Deception Vs. Truth

Okay, I admit it, I LOVE powdered bavarian cream donuts from Dunkin Donuts. I have loved them for as long as I can remember. Money was scarce in my home growing up and treats and ‘extras’ were few and far between. So, when a box of Dunkin Donuts was present in our home, it was a BIG deal. At one such momentous occasion, each of us kids were given our ration of one donut each and the remaining donuts were placed high up on top of the refrigerator with strict instructions from my parents that none of us were to touch the coveted donuts OR ELSE!

Aside from the other left over donuts, I knew there was another powdered bavarian cream donut left up in that box and I was convinced it had my name written all over it. Well….I couldn’t take the temptation. My six year old self climbed up onto the kitchen counter, easily slipped that beautiful box of donuts off of the fridge and I SHOVED another whole bavarian cream powdered donut into my face. After the heavenly taste, the enjoyment, and the utter bliss of that stolen donut had quickly faded, I carefully slipped the box back up into its proper place, hopped off of the counter, and scurried off with a satisfied conviction that I had ‘gotten away’ with something amazing.

About thirty minutes later, I came back into the family room where both my mom and my dad were sitting. My dad took one look at me and said, “Tiffany, did you get into the donuts?” My six year old mind was racing….why was he asking me that? My heart dropped to my feet, I definitely was going to get into trouble. Sneaking food in our home was unacceptable and I knew it. In that moment, I made a significant decision: I will lie to escape this discomfort and shame. I quickly answered my dad, “No, I didn’t get into the donuts Dad.” My mom then came over to me and with a very serious look on her face repeated the same question, “Tiffany, did you get into the donuts?” What WAS this? Why were they asking me this? I thought I had completely covered my tracks. Had they interrogated my other siblings? It was too late to go back now. I forged ahead with the lie, “No Mom, I didn’t get into the donuts.”

My face was burning, my heart was pounding, and I didn’t even notice that during my exchange with my mom and my inner emotional break down, my dad had left the room and had returned with something in his hands. Dad approached me again and raised the object he had been carrying and held it up in front of my face.

It was a mirror.

Reflected back to me in that mirror was my own terrified, six year old face………covered in white powdered sugar. I believe there was even some powdered sugar in my hair. My dad repeated the question one more time, “Tiff, did you get into the donuts?” I looked up into my dad’s eyes, knowing I had been caught in my deceit and I did the only thing I could do…..I burst into tears, “Yes, Dad, ” I said nodding my head, “I got into the donuts”.

As you can guess, this story has been told and retold many times throughout the years. My family laughs about it and they tease me in good fun regarding my audacious dishonesty in that moment. However, my parents taught me a lesson that day that my six year old self has never forgotten. They taught me about the path of dishonesty vs. the path of telling the truth. We talked about how Deceit had lied to ME and made me believe that it was easier to lie instead of being accountable for eating the extra donut. I learned that no matter how well I felt that I had covered my tracks, deciet ALWAYS leaves behind some “powdered sugar”.

When I was fairly new in my clinical practice, I had an experience with a particular client that made me very aware of the importance of recognizing all forms of deception and how they impact our lives individually and relationally.

This client was male and had betrayed his spouse sexually through an extramarital affair. Following his admittance of the affair to his wife, this client then put his complete focus and devotion into doing what he could to repair his marital relationship. I vividly recall a statement this client made to me that struck me and remained with me through the years. He said, “Tiffany, I had no idea to what level I had entrenched myself in deciet. I had no idea that almost every behavior I enlisted when I interacted with and communicated with my wife was interlaced with some form of underlying deciet. Lies became a way of life for me.”

It is true that every individual is guilty of deception in one form or another at varying degrees. The important thing is that individuals come to understand the various ways deciet can creep into our lives. Individuals must “root out” Deceit’s presence and replace it with a more reliable and sustainable companion…..TRUTH. As I have progressed in my professional experience, and my clinical focus has transitioned into more specializing in treating betrayal trauma (specifically with females), it astounds me every day how prevalent deceit is in regards to the behaviors of distressed individuals and within struggling relationships. YET, few recognize Deciet’s cunning and significant presence in their lives. It is also a sad reality that few understand all the various ways of being decietful. They fail to recognize that ALL forms of deception negatively impact mental and emotional well being and the probability of healthy relationships.

The following is a list of some of the ways that people lie and decieve others:

Jordan Peterson (Canadian Collegiate Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto, a Clinical Psychologist, and World Renowned Author) has much to say on the topic of deciet and truth. In fact, in two of his best selling books, “12 Rules for Life” and “Beyond Order” he devotes an entire chapter in each book to these specific topics. Here are some of my favorite “highlights” from Peterson’s insights on these concepts:

1) “Lies make you WEAK…….and you can FEEL it.”

Watch the following video clip where Peterson reiterrates this point.

2)“Taking the easy way out or telling the truth, those are not merely two different choices. They are different pathways through life. They are utterly different ways of existing.”


The following is an excerpt from Jordan Peterson’s book, “Beyond Order; RuleX” (p.272 ).

“You cannot maintain trust in yourself if you lie. You cannot maintain trust in yourself, likewise, if you act in a manner that would require a lie if it was discovered. Similarly, you cannot maintain trust in your partner if he or she lies, or betrays you in action or in silence. So, the vow that makes a marriage capable of preserving its romantic component is first and foremost the decision not to lie to your partner.

There will come a time in your life when you have done something you should not have done or failed to do something that you should have done. You may need advice. You may need support. You may need exactly what your partner could provide, if only you dared to allow them to help. And at some time they are going to find themselves in exactly the same position. Life is too difficult to negotiate alone. If you tell your partner the truth, and you strive to act so that you can tell the truth about how you act, then you have someone to rely on when the seas become high and your ship threatens to founder. This can literally be a matter of life or death. In a relationship where romance remains intact, TRUTH MUST BE KING.”