I’ve been meaning to write this article for sometime now. Contrary to the belief that some might hold over my blog being an avenue for just articles on local politics, I do write on other issues as well. Sometimes it’s hard to find the time to write down my thoughts, other times, I’m just too lazy to give into the urge to write. But this article? Well, I wouldn’t want to NOT write this for anything.
Let me ask you this first. Have you ever encountered a pathological liar? Have you ever had the misfortune of inviting one into your life, your home, family and your inner circle of friends? Well, I have. If you think, whoa, you were dumb enough to do that, think again. Pathological liars don’t go around advertising the fact to people around them. Nor do they have it tattooed on their foreheads, which would truly be helpful. It can be really hard to identify one, especially if you are the type to trust people because you don’t go around lying about every single thing that is your life as part of your daily routine.
The Psychiatric Times defines a pathological liar to be one who has a “long history (maybe lifelong history) of frequent and repeated lying for which no apparent psychological motive or external benefit can be discerned.” Well let me tell you this. If you haven’t met one or cannot even comprehend the fact that one who fits into the mould might exist, think again. I’m here to tell you, it’s all true.
I’ll refer to this ex-friend of mine as Ms. B. We met when I was working at my first place of employment, between the years of 2006 and 2008. Ms. B seemed nice enough, with a tragic family history tossed into the mix that one would definitely empathize and sympathize with. At least I did. And so did many of my colleagues who till today are good friends of mine.
Since then, much time has passed. Through which Ms. B tended to pull off these disappearing acts where no one hears from her. Me and my circle of friends used to gang up to find out what had happened to her. Well, she does emerge after long periods of time have passed, and manages to convince us of the plights she has been through, which of course begins once again that circle of empathy and sympathy whereby which we usually do not look that closely at some of the gaping holes in her stories. Maybe some of it is true enough that she manages to stick to the same version of her story throughout, or maybe she is just that intelligent, which I believe her to be, in hindsight.
Through her years of attempted studying out of country and later on, I was one of the people that stood by her. Even when she fell out of touch and out of friendship with most of the ‘inner circle of friends’ that I talked about earlier, I stuck with her because I honestly thought that she was someone who deserved a little bit of a helping hand in her almost seemingly lonesome journey through life.
Then rolled in the year 2015, in which I found myself invited to a group in one of those numerous chat applications by a friend of mine. This group was initially a fun place to be in. We talked politics, we philosophized, we talked about marriage, life, depression and what not, and there were the occasional film critiquing conversations that got heated (haha) and in the midst of all that, we actually managed to have a good time. That was until Ms. B found her way into the group and I began to see her in a whole new light, and not a very flattering one at that.
It was as if, overnight, she had turned into this person that was a complete stranger. The whole group seemed to revolve around her or the stories that she cooked up. She was ‘friends’ or ‘acquaintances’ with anyone and everyone that members in the group mentioned in passing, her ‘association’ with the rich and lavish while she was studying was laugh worthy, her ‘escapades’ and ‘travel adventures’, most of which I found hard to believe were truly ‘fascinating’. It got to the point where I wanted to actually take her aside and talk it out, in the presence of a mutual friend of ours. But what happened next completely pushed that resolve out of my mind.
I began to find out that her ‘behavior’ was targeted towards myself, an attempt to draw me out, to find out whether I would rise to the bait. Well, I suppose she didn’t know me well enough if she thought that I would be willing to cross that line – especially for someone like her “true” self. I went through her Instagram pictures, this time with an eye out for the things I never would have thought to look for before, and lo and behold, most of the pictures that she claimed were ones she had taken while on trips abroad etc, were actually taken off of the Internet – her travel escapades, nothing but a huge figment of her imagination.
Then came the day all this came to heed. All the while her ‘behavior’ in the group kept on escalating, I knew deep in my heart that she’d have already told her version of the ‘sob story’ to those in the group who would sympathize with her. I don’t blame them. Because I’ve been one of the ‘victims’ of her lies myself. Believing the stories she told about people who had always had issues with her and made her life miserable. People who were all ‘evil’ to her such that she couldn’t put up with them.
So when this particular day rolled in, it had come to the point where I had begun to ask from her, inside the group, to show proof of whatever ‘great’ stories of her escapades she kept spinning. The one mistake she made was to tell this huge lie about going paragliding, a trip she supposedly took with friends of mine. Of course I contacted my friends to verify the truth, and it turns out the only things they did on that trip were to go jet skiing and horseback riding. Armed with my proof I sat, wondering what to do, and then there took place this stupid argument of sorts about who has dated whom – and suddenly her knight in shining armor arrived to her rescue, this being THE administrator of the group, the friend who invited me to the group in the first place, and admonished the rest of us to cool it and shut it down. I nearly walked away from that group that night, but I kept telling myself, if I left then, I’d only be doing exactly what she wants me to do.
It was tough going for a while. It was and is hard for me at times to put up with her when I know what she’s like. But, I’ve persevered and though I don’t hang around much in the said group, it is still a place where a bunch of good conversations take place every now and then and I believe like one of the group members expressed one day, we do have got a good thing going on in there.
I have refused to talk about this with anyone, apart from those that already knew of the problems or those who had seen right through the massive aura of bullshit that surrounds her. I knew that she would actually sell her version of the story to mutual friends of ours – and I wasn’t wrong. I knew that people who really knows me well, what I’m like and what lengths I would go to in order to keep a friendship alive wouldn’t believe the version of half-truths that would emerge out of her mouth.
One thing that made me want to write this down was the fact that she was badmouthing not just about me, but my sister, who has shown nothing but utmost courtesy to her and my friends – if they have ever visited my home and met her. I don’t mind Ms. B talking about me – I can take it. I know that those that would believe her version of the truth were never truly my friends in the first place. But to know that she had taken that step towards talking bad about my family? Well, that was the last straw for me.
Come today, she has blocked and removed me from all her social media accounts. We are both in the same group on the said chat application, from which she has individually blocked me – which I find helluva funny.
Moving on, the lesson to be learnt from all this was that, you never truly know a person well enough, even those closest to you. People can always surprise you, some in the worst of ways. I’ve felt antagonism on the part of some of the members in the group but I’ve paid no heed to any of it. Maybe that is just how I perceived it. Maybe not. But what goes around does come back around.
So the question remains, how do you identify one who is a pathological liar? Here are some pointers, which I would like to share with anyone whose interested.
1- These people, they study you well. Studies you thoroughly. Even studies the subjects they would talk about in a group of people so that they don’t come out sounding stupid enough for people to question them. I encountered this multiple times since I understood what my particular friend was up to. So be mindful of how much of yourself you divulge to particular people. The saying that not everyone who keeps you close is your friend is a true adage. Be cautious about whom you trust and invite into your life and that of your family’s. Otherwise you just might live to regret it.
2- Pathological liars lack empathy. Why? Because they are able to spin all these lies and keep you believing in them because they don’t feel any particular remorse over what they are doing. They will look you right in the eye and lie to you. Without blinking. Even once. Trust me on this.
3- Pathological liars don’t like being cornered. When someone is onto them, they can turn aggressive. Vicious even. The tables can turn so rapidly on you that you might feel bulldozed by the escalation of events that takes place. I experienced this. It wasn’t pretty. But it teaches you a lesson. These people are smart. Some of them, highly intelligent. Someone who is NOT intelligent cannot pull off so many multiple threads of lies, continued over periods of time. Take note. Don’t fall into that trap. Question them if you don’t think their stories add up. If you still feel in your gut that they are lying, they most probably are. Perhaps confrontation might be a choice if they haven’t already realized that you are onto them.
4- The most sneaky of the lot are manipulative. I’ve seen this, felt it, and even being manipulated by her. So yes, it is embarrassing to admit this perhaps, but I aim to learn from my mistakes and I intend it to be perhaps something others can also learn from. They can wrap you around their little finger, make you believe that everyone in the world is against them. You’d sympathize to the extent that you’d believe that the other person is pure shit. Yes, you would. Maintaining an objective front helps of course. But sometimes if you’re too close to the fire, you can’t help but be burned, just a little.
5- They can morph into people who seem to GET you on a level others don’t. I have heard so many “secrets” of other people’s lives through her, that she wouldn’t have been privy to, if people didn’t trust her on a level that would have warranted these “stories”. If you are the sort who is pious and love the religion, they will become one – just for you. And if you are one who don’t let boundaries as such define the way you live your life, well, they can be that too. Be wary. Be cautious. Not everyone who claims or acts like they are the most trustworthy of people are actually so.
6- And they lie, for absolutely NO REASON! Even now I cannot wrap my head around the fact, her need to lie, especially to people who meant her well. I guess that in essence defines what or who a pathological liar is.
The one thing that of course guided me, apart from what went on was the Almighty. Might sound corny to those who don’t believe. But this Ramazan, one of my supplications to Him was to show me those I can trust and whom I cannot. All whatever I have related, happened right afterwards. If ever there was a sign from above, well, that was it.
If any of you reads this and finds this ludicrous, do share your thoughts. I would love to hear why you think so. If you have encountered the same, do share that as well; that is if you’re comfortable doing so. Perhaps you can shed some more light on how we can avoid inviting pathological liars into our lives. For me, it’s years of friendship that I have lost. Boundless time I have wasted. On a person who didn’t deserve it, in the least. And I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.
“Just because something isn’t a lie does not mean that it isn’t deceptive. A liar knows that he is a liar, but one who speaks mere portions of truth in order to deceive is a craftsman of destruction.”