Monthly Archives: January, 2017

Online Dating: How to Know When Someone is Lying to You

truth-lieWe all know what dishonesty is. Unfortunately, we usually know after the fact. After we’ve learned we’ve just been had. If we are lucky, the price for that learning is embarrassment and regret. If we’re not so lucky, the price can be misery and death. And everything in between. Loss of money, reputation, friends, status, as well as your sense of safety.

Researchers call this deception. That word just doesn’t cut it for me. It’s too bland. Just for kicks I went to the thesaurus and found some other words. Words that give me the sense of feeling around being lied to.

Feel free to add your own words to this list in the comments section here.

  • lie
  • deceit
  • double-dealing
  • fraud
  • cheat
  • treachery
  • crookedness
  • trick
  • sham
  • fake
  • con
  • catfishing
  • predator
  • abuse
  • jerk

When someone lies to you, they know that what they are telling you is not true. Last year I went to the academic literature and read everything I could find about lying online. There was so much information, it was difficult to digest. This is my attempt to make the information more accessible to you. More useful to anyone attempting to date online.

  • Their words and actions don’t match

The first hint that a liar will give you is that their words and online behaviors do not belong together. The word used for this is congruent which means align together or in harmony.

  • They leave things out

People leave things out. That’s a clue. Missing information. If you listen carefully, you can hear the gaps and holes in what they say.

  • They alter the truth in some way

People distort the truth. Making things bigger, smaller or different than they are. Often when this happens, what they are telling you just doesn’t make sense. The pieces don’t quite fit. It’s not logical. Their writings don’t fit together. The words and ideas in their writing don’t always belong together.

  • They are vague and unclear in their speech and writing.

When what we hear, see, or experience is vague and unclear, we fill in the blanks for the other person. This is a normal conversation trait. Liars use this to manipulate you because you are more likely to make a positive sense out of them than a negative one.

  • They act like they believe someone who is truthful will act

This you can see. Again, by looking carefully, you can tell because they cannot quite pull it off. Something is always out of sync.

  • They offer you your deepest heart’s desire

If you look carefully, they are offering you a fantasy of something you desire. Most people, however, once they hear this, they stop looking critically. They stop questioning. Most importantly, because they want this so badly, they don’t listen to their inner voice whispering, “danger, danger, this cannot be true.” The rule to use is one you’ve heard before. If it looks too good to be true it is.

  • They change the subject, don’t answer, create a distance, and stop writing to you for a while whenever it seems like you are getting close to the truth.

You can see this a bit easier online than in person. This is because there is a time lag between messages. They are self-monitoring. Self-monitoring takes time and creates a lag in time and space.

They are making sure that what they show you matches what they imagine you need to see to trust them. They want their lies to be consistent. They want to match their lies to your state of mind. And they want to make sure that their lies are getting the response from you that they desire. All that takes effort. And effort takes time.

  • Liars don’t reveal as much of themselves as most people online.

For me what the academics wrote was fascinating. They looked at the frequency of the words liars and people who are honest use. And liars don’t use words that refer to themselves as often as honest people do. These words are “I,” “me,” and “myself.”

  • Liars are more negative than honest people.

In profiles and conversations, you’ll see more angry statements. Liars tend to argue more often and point out other people. Even without an interaction, liars will defiantly make contrary statements about what someone else has said or written. In conversations, they usually say ‘‘no,’’ ‘‘not,’’ ‘‘never’’ more frequently than honest folk.

  • Their online dating profiles are shorter.

Liars, in general, use fewer words. They tell you less about themselves. Their thoughts seem simpler. When expressing emotion, they use more negative words.

  • Liars often get defensive.

When it seems like you are finding out their lie or lies, they might express mixed feelings about it. But usually, they argue and get defensive. Try to make you wrong somehow. They want to throw you off balance so you won’t pay attention to what you see, think, and feel.

  • Liars use simpler ideas and fewer words.

Liars have to remember the lies they have told you. One way they do that is to tell you less. Shorter sentences. Fewer words. Less complex ideas. And less new ideas. Much less personal information.

  • Liars use words that create barriers of time and space.

They don’t often put things into a time frame. They don’t use words like “tomorrow” or “yesterday.” They won’t give you a time that something happened or will happen. They won’t tell you when you will hear from them, for example.

  • Instead of thoughts or feelings, liars frequently talk about activity and actions.

They will tell you what they are going to do, not what they think about it. And not what they feel about it. Some writers have suggested that this is an attempt to distract you from seeing them more clearly.

  • Liars write or talk in a way that takes less personal responsibility.

