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Struggles with being honest

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Tiredofescaping posted 5/12/2019 10:22 AM

I am realizing how easy it is for me to continue being dishonest with BS, and I am sickened by this. I cheated on 3 years ago, with multiple women. Since we met I lied about everything under the sun, specifically if it revolved around other women and my dating history. I TT through dating, our engagement and first year of our marriage. Iíve been holding onto secrets, and finally came clean to BS about a week ago, it must have been DD #100. I was hoping (stupidly) that after having telling her what I was hiding I would not feel the need to lie to her anymore. But I lied to her again last night while talking about AP. She asks me questions and even if I have already given her a truthful answer in the past, I will almost always choose to minimize, spin, or flat out lie. She wonders why I to continue to try pulling the wool over her eyes when I know it hurts her and sets us back. I wonder why I make this choice myself. I know I still hate talking about AP and my past, and I am very avoidant and dishonest with myself. I know she is only asking because she needs to know the truth, and because I have lied so much she doesnít know what is real anymore. I realize that each time she asks me a question about my past it is an opportunity to set things straight and for her to heal. But the second she asks I feel that familiar anxiety and fear of discovery, and itís almost like I have an instinct to hide that kicks in. I go through a process of thinking of a lie, convincing myself it is truth (so I donít have to feel bad about ďlyingĒ to BS), and then I tell her this lie. She sees through it in a second, and when confronted I double down, claiming that what I am saying is the truth. I canít rememeber how many times I have done this exact thing. Afterwards, I see it for what it is, and admit to it, but the damage is done. I can see that I do this, but in the moment I always choose to lie. I have made a list of steps I want to follow whenever my wife asks me about my past to avoid being dishonest and hurtful, and yet I donít follow it. I have been told by MC that this will destroy my life. It already is destroying it. I am still so selfish that I choose self preservation rather than doing to hard thing and tell my wife the truth. I need to stop this cycle. Iím lucky that BS is still with me after all this time. I know by lying I am only pushing her further away.

JBWD posted 5/12/2019 11:57 AM

IC. You mentioned MC, this is a problem that you need to address with yourself before you can turn to in MC. Especially if youíre multiple years past D-Day.

Hereís what I discovered about the exact same reflex- My BSís extreme emotional pain in discussion sounds to me like anger. Because I hear anger I revert to a childish desire to ďavoid trouble.Ē As I see it my largest motivator in this is a fear of abandonment, if that ďtroubleĒ would lead to me being left alone as punishment. So I prepare myself for conversations- They rarely happen anymore because this process has led to a failing trial separation. I remind myself well in advance and during that this is pain and that I have caused it and may as well do something to try and help if I can.

Iím not telling you this to diagnose you, but to emphasize that this didnít come from MC. MC is just now starting to be a useful venue, but you have to understand how youíre going to emotionally respond IN MC before you can get the most out of it.

JBWD posted 5/12/2019 12:13 PM

The most useful advice Iíve received from the posters here has been this: Outcome focus feeds selfishness. If the reason youíre in MC is so you donít ďloseĒ your BS, itís going to take a bit for you to reorient.

Itís hard to explain but if you can get to the point where you understand that if the outcome of your history and work towards R leads to D, thatís not a bad thing. No outcome is bad, unless itís the result of anything other than true reflection and examination. Your BS MAY be better off without you. Maybe not, all depends on if you can break these cycles.

It returns to the point that you are feeding a LOT of guilt based on a cycle that clearly isnít working for you or BS. The something different you need to try is what I already mentioned: IC.

onlytime posted 5/12/2019 12:55 PM

Based on what you have written, would you say that you lie out of shame, conflict avoidance, or fear (specifically of abandonment, but could be other fears)?

What scares you the most about being honest? What is your biggest fear?

Besides MC, what else are you doing? Are you in IC? Reading books/articles? Watching videos/listening to podcasts? Journaling? What are you willing to do to identify and address your issues?

