1. Forgive yourself for being taken in by a trick.
I'm well aware that this is a difficult task. Many years ago, I married a man who turned out to be a habitual liar, and it wasn't until much later that I discovered that practically everything he'd told me about himself had been false. In my own life, the disturbance that marriage brought about was heartbreaking, and the disruption that it brought about in the lives of my family and friends left me feeling so guilty that I wanted to crawl into a hole and hide. That it was his sole responsibility for the hurt he caused took many years, as well as much research about liars and abusers, for me to ultimately realise that I was not responsible for his actions.
2. Never offer the benefit of the doubt to someone who has been proven to be a liar.
If you've ever seen a Hollywood film, you might think this goes against your instincts. A variety of heroes who obtain a desirable position or mate by lying about their identities may be found on the silver screen, from Sullivan's Travels to Maid in Manhattan, among other films. When they are discovered, they are almost always forgiven, and they go on to live a law-abiding life from that point on.
However, just because something happens in Movieland does not imply that it will happen in the real world as well. Someone who has consistently lied to you is unlikely to change his or her ways simply because some of his or her lies have been exposed—or even whether he or she has voluntarily admitted to them—as a result of the revelation of specific lies. When considering how-and whether-to proceed in dealing with the liar in the future, keep this in mind.
3. Become familiar with the fundamentals of deception detection.
No, this will not protect you from being duped in the future. However, if you become familiar with the facial expressions, phrases, and behaviours that tend to indicate that someone is lying, you will be one step ahead of the game. (For a quick start, here are five tips that can assist you in identifying a liar:
4. Don't be afraid to take a look at what you're interested in.
One of the things that made me more vulnerable to my ex-husband was the intense discomfort I had when I asked him to provide proof of the authenticity of whatever he had said to me. When you request independent verification of a statement, such as references, bank account statements, the opportunity to do an on-site inspection, or other independent verification, it may appear as if you are projecting suspicion on the person making the assertion. You may be concerned that you will cause harm or alienation to the other person.
Liars are usually well aware of this issue and take advantage of it—"I'm so sorry you don't believe me," my ex-husband used to say on a regular basis. Get over it, dude. An honest individual would almost never hesitate to provide you with proof or confirmation of anything he or she has stated to you. Surprisingly, liars are frequently quick to invite you to verify what they say, knowing that the vast majority of honest people will decline. Consequently, if someone invites you to check out their references, prior background, or anything else, you should always take them up on their offer.
5. Don't try to be someone you're not.
The aftermath of being fooled makes it difficult to avoid becoming a person who is distrustful of other people yourself. It took me months after I divorced my first spouse to be able to trust anyone who wasn't already in my circle of acquaintances. I also couldn't figure out how to interact with new individuals while maintaining my suspicion of them. Since I'd relocated from New York City to Woodstock in the aftermath of our breakup, I'd been surrounded by a large number of new individuals and thus spent the majority of my time alone.
It took me a long time to realise that viewing the world with scepticism was doing more harm than good to my mental health. Despite the fact that I'm a bit more cautious person today, I'm still as honest as I was before, and I continue to believe that people are trustworthy, at least until I discover differently.
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