Lying by Omission

By Our Anonymous Man on The Fence

There’s something to be said about liars; liars lie in so many ways and for so many reasons. Liars lurk in business, in marriages, in friendships, in life, to hurt; whether innocently, stupidly or maliciously. However, lying by omission is in a completely different league. This form of lying takes on a life of its own. Firstly, what is lying by omission?

One lies by omission by omitting an important fact, deliberately leaving another person with a misconception. Lying by omission includes failures to correct pre-existing misconceptions. (Wikipedia).

lying by omission

Going through life lying in this fashion, can be useful to many people.  It allows them an escape from the truth. But these people run their lives in permanent deception, trying to manage and control each and every lie. They omit the truth in good part, because they know it’s either plain wrong or they simply don’t have the strength of character to face reality. Unfortunately for me, I am too simple to manage the business of lying. I simply care too much to put forth such an effort. To conduct yourself in this manner requires a full time commitment, and is simply too difficult.

Last month, I celebrated my daughter’s birthday. For the years that I have been divorced, it has been understood that this special day with our eldest child is to be shared… it’s always been. From our birthday lunch, to special moments shared together, this day is placed on a pedestal to recognize its importance. On this day, I had been eagerly anticipating her arrival as it had been a week since I had had my children. In fact, I stayed up till exactly midnight to ensure her e-mail birthday wishes would arrive exactly on time, in spirit and style, despite us not being physically together. When I didn’t hear back from her the next morning, I had that feeling, which brought a great deal of sadness in my heart. What had I done in my life and marriage that things had spiraled down to this– that I hadn’t even heard from daughter on her birthday? I thought of the injustice of the whole thing and simply shook my head in amazement at how empty it feels to live a divorced life, missing these once in a lifetime moments. It was a profound moment for me.

But what shook me to the core, was that I never received any acknowledgement from my daughter that she had even read my heartfelt note. I waited till the next morning to call, but was contacted first by my ex wife, where I learned that my eldest daughter would be getting her hair done for her birthday dinner tonight, and that the day had already been planned out with barely enough time for me to have lunch with her. My ex explained how my daughter would be staying with her mom and friends all day until dinner at the restaurant at 7:00 PM. I was aghast at the feeling that ran through my heart and veins. Here I was waiting all week to have her back in my arms. I relished the thought of having my three bundles of joy united, together as a family once again. Every other Friday represents a very special day to me, whereby I buy all the kids their favorite foods, prepare all their favorite fridge pullings, get the house ready to receive them, and await that magical moment that only happens every other week.

single father

I  tried to explain to both my ex-wife and daughter the importance of this day to me and how seeing her only at 7pm was unfair.  For a child with such good intuition, I couldn’t believe my ears, as my daughter explained to me that I am making an unreasonable request and to let things be… dinner was at 7 and she would see me later. I hung up the phone in disbelief. I later found out both my ex wife and daughter had lied by omission. The plan had been planned and hatched. Dinner was supposed to be with my kids, and my ex-wife only. But when I heard last minute we were also going for dinner with my daughter’s “friend,” I found it odd. It turns out, even my ex-wife’s boyfriend’s daughter (whom I’ve never met) was brought into the lie. The “friend” joining us for dinner would be the boyfriend’s daughter.  I only found out an hour beforehand. How inappropriate and wrong for omitting that this girl was coming with me, for my daughter’s birthday, and for not sharing that this had been the plan all week long.

I wonder what kind of life lesson this teaches my teenage daughter. That lying by omission is ok? That if you pretend that you didn’t lie, or leave things out, it’s ok? How does this form of dishonesty sit with me? Well, that’s precisely why I wrote this blog. I find lying repugnant. And while our divorce has been amicable, I’m disappointed in my ex-wife for introducing this kind of dishonesty into our family. I have been lied to by close family members in my life, but I knew it. I think back to my marriage and remember the same sinking feeling by being subjected to constant lying by omission. I never could have imagined that my daughter could be a willing participant to this form of deceit. Perhaps you may think that today’s Blog post has a darker undertone, or that I may sound bitter, but I want to explain to all of you just the devastating and destructive consequences that lying can have on a loving family. When and where you can, avoid it… lying has the never ending attribute of creating more lies… Please remember that.

Man on The Fence


Ladies, what do you think? Is there another side to this story we don’t know about? Have you been subjected to a family member’s lies? Have you been a witness to someone’s lying by omission?

PS – Don’t forget to tune into AM800 (in Montreal) or listen at 1:30PM today. I’ll be on The Kim Fraser Show talking about the National Women’s Show, and more!


  1. Divorce is very sad. You sound so hurt. You are right about liars and lying. Sometimes omitting information is the easier route because we think we are protecting the other person by holding back. But this is never the case. One must always tell the truth, no matter how much it hurts.

