My mother had extreme anger issues as a parent. She'd sometimes wake me up at 3am to scream at me, having stewed on something little I did the previous day. I was essentially a good child: straight A's, never drank or slept around, never s*ck out or even slept over friend's houses on school weeks. But if I was surly, if I skipped a cla*s, if I made plans and forgot to tell her, if I forgot to vacuum or didn't practise guitar for long enough -- she'd sometimes, depending on her mood, get SO angry (screaming, hitting) that I quickly learnt to lie. At first, the lies had a clear objective to avoid her anger -- but soon, it was about little things. I'd make up some bullshit narrative, a 10-minute-long story about whatever I could think of to justify buying a bag of chips. I'd lie about something stupid I saw online to make her happy. Soon, I was lying without any discernible objective -- I was constantly terrified that everything I was doing would anger her, that I was making alternate realities for everything to fool her with. Now and adult and having moved out -- I still find myself lying about little things. I rarely lie about important things, just tiny things, making up events as I go. It's most affecting at my job, where if I make a mistake, instead of owning up to it, I try to make excuses but lying my way through a convoluted thought-process. The other day, my mother told me she couldn't trust me. She'd caught me out on a lie too many times. I had to bite back my retort: I lied because I was scared of your anger. My Mother never inspired honesty or trust -- and as a result, it has made me an untrustworthy person.
By Vipuli +3 published in Sunday, 19 January 2020