General Question

ninjacolin's avatar

Have you ever lied to yourself?

Asked by ninjacolin (14224points) April 22nd, 2009

And I don’t mean merely believing something that was wrong and then realizing it later. I mean specifically and intentionally avoiding realizing “the truth” of a matter.

What was it like? Tell us about it?

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33 Answers

augustlan's avatar

Intentionally? Is that possible? Can someone teach me how to do that? I think it might come in handy sometimes.

I’m pretty sure my mind has hidden things from me, that my subconscious mind knew/knows… but I don’t think that’s intentional.

live_rose's avatar

I have I tend to kind of lie/ ignore the fact that my grades aren’t too awesome till its too late and Im screwed its a horrible habit and one I need to break and soon. This has lead to procrastination since elementary school putting of things telling myself I can do it later Ill have enough time Ill do better next time.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I’ve tried to consciously block out unpleasant events and information from time to time but I don’t consider that lying to myself. There have also been occasions where I earnestly wanted to avoid believing the truth about something even though I knew what I’d been told was factual. I guess you could call that denial. A good example was when I found out my father had two different types of cancer. That was rough and I had a really hard time accepting that news and coming to terms with it.

ninjacolin's avatar

@augustlan – by “intentionally” i mean.. “for a reason.”

@live_rose – hmm.. “i’ll do better next time” is that a lie or a hope? same with “i’ll do it later.” These seem more like probable ideas about the future that may or may not transpire. For example, I was just such a procrastinator at school and sometimes when I would say “I’ll do it later” i really did! So, I don’t see that those should count as “lies” as per se. They seem more like false or unreliable hopes.

@Bluefreedom – “Denial”.. hmm.. do you think denial (the feeling, not the definition) is lying to yourself or do you think it is more like failing to appreciate a reality? Do you think there is necessarily an intentional (reasoned) avoidance of figuring something out involved?

ninjacolin's avatar

Liedefinition: a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.

Bluefreedom's avatar

@ninjacolin. I don’t think denial is lying to yourself. Instead, I see it as more of a coping mechanism, at least in my case, in the situation I mentioned earlier. More like shunning a reality as opposed to anything else. Another example was when I was diagnosed with diabetes in 2006 and that was a time when I didn’t want to believe anything the doctor told me although I knew it was true.

Intentionally avoiding something, again using my same line of reasoning, would be a way to shut out or temporarily ignore pain or distress or maybe even traumatic times that you are experiencing in your life. Would that qualify as an internal self-defense mechanism of sorts?

cookieman's avatar

“psst, cprevite.”

“yes self?”

“that chocolate chip cookie you’re considering…”

yes self?”

“it won’t make you fat(ter) or effect your diabetes in any negative way whatsoever.”


h o n e s t

“OK” <<nom, nom, nom>>

rooeytoo's avatar

I used to lie to myself a lot, then I found 12 step programs and I learned that lying to yourself or your shrink is really self defeating and stupid. So I try not to do it anymore, it’s not easy though, I have to work at it on a daily basis.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

If you say no, you’re just lying to yourself.

ninjacolin's avatar

lol @cprevite.. hmm.. is it true that you have that exact conversation though? if so, that’s interesting. usually, for me, giving in to a guilty pleasure is a matter of accepting the bad effects rather than actually lying to myself that they will happen. unless I’m joking with myself, i don’t think I ever “deceive” myself into believing that eating fatty foods is good for me… know what I mean? what do you think?

ninjacolin's avatar

@rooeytoo.. would it be too personal to ask for an example of attempting to intentionally mislead yourself that 12 steps has helped you to cease doing?

cookieman's avatar

@ninjacolin: I think I lie to myself that taking my pills, cutting out red meat, and eating a little healthier will be enough to handle my diabetes in the long run.

Of course my doctor tells me I’m only doing half the work. I still need to exercise and, of course, avoid all sweets.

And, yes, I do have a variation of that conversation with myself regularly.

But, as @augustlan points out. I’m really only lying to my concious self. My sub-concious knows the truth.

ninjacolin's avatar

@Bluefreedom yea, i would say that description of Denial sounds like a defense mechanism to prevent yourself from the feeling of being overwhelmed. Avoiding panic.

But not lying. Just not focusing on something.

Jude's avatar

Yup, telling myself that I wanted to be with her.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

we all do it far more than any of us admit or realize.

fireside's avatar

I’m a horrible procrastinator, always telling myself I have plenty of time and then racing to get everything done at the last minute.

