Lying in your relationship does not usually cause PTSD because PTSD is triggered by more severe events than trauma. You can be traumatized by a host of things, but PTSD has very severe symptoms brought on usually by a dangerous or deadly event.
It’s one thing to understand how to forgive when someone lies to you or apologize for being dishonest. You are entering a whole new ball game when you are trying to “get over” the lying all together. You may want it to just go away, but that’s not necessarily going to happen. Stopping the act of lying and/or putting away the hurt and symptoms of being lied to may take time.
Have you ever wondered what Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is? Of course, you have! That’s why you are here. I realize as a therapist that this disorder is becoming more common due to COVID-19 and many other traumatizing events that are making our world more unpredictable. What are we supposed to do with all these negative things?
As a marriage and family therapist, I hear about trauma all the time. I have studied mental health all of my career. A common occurrence in therapy is when a couple comes in struggling with communication and conflict. They tell their stories about how they interact. It is at that point that they reveal their trauma. Many of these couples wonder why they can’t resolve their issues.
Life is difficult right now. Our world has been turned upside down. In turbulent times we need help. A little direction is desired when you don’t know what to do. Guidance can comes in many forms: a friend, a mentor, a book, a podcast or some other informational resource, especially the best source, the Bible. As many of my latest post have focused on the topic of dishonesty, when you are wanting to stop this type of behavior, a little guidance from the Word is important when you don’t know what else to do to stop this hurtful behavior.
Doing a little research and thought exercise on whether lying is okay or not. I thought I might write a post to help married couples navigate the nuances of dishonesty in marriage and relationships. Undoubtedly, I believe most people do not like to be lied to, but many people believe that there are times when lying is okay. I am not sure if you are one of those people, but let’s take a look at some information to get some finality to this question.
Asking the question, “Should I stay with a lying spouse?” poses different answers for different people. As I think through this question and read what other’s have wrote about this question, the answer I find is that if we factor in “only lying,” then your marriage is likely salvageable and you should stay with your spouse. However, if we factor in other behaviors, you may have a reason to leave.
After much thought, research, and work with couples over the years, I believe an apology is important, but must be done in the right way. When you apologize to your husband or wife, it is important to be genuine and direct, to validate their feelings of hurt and fear, to understand their needs, and to state a plan of how you will work not to hurt your partner in the future. These 5 different aspects to apologizing will help your husband or wife to know that you are sorry for your actions, you care about their feelings, and you desire to make sure you change, not only, how you act, but how you are going to make it right.
Has your spouse lied to you, left information out, or been dishonest in some other way? Dishonesty hurts relationships. Trust is broken. Feelings are hurt. The damage is done. As a wife or husband who has faced dishonesty in their relationship, you are probably wondering what you can do. In situations like these, especially if your spouse has lies chronically, boundaries are needed.
Is it possible to rebuild trust? You may be asking that question. You feel terrible about the mistake of lying to your spouse, but you are not sure how to reverse it. Your stuck between defending yourself and protecting yourself from their anger. Healing takes time and hopelessness wanes in situations like these. The question you are asking is, “Is it possible to make things better?” As a marriage and family therapist, my answer is, “Yes!”
What is it like to be lied to? And how to you deal with a spouse that lies? To confront a spouse who lies, you first need to have a plan of how to talk to your partner about their dishonesty. You may be struggling with the pain of the most recent lie or the first one ever. Yet, you can’t just stand by and wait for the next time, or let this go by without trying to understand, right?
Do you ever wonder why people lie in relationships? It seems a mystery at times. You would think that love, kindness and a fear of hurting your spouse or partner would deter dishonesty. Culturally, lying seems to be accepted, but when it happens in a relationship, it can be devastating. Broken trust, decreased affection and other possible effects on your marriage or relationship are results of deceptive behavior. Why would anyone do this?
Throughout my years of counseling, I have had many wives and husbands plead to me to give them the answer to how to forgive their spouse. Many times the reason is because they feel betrayed or deeply hurt by dishonesty. As I am sitting here, it occurred to me that it would be helpful to provide this information to others I can’t reach through counseling.
God’s design is perfect. Do you believe that? I do. I don’t believe in a God who is imperfect, so his design for things, essentially how he designed things he created, is perfect. You heard in my last post, “God is a God of order.” God designed things to be in order.
Procreation is when a man and a woman create child together. Duh! Why is that important? Because it can’t be anything other than a man or a woman! Sounds simple, but our culture and society wants to make marriage more than just one man and one woman.
Brandon Coussens, LMFT
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Augusta, GA 30909
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