Over the years, my solution how to deal with liars has changed. When is was young(er), I confronted and engaged with them. That approach rarely brings results, apart from denial and more lies. Today, I avoid liars. Sometimes, avoidance is difficult (eg, family). Hence, this blog: how to deal with a liar.
My former approach was emotional (ie, confronting, engaging). Avoidance is a rational response. How about a logical response? Is there anything that you can achieve by dealing with a liar? Technically speaking, lying is not a disease despite terms as pathological liar (source).
At the moment of writing this blog, I’m still in doubt about what you could achieve by dealing with a liar. When you cannot achieve anything then why bother trying? Moreover, dealing with a liar is like adding fuel to the fire (ie, conflict escalation). To some extent, avoidance equals de-escalation.
The above is (largely) confirmed in a 2018 Healthline article, entitled How Do I Cope with Someone Being a Pathological Liar? :
- Don’t lose your temper
- Expect denial
- Remember that it’s not about you
- Be supportive
- Don’t engage them
- Suggest medical help
Some of these recommendations feel counterintuitive. Be supportive (#4) feels like an example of the Dutch proverb soft healers make stinking wounds (eg, T&F Online-2018). When (pathological) lying is not a disease, why suggest medical help (#6)? There are no doctors for curing false opinions.
Remember that it’s not about you (#3) is intriguing. Is lying really not about “me”? The best example of a (pathological) liar is Donald Trump (eg, VF-2022, LAT-2020, WaPo-2021, Wiki). Indeed, Trump’s pathological lying is usually about him (ie, reverse psychology) rather than the one being attacked.
The quote below is also about the essence of reverse psychology:
“All liars … lie to protect themselves, to shield their egos from the raw pain of truth.”A quote from The Memory of Love (2011) by Aminatta Forna (b.1964), “a Scottish and Sierra Leonean writer”.
Living in Another World (1986) by Talk Talk
band, lyrics, video, Wiki-band, Wiki-album, Wiki-song
There’s no sense in lying
Help me find a way from this maze
I can’t help myself
Note: all markings (bold, italic, underlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.