Q: I have been married for 13 yrs and have two children, ages 8 and 5. My husband lied over the years about big and little things. Lying was common in his home growing up. He had a substance abuse problem but has been sober for almost 5 yrs. He is terrible at communication and deals poorly with anger/anxiety. He loves me and the kids and there has never been any cheating. I am lonely and angry with him often. I do not feel like I can trust him, feel like I am on my own. What do I do?
A: Jess, I’m sorry to hear about how your husband lied to you. Here’s what I’d suggest. First, let’s give your husband some credit despite his obvious limitations. He’s now sober 5 years. That’s a HUGE step in the right direction. Unfortunately, it’s not enough because of the poor programming he’s had growing up with low functioning parents. It’s important that you realize that he has some programming that will not immediately shift even if he wants it to. His lying is probably a defense because he lacks other emotional resources to protect him against disapproval. It will take him alot of work for him to overcome this. The first step for you is to lower your expectations, lower your own rage factor, and ask him if he’s willing to start his own growth program to overcome the lying. In other words, as ridiculous as it sounds let him know that you’re aware that he can’t immediately overcome his compulsion to lie. Accept that he has that limitation. Your husband lied over the years because of it. It’s like atrophied legs and he won’t be able to run a 10 K. Next, ask him if he will use a sponsor in Alcoholics Anonymous to do stepwork where he can practice “radical honesty.” It’s in the recovery community that he can attain some of the higher consciousness programming that his original family never gave him. Hope this helps.
Bryce Kaye (10/29/2011)