LANCE ARMSTRONG & REPENTANCE, A PSYCHIATRIST’S TAKE ON IT, by Art Smukler, author & psychiatrist

So what happens when someone lies for years about something?

Duh. We don’t trust that person again.

Mistrust forever?


In a psychiatrist’s office, a common occurrence is marital infidelity. Often, that leads to divorce. It’s tough to believe someone who has looked you square in the eyes (or even not so square) and lied.

Now Lance wants to compete in triathlons, the wayward spouse wants to keep his home and possessions intact, the manipulative mortgage-loan banker wants to keep his job and not go to prison.

Some actions are deal breakers. How can you trust a person’s words if his actions were blatantly misleading?

So what about Lance Armstrong? What about your husband? What about our nation’s mortgage bankers?

My feeling is that a person who is a good liar continues to have that talent. If he wants to deceive me or you, there’s no reason he can’t succeed. Trust is a combination of what he says and how he acts. Saying “sorry” is fine, but what does it really mean? How does he really make amends? Is there a consistency to the apology?

It can take a lot of time to decide whether a liar has become a reformed liar. Whether you want to go through the process and give a liar another chance is your choice.

Are there any other issues you want to talk about before our session ends?

Don’t forget to subscribe to Inside the Mind of a Psychiatrist.

Author of Chasing Backwards, a psychological mystery, The Man with a Microphone in his Ear, and Skin Dance, a mystery

7 thoughts on “LANCE ARMSTRONG & REPENTANCE, A PSYCHIATRIST’S TAKE ON IT, by Art Smukler, author & psychiatrist

  1. My mama always used to say ” you made the bed, now you sleep in it”. Whatever penalties this might bring. BTW, he’s a GD liar.


  2. I’ve lived in the Austin area for the past 7 years, have been in the same restaurant at least once (although I didn’t recognize him–my son later told me who I’d been standing next to), and also know people who dealt with The Lance before he was famous. He’s always been the way he is. Nuff said. A spouse can cheat once and never do it again. A spouse who repeat offends can’t be trusted ever again, the first can, eventually. As for Lance, is it called psychopath or sociopath nowadays?


  3. Good liars are so good that when they say they will repent and become truthful, they are so convincing that you can’t tell if they are still lying.


  4. When one says, “I’m sorry,” it carries with it the tacit agreement to reform one’s behavior. If the behavior repeats, then you know not to trust that person. But this is for your average Joe kind of lie. Armstrong’s lies traveled deeply into fraud. I’m amazed he’s not in prison.


  5. Lance Armstrong didn’t just lie about himself. He made up lies about others to maintain his mask of honesty. He diverted attention away from his own shittiness onto those who knew the truth and sought to expose him. Spouses who cheat generally don’t go around shifting blame. When they are cornered with their cheating ways, a spouse takes responsibility, is shameful, and doesn’t blame his wife for his behavior. Generally. In the case of Lance, he refused to budge in his lies. He called the USADA’s attempts to prove he doped as a witch hunt. He accused the wife of another rider who came forward as being a crazy, alcoholic liar. Who does that?? This wasn’t your average lie and coverup. This was a lie that rooted in darkness and that took shape under the mask of a hero. And is he apologizing because he’s truly remorseful for being a liar or is he remorseful that his lie was discovered. I think the cautious and smart among us know the answer. I choose not to be fooled again. 🙂


    1. The most extraordinary problem is that he not only lied about himself, but he destroyed the careers of others who told the truth. That is lower than low! Aplology, accountability and restitution are in order! Bernie


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