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.
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.
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.