Are You Being Lied To? A Psychotherapist Explains What Honesty & Lies Can Do to Your Mental & Brain Health by Dr. Teralyn Sell

2 years ago

Are You Being Lied To? A Psychotherapist Explains What Honesty & Lies Can Do to Your Mental & Brain Health

Recently someone said to me, "When your heart is hungry, you eat lies." This really stuck with me in determining the actual meaning and how it applies to many people.

When someone lies to us (positively or negatively) we tend to "eat it up" until we are consumed by it. Once we figure out the perpetuation of lies our brain can actually trigger adrenaline and we are in hypervigilance and fight or flight. We can then turn into detectives uncovering the truth. The problem with this is that it is at our own expense.

We can’t turn off the stress cortisol, we can’t "unsee" our partner as a liar. We can’t stop "digging for the truth" as we see it. When we come out of our fog, we might say, "How could I be so stupid?" But, you weren’t stupid, you were trying to fill your hungry heart. It’s kind of like being really hungry and being offered a cracker. That cracker feels like a full meal, that is until you actually have a steak.

What Do Lies Do to the Brain and Mood When You Know That You Are Being Lied To? 

When you are being lied to it creates what is called cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is when someone’s behavior is not in line with their words. It is confusing to the recipient. To the giver of the lie, the confusion they create may cause them to over-explain, exaggerate or defend themselves to persuade the receiver that this is the truth. In order to restore balance and reduce the dissonance created, the receiver must change their own truth within them.

What Does a Lie Do to the Brain and Mood of the Person Telling the Lie?

Be honest even if it hurts. Most of the time I hear people say that they told a lie to protect the receiver. I’m not entirely sold on that idea. I think most people tell lies to protect themselves. They don’t want to feel like a disappointment to the other person.

My motto is to be honest even if it hurts. The selfish part of lying is that it doesn’t allow your partner to feel their actual emotions of the news. Instead, the person telling the lie ends up muting them. That is until the lie comes forward, which in most cases is frequently. Then the receiver is more likely to be hurt because of the lie, not entirely because of the action. This might compound a trauma response, surging adrenaline (fight or flight) and pushing your stress hormone cortisol in a chronic state. This not only damages a relationship, but it makes it very difficult for the hurt party to find balance and trust again.

The content on is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. The information on this site should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, and is not a substitute for professional care. Always consult your personal healthcare provider. The opinions or views expressed on do not necessarily represent those of 30Seconds or any of its employees, corporate partners or affiliates.

Take 30 seconds and join the 30Seconds community. Inspire and be inspired.

Related Products on Amazon We Think You May Like:

30Second Mobile, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Fellow Parents: I Lie to My Kids Every Day (Here's Why You Should, Too)

Are You Dating or Married to a Narcissist? Here Are 7 Red Flags From a Clinical Psychologist

Work With Toxic People? 7 Ways to Shield Yourself From Negativity in the Workplace

Ways to Strengthen a Marriage & Avoid Divorce: 50 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Marriage

Elisa Schmitz
Wow, this is deep stuff, Dr. Teralyn Sell . Really important to understand the why of the lie and how to avoid this in relationships. Thank you for sharing!
I can so relate to this...

join discussion

Please login to comment.

recommended tips

Gluten-free Diets: 3 Things You Need to Know Before Going Gluten-Free

Ginger Lemon Turmeric Shots Recipe: A Healthy Shot of Nutrition

Skip the Potato Chips: How to Prep So You Grab Healthier Snacks!

The Health Benefits of Cinnamon: Why You Need to Sprinkle This Spice on Everything