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Article by Wendy McCance
Do you know someone who lies? I’m not talking about the occasional fib, but the person who can’t create a sentence without lying within it. This conversation was brought up at home this weekend and got me thinking. Is there are a certain type of person who is more prone to lying than another?
Let me backtrack for a moment. Over the weekend, we received a visit from a relative. The person came to the door to drop off some items for one of the kids. When my husband answered the door, this person asked where the kids were. They said they had tried to give the kids a heads up that they would be stopping by. My husband explained that they were all out with their friends and described the activities they were doing. The relative then said that they had wondered because they had tried to call and text each kid and had gotten no response.
Why this relative didn’t just call us is beyond me, but that’s not even the point. When the kids got home, we asked them if anyone had gotten a call or text from the relative. They all said they hadn’t heard from them. The kids take their phones everywhere they go. They know to keep their phones charged and turned on so that we can stay in contact with them. They all even checked their phones just to make sure they hadn’t missed anything.
This relative had never contacted even one of the kids. They had lied. What’s so crazy is that there was no point in lying. It didn’t matter if they had tried contacting someone or just spontaneously stopped by to drop something off. This particular person does not know how to create a sentence without throwing in a lie. They have done this for so long now that when they go back in their memory to recount something, the lie comes up in their head as something that genuinely happened. They cannot tell fact from fiction anymore.
So I was talking with one of the kids about what had happened and they mentioned a friend they knew who did the same type of thing. I know of someone else as well. We started to try to figure out if there was a certain personality type or something within their lives that made them go to lying as a way of coping.
It’s interesting that each person we thought of had a rough childhood. Of course, rough is a matter of opinion, but these were all people who seemed to get lost in the crowd. Each person would have to do something a bit more extraordinary to stand out and get some attention. Each person also came from a family that had parents who weren’t overly nurturing or loving. The homes were just too busy with activity and the parents were tired and burned out.
Who knows if our assumptions of why these individuals turned toward a life of make-believe is true. Each of these families had other siblings that did not go in that direction at all. Why some siblings go one direction and some go a different way is possibly personal experience or personality based. It is interesting though to try to figure out why for some, a life of continuous lies seems to satisfy their personal needs.
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Unfortunately, I have experienced this as well. I have a Social Work degree and my best friend is a Master’s level therapist. The person in my life who lies about everything for (seemingly) no apparent reason most likely has Borderline Personality Disorder. Lying is often part of the impulsiveness of the disorder. They are creating an identity for themselves that, in their eyes, is more exciting and intriguing than who they see themselves to be otherwise. The following link is just a tip of the iceberg when it comes to the disorder, but further reading may reveal that the people in your lives also struggle with it. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/borderline-personality-disorder/DS00442/DSECTION=symptoms
Thanks for the information and the link. I get the part about lying to make yourself look better. I just don’t understand the lying about things that don’t matter one way or the other.
The lies aren’t necessarily to make them look “better”, but to give them something to create an identity. For instance, my teenaged friend lied about being pregnant (said she was but wasn’t), lied about friends dying, lied about her boyfriend cheating on her, lied about my cousin being drunk and needing a ride home (he was with his parents and had nothing to drink)… The list goes on and on and on. I, too, grow weary of the lies for no reason, that don’t scream “pay attention to me” or “see how great I am”. With the disorder, there is a physiological difference in their brains that affects decision-making, especially when they are experiencing high emotions (stress, anger, sadness, elation). Perhaps your relative was anxious about seeing you or disappointed the kids weren’t there or got cut off in traffic en route. Who knows? Putting a name on the problem doesn’t make it acceptable for them to lie, but it gives me a context about a portion of the why.
Thanks for putting it in such good perspective. Now that really does make more sense. I feel sorry for people who feel they have to be that way.
I’ve know some that unfortunately were completely un-connected to reality. They lied about everything… even the weird little stuff that way inconsequential… Strange…
I worked with a man who lied constantly, mainly about incidents in his past. I could only assume that he felt insecure about his life and place in it.
I unfortunately was married to someone like that. Of course silly me married him before I finally figured out almost everything out of his mouth was a lie. Everything! He would lie about big things, little things, things that didn’t even make sense to lie about! Now, he did come from a family of overachievers. And he was the youngest. Maybe that’s why he lied. I don’t know. A lot of his lies were very hurtful and damaging. One reason why I got out of the marriage. I never understood his need to lie.
I felt like you were describing the person I know. I don’t get it either. They eventually get caught lying and the lies don’t even make sense. I would be interested to know why some people do that. It kind of fascinates me.
If you ever get it figured out I would love to know also! It doesn’t make any sense to me. I would ask him out right why did he lie. He never had a good excuse or he blamed me. So I dunno.
With the person I know, I could point out exactly why I knew it was a lie and they would still swear by it. If I find out, I will definitely write about it.
I don’t understand it. I know people like that too. It makes no sense why anyone would take the time and use that kind of energy to tell us something that is simply not true. Do they not know that we see it for what it is? That is a puzzle to me too.
My husband has a friend who lies, but the sad thing is that they are not small little lame ones. They are big, huge lies which at obviously meant to impress people of the status of his life. People who are new to his circle are impressed with him but as time goes along they find he is shallow. He pertains to be wealthy with beach houses and boats etc. But in the mean time those of us who know him well know he is losing everything that he does have… It is very sad when a person has to make up fantasy’s or lie’s to think you will find them interesting. I find people who “Tell it straight” to be far more intriguing.
I completely agree.