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How to Spot a Compulsive Liar Before Starting a Relationship

How to Spot a Compulsive Liar Before Starting a Relationship

Lying is morally wrong but it is also quite normal. Everyone does it. In fact, one researcher said [1] that lying is an unavoidable part of human nature.

How many times have your loved ones asked if you were ok and you said that you were, when in fact you were not? Or have you ever been running late and told your friend that you would be there in five minutes when you knew fully well that it would take at least ten? And what about when toddlers say that they haven’t eaten any chocolates despite having their face smeared with it?

At a certain age, we learn that lying is hurtful and most people will develop a good set of morals to try to hurt other people as little as possible. Pathological lying, however, is very different.

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What is pathological lying?

I once knew a girl who was charming, sociable and gregarious. Over time, however, I started noticing too many inconsistencies in her stories and claims that were blatant untruths. Whenever she was caught out, instead of confessing like a normal person, her pathological lying continued to the point that she even created further lies.

Scientists have discovered that there are brain abnormalities in pathological liars[2]. The prefrontal cortex at the front of the brain is responsible for remorse and morals. Brain scans revealed that those inclined to pathological lying had much less grey matter in this area.

What signs should you look for?

Contradictions

Their stories are inconsistent and will eventually begin to become undone over time.

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Attention seekers

They will go to lengths to concoct elaborate, grandiose stories or achievements, in order to get them the attention or admiration they want.

Defensiveness

The goal of pathological lying is to manipulate you. If you question something that may seem inconsistent, they will instinctively get very defensive or possibly even angry.

Master liars

It may take a substantial amount of time before you are able to detect their web of lies because it is an art they have perfected. If they suspect that they may be found out, they will simply make up another lie to cover things up.

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Asking you to repeat yourself

If they are caught off-guard, they may ask you to repeat what you have said so that they have enough time to fabricate something else for you to believe.

Unafraid of their lies

They lie with no regard or fear of the consequences or how it may impact the other person.

What you should know about dealing with a pathological liar

They spend time studying you

It’s important for them to study you in order to learn what your weaknesses are and to be able to take advantage of you. They will get an understanding of how to sway you and what things you may or may not believe.

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They lack empathy

It is not possible for them to feel remorse for their actions like a normal person because of how their brain is wired. They lack the ability to be concerned about if they may hurt you or how their lies could impact you. Do not expect them to sympathize with you or see the results of their actions. They are, however, able to feign emotions if it benefits them.

They will use whatever means necessary, whether psychological, emotional or sexual, in order to deceive you into whatever they desire. This sense of “connection” that you will feel towards them causes you to lose your guard and feel a false sense of trust.

There is no cure for pathological lying

In order to get treatment, they would first need to admit they have a problem, which they will rarely do. Furthermore, a lot of psychologists would not agree to treat them, since they are often unable to be truthful in sessions. Lying is second nature to them and simply, they do not know how to exist without doing it.

Reference

[1] BBC: Lying
[2] Livestrong.com: Treatment for a Pathological Liar

More by this author

J.S. von Dacre

Writer at Lifehack

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Last Updated on May 7, 2019

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Work in any competitive field long enough, and you’re bound to run into a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a powerful image. A shepherd watches over his flock to protect them from harm. He’d chase away any predator that tried to make its way into the flock. A clever wolf wearing the skin of a sheep as a disguise can sneak by the vigilant shepherd and get into the herd undetected.

The story isn’t just a colorful description–it’s a warning to all of us to beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. They may seem innocent, but they have ulterior motives. They’ll use different tactics to camouflage their intentions.

The person who is kind to you, but undercuts you when you aren’t around is a wolf in disguise. A wolf in sheep’s clothing might pick your brain for ideas and then pass them off as their own to get a promotion. They’re always looking out for themselves at the expense of everyone around them.

Wearing a Disguise Has Its Advantages

People don’t go out of their way to manipulate others unless they’re getting something out of it. Hiding their intentions gives wolves the chance to manipulate other people to advance their own agenda. They know that what they’re trying to do wouldn’t be popular, or it might cause struggle if they presented themselves honestly.

