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Daily Dose

Breaking down why we reveal secrets

Why now, Lance? That’s the question that popped into my head — I’m sure I wasn’t alone — when I read the news that cyclist Lance Armstrong was finally ’fessing up to using performance enhancing drugs.

“Usually, there’s a selfish motivation,” Sharon-based therapist Karen Ruskin said. Here are five common reasons she hears from her clients about why they finally decided to reveal a hurtful truth.

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1. Feeling threatened. Liars tend to confess when they’re worried that they’ll lose something if they don’t. “A wife may say she’ll leave if her husband doesn’t admit to cheating,” Ruskin said.

2. Confronting their own mortality. When people are sick or dying, they often want to clear their conscience or make amends.

3. Becoming a parent. Having a child often makes some people want to act more responsibly, leading them to quit risky behaviors, Ruskin said.

4. Wanting self actualization. Some people, possibly Armstrong, choose to tell the truth in order to move forward and reinvent themselves. “They want to make a change but can’t do that until they self-confront,” Ruskin said.

5. Seeking relief of a burden. Lies press a lot of weight onto the shoulders of the person who must carry and perpetuate them. But people need to realize that when they first unburden themselves, it’s probably going to get much worse before it gets better.

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