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6 Types Of Lies And The Damage They Do

Mardi Winder Adams January 2023

Divorce and Transitions: Mardi Winder-Adams

Let’s get one thing straight right up front – everyone lies in relationships!

You may lie to be gentle to another person. You may lie to protect someone, or you may lie to limit the damage to yourself. Recognizing lies and talking through the issues may help correct the problem and re-establish trust. Or, these lies may be the reason for ending the relationship. 

“Understanding the different types of lies in a relationship may help clarify what is causing problems.”

As a divorce transition coach and mediator, I see firsthand how the impact of lies has devastated relationships. In addition, separating from a liar becomes even more challenging as it is difficult to trust anything they say through the process. 

Understanding the different types of lies in a relationship may help clarify what is causing problems. It may also help you understand how lies are used to manipulate people and situations. 

1. White Lies:

Most people have a scale by which they rate the severity of their lies. The little lies to be nice are often called “white lies.” And they are justified as being harmless or done to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. Sometimes they are seen as trivial statements that have no meaning. So the need for absolute truth is not justified based on the potential to cause hurt or damage to the other. 

Unfortunately, these white lies may be damaging to the other person. By not being honest in a kind and gentle way, the impacted spouse may feel unimportant or, even worse, set up for a fall. 

2. Lies of Omission:

A lie of omission occurs when someone intentionally withholds information based on how the question is asked. Lies of omission are typically planned in advance. In addition, where the guilty person knows that telling the truth will make them look bad or highlight their error. 

“Lies of omission are typically planned in advance.”

In relationships, lies of omission are a significant sign of a problem with trust and honesty. However, if caught in the lie, the person simply responds with, “you didn’t ask me about that.” Which deflects the responsibility to provide the information.   

3. Lies of Minimalization:

Often when people are asked about something they have done that has caused damage, they use a lie of minimalization. These types of lies might sound like, “Yes, I took some money out of the joint account, but it was just a few bucks,” when in fact, it was several hundred dollars or even more. 

In other words, people tend to tell lies of minimalization if they think there is no way the other person can find out the extent of their action, lie, or the damage caused. 

4. Lies of Fabrication:

Making something up as an answer is something you may expect from your young kids but definitely not from your spouse. Lies of fabrication include creating facts or stating something that is not true or that you are not sure is true but presenting it as the truth to others. 

Moreover, lies of fabrication are better known as rumors. Unfortunately, rumors can ruin marriages, especially if there are trust issues already in the relationship. 

“For some people, deception and lying become a method of handling life.”

5. Lies of Deception:

While all lies are deceptive at some level, an intentionally deceptive statement is hurtful and harmful to the trust between people. It is not uncommon for people to use deception to avoid blame and consequences or to attempt to pass responsibility to someone else. 

In most relationships, lies of deception about anything of significance quickly become a deal breaker. For some people, deception and lying become a method of handling life. Sometimes called compulsive liars, these individuals often have difficulty telling the truth under any circumstances. 

6. Inability to Keep Promises:

One more type of lie occurs in a relationship that can be devastating. That is the lie of broken promises. This is not a missed date from an unexpected work obligation; this is the fact that the individual made the commitment or promise with the knowledge that he or she was never going to be there. 

Overall, broken promises, and all other types of lies, are hurtful. They cause cracks in the foundation of any relationship as trust and respect are lost. Even if the truth makes you look bad, being honest is a critical aspect of communication at any time in life, including through divorce and beyond.

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Mardi Winder-Adams

About the Author:

Mardi Winder-Adams is an Executive and Leadership Coach, Certified Divorce Transition Coach, and a Credentialed Distinguished Mediator in Texas. She has experienced her own divorce, moved to a new country and started her own business, and worked through the challenges of being a caregiver and managing the loss of a spouse.

Handling life transitions and pivots is her specialty! In her professional role as a divorce coach, Mardi has helped hundreds of women before, during, and after divorce to reduce the emotional and financial costs of the process. She is the founder of Positive Communication Systems, LLC.