Liar Liar Pants On Fire

I lied to A last week. The end of our session. I saw it coming a mile away and did everything I knew how to stop it (except of course open my mouth and say something to her about the instinct). 

I’ve been struggling with figuring out if I was pregnant or not (as my guest didn’t last long and I have many symptoms) and without actually taking a pregnancy test (because I’m terrified) I told her I was pregnant.

I’m trying not to punish myself here but I absolutely am disgusted with myself. This is what happens when I lie – I draw in and isolate. I know why I do it, but it doesn’t excuse it. Am I bound to be one fucked up loser for the rest of my life who can’t handle any positive relationships!? 

Instead of doing what I normally do (perpetuate the lie and allow it to derail the relationship), I wrote this letter to her that she will get Wednesday. I’m not going to be able to look at her when she reads it and I’m certainly not going to be able to look at her after when she asks me what I see and it will be compassionate or kind or some shit when I simply deserve to be isolated and alone.

Dear A

I lied.

Not about thinking I was pregnant, or panicking at the idea of it. Or the narrative that I would be a crappy Mom (if anything this is proof of that). That is all true. But I am not pregnant. There were no pregnancy tests. I never took them last week. 

I lied to you about knowing I was pregnant. 

I knew that with less income I would have to see you less, and it felt like I couldn’t control anything about it. It felt like I was losing a relationship – that this was going to change. So I did what I always do when I sense that happening. I lied, in a pathetic attempt to keep you around.

I lied, and i didn’t catch it in time. Well, I almost did, I saw it coming. It wasn’t enough, I almost made it the whole session through without lying to you about it – but at the end when I sensed time slipping away and feeling like there were so many unknowns and I hadn’t given you a reason to keep seeing me… I slipped. This is what I had written to a friend the night before:

“I find myself wanting to lie to A and tell her I’m pregnant when I’m not. And God, that is so shameful to admit. I know I am afraid of losing her care and the relationship and I don’t believe it will come if I don’t do something to earn it or need it. I know I think I have to lie for it, or make up stories. She literally told me yesterday that her care doesn’t change depending on what’s going on with me, but why can’t I believe that?! I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to lie to her. I’ll tell her I’m thinking about it instead” 

So much for that plan. I lied anyways. 

I think its harder when my life is calm. I know you have told me that’s when the most work happens, the best work happens, but to me it feels like that’s when I fall apart. 

So. Instead of making a believable plan and acting out this lie to its completion, educating myself on viable pregnancies and spending hours researching miscarriages and doctors appointments and making the lie airtight… wasting time talking about and thinking about things that don’t exist – instead of that, I’m here, and simply telling you the truth. 

I am, in fact, not pregnant. And that is probably better for everyone. It is definitely better for the baby that never was. I am not fit to be a mother. 

I hate myself. I hate that I’ve done this. I hate that its about this. I hate that I’m incapable of letting people close without freaking out. I hate how much this whole last week has tapped into this intense loneliness, and this fear. I hate how broken I am. I looked in the mirror this morning and actually said “I despise you” to my reflection. 

I felt the relationship changing/slipping away from me, because I wouldn’t be seeing you as often, and I lied. I lied because maybe if I was pregnant you would care more or think more about me (which now seems stupid, but nobody abandons a pregnant woman, right?) more than if I wasn’t. That maybe I’d be interesting and need more support. I know why I lie. But it doesn’t change the fact that I did it. Or the fact that my lie affects you. And it affects our relationship. Why do I always screw with good things? Why do I always insist on fucking things up – how long am I going to do this until I realize I’m simply defective?

I truly believe, 100%, that if I am less of a presence in your life that you will care for me less. And this, this is the root of everything. My belief that if I am not top of mind for people who show me any scrap of care – however I manage to get that care – that I will not be loved or cared for at all. It’s why I lie when I sense relationships changing, swinging around pathetically desperate attempts of ‘you can’t walk away from me, I need you.’ It’s why I did what I always try not to do and lied without hesitation, without even noticing until its too late and I hear the words and go “what did I just say!” It’s partially reflexive – some part of me hoping it would have been enough to keep your attention, because I have no concept of relational permanence. 

I never had anybody care for me this consistently, in this way I so desperately needed as a child. And I’m terrified it’s going to be torn away from me. And that stepping back, out of financial necessity, is going to speed that process up. I’m trying to cling to anything because I’m so afraid of losing what I have been missing my whole life – even though its only a smidgen of what is possible because I still insist on holding everyone at arms length. Even you. I’ve come very far in this room, but there is still such a distance. The defences created from hundreds of times of not being heard are overriding any ability I have to let someone in completely. 

I am broken. 

I am incapable at this. I fail at this.

I have spent my life so alone because I never learned it was okay to be close. That that was allowed. That it didn’t have to be earned. That I didn’t have to be in crisis to have someone pay attention to me. 

