Yesterday I realized a friend lied to me a year ago. Back then I didn’t know that her marriage was dysfunctional. I believed her. I believed this lie for a full year even after learning how she lies to everyone to survive her narcissistic husband and cover up the terrible distress of her family. She left me in the lurch that day because I had been depending on her. It was a bit of a disaster.
Up until this point I have been understanding, but I became angry. The anger spread to a couple of other friends who had lied to me in the last few months.
In one case the husband and wife told me two completely different stories. One was elaborate with many details and the other was a simple denial of the situation. I’d always believed the long-winded story but my ten-year-old son declared that the story is probably the lie. After spending a night thinking about it, he may be right. I now realize that the friend was trying to tell me something else with that story. Who knows? I just know one of them lied.
The other case was a simple lie, an excuse. I found out because someone I know was excitedly telling me about an event. The details did not fit with what my friend had told me. I must have had disbelief on my face so this person continued to add details to confirm the date, time, and people. Truthfully, I didn’t want to know. During the conversation, I just wanted to believe that my friend had not lied. When pounded with the facts, I couldn’t deny it. Although there could be reasons, it was still a lie to me.
In all three cases the lie involved the friends’ spouses. Can I ever believe anything someone tells me regarding their spouse? Seriously, I’m in doubt.
As a Philosophy major I had to read a book about lying. One of the basic premises of survival is that people will lie to protect self and kin. Remembering this tenet does not help me gain faith in my friends, but rather confirms a sad reality.
Currently I am rereading Rockville Pike by Susan Coll. In this story the main character, Jane Kramer, starts lying to everyone. Her marriage is in dire straits and she finds herself covering for it with more and more lies. She contemplates the person she has become.
In all of the cases where my friends have lied to me, I believe there are problems with the marriages. Some hide it much better than others. My husband doesn’t agree, so maybe I’m just trying to find a way to at least trust some friends. If I can deem a marriage strong with good communication, maybe I can trust those friends. I’m grasping at straws.
We all want our lives to appear perfect. The public image of a happy family that interacts with the community and is willing to meet people and be friendly is paramount to a little white lie.
Now that my guard is up, I’m fearful that I will scrutinize everything that people say to me. Since you really can’t function this way in life, I will have to believe people. However, I doubt I will invest any emotional energy into what people say to me. The only thing to do is go forward in good faith, but protect yourself.