Deception And Its Effects On Close Relationships.

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Deception is a conscious and intentional act by the deceiver to the deceived with the aim of misleading the deceived. In other words, we can say that deception in itself is a strategic behavior. It usually doesn’t have to be planned but it is usually goal oriented.

With all the above we can define deception as purposeful delivery of a message that one intends to mislead another with or without the plan to do so.

Deception is learnt by children first from their parents. They see how their parent’s interact with one another and how their parents interact with them. Parents say that honesty is the best policy, but they regularly lie to their children as a way of influencing their behavior and emotions. Parents try out a range of strategies, including lying, to gain compliance. This is so because a lot of parents are juggling the demands of getting through the day, hence concerns about possible long-term negative consequences to children’s beliefs about honesty are not necessarily at the forefront. This style of parenting only teaches the child as they grow up that deception is ok then they turn around and try it on their parents. Once it works on their parents, it become a thing they can easily do without batting an eyelid. This is how deception in itself has become a way of some people’s life.

Are you familiar with some of these lies told to some children while growing up;

  • If you sit too close to a boy you will get pregnant,
  • If you don’t finish you food you will have pimples all over your face
  • Swallowed gum takes 7 years to digest.
  • You Are the Most Talented Kid in the World
  • Santa Claus Knows If You’ve Been Naughty or Nice

As these children grow older into young adult they begin to see deception as the easiest way to control people’s behavior because this is what was modelled to them. They become young adults, begin to have other relationships outside of the home setting, and voila they turn to using deception when the need arises.

We need to understand that relationships should be built on honesty and openness. They are built and maintained through our faith that we can believe what we being told and what is being acted to us.


The following are effects deception has on any close relation;

  1. It shatters the reality of the other person or people in the relationship. Deception totally erodes their beliefs, perception and subjective experiences. When you eventually know a secret that has been kept from you for ages either by your spouse, friend, parents, child or children, e.t.c., it erodes all that you have believed for years and you begin to question quite a number of your experiences with the person or people involved.
  2. Deception can make the deceived begin to question their sanity.
  3. It destroy trust within the relationship, be it business, parent-child, romantic relationships. A deceptive relationship becomes really difficult because at that point you begin to double check whatever you being told or whatever is being acted out. Deception is betrayal of trust, and once the seed of distrust is sown in any relationship and it lingers, it poisons the relationship. Relationships built on lies are not sustainable.
  4. The deceiver could begin to feel guilty, uncomfortable and become anxious. This anxiety is built up from you asking yourself what would happen if the truth comes out. You beat yourself up everyday, and spend the most of your precious time worrying about it. You could even develop significant health issues due to this. All these can be avoided by coming out plain.
  5. The victim of deception becomes angered, confused, suspicious, needy, feel abandoned. They could even lose their self esteem, second guess themselves, get depressed and it could get to the point where they don’t see any reason to go on hence they contemplate suicide.

I have to add that deceiving someone close to us is one of the most basic violation of a person’s human right. The most painful part of deception is that something significant is being hidden from the other person. When you are in any relationship, be it business, or personal, note that there is either a tangible or intangible terms of agreement. The hidden violation of any agreement is what make an act deception/betrayal and unethical.


2 thoughts on “Deception And Its Effects On Close Relationships.

  1. Jane

    Fantastic article, well explained. Deception in close relationships are usually executed by covert narcissist. They are very deceiving and one could equate them as wolves in sheep’s clothing.

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