Kick Starts

8 Ways to Spin the Truth

January 05, 2024 Sylvia Flanagan, LMFT & Motivational Coach Episode 36
Kick Starts
8 Ways to Spin the Truth
Show Notes Transcript

Join me as I unpack eight ways truth can be manipulated and spun in relationships of all kinds. This episode peels back the curtain on eight cunning tactics people use to bend reality to their will, from the subtle art of playing the victim to the more insidious practice of gaslighting. It's an inside look at the grey areas of honesty that can undermine honor and integrity while leaving the recipient adrift in a sea of confusion and invalidation. The goal? To equip you with the clarity and insight needed to spot these deceptions and uphold your personal boundaries when interacting with others.

This episode tackles not just the manipulative behaviors we might encounter from others, but also the ones we may unwittingly exhibit ourselves. It provides a toolkit for identifying tactics like comparison, minimization, and selective truth-telling, and offers strategies for responding with dignity and respect.  Here's to fostering healthier relationships and cultivating a more honest version of ourselves. Cheers to progress and the pursuit of a truly impactful year ahead!

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Speaker 1:

Hi and welcome to Kick Starts, welcome to 2024. I'm your host, sylvia Flanagan, and happy New Year. I'm going to start the year off with the first episode of 2024, and I'm going to talk about spinning the truth, or what honesty isn't. I like word etymology and I had never looked up the word honesty and it comes from Latin and it basically implies honor, respectability and virtue, and I didn't know that and I liked that. So honesty really has to do with how honorable we're going to be towards other people, and it hopefully also sets boundaries on what we're going to accept from other people when we have a better idea of what honesty is and what it isn't. And how many people have you ever met who've said they're dishonest? I haven't met that person either, and I'm pretty certain. If somebody came up to me and said, sylvia, are you an honest person? I think I'd say, well, yeah, I am. But am I always honest? Of course not. Nobody's always honest. But that doesn't mean we can't aspire towards a goal of being as honest as we can be and becoming more and more honest. We're going to feel better about ourselves and we're going to have better relationships.

Speaker 1:

Honesty isn't binary. It's not black or white. I mean it is, but it isn't. There's a lot of gray areas and subtle forms of dishonesty that are pretty tough to navigate, but not as tough if you know what to look for. It's also hard being in a relationship with someone who participates in these gray areas. If you don't know what they are, especially, and if you're not careful, you can lose sight of your boundaries and your needs, and that's when you're going to get really confused. You might end up in a really unhealthy or even toxic relationship. So today I'm going to go over eight different ways not that there's only eight, but these are eight big ones. Eight different ways that people can respond to a situation that doesn't exemplify or manifest honesty, but yet they're not exactly lying. So there are eight ways that people can spin the truth and that you or I can also spin the truth. So these examples don't involve blatant dishonesty, but they're ways of avoiding accountability and avoiding responsibility. It's when people don't want to own what they did and they're trying to get out of owning it, and being on the other end of that is usually hurtful. It's confusing because when you're on the other end of those maneuvers it feels like a total lack of validation and it can also lead you to doubt your own truth, your own experience. So I really hope that this episode helps you know what to look for from other people in your life, and I hope that it also helps you live into a fuller form of honesty in your own relationships.

Speaker 1:

The first way that somebody can spin the truth is by playing the victim, and when somebody plays the victim, they're gonna emphasize not what they did to you or didn't do, but they're gonna emphasize what happened to them so that they can avoid discussing what they did or how they acted towards you. They're gonna have some story of hardship that, in an indirect manner, they're hoping to take the heat off of themselves and get a pass. So be on the lookout for that. It's not that you can't empathize with the other person, but that's a separate conversation to have. If you bring up something that somebody did to you and they play the victim, the best way to approach that is to say, hey, I know that happened and that sucks and we can talk about that, but not right now, because right now I'm talking about what you did to me and so that's what I'd like to focus on Now. I'm not saying that'll work, because a lot of people that play the victim and they're really used to playing the victim. They're gonna dig their heels in and so, even if you come back with the best form of communication, hopefully they will, but they may not spin it back around and they may not talk about and own up and be accountable and responsible for what they did to you. So just be prepared but, most importantly, know when somebody's playing the victim, because otherwise it's gonna be confusing, it might even be a little bit infuriating and it just it always hurts not to feel validated.

