Self Deception

Pinocchio

 

Self deception was the cancer that ate my marriage from within. After he was caught, my husband admitted in a text to my mom that he had started to believe his own bullshit. The fabrications he used to keep me and others in the dark were also used to protect him from the painful truths. He was convinced that financial solvency was a bonus check away. He believed that he could change his patterns and begin to make the right decisions.

He was wrong.

He couldn’t do those things, at least not at that point and without help.

His body reacted to the dissonance; his blood pressure soared to extremely dangerous levels, causing him to lose consciousness on several occasions. medications were useless and the doctors were stumped.

It’s because his hypertension didn’t have a physical cause; its roots were buried deep within his fears and his attempt to hide from them.

I also fell prey to self deception. I was aware of an undercurrent of unease the last year or so of my marriage. I had no reason to link the anxiety to my seemingly stable marriage; I assigned blame to a very difficult year at work. My body also must have sensed some discord between my beliefs and reality. I seemed to catch every cold and sinus infection that came through my classroom doors that year.

Psychology Today: The Dangers of Self-Deception

We are all subject to self-deception. It is the favored tool of the ego. We tell ourselves what we want to hear. We believe we see what we want to see. It is primal, as key to self-preservation as seeking shelter from the cold.

In fact, self-deception can be adaptive. It can help us overcome barriers and convince us to try the seemingly impossible.

Psychology Today: Why Self-Deception Can Be Healthy

The problem arises when we fail to check in with reality, when we believe our stories despite warning signs from the body and mind that we are entering dangerous territory.

So, how do we protect ourselves from ourselves? First, accept that self-deception happens. acknowledge that your perceptions and explanations may not be reality. Don’t ignore or dismiss chronic or repeated bouts with illness, pain, anxiety or irritability. Dig at it until you find its roots. Practice mindfulness; it helps to soften the ego so that you can see the bigger picture. Be honest about your biggest fears – this is where your self-deceptions will live.

It is scary to disassemble the stories we tell ourselves. We weave them so that we feel safe and secure; their absence provokes fear and vulnerability. But it also gives you freedom from the shackles of a lie.

Related essays:

Pardon Me Ego, I Need to Get Through

Lose Your Illusion

Fear in the Driver’s Seat

I Was Married to a Con Man

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10 thoughts on “Self Deception

  1. Self deception was my best friend. If I had only listened to my body, my dreams and even my husband I likely would have uncovered the betrayals in my marriage years ago. My husband would tell me all the crazy things the guys he worked with did but really he was confessing and asking for help because he was doing all the same things. My body told me because I was sick, stressed and depressed. But Xanax and blaming it on the kids and caring for my sick mother in law let me deflect from the truth.

    It is truly amazing the self preservation mode our minds go into when we deny what our bodies are trying to tell us. I didn’t want problems in my marriage, I didn’t want my husband to be an addict and s cheat so I simply ignored every sign that was there and reassigned the blame of the stress.

    Now I don’t know how to trust my intuition because I’m still so messed up from dealing with discovery of his betrayals. Of course my body, mind and heart tell me to flee and get away from him because he is the source of my pain. Something else keeps me here, commitment a vow, fear… I don’t know I can’t explain it.

  2. Self deception, avoid the truth….Sometimes it’s a great tool to enable you to do something that seems impossible, but there’s a price to pay eventually I think.

  3. All the signs were there…so I asked him if he was having an affair…I asked HIM. Naturally he said no…every time I asked. One night I sat bolt upright out of a sound sleep thinking, OMG he’s having an affair!! So I woke him up and asked him again…and he said, no. So I rolled over and went back to sleep. After all, It was what I wanted to hear.

  4. No matter how many signs are there you will choose to overlook them. Because what you want and what you know to be true are two complete opposites. It’s completely normal for you to accept a lie to the face even though you know it to be false than look deeper. And then one day it hits you. Like a car crash. You know that all those signs and all those gut feelings.. You know they’re real.. You see them.. You begin to understand them.. But you still don’t take action. Because deep down you hope for change. Over and over you accept the lies. You need to build yourself up. Because this whole time the one ending to change is you. Change into a person strong enough to walk away. Strong enough to believe in yourself. Trust your gut. That is when you become free.

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