And oh, my, God… does thinking about that hurt. This whole situation is touching into a rawness that I haven’t felt before. I am so, acutely, aware of the pain. This pain that digs right into the root of how unloved and abandoned and neglected I felt for so many years. I didn’t have friends until I met <husband>, did you know that? I look at my life now and that seems ridiculous, but its true. I was so lonely. I think about it, and I cry. I worry that if I don’t need rescuing I won’t be loved. I worry that as soon as I’m out of sight I become out of mind and that people don’t care anymore. That love is finite – a precious resource – and if I’m not taking it someone else will. I guess that is what happens when you have to fight for attention as a child and you constantly lose. You feel like you’re yelling into this empty abyss even though there are people right in front of you who are saying “talk to me, I’m here.” 

I was going to leave this relationship of my own accord. Once I decided I couldn’t follow through with this lie, I was going to run from it. That’s what I do when things get too big. I separate myself, and I avoid, and I run, in order to protect people from me once I realize what I’ve done. I was going to quit, but then remembered that you’ve taught me that relationships contain two people, and I figured you deserve a say as well. I am assuming because I lied to you that you are going to want to terminate therapy with me, and I understand that. In many ways, that’s easier for me than forgiveness, and acceptance, and care, and dealing with the feelings underneath the lie. 

I’m so sorry for lying to you, A. That behaviour is not reflective of the respect I have for you or our relationship. 

I disgust myself when this happens. I go into this period of incredible self-loathing. All my anger gets directed inwards, and I isolate from everyone, afraid if I have any authentic connection I’m only going to end up hurting people. I am starting to believe that there isn’t any real hope for me, and that the best thing to do is to isolate and protect others. I’m a fool for believing I could have anything other than that lonely, isolated life I lived for so fucking long. And so I return to it in these moments, blocking off my emotions and accepting that I am who I am, and I’m stuck living with me, but nobody else has to be. 

I am sorry. I don’t have a good reason for why I lied to you. I promised you a long time ago I would tell you if I did lie, so this is me following through. At least I’ve never lied to you without confessing it afterwards. Maybe that means something.

PD

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4 thoughts on “Liar Liar Pants On Fire

  1. It takes a long time, and a lot of effort, to break these patterns (we all have them, whatever form they may take). We might not always succeed, at first, at breaking the pattern itself, but you ARE putting in the effort, consistently. What bravery it took to write that letter and share it with A!! I think you are incredible; give yourself some credit. šŸ˜‰ ā¤ xx

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  2. Oh, PD honey, there is so much pain and vulnerability in your letter!

    Have I told you before how brave I think you are? I have thought it over and over, and I’m sorry if I didn’t say so. You have been so willing to go to the hard places and to show who you really are, the parts you like and the parts you don’t like. You’ve been so fearless in the journey to living an authentic and truthful life. This letter seems like one more example of that. I’m impressed by your honesty and the awareness you have of where the lying comes from, the need that your lonely self tries to fulfill by telling a story it hopes will bring it attention and care.

    You deserve attention and care, pregnant or not. You have care and affection from A that I’m sure will hold up even with less frequent sessions. But you deserve more sessions, too. I know you don’t feel ready to reduce them, and I’m so sorry you have to. I don’t know what the chances are of replacing that one client or finding several smaller ones. I don’t know if there are cuts you can make elsewhere in the household budget to make therapy possible. Obviously those are things you’ll have to grapple with. But I think it’s so important that you acknowledge that whether or not you can afford it, you still deserve the attention and support that therapy has brought you. You deserve to live the honest, meaningful life you are building for yourself.

    I say this because I also noticed how much you disparaged yourself in the letter. I am sure that if a friend admitted she’d lied to you so she could get some of your time or attention or whatever, you wouldn’t think she was a defective person. You aren’t a defective person either. You are someone who developed strategies in childhood to get love, attention and care in whatever way you could. Sometimes you had to really reach and get creative to be noticed. It’s so unfair that you didn’t just get it consistently, simply because of the lovely person you are. You shouldn’t have had to get creative, but you did, and over time, if that worked, it became a reliable strategy for you. No big surprise that it would pop up in your relationship with A.

    You are so kind in your comments to other people. Maybe you can spare a bit of that compassion for yourself? xxoo

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  3. A won’t judge you and she probably knows all of that without you saying it. I mean that in a ‘she’s an experienced therapist way’. I’m not judging you either.
    You’re scared and not thinking straight PD. This change is not your choice and that really sucks. H is no less committed to our sessions because I only see her once a month. I have often been tempted to lie about things throughout my life or wanted things to happen to get care and attention. You’re not alone. A will respect you writing this and it does say a lot you’re right. A therapist will usually only break a relationship if there is transference or they don’t feel like they are helping you. You would have to do a lot to get rid of A!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think turning up and giving her that letter is sumpremely brave and shows commitment and a willingness to help yourself. And if I was your therapist, I wouldn’t be allowing you to leave the relationship by colluding with you that lies= termination.

    Liked by 1 person

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