But I never did that (DW# 782)

[Before we go on to today’s message, I need to warn you that the content for the next few days may be challenging for some of us to read. And it needs to be addressed to provide support for many who are going through such challenges and of course to remind ourselves not to be such challenges for others!
Please feel free to skip this week if you find it triggering or not relevant!]
Yesterday we talked about how the process of healing and forgiveness for major betrayals takes time and effort.
The process begins with an honest acknowledgement from the person who has betrayed trust.  
But what if that first step is not taken? What if the person who has betrayed your trust refuses to even admit that they did that which has hurt you? What if they deny the facts in face of the evidence? What if they accuse you of imagining things or being extra suspicious?
When I am working with people who are on the receiving end of such behaviour, there is no way I can sugar coat this. This one is really hard to deal with. The person on the receiving end of such behaviour needs a lot of support to come out of, or to live with, such a situation. And they need to be reminded that they are not at fault.
As children, we may have said:
I did not break the vase.
It was not me who ate the cookie.
I did not borrow your tools. I don’t know where they are.
I did not steal the chewing gum you found in my backpack.
Children say these things generally because they are scared of the repercussions of parental anger. While not worthy behaviour, we can understand that their moral compass is not fine tuned yet. They are still learning right from wrong and need guidance. That they may not realize that we can see the crumbs of the cookie on their lips and that denying the truth will get them further into trouble. That telling the truth will be difficult in the short run but so much easier in the long run.
Adults can also lie for the same reason. They may have a history of encountering dire consequences when they did speak the truth and may have therefore developed a habit of lying because they are fearful of the consequences of telling the truth. As children, they may have convinced themselves that denying something fervently would be almost the same as if that thing never happened.
And before they know it, their childhood quirks may have become adult habits which are now hard to get rid of.
When adults lie to loved ones, however, the stakes are much higher than a broken vase or a missing cookie.
Lying about being almost home from work, stuck in traffic or that an email may have gone into spam may appear to be minor, but they will cause a loss of trust over time.
Lying about, or not owning up to major acts of betrayal, however, will almost certainly cause the relationship itself to fail.
Over the next few days, let us explore understanding such behaviour and supporting ourselves and others if we or they are on the receiving end of such behaviour.

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