Social worker, David Shaw is familiar with men who lie. He shares the value of honest communication.
The Good Men Project brand has a clever tagline – “The conversation that no one else is having.”
The Good Men Project website is touted as the place to visit, to “listen” to the conversation that “good men” are having and what women have to say about good men as well. What is this conversation? An honest one. No lie.
Well, okay, nearly nobody, man or women, good or bad is having honest conversations most of the time. There are perhaps some saints that walk the planet, but the rest of us lie a lot. This is particularly the case with lies of omission, i.e, failing to mention important facts or important opinions related to the topic of discussion.
I don’t want to weigh in on arguments as to who lies more, men or women. I want to explore traditional male dishonesty training and how this is starting to change, as more good men want to have more good honest conversations.
As a social worker providing counseling to men with substance abuse disorders, I have had many conversations about lying. Men with drug addiction frequently have lengthy histories of lying about how much and how frequently they consume drugs, how they get money and what they spend it on, and their theories as to the cause of various “accidents.” Many men with drug abuse histories have experience with the legal system. Telling representatives of the legal system exactly what you have been up to is widely discouraged by many parties.
What a man needs to do to stop abusing drugs is often so unpleasant that convincing himself that there is no problem, is the most efficient response. Men who acknowledge that they have a drug problem, often have trouble admitting they have vulnerable emotions that they don’t know what to do with. In my experience, supporting men in being able to understand that there is room for improvement as to the thoughts and behaviors they utilize to manage their moods, is the most important aspect of treatment.
I used to give lectures and lead discussion on the development of male lying. Boys typically quickly learn that lying can prevent punishment. Boys later learn the power of lying about the fact that they are lying.
Boys learn that Santa Claus doesn’t really know if boys have been bad or good. Boys learn that Santa Claus himself is a lie.
Boys come to learn that honesty is not the best policy if you want to: make money, avoid legal problems, have sex, and stay married.
Lying is an integral part of sports, capitalism, politics and the law. Am I lying?
What is new to the ancient history of lying is technologies that can provide clear and convincing evidence that what they said they didn’t do—they did. Concealed microphones and video cameras abound. DNA, cell phone logs, and hard drives, coldly refute those passionate pleas to be believed.
Jack Myers, in his book, The Future of Men, details how the rise of social media has impacted the long tradition of men being advised when caught in a lie, to continue to lie, until offended parties give up seeking justice. Traditional mass media loses interest quickly. Social Media never forgets.
President William Clinton, comedian Bill Cosby, actor/film director Woody Allen, and the late great Michael Jackson, to name a few, are all men that have ben accused of committing acts that are legally defined as rape. None of them have acknowledged these accusations to be true. All are men who have funds to pay the best lawyers and provide hush money to victims. All of these men are aided by many people believing that talented men, in the public eye, don’t rape. How could they? They have too much to lose. Furthermore, they are easy victims for those who want to make false allegations for fame and fortune and/or public revenge.
If these men stick to their story line, the public may lose interest.
Currently in the news is the strange tale of Jeffrey Epstein and his past associations with President Clinton and Presidential candidate Donald Trump. Mr. Epstein is a billionaire and convicted sex offender. His story is filled with the juiciest of issues. It is strange that mass media isn’t all over this story, all of the time.
Social media is all over the place on this one, as it is on all current events. Question is, are more good men going to get uncomfortable with powerful men getting away with sexual assault?
Maybe all of these famous men are innocent of any sexual wrongdoing in terms of law violations. Of these men that are still alive, questions about the legality of their past sexual activities just doesn’t seem to be going away.
It could be that men who do bad things need to use tactics more innovative then deny, deny, deny to maintain their reputations as good men.
Good men sometimes give pause before they do something bad, for a risk assessment regarding possible scenarios where they get caught. As media and physical evidence technologies advance more and more men are probably coming to conclusions that the best way not to get caught is to not do the evil deed.
It could be that smart women are not going to fall for that one anymore, or at least not as often. It could be that more and more men are beginning to value more honest communication.