shame him by scolding him as if he was still that little kid that got caught in a lie. So now what? Let him continue to lie? Well…..…yes. If his lies are not putting you in physical danger, what difference does it make to you? Until this guy is ready to admit that he is lying and that he genuinely wants to stop, nothing you say or do is going to do any good. In fact, whatever you say or do feeds his unconscious desire to continue to lie, so he gets some kind of attention.
Are people born liars, thieves, addicts or murderers? No. Of course not. The idea that some people are born evil, or are genetically predisposed to a life of crime is absurd. Every living creature comes into this world loving and pure. A perfect child of God. Then, life happens. Challenges begin. The desire for survival is awakened, and patterns of behavior that ensure survival begin to form. If the people who had a part in raising the liars, thieves, addicts, bullies and murderers - the parents, siblings, teachers, coaches, pastors, priests - didn't teach them how to deal with adversity, or how to overcome their fears, then how could they possibly know what to do when they're faced with what seems to be an insurmountable task or they're just plain afraid?
If no one showed them love……if no one assured them they were safe - how could they possibly know what security feels like? Additionally, if the people in their life weren't taught healthy coping skills, and they had to find their own way, then it's easier to understand how a person becomes a liar or a thief, or just a plain old mean person.
Every person can only do what they know how to do - or they have to guess. If there isn't anyone that can show them how to do something from a loving or positive perspective, it's up to them to figure it all out for themselves, and everyone does that by trial and error.
Each person perceives what is going on at their current level of understanding, and then their mind files that information to use as a reference at a later date. When their mind goes searching for a reference, it doesn't know if they were 2 or 22 when the info was originally filed - it simply retrieves a file that appears to contain similar content and brings that folder to the forefront of their mind. If the file has been retrieved multiple times, that means a similar experience has occurred multiple times, and the original perception of the original event has been reinforced multiple times. This type of file is not just information, it's already weighted down and colored by the number of reinforcements, and is now a solid perspective.
These files that are stored in the filing cabinets of our mind have accumulated throughout our life, so the information contained in them is either out of date data that needs to be tossed, or still relevant information that is worth hanging on to. It's up to each person to purposefully take the time to review the information contained in their mind's filing cabinets, at their current level of understanding, and determine if the files need to be tossed out, rewritten, or kept for future reference. There's kind of a catch. You can't properly assess old information and out of date data if you haven't learned or have access to new information and data. Your mind will simply reinforce the old data once again and increase the weight of your old perspectives. That's why it's important to take a personal inventory of perspectives every few years.
People aren't born liars. Or bad. Or mean. Or drug addicts, alcoholics, thieves, gang members, murderers, rapists, or tyrants. Life happened, and patterns of behavior that helped them avert some kind of pain were developed along the way, and those patterns became reinforced rigid perspectives. It's how a person was treated by others. It's the path that child was set on, on their way to becoming a grown up. It's the consequence of if and how that child was nurtured.
© 2017 Penny Hodgson. All rights reserved.