Do you ever cover up how you feel and what you are thinking? This is called mind masking, and we all do it. In this episode, we’ll dive in to why we all lie, either my commission or omission. But some lies can be more blatant, deliberate and harmful than others.
As deceit is a part of infidelity, understanding it is important. You’ll also learn areas you may not be being completely honest in.
Lastly, you’ll learn how to spot lying and what to do about it.
I’m Andrea Giles, and you’re listening to the Heal from Infidelity podcast,
episode number 87, Lying and Mind Masking.
Hello, and welcome to the Heal from Infidelity podcast where courageous
women learn not only to heal from their spouse’s betrayal, but to become
the boldest, truest, most decisive, and confident versions of themselves
ever. If you know there’s more for you than the life you’re currently
living but don’t quite know how to get there, you are in the right place.
Stick around to learn how to create a life that will knock your own socks
off. Is it possible? It is, and I’m here to show you how. I’m your host,
Andrea Giles. Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
Hi, everybody. I hope that you are doing well. I am recording this episode
from Las Vegas, where I am traveling for a certification that I’m doing. I
am doing a certification to become a master relationship coach. It is going
to be intense. It’s a few days of in person, and then a whole year of deep
training, learning, learning, learning. It’s my favorite. I love it. I love
taking what I’ve learned and bringing it right back to you. So, I am going
to go ahead and jump into this podcast episode and I hope that everybody is
doing well, and let’s go. Okay.
Today, we’re going to talk about lying and mind masking. And I want to say,
before I jump in, that this episode might be a little bit difficult. I have
to admit that even when I was preparing this episode, I had to walk away
from it for a little bit, because I could feel myself feeling a little bit
heightened, just studying about lying and mind masking. I want you to know
that you can do that too. That if you start listening to this episode and
you feel a little bit frustrated, or angry, or sad, or any kind of thing
that comes up, you can push pause, and you can come back to it later. But I
do want you to listen to the whole thing, because I think it will help you.
Knowledge is power. When we understand what’s going on, it empowers us to
change what’s going on. So, come back to it. If it feels a little bit
upsetting at first, come back to it.
Lying and mind masking. Let’s talk about lying. We all know what lying is.
We’ve all done it. Lying is not telling the truth. It’s when we
intentionally don’t tell the truth or we intentionally omit things and
don’t tell things that would’ve been important to know. And in the realm of
infidelity, what constitutes infidelity from other things is that it’s the
intentional withholding of information. It’s intentionally keeping somebody
in the dark. So, it’s not just meeting up with somebody of the opposite sex
to go to lunch, or talking with them, or spending time with them, and then
on, and on, and on, to the lengths that infidelity goes to, that it’s
intentionally leaving your spouse in the dark. So, that’s part of
infidelity. But another huge piece of infidelity is the lying. It’s when we
lie about it, things that we just straight up lie about.
Why do we lie? On the surface, it might look like we lie because we don’t
want to get busted. We don’t want to get in trouble. We don’t want the
consequences. But there’s something that’s a lot deeper than that. A lot of
the reason why we lie is because we don’t want people to see who we really
are. We want to protect our egos. We want to protect our image. In past
episode, I’ve talked about how hard we try to protect what we want other
people to see of us. We want to shape other people’s opinions of who we
are. And it’s a primal thing to be accepted, to be wanted. Everybody wants
to belong. And so, if it feels like there’s going to be a threat to that
for some reason, we tend to turn to lying sometimes, not always, but
sometimes we turn to lying. We want to very much manage what people think
Now, in a small little context, look at social media. People spend great
amounts of time making their social media look a certain way. Why? So that
they can put into the minds of other people thoughts about them. Oh, look,
it looks like they just get to go everywhere and do everything, and that
their life is really, really, good. What we don’t see is the fight they got
in with their husband the night before, or the kid that just yelled at
them, or the messes, or any of those things that they so carefully hide. In
some way, we all do this. We all try to protect what we let people see of
Lying is when we take this up a notch and we tell something that’s false to
protect our own image, so we don’t let people see us. Now, to go a little
bit deeper, a lot of what happens here is not only are we not wanting other
people to see us, we are not wanting to see us. So, if we can lie, it keeps
the focus off of us, so we don’t have to see it, so we don’t have to hold
up that painful mirror of looking at ourselves and seeing who we are or
seeing the parts of us that we don’t like. And so, it becomes easier to
Something that is very, very, common within infidelity is when people lie,
not necessarily because they want to just keep going on in the things that
they’re doing, but because they don’t want to face the facts of what they
are involved in. They are trying to be in denial, trying to hide it from
themselves, trying to downplay it, trying to ignore it, trying to say it’s
anything but what it is, because they don’t want to actually face the truth
of this part of them that they have allowed to become a thing in their
life, this thing that they’re participating in. And so, it’s because easier
to lie, because then they themselves don’t have to face the truth. They
don’t have to see it. So, it’s not just about throwing you off the trail,
it’s throwing themselves off the trail so that they don’t have to deal with
Again, to some extent, we all do this. It can be very hard to see yourself
sometimes. And so, we often do things to try to avoid it. If we can
manipulate and manage what other people think of us, by what we let them
see, it helps us feel more in control, helps us feel more safe.