They communicate in a way that makes them sound more helpless. Things happen to them and are done to them. They say, “you,” “your,” and “yours” instead of “me,” “my,” and “mine”.

  • Liars take charge of the pace and content of the conversation.

Most conversations have a rhythm and balance to them. People take turns. A liar controls this pace by aggressively interrupting, arguing ridiculous points, and questioning unimportant points. This keeps you from thinking and noticing what’s happening.

This writing is not the be all or end all of online safety. It’s simply one little piece of information in your safety toolbox.

I personally think the Internet is much more dangerous than when I was dating online 15 years ago. Even then we met people at a coffee shop or restaurant for a time limited interaction. We used safe calls with details of who we were meeting and where and when.

Today, you need a lot more research on safety to protect your well-being. I hope that you do that research.

Here is a chart of the characteristics of an online liar.

The references I used for this writing are here.

For help staying safe while dating online, contact me for an appointment.


Telephone: (615) 464-3791

©2016 by Laura Coleman, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.


Checklist for Identifying Online Liars


You can read the explanations of each item in the full article here.

For help staying safe while dating online, contact me for an appointment.


Telephone: (615) 464-3791

©2016 by Laura Coleman, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.

References Used. Online Dating: How to Know When Someone is Lying to You

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Alcoholism: The Disease

express-train-carrying-alcoholThis is part 2 of a series on addictions. A listing of the parts of this series can be found here: My Writing.

This is not an article where I tell you all the awful things that happen while a person is drunk. Pick up any newspaper or magazine or listen to the local news: You can find that information there. I will not attempt to berate anyone into not drinking. It doesn’t work. In fact, that experience makes things worse for you.

This article is for those of you who are upset about your own drinking or your behavior while drinking. You do not need me or anyone else to shame you for your behavior. Inside the privacy of your own mind, you do enough of that for at least ten other people. In fact, shame is one factor that keeps people drinking. You feel so badly about your life, your behavior, and your problems, that you continue to drink just to get relief from the shame.

Remember the disease concept I wrote about in Addiction and the Disease Model? Here is a description of some research that enlightens us regarding this issue. The research subjects were boys attending college who were paid to participate in the research. The researchers divided these college students into two groups: Sons of alcoholic fathers and sons of non-alcoholic fathers. They then gave both groups one version of a paper and pencil I.Q. or Achievement Test.

Following this first test, both groups of boys were given alcohol to drink. They then were given another version of the same paper and pencil test. My first thought as I read about this research was probably the same as yours. I expected the boys to do poorly on the second test. After all, wouldn’t drinking alcohol decrease a person’s score on academic testing?

That is exactly what happened to the sons of non-alcoholic fathers. They scored very poorly on the second test after they’d had something alcoholic to drink. However, the results for our sons of alcoholic fathers are startling. They scored better on the second test after drinking.

What does this mean? Well, it could mean many things. But I think that this research suggests to us that children of alcoholics are biologically pre-alcoholics. A pre-alcoholic is someone who has an inherited abnormal reaction to the drug-alcohol. The abnormal reaction is that you feel and actually are better, smarter, with a faster reaction time and more sociable after a few drinks—at least in the early stages of your drinking.

Later, after several years of serious drinking, you lose this experience. Then you spend your drinking time trying to get it back. But it is gone. No matter how hard you try or how much you drink, you can never again find that glow you had in your early years of drinking. This is the true alcoholic tragedy. You progress from feeling like superman or woman into a person who cannot really function at all.

I want you to know this because this tells me that those of you who are concerned about your drinking are NOT at fault. You have a disease that is out of your control. To find out if you have this disease, you may answer the following questionnaire used by Johns Hopkins University Hospital, Baltimore, Md. Remember, no one but you can see your answers.

___1. Do you lose time from work due to your drinking?
___2. Is drinking making your home life unhappy?
___3. Do you drink because you are shy with other people?
___4. Is drinking affecting your reputation?
___5. Have you ever felt remorse after drinking?
___6. Have you gotten into financial difficulties as a result of your drinking?
___7. Do you turn to lower companions and an inferior environment when drinking?
___8. Does your drinking make you careless of your family’s welfare?
___9. Has your ambition decreased since drinking?
___10. Do you crave a drink at a definite time daily?
___11. Do you want a drink the next morning?
___12. Does drinking cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
___13. Has your efficiency decreased since drinking?
___14. Is drinking jeopardizing your job or business?
___15. Do you drink to escape from worries or troubles?
___16. Do you drink alone?
___17. Have you ever had a complete loss of memory as a result of your drinking?
___18. Has your physician ever treated you for drinking?
___19. Do you drink to build up your self-confidence?
___20. Have you ever been in a hospital or institution on account of drinking?

