The Language of Lying
Thursday, March 12, 2015 at 2:04PM
Dan Drake

For anyone reading this who is a sex addict or who is in relationship with someone who is addicted, you know that lying is a big part of the addiction: It helps to hide behaviors, get partners off the trail, and I usually find that the first person that addicts learn to deceive is themselves.  Most addicts learn to lie as a coping strategy from a very young age, before it was ever used to mask their addictive behaviors.  Lying helped them to survive in a world or in a family that wasn't safe for them to fully be themselves.

I was forwarded this TED Talk on lying through POSARC ( and thought I'd share it here.  For partners who are trying to rebuild trust in their relationships and in their own intuition, here are some ways you can look at language to better rebuild trust in the truth. 

Let me know what you think!

Update on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 5:42PM by Registered CommenterDan Drake

I wanted to add an update to my previous post in response to feedback I received.  One comment mentioned that what I wrote didn't go far enough in naming the relational violation and perpetration that lying causes.  Another comment emphasized that addicts are good at lying, and linguistic analysis seemed too simplistic - that the real issue to tackle is the lying of the addict, not the truth-telling of the partner.

First and foremost: thanks for the feedback.  I had to rethink what I wrote and so I wanted to provide even more of a response here:

In no way am I condoning or excusing the addict's strategy of lying.  The addict is 100% responsible for these behaviors and the damage lying has on his/her relationship(s).  As I've mentioned in other posts (for example:, lying is extremely damaging to relationships and is a critical component of the betrayal trauma partners experience.  Addressing patterns of lying in the relationship is an essential component of the addict's work in the treatment and recovery process.  In addition, addicts are very good at deceiving others.  I am not saying that understanding linguistic analysis will be the one-size-fits-all solution for partners to spot lying.  What I found interesting was the general characteristics of language one uses when lying vs. when one is telling the truth.  I would certainly not advocate that partners become experts in linguistic analysis, but I did find it to be an interesting video describing general patterns in language when an individual is lying vs. when she/he is telling the truth.

I hope that helps explain things a little bit.  Please do read the rest of my articles here to get a better picture of where I stand on these issues, and let me know if you have any questions.

Article originally appeared on Dan Drake, MFT, LPCC, CCPS, CSAT-S (
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