Hey, welcome back! I am Dr. Heidi, your Toxic Relationship Awareness & Healing Specialist.
It is the last day of March, so it’s March 31st, and it is once again raining. Thanks to all of you who have tuned into the podcast so far, and thank you to all of you followers who have already been submitting questions to me. This is great because I love to be able to help you in the questions that you’re seeking to get answered.
So, today, the question that we are looking to answer comes from Saint Louis. And the question is:
“When I confront my partner about being unfaithful, they will deny it in the most convincing way. I have evidence and proof that I am 100% right and my gut tells me I am right, as well. They make me doubt myself. How do I deal with it?”
Okay, that is a good question! Even if you are not in a position where you are confronting somebody about being unfaithful, you may be confronting them about something else and you are put in the same position. You know that you’re right but they make you doubt yourself. So, that’s the part of the question I’m going to be answering.
If this is a romantic relationship, this is tough because it is very difficult for us to understand why someone who loves us would want to lie to us. We have to go back to the baseline of the toxic personality, and toxic personality operates differently than we do. The baseline of the toxic person needs to have power, needs to have control; they need to have attention and they need to have admiration. The reason that is, is because the toxic person as a whole, for whatever reason, is insecure. They get their security by controlling the people and the situations around them. We talked about this in the first post, but I need to go back there for just a minute because somebody who cheats or somebody who is unfaithful or somebody who lies is doing that for power, control, attention, or admiration.
What I’m trying to do is to kind of put a box around the unfaithful thing, because unfaithfulness in a relationship is very, very hurtful. Usually if something like that happens, all you can focus on is the act of unfaithfulness. So, I’m trying to put a bigger picture around it so it’s a little bit easier to understand.
It usually does not have anything to do with you. If you are with someone who has been repetitively unfaithful or if it’s something new, normally it doesn’t have anything to do with you if that person is indeed a toxic person. The reason that is, is because a toxic person will seek outside attention and that will result in the unfaithfulness. Just because somebody is being unfaithful, again, it doesn’t have anything to do with your shortcomings because what a toxic person does is gather attention from as many sources as they can. So, if you are dealing with an unfaithful situation, they are gathering attention. New attention always wins out over old attention. It’s not necessarily better attention, it’s just new attention.
I found this to be very difficult in my situation, as well, because when I had rock-solid evidence, just like the listener had mentioned, I would still end up questioning myself because of the convincing way he would twist the story. I found myself, not knowing this at the time, crossing over into the boundaries of gaslighting.
For those of you who don’t know what gaslighting is, gaslighting is a twisted type of truth that makes somebody question themselves or their reality. It is partial-truths, half-truths, omitting information that would make the information true, so that the person who is asking the questions will question their own memory, their sanity, and their reality. It causes us to doubt ourselves but it takes the pressure off of the person that is being confronted.
In this situation, they did probably not plan on getting caught, because it’s not about trying to discard the previous relationship, it’s about gathering more attention from many different avenues. So when you catch them in something like that, they are taken off guard and their first instinct is to take back control of the situation. And how they do that is they fib and they lie and they leave out information until they convince you that you’re overreacting or you’re too sensitive or your facts didn’t add up. That way you back off. That way whatever the topic was gets kind of pushed under the rug.
Now, how do you deal with that was the question. It’s pretty plain and simple. The problem is that if you’ve been in a toxic relationship for a while, things like manipulation become normal to you, so it’s hard for you to see it clearly. But, point blank, how do you deal with it? If it feels wrong, it probably is. If something does not add up, it probably doesn’t. So don’t convince yourself that it does. This is where it is essential that you choose yourself because someone who lies will always find someone in their life that accepts being lied to. So don’t let it be you! You need to make a choice. If you have evidence, and you have reason to believe, and you have a gut instinct that what you know is true, stick to that until you know otherwise. Don’t let yourself be wishy-washed into questioning what you were questioning.
I know it’s easier said than done. But if you’ve been in a truly toxic relationship, I have no doubt that you’ve already seen the lying and the denying cycle. Now, if you decide to end the relationship or you give an ultimatum or you put your foot down, you are probably going to get small pieces of the truth because they want you to feel like “Okay, you’re right, this is what happened…” and they will give you just enough pieces of the truth to calm you down and make you feel like they are being truthful. But at the end of the day it’s still, in your gut, going to feel like it doesn’t add up. So do not accept that!
Acceptance of lies becomes normal the longer you are in bad relationships. They want you to accept it so that you can forget what the first part of the topic was. This is how they survive in life…lying and denying…it’s a cycle. It’s how they stay ahead of everything. This is the point where I wish their pants would just fly on fire! It would be so much easier if their nose would just grow like Pinocchio’s when they told a lie!
Here’s the deal…they are not going to change. We were born with instinct and we need to listen to it. You need to be alert to what’s happening when it happens, and do not let yourself be convinced that it’s not happening!
To the listener…I know you, personally, and I know you have worked very hard at freeing yourself from your toxic relationship, and I know you work hard every single day on making improvements and healing. So, moving forward in your life, what I want you to do is listen. When you venture into new relationships and new friendships and new work-type situations, you need to listen, and when they lie…do not participate! That means you do not need to let people in your life that lie to you, because you get to choose who’s in your life and who’s not in your life. It’s not about trusting that all other people aren’t going to lie to you. It’s about learning to trust yourself. And then reassuring yourself that you’re going to choose yourself.
So, wow, that was a tough question. I am thankful for that because I’m guessing most of the listeners, even if it didn’t have to do with being unfaithful, have felt that they have been lied to and then been coerced into believing it was something else. So, again, thanks for the question, and thanks for the other questions that are coming in. I’m going to try and get to those in the next couple of days. I know it’s Easter, but for those of you who are just tuning in, I am answering questions of listeners who may be in a toxic relationship and may have questions about characteristics or toxic traits, who want to know how to handle certain things or why someone is behaving in a certain way. Those are the type of questions I want to answer here!
You can submit your questions to be on Coaching with Dr. Heidi’s Facebook page, the Coaching with Dr. Heidi Instagram account, or by e-mailing me through the website, and you’ll be able to see some of the programs I have there as well.
I hope everyone has a great Easter and I will talk to you in a couple days!