Dealing with a loved one struggling with addiction is always a hard experience that affects family and friends, emotionally and mentally. What is even more hard is dealing with their lies.
Drug and alcohol addiction can change a perfect and reasonable person into a mess. No part of an addict is left untouched by addiction: and people close to them are not an exception.
Lying is one of the most frustrating behaviors addicts show when interacting with family and friends. When addiction gets worse, lying becomes part of an addict, telling the truth becomes a thing of the past.
As the saying goes, ” You can know when an addict is telling a lie; their lips are moving.”
Dr. Lilian Glass, the author of “The Body Language of Liars,” says that you first need to understand how a normal person acts to determine the signs that they are lying.
Addicts lie to hide their behavior for specific reasons. However, they are not skilled in lying–in fact; there are many ways to tell. Here is how to tell whether an addict is lying.
1. Body Signs
Hand Gestures: When an addict is lying, they tend to use hand gestures after speaking, as opposed to during or before speaking. Their mind is very busy making up lies, and figuring out whether their story is convincing. So the normal hand gestures that should come along with statements happen later after they have spoken.
Itching and body movement: When you notice an addict rocking their body back and forth, turning their head to another side, or moving their feet, it can be a good sign that they are lying. Itching and fidgeting are caused by the fluctuations in the autonomic nervous system, a part of the brain that regulates bodily functions. Since the addict is nervous, the fluctuations of the brain part make them feel body itches, which causes them to fidget.
2. Facial Expressions
Eyes: Observing the eyes of an addict when lying is one of the easiest ways to know whether they are lying. An addict, when lying, tends to stare away during critical moments of the conversation. They look away or move their eyes as when they are trying to figure out their next words. It is believed that shifting eyes downward to the left is associated with telling the truth. When someone shifts their eyes to the right, there are high chances that they are figuring out what to lie.
Mouth: Rolling back the lips to make them almost disappear into your mouth could be a sign that an addict is telling lies. It is a sign that they are lying or omitting some critical information.
When asked sensitive questions, an addict will tend to roll back the lips as a sign of not being interested in engaging in a conversation.
Change in Complexion: You can easily notice the addict turning ‘white’ while speaking. It is due to blood rushing out of their face when they are trying to lie.
Sweating/Dryness: The fluctuations in the autonomic nervous system can make a lying addict sweat on the face, the T area to be specific, which includes the forehead, chin, upper lip, and areas around the mouth. Sometimes, they can also have dry mouth and eyes.
Blinking: A normal person will blink about six times every minute, or once every 12 seconds. When an addict is lying, he will tend to blink in rapid succession.
3. Observing their Tone
A high Voice: When people lie, they get nervous, and the vocal cord muscles become tight, causing discomfort. This is not an exception to a drug addict. When the vocal cords get tightened, the voice gets high pitched when they are speaking. You will easily notice some creak in their voice. They will likely clear their throat to deal with the discomfort caused by the tightened muscles.
Sudden Change in Volume: Getting defensive is one of the common behaviors addicts exhibit. They always tend to get defensive when confronted, and this is when they try to tell lies. They will get louder and change their voice.
4. Content of their Speech
According to Dr. Lilian Glass, when a person uses words such as “I will be honest with you,” or “let me tell you the truth,” are possibly telling lies than honesty. Besides, they will use more vocal fills such as “um,” and “ah,” which tells that they are figuring out their next words.
5. Their Behavior Is Different From Their Words
A drug addict will not tell you when they are using substances. When confronted, they will insist that they are not using any drug. However, you will realize that they are tired or hyper all the time. Using drugs can make someone fatigued most of the time. A drug addict will lie that their fatigue is due to staying awake late into the night working or studying.
If they seem more energetic more often than usual, but they are still denying using drugs, it can be a sign that their words are a lie.
They will use excuses that they had too much coffee or create any reasonable lie to keep your attention away from them.
Why Drug Addicts Lie
Most addicts tell lies to hide their addiction behavior due to many reasons. Here are some main reasons why addicts lie and how you can deal with it.
1. To Prevent Getting Confronted
No addict likes getting confronted. When this happens, they will often lie to you as the only strategy of convincing you they are doing well.
Always try to use a language which reflects your own experience, rather than a language that blames them and their behavior.
2. To Escape Negativity
Most drug addicts see their problem just as a seasonal one that things will work out, and addiction will go away on its own. They do not like being reminded about the effects of addiction, especially by blaming them. When they feel they are being criticized, hey will lie to escape the negativity.
Instead of drawing blame towards them, try to avoid showing them how things will worsen if they do not change. Instead, talk to them about how things can be better when they change.
3. Their Loved Ones Enable Lying
In most cases, family and close friends know that an addict is lying, without letting the addict know that they know the truth and what happened. This makes an addict believe that their lie was not noticed or was noticed, but it was believed. Therefore, they will be prompted to lie again.
It is not right to enable their lies when you know it. Instead, understand ways to talk to them when you think they are lying. It will help them change.
4. To Hide from Shame
When their behavior is pointed out, they will lie to avoid shame.
Besides, they are always aware of how much their behavior is hurting those close to them and not just themselves.
Since no volume of shame will overwrite the need for drugs, they will tend to lie to do o away with shame.
5. To Keep Using Drugs
Most addicts lie to protect their addictive behavior. Once they get addicted to any substance, they will always want to use it. They will tend to lie to get money for the drugs or to avoid their friends and family.
- How to Tell When a Drug Addict is Lying - August 14, 2020
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