Addicts lie. There’s no question about it. Lying is just one, common ways that addicts manipulate other people. They may do it to get money or drugs, but also may lie for a variety of other reasons. Habitual lying is just one hallmark of addiction. And, oh man, is it a big aspect. Addicts can become expert at lying to get what they want. They may deceive you and they also will deceive themselves without even realizing it. So, how do you tell if an addict is lying?
How do you tell if an addict is lying?
This question is easy to ask and hard to answer. One way is to get as much detail as possible. Get them to answer open-ended questions about it. The more a person lies, and the more they try to stretch the truth, the harder it will be to conceal.
You may also want to try to find a 3rd party who may be part of an excuse, or who may be able to shed more information on certain lies. For example: did your addict spouse say they were over their friend Jim’s on a certain date? Well, the next time you see Jim, ask about it.
Although some lies may be tougher to discern, you shouldn’t have to try too hard to catch an addict in a lie. Remember, also, to watch for body-language. If they are lying, it will be more likely they will look down at the floor, at their feet, or away. They won’t want to make eye contact with you. They may also act aggravated, angry, or defensive when you bring up certain topics that you think they are lying about. This behavior can indicate a lie too.
Why do addicts lie?
Addicts may lie about many things, including whether or not they are clean, where they went the night before, their work (if they have a job), their history, their family, or anything else.
Why does this happen? For them, lying is a defense mechanism. It is a learned bad habit that is built up over years. In many cases, they lie to avoid immediate bad circumstances to them, or to avoid feelings of shame, guilt, embarrassment, or inadequacy. They already feel bad about things they have done, so it is natural to expect that they don’t want to feel worse.
Another point to consider is that they don’t want to take an honest look at their addiction or the problems it brings. This is to protect their “right” to use drugs. If they were to honestly and objectively view their addiction troubles, they would see a MASSIVE problem that needs immediate correction. They would see that their entire world and the way they view the world is flawed. To correct these thought patterns and behaviors, it takes a lot of time, effort, and in some cases money. Plus, it takes an emotional toll on the individual that some people just cannot cope with.
What to do if you catch an addict in a lie?
Call them out on it. Don’t let them get away with unacceptable behavior. Make it known that certain types of behavior is not appropriate. The more you let an addict get away with their lies, the worse it becomes. Remember: you don’t have to be a doormat for anyone. You may need to give them some “tough love” to get them to finally be ready to look at their addiction and to face it honestly.