Speaker 1:

The second way that somebody can spin the truth is by gaslighting, and that's a term that's used a lot lately but it's real and although maybe it's overused a bit, it does happen quite a bit and it's an important term to know. Gaslighting is essentially when you go to a person and you tell them, hey, that hurt my feelings or you did something to me, and they emphasize what you did to basically make them do what they did. They spin it so that you're responsible for their actions. It's a backhanded way of blaming you for what they did. So you really wanna look out for that. Somebody who gaslights, that's a strong form of avoidance and it's a bit more insidious, it's a bit more toxic. It can actually be very toxic depending on how often a person does it. You hear gaslighting paired with narcissism a lot, which is true. A narcissist will gaslight, but a lot of people who aren't narcissists can also gaslight. So just be on the lookout for that too, and just know what it is and have it in your back pocket so you can not again go into that trap of then starting to blame yourself because that's the goal of gaslighting, that they get off the hook and that you're gonna start to feel responsible for what they did to you.

Speaker 1:

The third way that somebody can spin the truth is deflection, and this is subtle. It's not toxic and it's not as poisonous like gaslighting. It's not as obvious as playing the victim. Deflection is when a person essentially avoids talking about what you experienced and they avoid talking about their own behaviors and they answer a question or address an issue by just kind of shifting the focus somewhere else. It's a subtle evasion and it's misleading, and it's usually used to avoid discussing or talking about something uncomfortable or something inconvenient that that person doesn't want to talk about. It's a side step and it's just a way of avoiding more transparency on that person's part and avoiding addressing or being accountable for a topic. And I find that people that deflect can be brought back to center a lot easier than something like gaslighting or even playing the victim or other types of ways that people spin the truth. Deflection is a bit more innocent, I guess you can say in many instances. So if you gently try to tell the person like hey, can we come back to what I was talking about, because this means a lot to me, you might have some good luck bringing that person back. And that always feels good because essentially, normally what we're wanting, we're just wanting some validation. We want somebody to own up to what they did and just put it behind us and move forward.

Speaker 1:

The fourth way that somebody can spin the truth is through comparison, and this can be a trap. I mean, you can go down this rabbit hole, I can go down this rabbit hole. It's easy if you don't know what it is, because we can get lost in a discussion. It's like a red herring, it's irrelevant. So what comparison looks like is, let's say, you're talking to someone about what they did to you and then all of a sudden they start talking about what somebody else went through or what you've done to them in the past. It's sort of like a tit for tat. So it's a way to level the playing field and sort of call it a wash, so that they don't have to look at their behavior. It's like, hey, you did this too, or somebody else went through that, so it's not so bad and so it's okay. It's okay, can we move on? But again, that's another way to avoid and avoid responsibility and not be accountable. So if somebody tries to spin the truth by comparing what they did with what you did in the past or what somebody else did again, you can empathize and say you know, I know I did that, but can we talk about that next? Right now I'd like to talk about what you did to me, and there's room for that other discussion, but there are separate discussions.

