“Deceit is the linchpin of conscienceless behavior.” ~Martha Stout, The Sociopath Next Door
As I began to recover, a very bitter realization began to dawn on me. I discovered the man I had known for years, actually did not exist. No longer could I deny the fact that I had lived with a liar. Based on this realization I began my search for “pathological lying” on the net. There was nothing available on the subject that could provide me any knowledge. However, the subject is very well described under psychopathy and I was able to find all the answers of my questions. As I dug deep into the subject I understood that pathological lying and psychopathy are one and the same thing.
But, the fact, pathological lying is usually hidden by certain assumptions that can be called outright dangerous and these assumptions have also been proved by research. Lying has been assumed to be universal and typical in humans. Since, everyone does it, lying is not necessarily that harmful. This is definitely wrong. Yes, almost everyone lies, sometimes to avoid hurting others’ feelings or to protect them from something bad. People also lie to protect themselves from the consequences of the mistakes they have done or to spare themselves the shame because of their acts.
But there are others who are habitual liars. They do it with the intention to manipulate others for their own personal benefits. These people don’t feel bad about lying. In fact they consider it some kind of achievement to have been able to fool someone for their personal ends. They are different of ordinary people. They are pathological liars, and fit the definition of psychopaths.
Compulsive and pathological liars have personality disorders. These personality disorders correspond to psychopathic spectrum. Pathological lying is not at all normal, and is quite the opposite. Even though, researchers have proved with evidence that everyone lies in different circumstances, pathological lying is something very different. Yes, almost every lie is damaging, but normal people cannot imagine the intent with which psychopathic liars work. Willful lying can be directly connected to disturbing aspects of one’s character.
Psychopaths cannot do without lying, and they use it to manipulate others in the following ways:
1. They lie to gain control and dominate others
To them, relationships are nothing but games, and other people are objects. They have no qualms about exploiting others and they can justify their act completely. They know lying is necessary for deception which is in turn essential to deceive their victim. It is required create an impression over others, the kind of impression they want. They are good readers of mind and they know what kind of image they need to present in front of their potential targets. Captivated by their false image those targets fail to make decisions that would be right for them, that would save them from the impending disaster.
Once the target is trapped they use their lies in multitude of ways. They twist and turn facts and sometimes sprinkle their lies with pure facts. So, the target is never able to catch them and keeps dancing to their tune. They use these tactics for hiding illegal activities alcoholism, drug abuse and other dubious acts. Half-truths, hiding information and evasion are their usual tools. If ever their target gets doubtful about them, they are able to create such illusion that the target feels guilty and starts questioning himself or herself. To ensure their control and keep their target confused they keep lying that they love them. And, they lie because lying is something as easy and essential like breathing to them.
2. Lying brings pleasure to them
Often people lie under extreme pressure to hide shame or a wrong act. But psychopathic is accompanied by shallow pleasure. This is explained by “Duper’s Delight” which describes why psychopaths lie even lying is not at all necessary or telling the truth would be better. Psychopaths add a great deal of details to their lies to make them more real. They enjoy creating a false reality and lead others to believe their story. It gives them the joy that they have gained control over the others so much so they believe in his lies. It fulfills their need for sick entertainment.
3. Lying is an effortless act and can sound truer than reality
Lying is a game for them, and a source of fun and entertainment. This is because they are bereft of emotions that normal human being possess. They are hollow inside and have no purpose in life. They have no mercy or empathy, and they not a hint of shame or regret that must result from such type of behavior. In the absence of any subtle emotions they are capable of lying
effortlessly. They can look directly into the eyes of their victim and lie quickly and with zero guilt. If caught, they can easily deny that they ever lied and behave in such a manner that people are led to believe their falsehood. Many of these people would never care to apologize, but many would do that frequently. Their apologies are never, real but another lie, but still they can come across as sincere.
4. Lying is an effective tool that helps them play victim
All psychopaths know the in and out of their target. They know what they need to convince and draw sympathy from their victims. Exploiting people who are helpful and kind hearted is their habit. They are masters in the art of deception. Their lies are often smeared with truth which enables them to weave a mesh of lies that appear true to the victim. They always have complex problems and ailments, “crazy”exes, thefts, car accidents and many more situations. All these are intended to make others pity on their situation.
They can generate endless sob stories to entrap others in their vicious games. Their ability to lie effortlessly and confidently makes them extremely convincing that so many tragedies cannot take place in one person’s life and that too on daily basis. This further leads to more opportunities for exploitation and lying.
Martha Stout’s telling quote from above, “Deceit is the linchpin of conscienceless behavior,” can be explained as: Lying is in the core of a psychopathic personality. It is inseparable from different types of psychopathic behavior. It is completely rooted into the psychopathic thought process and their actions. Compulsive, pathological lying is the complete opposite of normal. Pathological lying is the typical characteristic of psychopathic personality disorder.