Lies are told for many reasons. What are the lies we tell ourselves about divorce and marriage, and what harm do they cause us?
Deceit comes in many forms. We may lie to ourselves or to others, and sometimes the lies are told to or about us. An untruth may be a “white lie” designed to protect from pain, and it really does no harm, or it may be a brutal disguise for reality in an attempt to trick or hurt us.
Sometimes a lie can be forgiven, especially if we realize that the liar made a regrettable mistake and never really wanted to cause harm. Other times, a lie is a fatal offense that strips away trust and ruins a relationship.
What about all those lies we tell ourselves when we’re with the wrong person, in the wrong relationship, or in a situation we shouldn’t be?
What are the lies we tell ourselves about marriage and divorce?
1. I can make him change.
2. He really does love me, he just doesn’t know how to show it.
3. This is normal. Every other marriage is this sad, angry, lonely, cold, or dead.
4. I don’t deserve any better than this.
5. No one else would ever love me.
6. It’s a “guy thing.” He just doesn’t see the mess or realize I need help, so I need to handle it all myself.
7. Divorcing would be harder for the kids than them living around our constant dysfunction.
8. I could never make it on my own.
9. He just had a bad day. He didn’t really mean to yell at me, hit me, destroy things, or disrespect me.
11. My mom/sister/friends live with the same treatment. They don’t complain or leave. I’m no better.
12. It’s okay if he handles all the money himself and I have no idea about our financial situation. I’m sure we have enough money, all the bills are being paid, and he would never hide anything from me.
13. All marriages fizzle and there’s nothing I could do to make this better.
14. It’s okay that he is protective of his phone and e-mail and will never let me see either.
15. He’s just stressed out and just needs those drugs or alcohol to relax. He doesn’t really have a problem.
16. The kids can’t tell how miserable we are and they’re not aware of our fighting or the way he disrespects me.
17. I don’t have any skills or talents. I wouldn’t be able to find a job or start a career.
18. It’s my job to put up with bad habits and poor treatment because I’m the woman or because he supports us.
19. If he becomes distant, cheats, or leaves me it’s all my fault.
20. I’ve had my chance at happiness, so if this doesn’t work I can’t ever expect anything good again.
21. My needs, desires, and dreams aren’t as important as his or anyone else’s.
22. We’re parents now, and our time and attention toward the kids is more important than our marriage or my own self-care.
23. He works hard. It’s okay if he wants to spend all his free time away with his friends or doing his hobbies and doesn’t have time for me.
24. It’s okay that he calls me fat or frumpy. I have put on some pounds or let myself go over time. Never mind what he’s done to himself.
25. I should just keep all my fears and frustrations to myself. No one would understand.
26. I have nothing to worry about if he suddenly starts working later, caring more about his appearance, or behaving differently. He loves me too much and would never cheat on me.
27. There’s nothing wrong with developing a close friendship with another man. It’s not like my husband talks to me or acts like he likes me anymore. What could happen?
28. If we only moved, went on a vacation, had more money, had another baby…everything would be good again!
29. My kid’s future relationships, their choices in partners, and the way they will treat others and expect to be treated won’t be influenced by what my husband and I model to them.
30. It’ll be different next time.
31. Our disagreements about religion, money, or having kids will just fade away with time.
32. He cheated on her, but that doesn’t mean he’ll cheat on me.
If you’re lying to yourself, do you know why? Are you trying to protect yourself from an ugly truth that you’re not ready to accept? Are you in denial about the state of your life and marriage? Have you talked yourself into such a low place that you feel you’re no longer worthy of respect, love, or happiness? Are you turning a blind eye to behaviors that may be destructive to your marriage or dignity? Is there any truth within these lies?
The truth of each situation is unique to the people living in it, and so are the lies. What can be said is that if you are being mistreated in any way, you deserve better. If you are feeling depressed, hopeless, or uncertain about your future or that of your marriage, there are things you can do to take care of yourself or try to improve your status.
Marriages on the brink of destruction can be saved, but it takes two to put in the effort and care enough to do so! As with any sort of bad habit, addiction, or other unwanted behavior, the person doing them has to recognize that there’s a problem and be motivated to change.
That includes us. While our spouse may be a one-man wrecking ball to the marriage, if we fail to wake up and realize that it’s not okay and continue to accept poor treatment and a broken arrangement, we can only expect it to continue. If we want different or better, we will have to stand up for our right to them!
Sometimes lies we tell ourselves are symptomatic of optimism. We hope and wish that things will get better. Sadly, many times a part of us deep down knows that nothing is likely to change; but, we do everything in our power to convince ourselves that it’s not as bad as it really is or wishful magic will make things improve.
It’s possible that any of these lies could become a truth if we (and our spouse) work on the issue and really do our homework about how it affects everyone involved. Anyone can have a bad day, but are the issues consistent? Are lies holding us back from what we deserve and excusing the bad behavior of others? Are we hurting ourselves, most of all, by not being real about our circumstances?
What lies have you told yourself about your marriage or divorce?
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