If you have answered YES to any one of the questions, there is a definite warning that you may be an alcoholic. If you have answered YES to any two, the chances are that you are an alcoholic. If you have answered YES to three or more, you are definitely an alcoholic.

I believe that Alcoholics Anonymous is the only successful treatment for Alcoholism. Most reputable treatment programs will send you to AA as part of their treatment. While they do pass a basket for donations, Alcoholics Anonymous is free. No one will watch you to see what, if anything, you put into the basket. There are no bosses or professionals to tell you what to do. You are not asked to make any commitments to AA. Anyone, regardless of race, religion or political beliefs is welcome. AA does not concern itself with what you have done, how much you drank, where you live or how much money you have.

You can read about AA online at or call your local Central Office.

Life coaching is for sober alcoholics. This means that you have completed treatment, gone to AA, gotten a sponsor, attend regular meetings, work the 12 steps, give service, and have developed a way of life that is incompatible with drinking.

Life coaching for sober alcoholics helps people reach for their dreams, hopes, and deep wishes. I personally believe that those dreams are your Higher Power calling you to be fully who you are.

And I’d love to help you with such a beautiful becoming.

If you have responses to this writing, have questions, or just want to share your thoughts, feel free to reply in the box below. I’d love to hear what you are thinking.

If you’ve done your footwork and are ready to live your dreams, contact me for life coaching.


Telephone: (615) 464-3791

©2016 by Laura Coleman, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.

I Have A New Goal and There is a Ghost Over My Shoulder

abseilen_jumelleI have a new goal
oh, boy
it’s a good one too
a risky risk
a delicious venture
maybe I’ll take a trip
ride a motorcycle
make a new friend
enroll in a class
jump out of an airplane
go dancing
or zip lining
swing from a vine in the jungle

Yep, I can do that
I can do anything
I set my mind to do
yes I can
just ask me
I’ll tell you
but first
first I have to face the ghost
hovering over my shoulder

A ghost from the past
that snide voice telling me
of dangers far and wide
snakes and spiders
bumps and bruises
torments and intimidations
images of defeat
thoughts of disappointment
people who might laugh at me
people who have laughed at me
all for daring
yes daring to reach more

I want to disappear that ghost
make it evaporate
go away
stop bothering me
once and for all
eradicate every bad memory
every mental script
all the hurts and memories
forget the pain of my past
just decide to let it go
poof, it’s gone.

If only life worked that way
poof, it’s gone
and that was it, YAY!
I’ve thought and thought and thought some more
Looked at this six ways from Sunday
and back again
Set a goal
took it back
and set it all over again

I’ve been smart
and not so clever at all.
Done my homework
researched it all
and played ostrich for a while
talked about my goals
and kept them secret
made excuses
and bucked myself up
exhausting myself in the what if’s

I just have to remember
to include me in this experience
all of me, not just parts I like
me, myself and I
and the ghost that hovers over my shoulder
my personal history
all my wild and woolly feelings
old tapes
destructive mental scripts
shouting, “you cannot do that
memories of jeering bullies
and abusive people
who no longer have the ability
to actually stop me

Feel the feelings
and do it anyway
take the action steps
make them really great baby steps
instead of big flamboyant ginormous leaps
telling myself what a good girl am I
walk out the inevitable flashback
putting one more ugly memory
in a big, big hefty trash bag
making a point of celebrating the success
of letting bad memories go from my being

I can use proper self-care
with compassion and warmth
making a big deal out of
each and every risk I take
celebrating my own efforts
I can remind myself
the risks are spaced out
in each baby step
not in the entire goal
I CAN so do this
all of it
really I can
I can eradicate that ghost of my past
one teeny tiny step at a time.

Photo by Bertrand Semelet [CC BY-SA 2.0 fr (, via Wikimedia Commons

Feel free to contact me or comment on this poem and the issues involved.

©2016 by Laura Coleman, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.

Addiction and the Disease Model

L0038329 An absinthe addict eyeing three glasses on a table;

This is part one of a series on addictions. You can find the series here: My Writing.

The Disease Model

Up until the 20th Century, society viewed addictive behavior as a moral issue. Unfortunately, many people still do. Some people still believe this, I believe that the disease model of addiction is much more accurate and helpful to people with addictions of all types who want to stop.