Maia posted 5/12/2019 13:02 PM

Lying is a habit and it took me a commitment to radical honesty to break that habit. I found it easier to commit to radical honesty in everything than to try to just commit to being honest with BS. and if i caught myself lying I confessed it.

minimizing counts. most of my excuses were lies.

I think JB is right, looking at motives is key. My biggest issue was anxiety. I took St Johns Wort to help me with it. it did help.

Tiredofescaping posted 5/12/2019 22:59 PM

JBWD,

I really resonated with what you said about mistaking the hurt of my BS for anger. I do the exact same thing. I realize that by doing so, I feel entitled to return her ďangerĒ with my anger or frustration, which leads to acting selfishly. Even if she IS mad, (she has a right to be angry), it isnít right for me to get angry at her. I see that by getting angry, I punish her for being upset about what I did. Itís awful that I do that. I believe I have a similar defensive response to anger / confrontation and I fall back into it with an attempt to pacify the situation by telling a lie. I need to work on this.

I agree with you that I need to try IC. After DD # 1, I went to IC, but I was not honest with my BS or my IC at that time. I also lied during MC, which took place after IC failed.nI have been wasting everyoneís time, too attached to my selfishness to truly listen and adhere to the advice that I have been given. I realize now that by going to IC and MC, even reading on SI has been in an effort to ďcheck a boxĒ off a list of things WSís need to do to achieve R. I have been trying to prove to my BS that I finally ďget itĒ and will be a good husband. Itís all been for selfish reasons. My heart was never in the right place. I was not able to get anything meaning out of IC because of this, and I understand I need to go back and try again if I want to keep my marriage together.

I am going to try preparing for conversations in the way you described. I realize that I avoid thinking about my infidelity and escape unless my BS and I are talking about it. I use work, chores, etc. as a filler for my time and as a excuse to delay self work. I need to spend A LOT more of my free time thinking about my dishonesty.

Thank you for your comments on having an outcome focus. I see that I have had an outcome in mind this entire time, and that is extremely selfish.

Tiredofescaping posted 5/12/2019 23:30 PM

onlytime,

I would say that the main reason I lie is the fear of being vulnerable. I am a serial cheater, and I have been lying to protect myself for a long time. As a way to sort-of cope with all the deception, I have told myself that I wouldn't ever tell anyone (or get caught), and therefore will never have to deal with it. I am a people pleaser, and used to pride myself in my ability to get others to like me. I was lying about who I was, so none of those relationships/friendships were genuine, but I used the fact that people liked me as a gauge on if I was a good person or not. My lies became who I was, and I never wanted anyone to truly know "the real me." I have built up years of lies that I never wanted anyone to ever find out about. Everything came crashing down, and now my BS knows who I really am. Which is something I have spent my life trying to hide and escape from. I never wanted to ever fess up to my lies and infidelity. So this is my fear. Having to come to terms with the enormous mess that I have been making and running away from for my entire adult life.

I realize how selfish this is. I have been centering my life around how I feel, my pain, etc. It is easy for me to see myself as a victim of my own reality that I created, which makes it easier to continue being dishonest with myself.

As mentioned in my reply to JBWD above, I have been doing "self work" all half heartedly. This is my first post on here, though I have been telling BS that I intend to post for a long time. I think I was waiting until I knew I wasn't just going through the motions anymore. I was afraid of being held accountable.

Over the last three years, I have listened to podcasts, talked with IC and MC, read SI, read articles. But truthfully, 99% of these were found by my BS. She has been putting in way more work towards R than I have. I need to revisit these articles with a new lens. I am ashamed of how much I put BS through, and how much of her time and energy that I have wasted.

I have not been journaling, I should try that. My BS and I talk about my infidelity daily. The problem is, I feel like we have done so much work, that I know what I need to do, I just don't. I say I would do anything to help my BS heal, but my actions never match. When it really matters, I always choose the selfish choice that hurts my BS.

