John Bradshaw, the adult child of alcoholic guru, spoke this very telling comment about the truth. “Telling the truth prevents future pain.” Great principle. So why doesn’t everyone tell the truth? The answer is very simple. It takes a tremendous amount of emotional maturity to speak the truth. Often the truth can lead to a confrontation which is something a person who is emotionally immature can’t deal with.
Larry, a dear friend of mine, who unfortunately has passed away, watched me with my daughter one day. Anytime she did or said something that was wrong, I would have a huge reaction and start to yell at her about her behavior. Larry just kept observing this.
Finally he said to me, “Jim, by reacting the way you do, all you’re doing is grooming your daughter to be a good liar.” I finally understood what he meant when my daughter started to bend the truth a little. I would ask her a question and she would poke around verbally to try to find out what I wanted to hear. She did this to prevent my reaction. Emotionally mature people can speak the truth without fear of a reaction from another person, and can handle the truth when it is spoken to them.
In this country, we are so accustomed to dishonesty. One of our most popular presidents was most definitely an emotionally immature liar. In 1998, we watched as President Bill Clinton constantly deny his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Why? Maybe he had a fear of an entire country and, of course, his wife Hilary’s reaction. When President Clinton continued to deny his affair, things only got worse for him as other women come flying out of the closet pronouncing that they also had affairs with the president. Clinton was also an expert in finding out what people wanted to hear and then he would tell them. People joked that he always agreed with the last person that he spoke with.