An exercise in Lying
A few days ago it was my daughters 21st . Having grown up in a narcissistic family and played the role of the scapegoat I don’t remember ever celebrating my 21st birthday party so I wanted to make sure she had something nice to remember her day by. Often children of dysfunctional parents may make the mistake of spoiling their own children in the hopes that they wont make the same mistakes as their parents did. However I have learnt from bitter experience having grown up with two siblings that spoiling a child is not always a good idea.
I remember speaking to a counselor once who asked me about a narcissistic partner I had been with and I said he was spoilt. He asked me what did I mean by the term “spoilt”. I looked puzzled and said “I don’t really know”. He replied ” well what happens to food when you spoil it?” I replied “its ruined, you cannot eat it”. He answered “Exactly, when you spoil a child you ruin them as a person”. His advice stayed with me for many years especially as one member of my family was spoilt most of their life and has now grown up to be highly narcissistic.
So back to this surprise birthday party. Much as I wanted to make sure my daughter had a birthday party because I had missed out when I was younger I wasn’t sure it was a good idea to spoil her. Her friends had arranged a surprise birthday party and I had been working extra hours this month to insure she had a nice present this month. In the run up to the surprise birthday party that she was expecting I had to spent the day pretending that we had nothing much planned for her. Her brother and I arranged it in cahoots with her friends and although she wasn’t expecting anything to be perfectly honest it was after all her 21st birthday so there was some degree of anticipation that we might have between all of us have at least arranged a small get together.
I was called up by her boyfriend who asked me if it would be possible to keep her occupied for a couple of hours and pretend that we had planned nothing at all. Whilst he and all her friends arranged what was going to be a modest but lovely birthday party surprise for her. During the three hours I had to keep her away I had to come up with a number of different lies and excuses as to why we were going out, why her boyfriend might have possibly forgotten. I also had to lie about whether or not I knew whether he had planned anything. In between taking her our for a coffee and a quick snack as I knew there was food planned for later than evening and sneaking off to the toilet and making out I had some weird kind of bladder problem because I was busy texting her friends to find out what time I needed to get back I started to feel very uneasy. Even though I knew I was consciously lying and that it was for a good reason, seeing the look on my daughters face and the confusing where she felt a distinct cognitive dissonance I started to feel even more uncomfortable. The more I lied the more lies I had to tell, the more uncomfortable I felt and the more she asked questions. After 3 hours I was beginning to get a bit of a headache and wasn’t even sure I would be able to pull the whole thing off!
My children have always said to me that I make a terrible liar but in reality most people genuinely feel bad when they lie even when its telling a white lie like I did on her birthday.
However a psychopathic or disordered personality will have no hesitation telling a lie whatsoever, in fact they may be so convincing and may even start to believe their own lies. They wont care one iota that the person they are lying to feels bad, sad, disturbed, upset or even the slightest bit uncomfortable by their actions. Nor will they care when the victim starts to question them. They will have an answer ready and be able to slickly change topic so as to distract from the conversation.
To be honest my lying skills were useless during the whole exercise and the only way I could convincingly manage to get through the ordeal was to remember the thing that Clinton had done and lie by omission otherwise I would not have been able to keep a straight face without laughing or worst feeling bad because she genuinely thought we had all forgotten her.
When my daughter asked me if I knew whether her boyfriend or friends has planned anything I just kept replying “I don’t know” rather than saying “I don’t know if he’s planned a party”. Either way if felt rubbish and I was so relieved when we finally got to her house to have the whole room shout “Happy Birthday” at which point she burst into tears.
She had obviously felt extremely uncomfortable as she knew “something” was wrong but couldn’t quite put her finger on it. She said she was so relieved and felt silly for thinking no one had arranged anything and that she knew something was wrong all along. She commented later that I am still really bad at lying which personally I think is a good thing.
If you want to try to put yourself in the shoes of a psychopath try this exercise for yourself. Try spending the day making up a lie, even a white lie like the one above, and see if its possible you can keep it up all day long. See how uncomfortable or bad it makes you feel how much energy it takes to keep up the lie going. See if its even possible for you to come up with a plausible excuse when questioned about why you are doing something like sneaking off to the loo and whilst you are doing it remember this. One of the reasons targets have taken so long to “get it” is because most people want to understand why psychopaths or sociopaths or any other disordered individuals such as malignant narcissists do what they do such as cheating, lying about cancer or any other con they come up. Mostly we want to believe they are just like us which is why we try to understand them.
However Psychopaths DO NOT I repeat DO NOT feel or act the same way as us and therefore the exercise is futile.
We might feel like a fish out of water when lying but lying comes as easily as breathing. Expending vital energy in lying to victims isn’t an issue for a pathological personality any more than it is doing normal everyday stuff because their lack of conscience allows them to tell a lie in the same way as a normal person tries their best to tell the truth. Most conscience individuals can tell right from wrong which is why they rarely lie. The psychopath however can tell right from wrong, but it’s really not important to them. In fact psychopaths can also tell the truth as well.
So if both of us are able to tell right from wrong and both of us are able to tell lies what’s the difference?
Whereas a normal person might feel like a fish out of water psychopathic personalities are the ultimate amphibian. However uncomfortable we may feel they are as fluent at lying as a linguist is at speaking multiple languages. The psychopathic personalities sole modus operandi is to dominate and control and therefore it doesn’t really matter to them whether they are telling the truth or lying. The psychopath does not necessarily lie in order to deceive but they deceive in order to satisfy a far more primal urge – Getting one over on their victims. If they have to incidentally tell they truth to get what they want or if they will resort to lying it makes absolutely no difference. Unlike an individual who feels bad because they are deceiving someone the psychopath will use ANY suitable means they can to deceive con and manipulate their victims and ultimately win.