Tiredofescaping posted 5/12/2019 23:48 PM

Maia,

Thank you for your advice. I need to commit to radical honesty. I definitely have been cherrypicking the truth this whole time. I would decide, in my head, what BS "should know" and what she "didn't need to know," and gatekeep certain truths that I did not want to tell. I know I need to commit to telling the truth ALL the time, but I understand that I will always be tempted to lie, and I have to overcome this each and every day.

timespent posted 5/13/2019 08:28 AM

Honestly had to read your post twice because I thought my spouse had written this. I'm a bs but wanted you to know you are not alone in your struggle. I wish my husband would come on here and share his issues but his fear of true intimacy apparently includes strangers on the internet. So hats off to you for taking this step.

It's amazing to me that like your spouse I have developed my bullshit meter to a high level. Now for me its not so much the details I'm looking for but the feeling of true sharing with honesty and empathy. I can now detect his lies even though he tries hardest to sell the bull to himself in order to protect his overly large and brittle ego. I wish he would protect me instead and stop subconsciously blaming me or resisting the truth when I "force" him to face reality.

gmc94 posted 5/13/2019 09:05 AM

BS here. TiredOfEscaping, I believe my WH could have written the same thing... actually, I don't think he could write it bc it would require being honest with himself.

Just want to say thanks for sharing and being vulnerable here.

Changingpartner posted 5/13/2019 12:03 PM

ToE,

WOW, we are so much alike it's ridiculous. My history is...well, a shit storm. Lots of cheating, different kinds of cheating, spanning a long time, lots of DD's, lots of lying, lots of omissions, plenty of trying to protect myself, and loads of selfishness.

In fact I'm still being selfish. Even after many years of TT, Omissions and no work to this day I'm still not working on R or even working on giving my BS what she needs.

I stopped coming on here, and really doing anything as I selfishly thought everything was at the point of no return and gave up. A recent talk with my BS has set me straight.

I struggle daily with lying, no just blatant but of omission as well. My lying is totally selfish and may be fear based as you have indicated. There are so many similarities between what you wrote and my thoughts. It is a struggle, but one I need to endure for my BS, get over, and start making her and us better.

One of the things that I struggle with, and this might seem weird is when something is happening at work, a lunch, a meeting, whatever, I tend to either not mention it, or straight out lie about it. If I think about it I know I will get caught, I always do, but I still lie. As an example two weeks ago one of our regional executives was in the area to give a talk to us and part of it was everyone was going to have lunch together as part of the visit so that she could get to know the employees better. Instead of me telling my BS about the visit and lunch I chose to omit what was happening. I brought a lunch that day, took out money from the bank (I made a promise to never take out money if I was going somewhere for lunch, another broken promise)as I didn't know if the company was comping the food, and I didn't have my cell phone with me when I went (I promised to have my cell on me at all times, find my phone indicated I was still at my work, not where we were having lunch), she called and I was not at my desk where my phone indicated. Now (Money taken out, not where my phone is, history of workplace affairs) all added up to suspicious activity, and could have been avoided if I had told my BS that this event was happening, and had my phone on my and maybe taken a picture of the group event to ease my BS mind that I was telling the truth, and actually build a little bit of trust.

I didn't do that, in fact I lied by omission and dug a deeper pit to get out of.

Today, I'm keeping my cell on me and going to keep it on me, going to tell my BS about all work events, no matter how insignificant I think they are, and stop segregating my work and personal life, like I have been. It's time to get my head out of my ass and start treating my BS the way she should have been treated since we met over 20 yrs ago.

Lastly I wanted to thank you for posting this, and to those that provided insight and comments as It has provided me with good advice.

JBWD posted 5/13/2019 12:42 PM

I do the exact same thing. I realize that by doing so, I feel entitled to return her ďangerĒ with my anger or frustration, which leads to acting selfishly. Even if she IS mad, (she has a right to be angry), it isnít right for me to get angry at her.

