Is your partner a liar asks Psychology Today.
Do they lead a double life?
This great article talks about the perils of lying and why some people lie.
Some people feel unhappy or trapped in their lives. They need to break free somehow to make life interesting again. You act one way around people you love, and activate a different part of yourself secretly. What can be a sweet way to establish a sense of autonomy in childhood; can become a dangerous solution to unhappiness in adulthood.
There are so many secret lives; some healthier than others. A secret addiction to overeating hurts, but it is a benign secret compared to the many addictions that are lived out behind the scene. Some men who are unhappy in their marriage have affairs or frequent prostitutes. Some women who are unhappy with their weight live private bulimic lives. Many develop addictions—alcohol, drugs, gambling, and online shopping. Still others live secret lives on the Internet by stalking former lovers.
Does Your Partner Have a Secret?
Here are some of the characteristics of someone living a double life.
- Living with a secret is a mild form of dissociation.
- They may convince themselves that it’s okay.
- When you challenge them, you are also triggering shame.
- Some are self righteous, because they can’t admit to their own guilt.
- Watch out for:
- Changed behavior
- Changed clothing or habits
- Strange smells
- Unexplained expenses
- Too much time on the computer
- Late nights out
- Your own sixth sense
- Daydreaming while he or she is with you
Secrets can go on for years. If you’re lucky, you may stumble upon his or her double life. Perhaps by finding money missing in a bank account, crazy credit card bills, discovering texts to a secret lover, a second cell phone or even bottles of booze locked away.
Treating the Secret Life:
- The patient must own his or her behavior. There must be a commitment to ending the secret life.
- Secret lives have power. They have their origins in childhood and are fueled by unhappiness. Only full disclosure to a therapist, all the time, will keep it at bay.
- The secret live can be a “gift” from the patient’s parents. We see and we do. If mom or dad lived secretly, it gets embedded as learned behavior.
- The patient needs to look at what is making him or her unhappy. Is she simply unhappy in her marriage? Perhaps, he’s turned off to his wife because he’s turned her into his mother (in his mind). That is a sexual deal breaker.
- Secret lives are often connected to addictions. Name it: sex, drugs, gambling, the internet, shopping, can all be addictive and lead to a double life.
- Note that secrets have their source in the need to be free. It starts with children. Yet, what exactly is the patient trying to break free from? This is a crucial therapy issue.
- A number of secret lives have their origins in real psychiatric disorders. Anorexics and bulimics live secret lives, as do some people with Bipolar Disorder. Treatment can really help. On the other hand, many people with Personality Disorders, such as Narcissistic Personality and Anti-Social Personalities can live this way without end. The prognosis in these cases is not great.
Finally, 12-step programs can be very useful for people living secret lives and their family members; think sex, gambling or alcohol anonymous, etc. The people in these programs are pros at exposing the secret life. They understand the ability of a person to game everyone, including himself, into looking the other way. Group support from others who understand the power of secrets can make all the difference.
My personal experience of this is my ex husband who lived a secret life.
He cheated on my our whole marriage. I had suspicions for a long time, but buried my head in the sand. I didn’t stumble across his secret – I opened up a letter from from one of his many conquests telling him about their twin daughters who were recently born and claiming child support from him! Bit hard to wiggle and lie your way out of that one!
Once again, here in black and white is an explanation for his secret life and sex addiction. A personality disorder, narcissistic anti-social, whatever. But there is an explanation.
Does that excuse him his behaviour? No. But it helps explain it and that helps me to understand that whatever pathetic excuses he came up with – he was the one with the problem.