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    They’ll be able to do what they want with less interference if they put on an act. By the time people figure out their true motives, the wolf has what it wants.

    Signs That Someone Is a Wolf in Disguise

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        1. They live to take power instead of empowering others. A wolf uses people as stepping stones to get the things that they want. They don’t care what happens to anyone else.[1] A wolf at work might make you look bad during a presentation to make themselves look amazing in front of the boss.
        2. Wolves seem sweet on the outside, but they’ll show you their teeth. If wolves revealed their true identity, people wouldn’t associate with them. They develop a friendly or kind persona, but they can’t keep up the act 24/7. Eventually, they’ll reveal their aggressive tendencies. A wealthy person who likes to break the law may make sizable charitable donations to convince people that they are kind and thoughtful. These donations largely keep them out of trouble, but if someone calls them out, they destroy that person’s reputation to stifle the criticism.
        3. They manipulate through emotions to get what they want. Wolves know that they can get ahead by appealing to your emotions. They find out what you want and need, and they give you just enough to keep you quiet and compliant. Imagine that your boss is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and you want to ask for a vacation. She might try to play on your guilt and feelings of insecurity to get you to skip vacation or take fewer days off.
        4. A wolf will charm you first. Wolves are experts at manipulating the people around them. They appear interested in whatever you’re doing, and you’ll get the impression that they care. After they get you where they want you, they do just enough to keep you on the hook. This is the coworker who may start out being your friend, but they end up dumping responsibility onto you. When they see that you are growing frustrated, they’ll surprise you with something to charm you some more. Then, they’ll continue to do whatever they want.
        5. Their stories are full of holes.  Calling a wolf out is the surest way to make them squirm. When this person tries to come up with a story, it won’t make much sense because they are improvising.[2] The classic example of this is the significant other that you suspect has cheated on you. When you ask them why they came home so late, they’ll either become upset with you, or they’ll make up a weak explanation.

        How to Spot a Wolf

          Know What’s Real So You Can Spot the Phony

          Do some homework so that you have as much of the story as possible before you work with them. Research how they respond in certain situations, or give them hypothetical problems to see how they respond.

          A job applicant might tell you that she’s always positive and thinks of herself as a team-player. That’s what every employer wants to hear. During the interview you ask applicants to work in groups to solve a problem to see how they handle the situation. The applicant “positive team-player” is bossy and negative. You’ve spotted the wolf.

          A wolf will tell you something that ultimately benefits them. Gather evidence that proves or disproves their position, and see what happens. Chances are, when you choose the side that supports their agenda, they’ll act like your best friend. If you disagree, they’ll become aggressive.

          Spotting a potential wolf–especially if you are one of the sheep–can present you with some challenges. If your gut tells you that a wolf is lurking among all the other sheep, pay attention, and make sure you take the next step.

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          Ask Questions, the More the Better

          There’s nothing wrong with asking questions to uncover the truth. The safety of everyone in your group is at risk. Since wolves often make up stories, you may be able to call them out when their tales lack details.

          When they state an opinion, ask “Why do you think that?” or “How do you know it’s like that?” They’ll have trouble coming up with enough information to pull off the lie.

          Since wolves are always pretending to be something they aren’t, they don’t usually have a clearly thought-out reason for what they say. In a debate, they won’t understand the root of an issue.

          They may also tell you what they think you want to hear, but when pressed for more information, they won’t have anything to add. Their knowledge is superficial. No matter how much you try to encourage discussion, they will not be able to carry on a conversation about the subject.

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          Wolves Are Everywhere

          As much as we want to believe that everyone has the best intentions, it isn’t always the case. Some people only do things to benefit themselves, and they don’t care who they hurt in the process.

          Wolves in sheep’s clothing can be found in almost every setting. You can’t get rid of them, but if you can spot them, you can avoid falling into their traps.

          Reference

          [1] Association of Biblical Counselors: Three Ways to Spot a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
          [2] Power of Positivity: Beware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing

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