The Fudge Factor – Self-Honesty

Written by Tiger-Lily

I watched a really interesting documentary on Netflix called Dishonesty: the truth about lying. It’s kinda like a really long TED talk with extra people sharing their experiences. It was mostly in the context of the general public, but when I listened to the man explain his theories I could hear how applicable they are to condition behaviours.

He describes this theory called the ‘fudge factor’ and it’s incredible (and uncomfortable) how much I could relate to what he described.

Basically the fudge factor is the ability to misbehave (engage in ED ways) but at the same time convince oneself that they’re not doing any harm and are still honest (eg I did a destructive behavior but I couldn’t help it because everyone is talking about it so how could I not?? Etc etc) We often justify our dishonesty either when it benefits ourselves or protects us from uncomfortable reality. This justification then pushes us into an altered reality where we aren’t seeing everything that’s actually going on properly. This then converts dishonesty into self-deception.

So how can I apply this to recovery and to action? I thought I was aware of the self-deception, but watching the documentary got me thinking and made me more aware of the dishonesty in areas that I’ve been overlooking (due to the whole justification thing). It’s all so interconnected and makes so much sense but is actual nonsense! I’ve been using the keyword FUDGE-FACTOR (or hashtag if you prefer lol) when I’ve caught myself doing/thinking something that a free person wouldn’t, and then grounding myself again. In the documentary, he describes the factors that contribute to the fudge-factor so I’ve also been looking out for these thoughts. They include;

  • Everybody’s doing it
  • I’m not hurting anyone
  • Lying for others
  • Creativity (ED is so imaginative!!)
  • Lack of supervision (what do I do in my own time? Connect with integrity)
  • Social norms
  • Fatigue
  • Self-deception
  • Conflicts of interest

I’ve realized how much these phrases or thought processes can pollute my thoughts and lead to dishonest actions. So now I’m challenging them with calling out the condition, and questioning the misguiding statements;

  • Who is everyboy?
  • What is the consequence for my body and my mind?
  • Did anyone ask me to lie? Would I like others to ‘lie for me’?
  • Is this a positive use for my creativity? What else could I be creating??
  • Even if ‘nobody’s watching’, I can’t hide things from my own body
  • Am I tired? If so, why am I using energy for this negativity?
  • Why should I conform to so-called social norms? Is this a social norm everywhere or just in my bubble,?
  • Do I actually believe what I’m doing is ok?

I’ll finished this off because it’s getting a bit long-winded, but I do recommend watching the documentary – it’s a real eye opener and although I watched it last week I’m still learning and thinking about it now. Self-honesty is integral to a strong recovery and it’s something I continue to work on. Something I need to continue to remind myself is not to be afraid of being honest with a practitioner for fear that they’ll chastise me for engaging with the condition. They’re on MY team, they want to see ME flourish and not the condition. And that principle applies to everyone, so no special snowflake syndrome allowed.


Here’s a link to a clip from the documentary