Dealing with a Pathological Liar

Our particular instance of parental alienation may be the result of several different situations.  It might have to do with our alienating parent’s childhood.  It might have to do with her narcissistic personality traits.  Or it might stem from her pathological lying.

As we mentioned in an earlier post, her versions of what has, or has not, transpired over the years border on the absurd.  During the years she was custodial parent of my stepchildren, it was difficult to ascertain the truth behind their medical care, educational needs, etc., because the alienating parent told us so many lies.

And she was not only telling lies to the father of her children, about the children — she was likewise telling lies to the children, about their father.

We found this paragraph about characteristics of pathological liars, which was like a description written about our alienating parent:  “The sad part about this story is not so much that the former Judge lost his job in the end, but that he was very unaware of the fact that his steps could be traced and that many people would ultimately find him out. That level of consciousness was missing from Patrick and is missing in so many other people who are compulsive liars. The very fact that a lie could be found out does not affect the liar. The very fact that the liars work-life, home-life, or reputation could be in jeopardy as a result of the lies, does not phase the liar. Guilt, shame, or regret does not affect the liar. Consequences also do not seem to affect the liar. So then why does the liar engage in such behaviors? ”

Our alienating parent spent years writing letter, after letter, after letter; spent years submitting documentation in Court hearings; continues to make comments on internet postings, never thinking:  “my steps can be traced and I’ll be found out.” Guilt, shame or regret do not exist in our alienating parent’s vocabulary.  And, to this day, she is totally lacking in any level of consciousness.

We’ve always known that our alienating parent lied to the children.  But it is puzzling to see the lies continue.  I, personally, know what I may or may not have said.  And to see quotes attributed to me, when I know full well that I never said such things, is baffling.  Why does our alienating parent feel the need to continue the lies?  Years after she successfully alienating her children from their father.  Is she lying, just for the sake of lying?

For others dealing with a pathological liar, here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Know that a pathological liar will study you: The goal of the liar may be hidden, but you can count on the fact that the liar doesn’t want you to know the truth. In order to evade someone, you certainly need to study the person and examine what that person might or might not believe. Liars, often sociopaths, are known to “study” the person they hope to take advantage of.
  2. Don’t forget that the liar lacks empathy: As hard as it is to believe, it is true. The liar doesn’t have any consciousness of how the lying behavior may make you feel. The liar doesn’t think before he lies: “oh, I better not say that or I could hurt that person or mislead them.” The liar doesn’t care anything about your feelings and never will. A question many parents have asked their child who lies is: “Why don’t you just tell me the truth. Why is that so hard!?” As easy as it is for you to think this way, it’s not that easy for the liar. The liar lacks the ability to consider what you might feel in response to their lie (which is empathy).
  3. Most “normal” liars feel guilty and are relieved when you change the topic or stop asking questions: This was an interesting clue that I learned about as I studied forensic psychology as a graduate student some years ago. I found that the pathological liar often shows no emotion when lying, which makes them believable. The person who is lying and has a sense of empathy or consciousness, will often show relief when the topic is changed. For example, if someone told you that they grew up in a concentration camp and experienced a lot of trauma as a result, you would ask questions about it to further understand. If you changed the topic at the point when you observed stress or anxiety in response to your questions, you would see the person may be lying and is well aware of the consequences of that lying. Most of us will relax when others cease from asking so many questions. A pathological liar is not phased.
  4. All liars don’t do the common things you think liars do: Believe it or not, liars don’t always touch their nose, shift in their seats or from one foot to the next, or even look sneaky. Some really experienced liars are good at giving you direct eye contact, seeming relaxed or “laid back,” and may appear very sociable. The thing to look for is eye contact that feels piercing. Some sociopaths have learned how to evade people with direct eye contact, sociable smiles, and humor. Trust your instincts and discernment here.
  5. The most sneaky liars are manipulative: I once heard someone say “we all manipulate.” While this might be true (although I disagree), the liar tends to manipulate more than anyone else and has learned how to become a “pro” at doing it. There is nothing impressive about the dangerous or evil manipulator. They know everything to say and do, they know what you want and don’t want, and again, they study you. In fact, many pathological liars (and sociopaths who lie) use sexual or emotional arousal to distract you from the truth. Watch someone who seems to be directing their attention to you in such a way as to stimulate your arousal in some way. That arousal could be psychological (peaking your interest), emotional (causing you to feel connected to them), or sexual.
  6. Pathological liars exhibit strange behaviors: Can you remember how you felt, perhaps as a child or teen, after you were caught lying to a teacher, a parent, or friend? Did you feel guilty, sad, or afraid that the other person would no longer accept you? Some research suggests that some pathological liars show no discomfort when caught lying, while other studies suggest that liars may become aggressive and angry when caught. No pathological liar is the same.    [Source: ]

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