  2. I don’t condone lying – by omission or otherwise. However, in this particular situation, you need to remember that teenagers are selfish. It’s all about this case, though, .your teenage daughter’s birthday should be about her + what she wants to do. Not what you want to do. While you always celebrated her birthday with just the family, maybe it’s time for an evolution…don’t take it personally. Further, perhaps she knew you would over-react, so waited until the last minute to avoid conflict…

  3. I can not believe that your daughter did not ask you first? It seems like this comes from your ex not your daughter. I bet your ex insisted on having her join. Please dont blame your baby. Its her that should feel the brunt of all of this. Your daughter has suffered enough living in a one parent household.Is not her fault that the two of you can not live together and birthdays are shared . Im sure she is told that this kind of lying is ok.

  4. You’re 100% right. While I suspect the previous commenter may have a valid point about the teenager wanting the day to evolve a little more to include friends, her mother should have coached her to talk to you about it vs. changing it up and lying to you about it.

    Lying by omission is horrible and it makes everyone involved untrustworthy. This type of lying is rampant in my family and I hate it. So much so that I’ve cut myself out of it until it’s the least amount of relationship I can have with them and not cause a stink.

    You’d be wise to have a talk with your daughter and make sure she knows that you love her no matter what and that you want her to be happy and will do whatever it takes to make it so. She could have felt like she’d let you down by wanting others at what is traditionally a ‘closed’ day. I can understand you wanting her all to yourself, especially with the limited time you get, but you’re going to have to either let go a little or find ways to see her more, with her friends, of course.

    I remember those days of being a teenager stuck going back and forth between parent houses. Boy was it hard. Always a big party at the other house than where I was going. Good luck, you sound like a great Dad. Don’t let them do this to you and don’t let your daughter learn this kind of crap!

  5. It seems like your doing the best you can and that seems like a darn good job. I have read all your posts and you clearly care deeply for your family. I would say, get over it. Everyone was protecting everyone in this instance and just move past it and grow as a family separate but together. Thats just my 2 cents.

  6. You are absolutely right! My ex-husband still does this to our son. He always finds out the missing peice, such as the real reason his dad canceled viists with him, and then it not only hurts him deeply but makes us both angry at the selfishness. So sad! I also work with someone who does this everyday and doesn’t see anything wrong with it. Now her kids are doing it and she laughs at it. Not a good example for them at all.
    So sorry that things like this are happening. Esp. to obviously such a great dad! My heart goes out to you!
    Great post!!!! Hugs, ~ Coreen

  7. Ladies,
    A few points of clarification. I would have no objection to any alterations in plans for any reasons what so ever. In this case, the only issue that consumed me was the trail of deceit by omitting what was in fact being planned. As a parent, you try to lead by example, lying by omission is bad leadership!
    P.S. I did address the issues with both my ex and daughter, I feel they both understood the position I was in.

  8. Divorce is very sad. You sound so hurt. You are right about liars and lying. Sometimes omitting information is the easier route because we think we are protecting the other person by holding back. But this is never the case. One must always tell the truth, no matter how much it hurts.

  9. It is wrong to lie, whether it’s an outright one or by omission. However, it does seem like you might have been likely to overreact or at least mom/daughter felt they had to keep their plans a secret.

    What sticks out to me is how upset you are because you were looking forward to this special day. But, it’s not YOUR special day, it’s HER special day. It’s kind of sad that she would feel she had to be sneaky to be able to spend the day how SHE wanted to spend her birthday.

    While people should always tell the truth, sometimes it is good to look at the situation and see if there is something we are doing personally that might cause them to be reluctant to be straightforward with us.

    While this is teaching her that omission works.. (since she had the day the way she wanted it) it might be good to have a chat with her letting her know how omission is just as hurtful as a straight out lie. But, keep in mind that there may have been a reason she felt it was neccessary. You will have to look at yourself to determine that. (even if you wouldn’t have gotten upset at her, she must have felt that you would so maybe there is something to address there)

  10. My husband’s daughter (45) lives in Florida with her two daughters. Over the past 18 years, we have visited several times and paid for them to visit us here in the North. She and her husband were divorced several years ago and they stayed nearly on the same street “because of the girls”. He was supported by his parents who also bought him a house to live in because he couldn’t support himself. The daughter supported herself and the girls. She wanted to walk away from her house because of some water damage, but we advised her it would be bad for her credit, so for months she was asking me for remodeling directions (I even sent her a book) and hints. She mailed me photos of the damage and I gave her $$ for the repairs. Over Christmas one year, just the girls flew up for the Holidays, and during the two weeks, we learned they had moved several months earlier to a condo! The same thing has happened again where “the girls” have moved to northern Florida and live the his parents and have since August. The older daughter was the only one who was supposed to move in on her 18th birthday, but in an email she mentioned about the schools they go to!! The daughter still has not mentioned the move….

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