Kelly27's avatar

I agree with what @Bluefreedom said above, I didn’t lie to myself intentionally, it was more of a coping mechanism. The night my brother died, I heard them performing CPR for what had to of been 5 minutes before I walked into the waiting room where my family was. I just went in there and sat down waiting for the doctor to come out and tell me he was fine. I’m not an idiot, any other situation I would have know that he wasn’t going to be ok, that I had just stood there for far too long listening to them perform CPR for him to be ok but the thought that he was dying/already gone did not enter my conscious thought until the doctor came out and told us.

aviona's avatar

Yes. I’ve told myself I’m not in love with someone in an attempts to heal a broken heart.

“I’m fine. Really.” Not.

But sometimes you have to fake it ‘til you make it, right?

Macaulay's avatar

I’m a pathological liar.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

When a relative was dying I was told they had been moved to hospice and were receiving great care and the relative was very comfortable and feeling good. I didn’t know what hospice meant, I could have easily asked or looked it up and the fact that I didn’t tells me now I knew death was near and I was in denial.

zephyr826's avatar

On occasion I find myself “embellishing”, first to other people, and then to my self, until I don’t remember the real occurrence at all. For example, I tell people that when I was four or five, a tornado went down our street, but didn’t damage our house at all. I know that when I was four, we lived in the tornado belt of Missouri, and that a tornado did strike our town, but I have no idea whether I was really there or not. We didn’t have a basement, so one could assume that I witnessed the event in some way, but I have no idea whether it really happened. It’s never been discussed at family gatherings, and I’m too afraid to bring it up, because there is the possibility that I made it all up.

cak's avatar

I tell myself I am 5’4”, all the time. I don’t know why and I don’t know why 5’4” is the magic number, but it is.

YARNLADY's avatar

Sort of: On 1/28/86 (two days before my 43rd birthday) I was with a group of children on the ocean, whale watching, when I thought I heard some news from the cabin. I decided that I was wrong (lied to myself) and went on to enjoy the rest of the cruise. I have a lot of practice at this, since I lost two husbands.

rooeytoo's avatar

@ninjacolin – I lied to myself about why I used mind altering substances. I told myself I needed them to relax, to be sociable, to be able to cope with a high stress job. And the fact is I used them so that I could be numb and not feel my feelings. 12 Steps teach you to look your problems in the eye, actually to stop denying that there are problems. That I have enough strength in myself to deal with anything life throws at me, if I just take it one step at a time.

Shuttle128's avatar

@zephyr826 I knew what Hospice meant…..and I still ignored the implications. I wasn’t lying to myself, I just merely did not explore the possibility that my father could die.

@YARNLADY I was born the day the Challenger exploded…...hence my screename.

ratboy's avatar

Yes, I do so all the time. I feel deeply ashamed because I know I’m a gullible sap who’ll buy whatever I’m pitching, but I can’t help myself—maybe it’s congenital.

Disc2021's avatar

From time to time (not that I do it often) I do catch myself fabricating or manipulating facts in order to justify or stretch my own truth. I dont do it purposefully and for the most part, I am a pretty good pill-swallower. I dont know if it’s out of pride always because I usually have no problem admitting my faults to myself or others.

Maybe sometimes it’s because I’ve adapted so well with what I conceived to be “Truth”. To help paint a picture for the situation I’m talking about, It’s like living in a dark room your entire life and having that judgment day/enlightening moment where the light is turned on and the room is revealed – you’re actually able to see the room for what it is and what it has been regardless of what you’ve come to know and familiarize with. You may not want to see it at first so you’ll bend what you believe or subconsciously pretend that what you’re seeing is false and stick with the beliefs you’re most familiar with.

To put an end to my babbling – eventually I catch myself when I do this and try to encounter and accept the reality no matter how harsh it is on me, my senses or my pride.

seventeen123's avatar

I don’t think I ever “lie” to myself.
However I make promises I somewhat don’t keep..
maybe that is lying.. idk

dazednconfused's avatar

I agree with seventeen123

Berserker's avatar

I have done this often, at least in the past. Trying to avoid something I knew to be true by painting on a justification. It never really works, because I realized that if what I was pretending to be the truth was, then I wouldn’t muse over it.

So it’s just better to accept what a horrible and selfish person I am. More energy to try and work that out. Besides there’s like a dark, evil voice inside me that won’t let me delude myself, and she kicks my ass every time I even think of doing so.

ninjacolin's avatar

^ exactly.

SABOTEUR's avatar

Hmmmm…I don’t really see how that’s possible.

I have ignored or purposely given no thought to things I preferred not to address,

crazyivan's avatar

Anyone who says that they’ve never lied to themselves is actively lying to themselves.

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