Amazing how common some of these issues are- My BSs revenge A was ammunition for me for FAR too long (I.e. more than the 3 seconds to process.) MC can help resolve but once again the work to be receptive needs to be fleshed out ahead of time in IC. Otherwise WE as WSs arenít adequately receptive to process the hurt and step outside of ourselves. Recognizing it here is a good first step, and continuing to work even when tempted not to work, is critical. My hubris at the peak of our HB was how I let my guard down and validated subsequent NC violations- Need to keep ourselves CONTINUALLY honest!!!

hikingout posted 5/13/2019 12:43 PM

Lying is a habit and it took me a commitment to radical honesty to break that habit


I agree it's a habit. It's also a sign that you don't respect yourself or others. Start with self respect and integrity and define why that's important to you. You do not have a code in which you feel you must live your life by.


When we tell lies, we are typically trying to make things sound better than they are. Some people do it with everything - because they do not feel important. Are you this type of liar? That to feel important you must lie to impress people? That's a fundamental change you must work to make.

And, you lie to your BS because you want to preserve how she sees you. But, it's exactly the opposite - you lie and it makes you look worse. People can sense it.


In both of those cases, you are trying to control how others see you. Meaning, you aren't authentic and vulnerable with people. This tells me you do not like who you are, and this is where your compulsion comes in.


I highlighted Maia's statement about commitment because that's what it's going to take - a commitment to yourself. When we do the wrong things in enforces our self view that we are bad and unworthy. When we do the right things it starts to enforce our beliefs that we are good. The more you live right the better you will feel about yourself.


We had a poster recently that said lying doesn't hurt anyone if it's not malicious, or if it's inconsequential. I don't think that's true. The person we hurt most with our lies is ourselves because it keeps us low as a person. There is a reason people say the truth sets us free, because you are no longer hiding.


I think of radical honesty probably differently than Maia does in what she is explaining. Often, those who truly practice it hold nothing back. I don't feel good under that model, because it betrays my idea of not being judgemental or unkind to others. So, in those small day to day things where I would normally tell a white lie - I stop myself. The example I gave was if someone made me food and I didn't like it - I would thank them for their effort and thinking of me. Whereas before I might tell them "thanks this was delicious". So, I think it's okay to still have a filter that is kind in social situations.


But,when it comes to our spouse and their questions about the affair - there can't be one. They deserve the answers to their questions. And, if you keep it from them they sense it. You will never repair your marriage this way. When we break someones trust as catastrophically as we have, the goal needs to be to start rebuilding it as soon as possible. How do you do that? By earning it.

ChanceAtLife35 posted 5/13/2019 13:05 PM

Lying should be my first, middle, and last name..My lying ability has been engrained in since I was a child. I would lie to gain acceptance and approval from my emotionally avoidant parents and to anyone else to fit in or feel like someone. As I got older it became a habit to where I would lie about just about anything to not be seen or get into trouble. I feel like I have no memory of my life because I lied and made up so many stories to where I don't know what is real anymore. Ofc, getting into my current relationship and marriage was a complete lie because I was lying about having my shit together emotionally and mentally when I didn't. Our road to R or even becoming friends has been like standing in quick sand because of all my damn TT. I lie because I don't want people to see how damaged I am, fear of abandonment, and people pleasing. I do it to manipulate people, to benefit, and to control the outflow of information.

At the end of the day, I am only lying to myself. I am only hurting myself. My lies led to my self sabotage and self destruction. I have also been working on practicing rigorous honestly along with rational and accurate thinking. I do want what I call another chance at life but most importantly to get there HONESTY is the first step. It's hard and makes you uncomfortable, but when it comes out, it's one of the best feelings. Good luck to you.

BraveSirRobin posted 5/13/2019 13:41 PM

This thread has been an eye opener. I wrote just the other day that I have no fear that I am "once a cheater, always a cheater," but I know that if I don't put in constant, everyday effort, I will be "once a liar, always a liar." There is no consequence so small that I do not feel an automatic impulse to lie and avoid it.