These days, many authorities write about the science of addiction. This allows them to remain authorities and treat addiction with different medical treatments. I disagree with this approach except for detox. I think it’s sad that many of those treatments become addictions themselves.

Which I write about addictions, I’m naming an entire group or category of behaviors. Drug addiction, alcoholism, food addiction, compulsive gambling, compulsive spending, debting, relationship addiction, sex addiction, and smoking.

Addictions of all kinds impact every area of your life. This means that alcoholism, drug addiction, compulsive gambling, food addiction, codependency and so on can ruin your relationships and destroy everything in your life.

In the disease model, heredity plays a part in your abnormal reaction to the drug, addictive substance or behavior of your choice. Addictions also involve some kind of allergy to the chemical or chemicals produced by the substance or your actions. The allergy concept is easier to see with chemical use addictions. You are directly allergic to your drug of choice. But in behavior addictions like gambling, stealing or sex, you are addicted to the hormones produced by your body when you gamble or have compulsive sex.

Here is how this works. In addictive disease, you have an ABNORMAL reaction to these chemicals. Most people react one way. You react, at least in the beginning, with a happier, more functioning, and seemingly better fashion than most people. You think faster, your reaction time is quicker, you are happier, and you really are smarter. Alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, caffeine or the endorphins produced by destructive behaviors feel different to you than they do to other people. This is why you do it again and again and again.

Enter now the issues of tolerance and progression. This is the beginning of an addictive disease. Your disease begins to impact your character, your relationships, and your life. Tolerance means that you reach a point where the amount of your favorite substance or behavior no longer gives you the feelings and reaction you expected. Progression means that your tolerance continues to build. You now need more of that substance or behavior than before. People’s tolerance to their substances continues to progress until they stop all addictive behavior or they die.

Progression and tolerance have an incredibly powerful and subtle effect on your functioning separate and apart from your addictive substance or behavior. It doesn’t matter who you are and where you are in your life. Your addictive need (now named obsession and compulsion) will insidiously replace what you value in your life.

People in Your World

People in your world change in their value to you. They become objects to you who are in some relation to your obsession and compulsion. There are people who can help or join you in your disease. Other people will allow you to do your thing and ignore your increasingly outrageous behavior. Some people are barriers and get in your way, try to stop you. Then there are those you unwittingly maneuver into situations where you can create crises to justify your addictive disease.

Any contracts or personal agreements you have made in the past are no longer valid. You are not capable of keeping your word. Your loyalty is now to your addiction.

Most people have an integrity place inside them. This is your inner touchstone. When a person has progressed to the point of active addiction, the only relationship of value left is their connection and ability to engage in their disease. Everything else is secondary or useful to their disease. Once you reach this point, your disease replaces your integrity. Your disease IS your touchstone.

Consequences and Progression

The consequences you experience for your behavior while indulging in your drug or behavior of choice also progress along several continuums. You face personal consequences that increase over time starting with things like taking less personal care of yourself. Or feeling really uncomfortable in situations where there is no chance of you indulging in your drug of choice. You make mistakes and unwittingly harm others. This gets worse over time.

People you hardly know complain to you about your behavior. Then the people you love complain about how you act. Eventually, your employer complains to you about your actions. Finally, your family leaves you and you loose your job or many jobs.

Further down the road are legal consequences like being arrested for driving under the influence or embezzling money. As you find yourself now compelled to seek more and more of your substance, you also find yourself doing things that are contrary to your values and the values of society. You remember your integrity touchstone with some degree of shame.

Sadly, if you are the person with addictive disease or behaviors, you will be the last person to know that your problem is addiction. All addictions come with a built-in defensive system designed to keep you imprisoned in your own destruction. Without knowing it, people use many forms of mental defenses to keep the horror of their behavior away from their consciousness. Unfortunately, your defenses keep you in ignorance of your life situation and allow you to continue your personal path to self-destruction.


For those of you who are questioning your behavior, there are twelve-step programs for all of the above. You can choose from, for example-Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Alanon, Co-Dependents Anonymous, Adult Children of Alcoholics, Overeaters Anonymous, Sexaholics or Sex Addicts Anonymous, Sex and Love Addictions Anonymous, Nicotine Anonymous, and Debtors Anonymous.

People have questioned the value of these programs, and admittedly they are not for everyone. However, in all my years of working with people, they simply get better and faster relief from whatever issues are plaguing them when they attend a 12-step program and actively work it.

Some people go into a treatment program. Others hire a recovery coach. Some seek out spiritual help from their church. My beliefs involve the power of 12-step recovery. From what I saw as a licensed therapist, people who actively attend and work their 12-step program transform their lives.

