There as many types of liars out there. Nobody likes being lied to, yet everyone lies. Some people only lie occasionally and do it with the best of intentions. Others lie all the time with only their best interest at heart. There is even a class of liars for whom being untruthful is second nature. They don’t realize that they are spewing forth falsehoods as though they are facts. It’s pure habit.
Unless they are aware that they are speaking to a compulsive liar, people generally tend to believe what others tell them. People lie so often about insignificant things, that we mostly don’t even pick up on the fibs. Then again, sometimes we know that we are being lied to, but for the best possible reasons. We’ve all been told white lies by friends or family members that make us feel better.
In the same way that liars have the power to make us feel good about ourselves, they also have the power to do harm. They can destroy careers, relationships, and even lives. Having a good understanding of the different types of liars will hopefully help you identify what kind of liar you are dealing with. It can empower you to process and deal with that person in the best way.
What is Lying?
Defining the act of lying can be tricky. Is a four-month-old baby lying when they fake cry? What about a witness who testifies on the stand and under oath swears that what they are saying is true? They might be recollecting the way their brain has reconstructed an event, instead of how it actually happened.
According to the Oxford dictionary, the definition of a lie is “an intentionally false statement”.
The Oxford dictionary defines the term Embellish as: “[to] Make (a statement or story) more interesting by adding extra details that are often untrue.
This seems innocent enough. Who doesn’t find it entertaining when someone exaggerates while telling a story? Sometimes people tell these small, exaggerated lies only occasionally. With the intention of making people laugh. There are however some types of liars who take the exaggeration too far. They let the lies taint almost everything they say to the point where it is difficult to tell what is true and what is false.
Different Types of Liars
Everyone lies. Even the most devout religious followers lie despite it being forbidden. From the Buddha to the Holy Prophet and Messenger of Allah, gods and deities forbid lying. So why do people do it? And where do you draw the line between forgiving the occasional lie, and severing ties with someone because you cannot believe a word they say?
It depends on what kind of liar you are dealing with. White lies aside, there are types of liars out there that can derail your life. You need to be able to identify what you’re dealing with so that you know when you need to start protecting and distancing yourself from a liar.
There are a lot of occasional liars out there. These people are not the kind of liars who lie without skipping a beat. When an occasional liar tells an untruth, they usually feel very guilty about having been dishonest. In most cases, they will be so ashamed and consumed with guilt that they will come forward and apologize.
Compulsive, Habitual and Pathological Liars
Compulsive, pathological, and habitual liars are the liars that tend to cause the most damage and hurt. In most cases, compulsive lying or pathological lying is a trait associated with a personality disorder.
The Sociopath definition, according to the Oxford dictionary, is: “A person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior”. Sociopaths are impulsive and at times erratic. They feel fleeting moments of intense emotions. Usually, negative ones such as rage or jealousy, and will tell you one bold-faced lie after another.
Sociopaths have the capacity to understand the difference between right and wrong in an intellectual context. When it comes to feeling the emotions associated with doing right or wrong, they feel nothing. They are often incapable of feeling emotions such as guilt or empathy. They usually lie to people in order to meet a very specific end. They are as cunning as they are manipulative. It is easy to manipulate others when you don’t feel any emotions about your actions, or the impact your actions have on the people you lie to.
Psychopaths are much more in control of themselves than sociopaths. Psychopaths can often lead somewhat normal lives despite the fact they too are devoid of feeling many emotions. People often don’t recognize a psychopath when they meet one. They can be real charmers and are excellent at pretending. Their charm usually prevents people from seeing that underneath that facade there is no real emotion. Psychopathic lying is incredibly difficult to detect if you don’t know someone very well. Because they are so charming and often tell you what you want to hear, people generally trust them. Like sociopaths, they tend to emotionally manipulate or blackmail people.
A narcissistic personality disorder is easier to recognize than other personality disorders. Narcissistic liars often defy all classical logic. It is all about them, and they demand constant adoration and admiration. They want to feel like they are the kings and queens of the world. They’ll say just about anything that will make them look better, more important, more intelligent or more sophisticated than anyone else in the room.
How to Deal with Liars
You need to be careful when confronting liars. Especially when confronting liars with personality disorders. You can comfortably call an occasional liar out on a lie. Just do so in a polite and tactful manner. Occasional liars will always try to make up for lying to you. They will admit that they lied and be open to a conversation that will hopefully end with everyone being on good terms.
The easiest way to deal with psychopathic liars and sociopathic liars is to distance yourself from them. It’s harder for people who have parents or siblings with these disorders. They often feel like they can’t just “abandon” them. However, confronting psychopaths or sociopaths is pointless. How can you ask someone to apologize for hurting your feelings, when they don’t know and don’t care what those feelings are.
Never confront a narcissist when they are lying to you. Just walk away. Narcissists will explode into a fit of rage and will probably even enjoy the attention that the confrontation draws.
By distancing yourself from a liar, you are taking back any and all power they had over you. They will quickly get bored with you and move on to fresh, unsuspecting victims. In some cases, walking away is not a sign of defeat, it’s a sign of empowerment. Take back your power!