I think I was about seven years old when I learned to lie to protect somebody else’s feelings. I was about to do my first communion. My grandmother, to celebrate the occasion, gave money to my uncle to buy me a pendant with the image of Jesus and a gold necklace.
My uncle and I went to the jewelry store. I looked at everything they had. I was between two very similar pendants. The only difference was that one of them was cheaper. My uncle suggested that we get the less expensive one so we could go get ice cream. I agreed. He then warned me not tell my grandmother about using the left over money on something else.
We came back to my grandmother’s house. She looked at the pendant and was pleased with my decision. A few days went by, and I began to feel guilty. I decided I couldn’t keep quiet so I told her what my uncle and I had done.
She looked at me and said, “I wish you had just kept quiet. You had already done what you did. There was no need for me to know.” I was confused. I thought that surely I was going to be reprimanded but I also expected to be thanked for my honesty.
Instead, I learned that it was my job to protect my loved one’s feelings even if that meant lying. It’s been over thirty years since this happened and I still remember it.
I don’t know if this is where I learned not to be forthcoming with the truth. I certainly got used to lying by omission. I would only tell you what I thought you’d be okay with knowing. For example, I would tell you that I was going shopping but neglect to say that on the way, I’d call my dealer to get my fix.
This program has taught me to check with my sponsor to make sure I am not lying to myself. D.E.N.I.A.L can still sometimes stand for Don’t Even Notice I Am Lying.
Honesty was not something I was used to growing up. I am glad that in this program I’m surrounded by people who love me enough to be honest with me.