Now, let’s talk about mind mapping. Actually, before I jump into that, I
want to say one thing. Something that you have heard me say many times is
how most of the time, when we’re dealing with infidelity, somehow, some
way, we know that there’s something going on. We feel uncomfortable. We
feel like there’s something off. There’s a new kind of tension in the
relationship. There’s a kind of distance that feels different. An
avoidance, a overly friendly, or overly edgy, or overly defensive, just
different things that don’t add up that we’re trying to figure out.
Sometimes, we feel like we’re being lied to and wonder about that.
Sometimes, things just don’t add up and seem sneaky.
But there are times when I have clients who literally had no idea, who
literally thought that they were doing so well, thought that they were so
happy, thought that their marriage was great, and that they were connected,
and communicating well. In these instances, which are not super common but
there are some, the person that you’re dealing with is an expert at mind
masking. Now, in another episode, I’m going to talk about something called
mind mapping, which is where we track the behaviors of other people. That’s
how we know when there’s something off. Mind masking is when we mask our
own mind so that the person that we’re dealing with can’t know what’s going
on with us. It’s very common. We all do it to some extent. It’s basically
when we’re trying to hide how we feel, hide what we’re thinking, so other
people can’t see us.
Now, for many of us, we learn to do this as children. For example, let’s
say that you want something really, really bad, but you’re afraid that if
you let your parents know how much you want it, that it will influence
their decision somehow. So, you play it down, dumb it down a little bit, or
act like it’s not that big of a deal. That’s mind masking. We do it all the
time. All of us do. Did you know that even four-year-olds know how to mind
mask. Little four-year-olds know how to manipulate situations so that they
can get away with things. It’s when they learn to start lying, things like
that, four-year-olds. We are brilliant at surviving and using our brains to
protect us in tracking other people’s behavior and in hiding what’s going
on in our brains to get us out of trouble or keep us out of trouble. Mind
mapping, in regards to infidelity, is when we hide what’s going on with us.
It’s when we hide or when we more aggressively actively try to throw
somebody off of our scent to get us out of trouble.
You’ve heard me talk about the therapist, David Schnarch. I’ve learned so
much from him. He’s one of my very favorites to study. He wrote a book that
you’ve heard me referred to before. It’s called Brain Talk. Now, this book
was used as a training book for therapists, so it’s a very thick, dense
read. It can be very heavy sometimes to read. But there’s a whole section
in there about mind mapping, and I’m going to share some of it with you
today. Okay, so in this book, he talks about what it takes to mask your
mind. I’m going to give you some of the thoughts of his and add my own to
Number one, substitute false content. For example, if you stayed out late
and your wife was wondering where you were, you have to do more to mask
your mind than simply just not talking about it. You have to fill in the
holes. So, this is where you substitute false content. You might say
something like, “I understand you’re wondering where I was last night. I
drank too much. But I did the right thing under the circumstances, which I
knew you’d want me to do. I got some coffee and waited until I was sober
enough to drive.” So, you’re filling it in with false things.
Two, don’t tamper with more of the truth than you need to. For example, in
the same scenario above, “I know I didn’t come home until 4:00 AM.”
Number three, appear to be forthcoming, even eager to comply. “You deserve
a truthful answer. I know I didn’t use good judgment, and I should’ve
called a cab.”
Number four, show a picture of your mind you know people want or expect to
see. When your wife doesn’t simply accept your story, you can respond, “I’m
getting defensive like I always do whenever you question my answers. You
know I don’t like to be cross-examined.”
Number five, create plausible deniability. “I had to wait a long time at
the diner where I stopped because there was only one waitress.”
Number six, take umbrage when you’re caught withholding important
information. “I told you about the waitress at the diner. It was late and
the diner was closing, so I offered her a ride home. I wasn’t withholding
anything. Now, you’re just accusing me of lying.”
Number seven, talk obliquely or abstractly and gloss over details. When the
full picture emerges, which is usually quite different, you can claim,
“That was what I was talking about.”
Number eight, be convincing or confusing. You don’t need to be accurate.
“How would you like it if every time you come home an hour late, I cross
examined you like this?
Now, all of those things can be hard. It can be hard to deal with, hard to
accept that loved ones have used these techniques to trick you, to mask
what’s actually true, so you can’t see it, to throw you off their scent. In
loving adult relationships, or when I say loving, I mean marriage
relationships, it’s really important to recognize some of the dynamics that
are happening in your marriage and how these dynamics play out.
Lying and mind masking can be the same thing. They can be very much the
same. As you’re growing in your relationship, trying to heal relationships,
or even just trying to understand what happened, the more you can
understand some of the things that kept you in the dark, the better. The
more that you know, the more you have the ability to change.
Another part of mind masking is mind twisting. In this book, David Schnarch
talks about something called spaghetti brain. As I have studied it, I’m
like, “Oh, do I understand spaghetti brain?” Spaghetti brain is where you
really, like you know something to be true. And then, you go have a
discussion about it, and the way that it is handled turns your brain to
mush, makes you feel like a crazy person. So, like in the example earlier
about the husband getting home late, you might really know that his story
doesn’t add up. And then, he comes home and he gives you this answer that
makes you question what you know. Makes it turn on it’s head and go, “Wait
a minute. I thought that this, but maybe I’m wrong.” And then, just like
that, your brain is turned to mush. That’s something that we do to each
other. That’s something that we do.
