How can I stop lying all the time?


My name is Seth and I am addicted to lying. I'm 17 years old and I almost ruined my life yesterday.

I told a lie at work. My grandpa, who has terminal pancreatic cancer, has a jar that people put money in for him. I said that I checked someone out at the counter and he had a $100 bill and bought something for a dollar, then put the rest in the can. I don't know why I said this, but it was a lie and the person I was working with told my grandpa about the $100 and the lie got to my boss. I told this lie about a week or two ago and it is resurfacing and biting me in the butt now.

On Thursday, something else happened. We were unloading a truck and stocking shelves and the other guy checked in a garage door opener. I set it on the end of this metal table we have at work, intending to put it away after, because I had never seen one in the store before and didn't know were it went. Well, the garage door opener is missing and I can't be trusted because of the earlier lie. I have no idea where this garage door opener is, but my boss is pissed off.

When I go into work again on Tuesday, I have to tell my boss why I deserve to have this job and why he should keep me there. I went home at noon on Saturday because my boss told me I'm not fired but I need to leave and come back with a reason to stay on Tuesday.

What do I do? I need to tell the truth, but how do I start? I will lose everything I hold close if I don't do this one thing right and I don't know what is that is right.

This question was submitted by 'Seth'

mark tyrrell

Mark says...

Hi Seth and thank you for writing in.

I think your experience shows clearly why lying can cause so many problems. If you are caught out in one lie, people can take a long time to learn to trust you again, even in areas in which you are honest.

As you grow older and, hopefully, mature, you will have to look ahead more and really think about the likely consequences to your actions. You can help your own development on by:

  • Getting good at noticing when you feel tempted to lie.
  • Really thinking about what kind of person you want to be and what the likely consequence of your lie will be, even if it's just to make yourself feel worse about yourself. Think about what values are important to you and in those times of temptation say to yourself, "Honesty and integrity are important to me!" Research has shown that stating your core values to yourself can unhook all kinds of compulsions, so give it a go.
  • Plus, think about what needs the lying seems to promise to meet. Feelings of importance? Positive or even negative attention? A way of feeling included? A way to feel respected or liked? These are all valid needs, but trying to meet them through 'shortcuts' can just mean these needs are less likely to be met down the road when the lie(s) turn around and bite you in the butt, as you say.

You are young enough to make a clean start, leave all this behind you, and learn from it. You sound like a decent guy, because you don't really want to be lying. Things will change and get better.

All my best,


watch icon Published by Mark Tyrrell - July 14th, 2015 in

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