Opening Insights: The Web
Oh, what a tangled web we weave...when first we practice to deceive.
SIR WALTER SCOTT
Lying is something that we do... and it is something that is done to us.
Some of us are aware of when we are lied to, many of us are not.
It's OK to not lie. Yeah, you read that right - it's okay to not lie and to be truthful, but in order to do that:
- We need to recognize the lie... in ourselves and in others.
- We need to reach an understanding of what lying is.
- We need to identify why and how we lie to others and how we lie to ourselves and how we accept the lies of others.
Lying is insidious...
It weaves a thread of deception that builds a fabric that suffocates both the liar and the listener.
Lying is progressive.
It starts off automatically or intentionally as a means of conditioned survival. As time goes by lying becomes a part of life, a part of living, breathing and surviving.
Lying, just like any other addiction, becomes a conditioned and cemented neural pathway. It becomes a learned behavioral reaction to life and to communication.
How to Become a Liar
We are born into this world innocent and whole. From the ages of 0-7 our learning and survival are dependent on our ability to adapt to the world around us. As we mature through life we learn from those around us and go through a predictable cycle of maturation. If we grow up in an environment where lying is the norm, we learn to lie in order to survive and we never grow up.
- People who never grew up live in an endless cycle of child-adolescent perspective (see adjacent diagram).
- They become adult-children.
- Adult-children spend their lives playing the game of big circle, little circle.
- The game of big circle - little circle is acted out in the form of passive and aggressive behaviors (victims and persecutors).
- Dishonesty and lying are tools used to implement passive-aggressive behavior through the control of information where there is no remorse because the end justifies the means.
IN SUMMARY: At the core of child-adolescent behavior and at the core of passive-aggressive behavior is lying.
Lying Becomes Progressively Addictive and Pathological...
Lying is the act of both knowingly and intentionally or willfully making a false statement. Normal lies are defensive and are told to avoid the consequences of truth telling. They are often white lies that spare another's feelings, reflect a pro-social attitude, and make civilized human contact possible. Pathological lying can be described as a habituation of lying. It is when an individual consistently lies for no personal gain.
There are many consequences of being a pathological liar. Due to lack of trust, most pathological liars' relationships and friendships fail. If this continues to progress, lying could become so severe as to cause legal problems, including, but not limited to, fraud. 1
The problem occurs when someone lies:
- Knowing the difference (between telling the truth and lying)
- Knowingly and intentionally lying despite knowing the consequences
- Without remorse or care for those affected and infected by the lie
...when this happens and someone repeatedly lies they become pathological. They lie over and over again, even when one's life depends on it.
Insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result.
When someone knowingly lies over and over again, knowing that what they are doing is wrong, they are not ignorant they are stupid... pathologically stupid:
- Ignorance implies a lack of awareness, while stupidity implies the inability to understand. 2
- Ignorance can be removed by the acquisition of knowledge, while a stupid person is intrinsically so, and therefore difficult to reform. 2
- Ignorance is caused by the circumstances of one’s life, whereas stupidity is due to an attitude problem or mental deficiency in the person concerned. 2
- While the reasons of ignorance are universally the same, stupidity is often defined by one’s perception of what comprises stupidity. 2
The driving force behind these lies is the rush of power and control that one experiences as a result of lying. Chemically speaking it is the same rush (dopamine kick) that a heroin addict gets from mainlining, the cocaine addict gets from a snort of cocaine, the gambler gets from throwing the dice at the craps table. Thus, pathological lying is the primary addiction that allows addicts to effectively hide and manipulate others. Pathological liars, CAN'T NOT LIE... it becomes the root of fulfilling all their needs.
Case Study: Mr A was desperate. He was about to lose yet another job, not because he was at risk for being fired, but because his lying behavior had finally boxed him into a corner. He had lied repeatedly to his colleagues, telling them that he had an incurable disease and was receiving palliative treatment. Initially, his coworkers treated him with sensitivity and concern, but as the weeks wore on, the scrutiny of his colleagues became increasingly pointed. He had to tell more and more outrageous lies to cover his tracks and justify having a terminal illness. Finally, when the heat became too unbearable, he suddenly stopped going to work. On the face of it, it would seem Mr A told these lies to gain the sympathy of his colleagues, but the consequences of his lying, in terms of emotional distress and potential loss of job, far outweighed any perceived gain. Mr A had lost several other jobs in the past because of his lying, and he was becoming frustrated. Family members reported that he often told blatant lies, and even when confronted, and proved wrong, he still swore they were true. Mr A finally sought psychiatric help after concluding that he could not stop himself from lying.3
Defining characteristics of pathological lying include:
- A definitely internal, not an external, motive for the behavior can be discerned clinically: e.g., long-lasting extortion or habitual spousal battery might cause a person to lie repeatedly, without the lying being a pathological symptom.
- The stories told tend toward presenting the liar favorably. The liar "decorates their own person" by telling stories that present them as the hero or the victim. For example, the person might be presented as being fantastically brave, as knowing or being related to many famous people, or as having great power, position, or wealth.
- Diagnosing pathological lying can be difficult.
- It is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, third edition.
- It is a stand-alone disorder as well as a symptom of other disorders such as psychopathy and antisocial, narcissistic, and histrionic personality disorders, but people who are pathological liars may not possess characteristics of the other disorders.
- It has been shown through lie detector tests that PF (pseudologia fantastica) patients exhibit arousal, stress, and guilt from their deception. This is different from psychopaths, who experience none of those reactions.
- People affected by antisocial disorder lie for external personal profit in the forms of money, sex, and power.
- PF is strictly internal. The difference between borderline personality disorder and PF is that BPD patients desperately try to cope with their feeling of abandonment, mistreatment, or rejection by making empty threats of suicide or false accusations of abandonment. Pathological liars do not feel rejected; they have high levels of self-assurance that help them lie successfully. Unlike those with histrionic personality, pathological liars are more verbally dramatic than sexually flamboyant. Narcissists think they have achieved perfection and are unempathetic to others.
- PF patients do not show these anti-social behaviors; they often lie because they think their life is not interesting enough.
- People with PF tend to lie about their identities and past history.1
For more about pathological liars click here.
How to Spot a Liar
People who are not liars don't see the liar. It's a dangerous place to be, so it is best we learn How to Spot a Liar...
 Invisible Seeds of Organizational Destruction
Possibilities for Consideration: Where is OUR Humanity
After a period of time, if no one speaks up, the lie becomes the defacto truth and there is no one to defend or correct the lie. This is how history books are rewritten and communities become conditioned to relinquish their rights and freedoms. Nazi Germany is an example of this. The lie was told about how bad the Jews were... the German people (including the Jews) passively accepted the lie.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
IMPORTANT NOTE: WE do nobody a favor by tolerating their lies. When we ignore, tolerate or avoid correcting a lie we only reinforce their illusion of power and, in a sense, condone the lie (and indirectly allow ourselves to become a part of it).
Add Your Insight: Join a Community of Truth
What is the solution? We need to find/create an environment intolerant of dishonesty, that is supporting of and accepting of the truth only. We need to find/create a collaborative environment based on recovery principles of: Honesty, Selflessness, Purity of Intentions and Living in Reality (Trust/Love).