Openly discuss your feelings when someone has breached your trust.

Forgiving A Liar

by Shannon Philpott

Lies and deceit can quickly deteriorate a friendship or romantic relationship. If you have been betrayed by someone who lied, you are likely experiencing a range of emotions from resentment and anger to sadness and disappointment. Working through these feelings takes time. Learning to forgive a liar takes time too, but also patience and strength as you determine how to cope, heal and move forward.

1. Recognize Your Feelings

When someone lies to you, it’s common to feel betrayed. Recognize that your feelings of anger, sadness and resentment are valid. Although a friend, spouse or significant other may not have intended to hurt you, the fact remains that you were hurt. As you work through your feelings, it helps to look at what was lost in the relationship due to the lies, according to Sharon Gibson, relationship expert and founder of Conflict to Peace in Relationships, a website dedicated to couples. Be honest about your feelings and express them so that the one who lied to you will understand how your well-being was affected.

2. Express Your Thoughts

Venting is a healthy, normal part of healing. If you are having difficulty processing the lies of another, it helps to talk about your feelings with a trusted friend, relationship counselor or family therapist, suggests Gibson. It’s important that you grieve in your own way and find ways to process your feelings. If you are vocal, talking with therapists may help; if you are less vocal, expressing your thoughts in a journal may be the type of therapy you need.

3. Set Expectations

In order to rebuild a relationship with someone who lied to you, expectations must be clear. Re-examine the boundaries of the relationship. For example, if your significant other feels the need to lie to you to avoid an argument, determine a plan to minimize conflicts while still expressing the truth. Establish that lies cannot be a part of the relationship and outline a plan to share information, even if it is sensitive. Even though you cannot control the behavior of a friend or significant other, you can demand respect, according to Fred Luskin, faculty member at the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley.

4. Evaluate the Positives

Pain in a relationship or friendship can often spur negative thoughts and feelings about the bond the two of you have. Instead of focusing on the negative, Luskin suggests shifting your focus to the positive aspects of the relationship. Think about the positive traits of this person. Even though you are disappointed by the individual's need to lie, you can still express your genuine care in order to help underscore the importance of the partnership. As you both focus on the positives, it may help you to cope with the breach in trust in a healthy manner.

About the Author

Shannon Philpott has been a writer since 1999. She has experience as a newspaper reporter, magazine writer and online copywriter. Philpott has published articles in St. Louis metro newspapers, "Woman's World" magazine, "CollegeBound Teen" magazine and on e-commerce websites, and also teaches college journalism and English. She holds a Master of Arts in English from Southern Illinois University.

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