So, what to do about it. I am going to give you a list of some things to do
about it. If you practice these things, you will be better at catching
lies. This episode may seem a little heavier or a little darker than some
of my other episodes, but I want you to understand, as always, your power
in changing the dynamics in your relationship. When we know how to handle
certain things, how to ask the right questions, how to navigate lying, and
mind masking, whether the person decides to tell us the truth or not,
whether they’re engaged and wanting to fix things, it gives us more
information. Living in the dark, hanging out in that spaghetti brain space,
won’t get us any closer to healing. It will keep us stuck and confused.
I’m going to share with you some techniques, shared by David Schnarch, to
improve when you’re being mind masked and when you’re being lied to. Number
one, ask general questions at the start of a conversation to see how they
define the situation and structure the content and style of their response,
then shift to open-ended, targeted questions that require specific details
in the answers. Number two, don’t interrupt when people attempt to answer,
and don’t make assumptions that fill in the gaps in their explanations.
Allow them to fill out the story on their own.
Number three, then ask them to tell their story from a different time
perspective. You might say, “I want to go back to your apology last night
for forgetting my birthday two weeks ago.” This is another example. “When
did you actually realize you forgot it?” Once you get an answer, you follow
up by asking, “What did you do when you realized you forgot it?” The reason
for this is because events that are initially presented as being casually
linked often have less connection when viewed this way, creating a need for
a more adequate explanation. It’s harder for people when they start lying
to remember the order of things, exactly how they presented it, the
timeline. And so, when you start asking questions in that way, it’s easier
to spot what you’re missing.
Those are just a few things to try. If you do some Google searches, there
are lots and lots of articles about lying. Lots and lots of articles that
teach about interesting body language that happens with lying. I, myself,
have spent a lot of time looking at those things. I find it interesting.
Also, I will admit, having raised many teenagers, it’s something that I
have needed to know and to understand.
Unfortunately, lying is something that is, of course, very, very common. It
is something that we all do, whether by omission or by openly lying. We
sometimes leave details out that we think might be hurtful to people. But
what we’re talking about in this episode is where we are leaving big things
out intentionally that we know the other person would want to know. It’s
not just details that don’t matter. It’s details that are game changers,
big details that change the game. That’s what we’re talking about here.
Again, I want to reiterate that sometimes there are people who are so good
at mind masking and so good at lying that you really could be married to
them and literally have no idea what they’re involved in, no idea. They
have gotten very good at their skill.
For a lot of people like this, part of the reason why they’ve gotten so
good at it is because they had to as a survival mechanism. For example, if
somebody grew up in a home where they got beat for different things, like
for saying different things, for asking different things, if they felt
threatened at all by something that they were thinking, or by acting in a
certain way, like if they acted overly happy, or overly sad, or anything
like that, they would want to hide all of it and not let anyone see inside
them at all, because it didn’t feel safe. If you’re married to somebody
like this, there’s probably a reason they are that way, that they still
have to own it, and they still have to grow up from it. That is growing up
and maturity. We all have to grow up. We all have to face our weaknesses,
our darker sides, the parts of us that are harder to look at and grow them
up. Lying can be rehabilitated.
People who lie can learn not to lie. But often, it’s from consequences, and
from being willing to really look at why they lie, and being willing to
recognize that they lie in the first place. You can help with this. You can
call out lies right when you see them. You can say, “That is not truthful,”
and tell why. Notice it, speak up. Sometimes, people who lie, tend to lie a
lot about the silliest things. It’s so silly sometimes when you see little
kids lie, because they lie about things that they don’t need to lie about
until it just gets nonsensical. Adults do it too.
You have influence over this by discussing and by asking deeper questions,
by having them retrace things to see if the timeline still adds up, and if
it doesn’t, by calling it out. These are things that can be fixed, if
somebody wants to. They have to want it though. As long as you live with
people who in intend to keep us in the dark, it is not a safe place,
because it tends to turn our brain into spaghetti. It could feel very
confusing all the time to where we wonder what our reality actually is.
This is what I have for you today. I want you to just notice and see where
there might be holes in stories and where you might be giving people slack,
where maybe there are things that you could help them with in becoming more
honest people. And of course, this goes for all of us. We all could stand
to become more honest people, to not hide things, to let people see us, to
let people know us, to be transparent. In any relationship that’s trying to
heal and grow, transparency is huge. So, the more can learn to drop our
mask and be who we are, the more we let people in, the more we let them
know us. Okay, that’s all for today. I hope you have a great rest of your
weekend and I’ll see you next time. Bye-bye.
Thank you for listening to the Heal from Infidelity podcast. If you would
like to be kept in the know about upcoming free classes, new podcast
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email. You can subscribe at andreagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/. Again,
it’s Andrea giles.com/lies-about-infidelity/. I will see you next time.