Tiredofescaping, one way that I finally ended TT was by writing out the details my BH asked for. My first sentence promised that everything I put in that document would be the truth and would not change. For me, the process of typing was sufficiently different that the lies jumped out at me instead of automatically rolling off my tongue.

The other thing BH and I instituted was a five minute retraction policy. Sometimes I would lie and immediately think, oh shit, I just did it again. Why? Why did I do that? Why can't I learn? And now I'm stuck; I have to stand by the lie because I know that if I admit the truth, I'm doubly fucked. Having the option of veering back on course to correct that bad impulse was a godsend. Honestly, I only had to avail myself of the option a few times before I stopped needing it. It really helped break that automatic lying cycle.

Carissima posted 5/13/2019 14:23 PM

When you talk about lying what are you really meaning here. Are there still big disclosures to be made to your BS or are you talking about manipulating the truth to somehow make yourself look better, to manipulate your BS into forgiving you?

Tiredofescaping posted 5/15/2019 23:45 PM

timespent,

Thank you for your post. It is nice to hear that I am not alone in my struggle. I think us WS all have this feeling of exceptionalism that plays out in various ways, all designed to allow us to ignore the facts and keep acting in ways that protect ourselves. It might sound crazy, but I actually thought that my struggle to tell the truth was unique. I used to feel like my lying was something I couldn't control, and impossible to explain to my BS. I know now that it was just another wayward thought process I employed to avoid working towards change. "I can't help that I lie, so therefore you should be the one to change (stop asking)," is essentially what I communicated to my BS.

gmc94,

I appreciate your thanks. Just the act of writing out my story and reading it to myself shows me how dark and twisted I have been. It's easy to compartmentalize and view incidents in isolation, but when it is all out on the page it is impossible to see my actions as anything but disgusting and intentional.

ChangingPartner,

Regarding your comment about lying about (seemingly insignificant) events that happen at work; I do the EXACT same thing. After talking with my BS about it, I came to a realization: I like hiding things. I enjoy having a part of my life that is secret, that is separate from my wife and other parts of my life. It gives me power again, to control information, and it also gives me the sense of entitlement, that my BS doesn't need to know EVERYthing. I took me a long time to admit this- that I enjoyed cheating and lying. I know as a WS I continue to lie in part to control information, but also because it gives me a sense of excitement, the secret, the thing that I get to know and keep for myself. It also allowed me to continue to act in wayward ways, but not have to be held accountable for it.

For example, I didn't want to check in with my BS all the time. I would tell myself, "Well, if I hadn't cheated, then I wouldn't have to report to BS about everything, so I feel entitled to keep some things to myself." So then I would. I knew I would get in trouble if she found out, but I wanted to keep acting the same way, so I would choose to be dishonest. It was just work right? I would think. I told myself I valued "privacy," but really what I wanted was a safe place where I could continue to act "the way I wanted," and not have to change my behavior completely. I wanted to be right, and have things my way, and viewed BS as a police officer who was forcing me to follow rules that I didn't want to follow. But the sad truth is, I knew my behavior was hurting my wife, but I continued to do it anyway, because I selfish and entitled.

I am happy to hear you are back on SI and I do hope that you continue to keep your phone near you at all times, but be careful of complacency. I can't tell you how many times I told BS that I "would never again do ________," only to do that very thing again and again. It is easy to feel entitled as a WS, because we are used to getting what we want. Even when things get easy we have to stay on the right path. I am just coming to really see this I am sad to admit.

JBWD,

You are absolutely right. Being honest is never going to get easier, and in fact it will get harder for me. I am prone to congratulate myself on "a job well done" and feel entitled to backslide into old habits when things get better. My work is never going to be done, and I can't forget that.

hikingout,

I definitely do lie to make myself look better. Often even to myself. I need to stop looking for validation from others. If I stop caring about what other people think of me, then I won't have to lie to people to look better. But more importantly, if I change my actions so I feel better about myself, then I won't be seeking validation to feel good. I have lived a life of chasing sex and have nothing good to show for it, so I feel shame. If I find genuine things to feel good about, like becoming an honest person, then I can start to respect myself.

