Friday, July 17, 2015
How to Handle a Pathological Liar in Your Life
So, this isn't usually what I write about, but I recently read from another blogger that you should write what your passionate about, and I'm passionate about relationships. Any and all relationships to be exact. I am also passionate about food and crafting, but unfortunately my hectic life often puts baking and crafting on the sidelines, however, my relationships can never be on the sidelines.
Now, onto the subject matter: Pathological Liars.
I am truly sorry if there is one of these in your life. You might have read the heading to this article and thought, "did she mean, how to get rid of pathological liars from your life"? No, no I did not. I have the unfortunate circumstance of having one in my life that will be there indefinitely. My dad.
You might say that I do not have to have him in my life by any means, but my mother passed away in 2009, and for all of his flaws and sins, he still loves me deeply. I have learned to keep a safe distance emotionally between us, and sometimes I think he is aware of it, while other times, I think he is happy as a clam just to have me in his life in a positive way. I won't go into details about my personal life and how I've reached this point with him, maybe in another post on dealing with emotional suffering, but know that my dad has not told me the truth in over 10 years. Even when I already know it. So, here are my top five points on how to handle (understand) a pathological liar in your life.
These two points have helped me better understand the situation/person:
1. They can't help it.
No really, they can't. It's a disease and an addiction. We learn (hopefully) as young children that the problem with lies is that once we tell one, we will need 5 more to cover the first. Or, perhaps, one of my favorite quotes by Mark Twain, "If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything." As adults we think we can manage and outsmart others with lies. One lie quickly can turn into hundreds. And at one point or another, we look around in the midst of these lies and realize we have dug a hole so deep, we can't see the way out. The thought of digging ourselves out becomes so frightening that we rationalize the lies and continue deeper. Pathological liars can't understand the damage they are doing, and to point it out to them can lead to my next point.
2. They believe their lies.
Each and every one of the nastiest fights I have ever had with my dad, all stemmed from me pointing out that was in fact lying and delusional. It shot him into a fury so horrifying, that I was forced to flee my own house. Pathological liars live in a world of delusion. They have lied so much and so often, that their lies have become their reality. They cannot tell where the lies begin and the truth ends.
And my next three points have helped me continue, in the best way that I can, love my dad:
3. They can't be trusted.
Quite frankly, with anything. This puts a serious damper on the relationship, but you will never be setting yourself up for disappointment. To know the limits of a relationship can help you structure it so that it is most beneficial and pleasant for you or the other person. I have structured my relationship with my dad, so that it is most pleasant for him. I do not ask him to do things that I know he won't. And I certainly don't ask him about things that I know he will lie about. You may be wondering what kind of relationship we could possibly have, and it is a very surface-level, delicate relationship. There are a number of things I could do or say that would destroy everything that we've built, but I understand that he can't be trusted, and therefore, I'm complacent with what there is.
4. Be wary
My dad will never be allowed to be a shoulder to cry on for me. He has severally hurt me more emotionally than any other person in my life. The hardest part being that he is still in my life. I can't cut him out like an ex-boyfriend or nasty friend. He is my only living parent. So, as I mentioned above, there are certain topics that are never mentioned, at least by me, to him. Nor, is he allowed into the secrets and thoughts of my life. My heart is guarded. The trick of a liar, is that they can make you believe they are telling you the truth. I have learned, over and over, that my dad can charm me, or anyone else, into believing that he is a different person. You should never let your guard down. Never.
5. Love them anyway.
It's incredibly difficult. How can you love someone who insists that you are not worth honesty? The rules and boundaries I put up in my relationship with my dad do not apply anywhere else in my life, I promise. However, instead of choosing misery and anger, I chose to forgive my dad for his lies, past and future, and continue our relationship. I by no means have forgotten. And sometimes, I think I tread lightly on not forgiving him. But, it is not my job to change him. Nor should I give him an ultimatum of having me in his life. My dad has suffered and will continue to suffer throughout his life because of his lies. I am not holding my breath for him to change but have accepted him as he is and the way things are.
It took the better part of 8 years for me to reach this point. It wasn't easy, and I had to stop listening to everyone around me and do what was best for me. I took time away and then came back to the situation. It made a world of difference.
On a side note, reading and learning about The 5 Love Languages, seriously helped me understand my dad and other people in my life, and I think I might write about that sometime in the future. I find anything having to do with personalities and people relating to each other fascinating, really. It's weird, really. But here's a link to the book if you're interested, which you should be!
The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman