Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

How to deal with a liar

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 (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


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