ChanceAtLife35,


Thank you for that. Extremely well said. I lie for the all the same reasons. We tricked our spouses into marrying us, because they didn't really know who they were agreeing to spend the rest of their life with. It is so easy to lie that it is scary, but I know that the truth will set us free. In the end, I know my life will be so much better if I can be honest about myself, but that doesn't make it any easier.

BraveSirRobin,

I really resonate with "once a liar, always a liar," without constant everyday effort. I have countless times caught myself in a lie, but convinced myself to stick with it just to keep the story straight and to eliminate more reveals. Of course this always comes out in the end, worse than it would have been I confessed to it the first time BS asked.

Sadly for me, I took advantage of my wife when she offered to let me take the time to write out what I wanted to say to her. I was given several opportunities by BS to write out a timeline or a list of the things I have been hiding, but I choose to use that as an opportunity to hide things because I could say "this is everything you need to know." I have a million times promised her that "there are no more lies," and every single time, even to this day, there are more. So I have learned to stop promising that there will be nothing more. I used up all my chances to do things "my way," and have to learn to be honest from the getgo if I want to help BS heal.

Carissima,

All of the above. I have hid big things, small things, minimized, omitted details, "forgotten" things, twisted and spun things in my favor. At the beginning of this post I said "I finally came clean." I am talking about the big things. I had a list of lies that I would never tell my wife--that I would take to the grave essentially. When confronted, and after a lot of anguish and pain on my wife's part, I would admit to one or two, say that there was nothing more, and spend all my time trying to convince her this was the truth. Then, a few months later, they cycle would continue, andI would set us back a million more steps. Each time I basically told her to stop asking and move on because "there is nothing else," which she knows is not true.

Chaos posted 5/16/2019 10:05 AM

Like gmc94 much of this is eerily familiar.

I'll spare you the rehashing of what others have said and you already know.

My question is simple - what are you going to do about it? And if the answer is nothing - are you going to admit that to your BS?

Tiredofescaping posted 5/16/2019 21:53 PM

Chaos,

My BS has been asking me the same thing for a long time now. Iím good at talking the talk, but I never follow through. For much of our relationship, I should have admitted to my BS that I wasnít going to change a thing. Instead I lied and told her all the great changes I was going to make- all to get her to stay with me. Iíve made things so much worse because of it. Youíre right. Things have to change now and forever. I know I need to look into IC, and continue to work on learning about the motives I have for what I do. But I think the big first step that I need to take here is to commit to radical honesty. Which is definelty easier said than done. It has been really helpful for me to hear that there are others that struggle with this too. Itís a wake up call: Iím not some special case with some unsolvable problem. I can do it, it just comes down to my willingness to choose to do the hard thing, to choose my wife. I know I have a ton more work to do, but radical honesty the only way I can get to ďadmitting it.Ē Thank you for calling it like it is.

BraveSirRobin posted 5/17/2019 07:19 AM

Another thing that I find helpful is that I never lie here on SI. Again, it's not that I never feel the impulse. I find I have to be careful not to get too invested in projecting the image of One of the Good Waywards Who Gets It. Don't get me wrong, that's who I want to be, truly and passionately, but becoming a sort of Stepford Wayward would actually be violating the spirit of the work.

By now, I know what to say in any given situation to get approval here. Sometimes, though, I know that what I'm honestly thinking will be controversial or unpopular, a kind of minority opinion that will anger or trigger the BS community. That's where I have to look at myself: is there value in this unpopular opinion? Will it contribute? Sometimes, the answer is "no, it's a view I've stated before that will just add fuel to the fire." Sometimes (often) I need to look at what I'm missing and re-examine my viewpoint. But sometimes, the only thing holding me back is wanting people here to think well of me. And in that third case, I almost always post, because if I start down that road, and give into lying here (even by omission), I feel like I'll be well and truly fucked.

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