Rebuilding Trust After Lying
Has someone close to you broken your trust by lying? Is it difficult to get back on track and reestablish that trust relationship you thought you had? If so, there is hope!
It’s possible to get back to having a healthy and satisfying relationship with a person who has been lying. Understanding why they’ve been lying to you, what prevents them from telling the truth and taking responsibility for your part in the relationship breakdown are the first steps to repair your relationship.
We’ll go over the basics and provide clear examples for how to implement the steps in this article.
While it’s impossible for us to know the details of your relationship or the specifics of your particular situation, these generic examples can help begin the healing process, even in a complex situation where someone you care about has lied to you.
We are confident, although generic, if acted on these steps will help guide you in the direction of regaining lost trust and support you in the process of rebuilding your relationship.
Step #1 for Regaining Trust
To regain trust, the first thing to do is to let go of any judgment that this person did something “bad” or “wrong”. This kind of judgment only keeps you separate and distrustful.
This might be hard for you to even consider doing at first. Hard because most people believe that giving up their judgment of someone is the same thing as condoning what they’ve done. We assure you, it is not.
You can only let go of a judgment when you’ve been able to translate what they’ve done in terms of what they value. To help let go of any judgments it is important to know that people only do or say things because they are acting in harmony with something they value, or as an attempt to meet some need.
Again, without specific examples it’s impossible for us to guess what a person might value or what need they are attempting to meet. So we’ll make up a story to give you an example of what we’re talking about.
A Son Who Lied
Let’s say you have a teenage son and you ask him where he’s been. He tells you he was at the library studying. Later you find out that he actually skipped school and was at a friend’s house all afternoon playing video games.
Now you might choose to be very angry and upset because he should know better than to lie to you because lying is “wrong”. You might start thinking: “I can’t trust him if he lies to me. How can we possibly have a good relationship if he’s going to lie to me?”
We agree that lying is not an effective way to create a satisfying quality of relationship or a very successful life. However, we want you to consider that there’s a way to look at the situation that is less painful for you and has the possibility of creating a quality of trust that you long for with your son.
So let’s look at the situation from a new perspective. Your son lied to you. Instead of being upset and angry that he’s done something “wrong”, you decide you want to discover what prevented him from telling you the truth in the first place.
Everything We Do is in Support of Something We Value
You can only do this after you’ve come to understand that he lied in service of something he values or as a way to meet some need.
And at this point, you don’t yet understand what that might be. In this case, we believe you’re upset about the lying because you value a quality of understanding and respect. And because you value this it is exactly what we suggest you focus on in your conversation with your son.
If you’re are acting from a desire to create understanding and respect it’s much more likely you’ll be able to be curious about why he lied in the first place. It’s likely you’ll be able to see that his lying wasn’t intended as a personal affront to you. Instead, you can focus on your relationship and your ability to support him in getting his needs met in a way that works better for both of you.
Let’s put ourselves in his shoes and try to guess what he values that prevented him from telling you the truth.
We’d guess that freedom of choice is very important to him–he wants be in charge of his life and decide where he goes. We’d also guess he was lying to protect himself from the upset that telling the truth might create.
Freedom from Judgment is the Freedom to Have What You Want
Once you’re able to let go of the judgment that this person did something “bad”, you’re able to begin exploring the situation to see what prevented them from telling you the truth in the first place. Then you can begin the process of creating agreements about how to best meet everyone’s needs.
In this case, this would be how to get your needs for trust and a good relationship met, while at the same time meeting his needs for freedom of choice and having more enjoyable interactions with you when he wants something other than what you want.
This process we’re describing is very different than the common interactions you see between people. And please realize, we’re just skimming the surface of all of the understandings and skills we teach that are needed for you to shift your perspective and create agreements that would work for everyone in a comfortable way.
In a nutshell, what we’re describing is the very first step to regaining trust.
This first step is to make a commitment to get everyone’s needs met.
Next you need to shift your perspective from right/wrong thinking.
After you get the idea that they’ve done something wrong out of your head, you can begin to explore what everyone values, and then start figuring out ways that everyone can be satisfied.