Growing up, most of us are taught that lying is wrong. With Aspergers, deceiving people becomes even less appealing. After all, things can be divided into black and white. Thus the Aspergian mind maintains.
Yet, all of us lie. Sometimes we do it on purpose while other times the words seem to slip out of our mouths. One can contemplate and prepare for deception but one might also feel cornered and blurt out a falsehood. Some lies obviously hurt others and impact the world and others seem to affect no one.
However, a lie is a lie. There are different types, extremes, reasoning. and situations but lies remain untrue. However, one might wonder if deceit is always bad. Could a lie ever be the same as or even better than telling the truth?
Some cases come to mind quickly. For example, the brave people who hid Jewish families from the Nazis. Obviously, they did right by saving lives. However, I am setting aside lies to people who are planning to harm others. Scholars can argue the morals of these types of situations. Right now, I am going to focus on lying to cope with difficult situations.
A few days ago, someone called our house. Normally, I never answer the phone. However my parents were gone so I picked up the phone in hopes of speaking to them. To my horror, a person taking a survey began to rattle off statistics and questions immediately. Pacing anxiously, I held my breath and hoped that I could find a way out of this conversation. To frightened to hang up or say “No thank you,” I waited.
“First of all, are you over 18?” The woman inquired, finally taking a breath after talking for several minutes.
So many thoughts ran through my head. Inside, my morals clashed against my anxiety. Before I had too much time to think through my response, I responded with a wavering voice, “No…”
Quickly, she mumbled apologies, asked to speak with my parents on a later occasion, and hung up. Relief but also guilt filled me. How could I have lied so readily? Why couldn’t I be brave enough to tell the truth?
Looking back, I realize that lying has been a coping skill for me. Whether I need to end an anxiety-producing phone call, avoid eating when others are, go home early from stressful event, or explain strange behavior, too often I lie. Why is that? Sometimes telling part of the truth would be simpler. Perhaps even the full truth would be acceptable. Yet, I deceive – not because of malice – out of fear and anxiety. What it they think I am crazy? How do I help others to understand my feelings? Do I need to be ashamed of the truth?
On the other hand, strangers do not need the whole truth about me. Why can I not just look them in the eye and state, “I am not comfortable telling you that”? Fear of disappointing and displeasing others stops me from doing this. Maybe one day I will arrive at this point of confidence.
Anyway, I do not know what to think about lying to cope. Although it goes against my morals, it sometimes has helped me out of difficult situations. Thus I think that it can be used as a skill in the right situations. Hopefully I will get to the point where deception is no longer needed. No one needs to know everything about me but I do not need to mislead them. Instead, I can simply choose to disclose what I feel comfortable without deception or half-truths.
What are your thoughts about lying and using it as a coping skill?