Ask Dr. Ellis

February, 2006

Question:  What if people lie and make false accusations about you and blacken your name among scores of other people?  How do you handle this?

Dr. Ellis answers: First and foremost, you do not upset yourself and make yourself angry, anxious, or depressed about people’s lies and exaggerations.  When you upset yourself, you mainly do so by telling yourself, “They absolutely should not lie and make false accusations against me!”  But, of course, they should do so, because that is the way they think, feel, and behave.  How can they really do otherwise?

Second, you refuse to make yourself angry, anxious, and depressed about people’s lies and false accusations by choosing to feel healthily regretful, displeased, and sorry but not unhealthily upset.  You always can choose healthy instead of unhealthy feelings and reactions.

Third, when you are not upset about lies and false accusations against you, you can show the facts that contradict them.  You can strongly do this without making yourself angry, depressed, and anxious by calmly repeating the facts.

Fourth, you can briefly point out the discomfirming facts, and give evidence that they really cover the false points that are being made against you.

Fifth, your model can be, “Do, don’t stew!”  Stewing will get you nowhere but upset and less capable of dealing with lies and exaggerations.

Sixth, you can use the testimony of reliable and honest people to disprove the dishonest lies and accusations against you.

Seventh, you can decide—if you wish to do so—to ignore the lies and false allegations against you if you think they will fall into oblivion.  No reply is sometimes the best reply.

Eighth, you can show how the people who lie and level false allegations against you have a history of untrustworthiness and are now adding to this history.

Ninth, no matter what the lies and misrepresentations about you are, don’t awfulize about them and feel strongly determined to (a) unconditionally and fully accept yourself no matter what people think; (b) to feel compassion for the perpetrators of the lies and misrepresentations against you; and (c) to accept the world with its liars and misrepresenters when your attempts to change them prove to be futile.

Tenth, I repeat:  Don’t upset yourself and give yourself the best chance of dealing with people’s lies and misrepresentations about you.



All Out! An Autobiograpy
This candid autobiography, the last work by renowned psychologist Albert Ellis, is a tour de force of stimulating ideas, colorful descriptions of memorable people and events, and straightforward, no-nonsense talk. Ellis, the creator of one of the most successful forms of psychotherapy-Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)-recounts the memorable episodes of his life; discusses how he coped with emotional problems at different stages of life; describes his love life; and subjects his own self-description to a ruthlessly honest critique. Click here to buy the book.

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