By Reed-Woodard, Marcia A.
Black Enterprise , Vol. 38, No. 6
"LYING PROVED TO BE ONE OF THE WORST COPING mechanisms I've ever chosen," says Jayson Blair. Blair is the infamous New York Times reporter who resigned his position in May 2003 after admitting he plagiarized and falsely reported stories during his nearly four-year tenure with the publication.
Dr. Christian F. Johnson, psychotherapist and founder of Wholistic Counseling & Wellness Alternative, a Phoenix-based counseling and wellness center, says that there's often more to lying than just trying to deceive people. "Many people use lying as a means to avoid truths they find too difficult to admit or address," she adds.
Blair says he lied to mask his lack of confidence in himself and feelings of inadequacy. "At the time, I felt that lying was the only way I could survive," says the 31-year-old. He adds that an extremely stressful job, coupled with grueling hours, tight deadlines, and a high standard of performance in addition to his bipolar disorder all contributed to his decision to be dishonest. He recalls that the constant lying became burdensome and overwhelming: "My lying spiraled out of control, and just keeping up with all the lies was painful."
"Although lying provides an easy out in the short-term, it comes with serious repercussions," says Dr Rhonne Sanderson, a Dallas--Fort Worth area licensed psychotherapist. He maintains that the fallout from lying can hurt others, ruin relationships, as well as rob the liar of integrity, credibility, confidence, and self-esteem. "Lying only exacerbates the real problem," adds Sanderson.
In addition to his career woes, Blair's personal relationships were affected by his actions; friends and family became distant, and interactions were strained. He admits that being caught in front of a national audience was the "wake-up call" he needed "The situation was difficult, but it forced me to deal with my issues," says Blair, who sought help in the way of medical care, therapy, and counseling. …