Re: Husband's addiction and compulsive lying
Hi Lost for words,
Your husband is an addict. I know you know that... But what you may not know is that it is a disease - not a moral issue although it may feel like that sometimes. I will help explain a little about both lying and addiction below. I hope it helps.
I need to differentiate between “PATHOLOGICAL LYING” and “COMPULSIVE LYING”.
I define “Pathological Lying” as “the actions of someone who deliberately and intentionally lies for financial, material or some other gain with no care or consideration to how their lies will affect or harm others.”
I define “Compulsive Lying” as “the compulsive need to lie as a normal and reflexive way of responding to life.”
However, as “compulsive liars” often premeditate their lies as well as lie when driven by the compulsion to do so, I do not feel the term “compulsive liars” adequately covers the condition of lying as a reflexive way of life.
“ADDICTION” on the other hand is defined as “The fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.”
So, “LYING ADDICTON” is therefore hereby defined, for the first time, as “The condition of being addicted to lying as a normal and reflexive way of responding to
life where the intention is not to cause harm to others.”
The “lying addict”, therefore, is not someone who, say, is cheating on a loved one and lying all the time about it (although lying addicts could do this of course – like anyone could). A lying addict is somebody who is addicted to lying in order to live.
THE SCIENCE OF LYING ADDICTION IN SIMPLE TERMS
Constance Holden, writing in 2001 in “Science” magazine - the worlds leading journal of original scientific research wrote “Scientists have traditionally confined their use of the term “addiction” to substances that clearly foster physical dependence. That's changing, however. New knowledge suggests that, as far as the brain is concerned, a reward's a reward, regardless of whether it comes from a chemical or an experience. And where there's a reward - as in gambling, eating, sex, or shopping - there's the risk of getting trapped in a compulsion.”
Lying as a behavioral addiction is “rewarding” for the lying addict (as we shall soon see) and, therefore, just like any other behavioral addiction, causes physiological changes in the brain and body just as any other drug addiction does. Today, brain scans of addicts (including behavioral addicts) reveal defects in the brain’s pleasure center that processes the “pleasure chemical” dopamine.
Whether these defects happen as a result of the addiction itself or are there at birth is irrelevant. What is important however is that the more a person feeds their addiction, the more extensive the defect in the brain’s pleasure center is over time. And in addition, over time, a person - including a lying addict - will need to do more of the drug or activity or engage in riskier and riskier behaviors to get the same “fix” or “high”.
Science also shows us that not only do certain drugs affect neurotransmitters in the brain but behaviors associated with doing that behavior do too. For example, just seeing a syringe can stimulate a rise in dopamine levels in the brain of heroin addicts because of the learned association between syringes and their drug addiction. In the same vein then, just the thought of lying in lying addiction can cause a rise in dopamine levels too.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SEEING ADDICTION AS A DISEASE
Seeing addiction as a disease is essential to understanding addiction and, as a society
and world, to do something about eradicating it. Addiction has been scientifically proven to be a disease through many brain studies and therefore by default this fact conclusively bypasses all moral questions.
Not that you would know this listening to the mainstream voice on addiction which – unless you are a celebrity – treats addicts like scum of the earth. The mainstream voice is bullying to addicts – pure and simple. The mainstream has zero interest in helping our collective addiction problem. Instead it hinders it with it’s holier than thou judgmental poison.
But whether the mainstream voice accepts it or not, addicts do have a disease and should be treated as such. Whereas someone with cancer or diabetes gets sympathy, flowers and chocolates, addicts get hatred, are ostracized and are ridiculed. But none more so than someone who lies all the time. They are probably the most hated of all people with an addiction. This is very wrong. Non-pathological lying, as defined above, is an addiction like any other.
It is not a moral issue and should never be treated as such.
The following section is to help lying addicts self assess. Maybe you could show this to your loved one.
ARE YOU A LYING ADDICT?
If you suspect you are a lying addict, the following self assessment questions will help you determine whether you are or not…
1. Is your life out of control because of your lying?
2. Is your mind obsessed with your lies or lying?
3. Do you lie every day?
4. Do you fail to do what is important and normally expected of you because of your lying?
5. Do you risk aspects of your personal safety and the safety of your loved ones in order to lie?
6. Are you in danger of losing loved ones because of your lying?
7. Does your body crave the experience associated with lying so strongly that you feel you have to lie?
8. Have you ever decided to stop lying and lasted only a couple of days?
9. Do you ever wish people would mind their own business about your lying and stop telling you what to do?
10. Have you had problems in the last year because of your lying?
11. Has your lying caused you problems at home?
12. Will you lose your support system if you tell people about the lies you have told them?
13. Do you tell yourself you can stop lying any time you want even though you keep lying when you don’t mean to?
14. Have you ever felt like your life would be better if you didn’t lie?
A “yes” response to any of these questions suggests you may be a lying addict. Also, the more “yes” responses the more likely it is that you are a lying addict. However, only you can define yourself as a lying addict. That is nobody’s job but yours.
Copyright © 2012 Billi Caine