How Life Coaching Can Help

The place for life coaching is after you’ve actively participated in your 12-step program. This means you have stopped taking your drug or indulging in your behavior of choice. You go to 12-step meetings where you now fit in and feel a sense of belonging. You have a sponsor. You work steps all the way through the 12th step. You do service in your group and/or fellowship. And most importantly of all, these things allow you to live a life totally incompatible with active disease.

And now, you feel an inner drive to go to school, develop a mutually satisfying relationship, or any other goal that’s been a secret dream of yours. It’s kind of pressing on you demanding your attention. You feel a need for some help getting started and achieving those goals.

If you’ve done your footwork and are ready to live your dreams, contact me for life coaching.


Telephone: (615) 464-3791

Picture from An absinthe addict eyeing three glasses on a table; advertisement for film “Absinthe” by the Gem Motion Picture Company.

©2016 by Laura Coleman, Ph.D.  All rights reserved


Relationships: Meeting People Online

swanscygnus_olorFourteen or fifteen years ago, my now husband wrote me a private message on a dating website. I don’t remember the details exactly, but I do remember that I felt insulted by his message. Offended. Sniff! Nose in the air offended.

I wrote a polite response including my sense that he was either rude, insensitive or unsafe. He didn’t understand what I wrote because he was not an abusive person. He apologized anyway. I’ll be honest here, his message back to me was so very sincere that I was sorry I misunderstood him. I felt I owed him an apology.

And thus began the great love affair of my life. I’ll come back to this.

I get it. A lot of people are lonely and want to meet their future partner. I think that’s their dreams calling them. Wanting a life partner is a good dream. A great goal to wish for.

It’s just that they defeat themselves. Figuratively shooting themselves in the foot.

Self-defeat by rudeness and/or suspicion. Rejecting possibilities before they materialize in your world. You can work your way past this.

I know there are bad people in this world. Rapists, murderers, child molesters, and all manner of predators. But reacting to people who have done nothing to you as if they were a predator makes you a predator too.

Many of the arguments I see with people assume all manner of things about the other person. Much like what I assume about my husband’s first message to me.

If I had been rude or abusive when I misunderstood him, I’d have missed out on the biggest love affair of my life. It gives me chills.

Now, I’ll be honest here, there are simple ways to tell the difference between a predator and a person who made a mistake. I spent most of my professional life studying predators and counseling victims.

I’ll write about that soon.

Feel free to comment in the form below. I welcome comments and an exchange of ideas.

Contact me if you’d like to live your dream relationship.


Telephone: (615) 464-3791

©2016 by Laura Coleman, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.

Original photo by Bowen Pan. Edit by Cavit Erginsoy. (Edited version of Image:SwansCygnus olor.jpg) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons


Dream Your Life

If you can dream it.png

Contact me if you want to live your dreams:


Telephone: (615) 464-3791

©2016 by Laura Coleman, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.

The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie–


What Is Life Coaching?

sunset-659706_640Coaching is a positive profession that emphasizes growth and development. I see and value your personal integrity. Coaching honors clients visualizing the light and beauty shining within people. My mission is to empower you. Coaching encourages people to reach their dreams. I understand that the people who want coaching are whole, healthy, vital and alive with an inner potential to become more fully who they are.

Coaching is a positive helping profession with a set of beliefs that is different and distinct from the psychotherapy field. Coaching as a profession believes in potential, growth, and development. I look forward to our positive and constructive interactions. The impact of an intimate and connected conversation where I truly see and value your essence is truly magical.

Coaching is a positive helping profession with skills that are different and distinct from the psychotherapy field. Coaching is inclusive and does not judge or evaluate your lifestyle and life choices. Coaches support, encourage, collaborate, offer strategies, share knowledge, maintain an egalitarian attitude, and help clients develop new skills.

Inclusive: I treat all cultures, races, sexual orientations, methods of sexual expression, and life choices with respect.

Support: I support you in whatever task you see as important.

Encourage: I encourage your growth and change.

Collaborate: I collaborate with you as you seek to become more of yourself.

Offer strategies: I carefully offer you strategies making certain not to take charge of your experience.

Share Knowledge: I share my knowledge.

Maintain an egalitarian attitude: I work diligently to NOT become the authority on your life.

Develop New Skills: I encourage your learning and even teach new skills while again not placing myself in authority your.

Contact me

For more information or if you’d like to make an appointment.


Telephone: (615) 464-3791

©2016 by Laura Coleman, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.