Speaker 1:

The fifth way to spin the truth is minimizing. It's basically and gosh, this is one that's so common, and sometimes people do it when you're not even talking to them about what they did to you. You just might be talking to a good friend or a coworker about something you went through and they essentially say, ah, it's not that bad, you shouldn't be upset. It's another way of saying I think you should get over it. Ouch, that hurts. So if you do go to someone, though, because they really did do something to you and you want to make a point of it and they minimize it, you may have to take a little time out, you may have to come back to them, but essentially, I think the best thing to say is in your mind it might not be a big deal, but I'm trying to convey to you that this was meaningful to me, it was hurtful to me. It's important that I have it recognized, and sometimes people just need a little redirection and sometimes not. But as a side note, with all of these ways of spinning the truth, hopefully you'll make some inroads with people who do some of these things and your relationships can get better and hopefully your behavior will get better. But what it can also do is, when it doesn't get better, when you point these things out to people or you try to bring them back to center and to just try to bring them back to recognize what they did and be accountable. If they won't do it, it might let you know that you are better off without being in a close relationship with that person. You can see that person a little bit more for who they are. But anyway, back to number six, or we're going to start again with number six.

Speaker 1:

The sixth way that somebody can spin the truth is through omission, leaving stuff out and selective truth telling. This is a big one and I see this a lot in romantic relationships, when somebody knows that the other person would be upset if they knew what happened or what they did. So they just leave it out, they tell part of the story but not the whole story. It's a way of crafting a narrative that makes them look better and also it crafts the narrative so that they're not going to get in trouble and that they don't have to have a conversation about what they did or look at what they did and be accountable for anything. This is a bit closer to that black and white line, because people know when they do this, they know when they omit things, they know when they selectively tell the truth and they know why they're doing it. If you're in a romantic relationship with somebody who consistently and repetitively omits things and selectively tells that truth well, their version of the truth and crafts a certain narrative, you may want to rethink that If you've talked to them and the behaviors haven't changed and there's a strong pattern. You just may want to rethink that.

Speaker 1:

The seventh way that somebody can spin the truth is by using manipulative language, and this is, I think, the muddiest example of all. Using manipulative language is a way to obscure the truth and it's also a way to manipulate your emotions. So, for example, somebody might use euphemisms just to water things down and make really vague statements or loaded language where you just get lost, you get confused, and they do it to avoid being direct and to avoid being transparent. So when people use this kind of language, it's vague, it creates confusion and it's really misleading and you get lost in their story and in your own. The eighth and the last way that somebody or last way for this episode for me that somebody can spin the truth is through justification. It's when somebody tries to build a case, kind of like an attorney, to support their actions, and they're trying to find a way out of admitting any wrongdoing. It's like, yeah, I did that, but this is why it's okay, it's because of this, it's because of this, it's because of this, and they build a strong case about what they did and you just if you have someone that does that justification a lot.

Speaker 1:

You've got to be on your toes quite a bit and it can be exhausting and it can be too much work and if you match that it can be really competitive and it can lead to stalemates, division and certainly arguments. So the best way to respond to something is to just admit it. I mean, wouldn't that be wonderful if we could all do that. Somebody comes to you and says, hey, you did this to me, it hurt or whatever. And even if you didn't mean to, you can still empathize. But if you know that you did something, you can just say, yeah, you're right, I did it.

Speaker 1:

Because when we justify something, we're essentially saying I'm not really responsible for it and we're always responsible for what we did. Sure, there's probably a lot of factors that influenced it, a lot of circumstances, whole bunches of things but we're always responsible for what we do and what we say and how we act. And the more we can own up to that, the better we're going to be in relationship, the more integrity we're going to have. It goes back to the etymology in Latin it's just more honorable and everybody's better off that way. So again, these are the eight ways that people can spin the truth.

Speaker 1:

To reiterate one, playing the victim. Two, gaslighting. Three, deflection. Fourth, comparison. Fifth, minimizing. Sixth, omission and selective truth telling. Seventh, using manipulative language. And eight, justification. I hope this episode helps you know what to look out for and other people, so that you can't or won't get lost in it, and I hope that it also helps you to respond to people in a much more honorable way when they come to you with things that you've done to them, whether you meant to do it or not. So, happy new year to everybody and I look forward to doing I Am Back on Track with, hopefully, a weekly episode at the beginning of every week. So you go out there and you kill this next year, and I hope that 2024 is going to be a great year for everybody. Bye-bye.