Strategic Misrepresentation: intentional or systematic distortion of misstatement of facts for the purpose of gaining financial advantage. …(Fieser, 2nd ed., 2015, pg 85)
As an entrepreneur that’s ready to launch a successful business, I have to keep learning. It’s amazing how much you can learn while pursuing a degree. Taking an Ethics class has been a real eye opener. I had never heard of the term, Strategic Misrepresentation, but I do know it of it by it’s other name: Lying by Omission.
If you’ve ever been lied to by omission, you know exactly what I’m talking about. People who leave out pertinent information that lead you to believe something that isn’t true. Manipulative people are masters at lying by omission. They’re con artists that want you to believe, if I didn’t say it… Then I can’t be a liar now can I?
Steer clear of this toxic person. Whether it’s in business or relationships. These liars are dangerous. Malignant types don’t actually tell you a lie, they just don’t give you all of the information. This can lead you to make uninformed decisions based on part of the “story”. Without having all the facts, you may make a decision and/or take action that will harm you and/or others.
This is how it looks in relationships:
- You meet a great guy or gal, and they’re tight lipped about their family and/or friends. What you don’t know about a person’s background can hurt you. There is always a reason that people hide or play down their past. If they were raised by unethical people, they are unethical people. Unethical people lie by omission about their history. You don’t want to find out after that fact, that you don’t want to associate with their family or friends, because they “left out” important information about them.
- You are trying to accomplish a goal. The person closest to you says that they will support you, encourage you, and want to help you succeed. Once you start becoming successful, they stymie your efforts. At every turn, they are undermining your success. In some cases, outright sabotaging you in your endeavors. As they do this, they claim to be “protecting you”. All while destroying what you’re trying to build.
- Keep losing friends after you start dating someone? They claim that your friends are jealous of your relationship. Don’t buy into this one. There are insecure people out there that will make you believe that your friends are jealous, when in fact, they’re the jealous ones. And, behind the scenes, are systematically running your friends off. All while presenting themselves your savior from disloyal friends.
Strategic misrepresentation is by far the most manipulative, dishonest, and destructive thing a person can inflict on someone. It’s inauthentic, and abusive behavior. Yes, abusive. It falls under the guidelines of emotional abuse on the Power and Control wheel. http://www.ncdsv.org/images/PowerControlwheelNOSHADING.pdf . Lies eventually are uncovered. And, lies have a habit of not being able to stand up under scrutiny. Eventually, stories don’t add up, and cracks will surface. Once that happens, the floodgates are open for the truth to come out.
Lying by omission is far worse than telling a lie. Lying is a character flaw. Lying by omission is a lack of integrity and character issue. Telling a lie is a tool used to protect oneself. Lying by omission on the other hand, is a way of life. Neither are right, one is a negative temporary fix, while the other is ingrained. There is a high price to pay for misrepresenting yourself. Just ask anyone that has burned bridges that can’t be rebuilt because of perpetual lying. Once a bridge is burnt by lying, it’s extremely rare that you will find anyone that will to try to help you rebuild it.
Fieser, James. Introduction to Business Ethics, 2nd Ed., 2015, Bridgepoint Education Inc.