One of the hardest things to come to terms with is having a friend, relative, partner or spouse who is a pathological liar. Sociopaths lie without conscience.
While not all pathological liars are sociopaths, all sociopaths are actually pathological liars.
The pathological liar knows exactly what he/she is doing and has done it for many years, while the sociopath just doesn’t care, and will continue on. A sociopath has no guilt or shame and they will do just about anything to obtain some form of sympathy or pity from you…and unfortunately, they often pat themselves on the back for a lie well executed.
If at any point, any point at all, they act remorseful, just know going in that it’s only to gain something else. If you think you can reason with them, think again. Here are some of the things that might come up in your friendship/relationship that can help you learn what to watch out for.
Gaslighting is a psychological manipulation trick used by all narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths. This term came from the play in the 1930’s titled “Gas Light”. A husband decided to get rid of his wife by slightly dimming the flame on the gas lamp and then saying he never did…and continued to change her environment, thus attempting to make her crazy.
In modern times, the gas-lighter in a relationship will attempt to profess something so intensely, that you might ignore that look of panic in their eyes or that warning bell in your head, or that feeling of something is creepy here in the pit of your stomach. Whatever you do, do not ignore it. Fiercely denying something is often a method used by cheaters, which is a form of gaslighting. They make their partner believe their suspicions are paranoia, all the while tracking what their partner is doing because they are afraid they are not loyal since they themselves are doing things that are suspicious.
Usually this happens early in the relationship. They want commitment, and declare love right away. They shower you with gifts, tell you things you have never been told, and the next thing you know, you might be planning a life together. Sound too good to be true? That’s because it is. They start off strong trying to reel you in with attention, gifts, affection and compliments. They mess up? You get a gift. As the manipulation continues, the victim becomes codependent on the lovebomber, which is what they want all along. They start to separate their love interest from people who care about them. This is what the love-bomber wanted all along so that they could become emotionally dependent. This is a toxic start to a relationship and is doomed to fail if it continues.
The gaslighters and narcissists act very strong and tough, but in reality they have thin skin and when their negative behavior is called into question they like to fight…denial, excuses, tantrums, and projecting are often used. The other thing they will do here is use passive-aggressive techniques. Avoiding you, becoming emotionally distant and causes you to feel alone and isolated in the relationship. The gaslight does not see you as an equal partner in the relationship and wishes to dominate so they will escalate in order to intimidate you so you do not ask them anything. You are essentially scared of how they will react. This is emotionally abusive for someone who claims to love the other person.
This area is especially sick as the liar/gaslighter violates boundaries and pushes their victims into sexual acts, sometimes including date rape in severe cases. They enjoy getting away with violating rules and it gives them a rush. It becomes an addiction to them that is unhealthy. They frequently push other boundaries such as breaking the laws speeding (lying to get out of that), using other people’s properties without asking, breaking appointments, and generally thinking rules do not apply to them. They take pride in their destructive behaviors and brag about how they got away with things. It provides them with a sense of superiority that doesn’t last, so they repeat the behavior spiraling down a dark path.
Have you ever had someone tell you that your mood, words, or reaction to being constantly lied to were not valid? That it was harsh or over the line? The liar/gaslighter will work to control the narrative. Often, they get angry and defensive when you ask questions or catch them in a lie. They like to tell you how you should think or feel, and if you don’t react in a way that they claim they would, they try to intimidate you and become overly critical. You will not win with a compulsive liar. Even if you HAVE proof, can tell them exactly what they said, they will manipulate the truth into an even bigger lie. They do not see the negative consequences of their lies, and they simply go on with life as that was the most normal thing to do. Even trying to justify the reason they lied to you…but never really feeling any remorse. They sleep just fine at night, and will lie to you again and again at a cost to you, not to them.
If you have caught a pathological liar in a lie recently, chances are you will only be met with desperation. One who will do or say anything to shame you for pointing out what they did to you was not right. How dare you catch them lying?
The bottom line is that even if you are aware of what a gaslighter or pathological liar is doing, you can not change them by yourself. Their behavior was built up over time and has become part of who they are and how they deal with the world.
Professional therapy is the only solution, but just like a drug addict, they have to really see that they have an issue and that they are destroying all chances of happiness by not healing. It is time to create some distance, let them know they need therapy, and if they refuse, insist on counseling and then go the no contact route until that happens. This is for your sanity and mental health. One method they can look into is cognitive behavior therapy. << explore more here. The bottom line is that they have to admit they have a problem and not lie their way out of that as well.
Want to read more? Check out these posts:
- When an Empath Loves a Narcissist: The Lure of the Broken Soul
- The Friend Who Cried Wolf and other Tales of Codependency
- Coping When a Dysfunctional Friendship Ends