Category Archives: Personal politics

Is Trump Pathological?

Hello my friends….this is an article I found that reassures me that “it ain’t me” that is losing the marbles…. cannot say the same for the current White House resident. This is the first in a series of examinations of the President and why he acts the way he does.  This could describe any number of people in DC, but is particularly frightening how many of the characteristics fit Mr. Trump….

6 Subtle Characteristics of The Pathological Liar

Pathological lying (PL) has been defined by the Psychiatric Times as a “long history (maybe lifelong history) of frequent and repeated lying for which no apparent psychological motive or external benefit can be discerned.” There is no real consensus on what pathological lying is and many people have developed their own definition. Pathological lying is something that has negatively affected many people, even professionals, who are often unaware of the psychiatric instability or personality disorder of the liar.  For example, in one of my previous articles I focused on Judge Patrick Couwenberg, a Superior Court Judge of California, who lied repeatedly while serving the public. The former Judge maintained the lie that he was a Caltech graduate, a wounded war veteran, and a CIA operative in the 1960s. All of these statements were easily identified by his peers as unreliable and inconsistent, but Couwenberg continued to attempt to evade others. He was later removed for “willful and prejudicial misconduct” for lying about attending Caltech. This education was critical to his Judicial position.

 The sad part about this story is not so much that the former Judge lost his job in the end, but that he lacked insight into the fact that his steps could be traced and that many people would ultimately find him out. An appropriate level of consciousness was missing from Couwenberg and is missing in so many other people who are compulsive liars. The very fact that a lie could be found out does not affect the pathological liar. They have an inability to consider the consequences or even fear being found out. It’s as if the pathological liar believes they are smarter than everyone and will never be found out. The very fact that the pathological liars’ work-life, home-life, or reputation could be in jeopardy as a result of the lies, does not phase the liar. Guilt, shame, or regret does not affect the liar. Consequences also do not seem to affect the liar. So then why does the liar engage in such behaviors? 

Multiple research studies have attempted to find an answer to this question to no avail. Trying to understand the mind, behaviors, and intention of the pathological liar is not an exact science. It is very much an inexact science and entails years of study. Humans are complex and trying to understand the reasons for why they do all the things they do takes more than a graduate school degree in psychology and years of work experience. For many mental health professionals and psychiatrists, trying to understand the pathological liar (or sociopath and narcissist who engages in this behavior) will entail a combination of intuition and science. Science alone cannot answer the many questions we have about pathological liars, but experience can offer some clues. We now know that pathological lying is spontaneous and unplanned. Impulsivity is often the culprit. We also know that pathological lying is more likely to occur in certain disorders or among individuals who have certain personality traits. Some diagnoses that might include pathological lying includes but is not limited to:

  1. Personality Disorders:
    1. Antisocial Personality Disorder (better known as sociopathy)
    2. Borderline Personality Disorder
    3. Narcissism or narcissistic personality disorder
  2. Behavioral disorders:
    1. Conduct disorder (often diagnosed in children and teens who have criminal-like behaviors or who demonstrate sociopathic traits such as animal cruelty, fire setting, and oppositional behaviors toward authority)
    2. Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and CD (conduct disorder)
    3. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often combined with ODD or CD

Certain personality traits where pathological lying may occur include:

  1. Narcissism or self-centered behaviors and thought patterns
  2. Selfishness
  3. Abusive attitude
  4. Obsessive, controlling, and compulsive behaviors
  5. Impulsivity
  6. Aggressiveness
  7. Jealous behavior
  8. Manipulative behaviors
  9. Deceptiveness
  10. Socially awkward, uncomfortable, or isolated
  11. Low self-esteem
  12. Tempermentalness
  13. Anger

It is important to keep in mind that there are pathological liars who quite frankly just cannot help telling so many lies. It is almost like an automatic thing for the liar. Their world is much different from our world. But there are also liars who are gratified by telling lies, are good at it, and do not regret anything they have ever said. These individuals are “skillful” liars who attempt to evade and harm everyone they come across in their lives. In fact, these liars would meet diagnostic criteria for antisocial personality disorder (or sociopathy). They also tell truths in ways that give incorrect perspectives. In other words, they tell the truth in a misleading way to cause people to view things in an incorrect fashion. Such individuals enjoy and get much gratification from keeping you confused and believing their stories. It is the experience of watching a “victim” run through the maze of confusion that gives gratification to most liars.

Based on my clinical experience and general research of the profession, I encourage you to keep 6 things in mind as you deal with the pathological liar:

  1. Know that a pathological liar will study you: The goal of the liar may be hidden, but you can count on the fact that the they don’t want you to know the truth. In order to evade someone, you certainly need to study the person and examine what that person might or might not believe. Liars, often sociopaths, are known to “study” the person they hope to take advantage of. In other words, they look for weaknesses.
  2. Don’t forget that the liar lacks empathy: As hard as it is to believe, it is true. The liar does not have any moral consciousness of how the lying behavior may make you feel. The liar does not think before he lies: “oh, I better not say that or I could hurt that person or mislead them.” The liar does not care anything about your feelings and never will. A question many parents of my former clients have asked their child who lies is: “Why don’t you just tell me the truth? Why is that so hard!?” As difficult as it is to believe, it is not that easy for the liar to divulge the truth. The liar lacks the ability to consider what you might feel in response to their lie (which is empathy).
  3. Normal people feel guilty and are relieved when you change the topic or stop asking questions: This was an interesting point that I learned about as I studied forensic psychology as a graduate student some years ago. While working with juvenile delinquents, I found that the pathological liar shows no emotion when lying which makes them believable. A person who is lying and has normal levels of empathy and concern for others, will often show relief when the topic being discussed is changed. For example, if someone told you that they grew up in a concentration camp and experienced a lot of trauma as a result, you would ask questions about it to further understand. If you changed the topic at the point when you observed stress or anxiety in response to your questions, you would see the person relax because they are aware of the consequences of their lying. Most of us will relax when others cease from asking too many questions about a topic we are lying about. A pathological liar is not fazed. You will rarely if ever see emotion.
  4. All liars do not do the common things you think liars do: Believe it or not, liars do not always touch their nose, shift in their seats or from one foot to the next, or even look sneaky when lying. Some really experienced liars are good at giving you direct eye contact, seeming relaxed or “laid back,” and may appear very sociable. The thing to look for is eye contact that feels piercing. Some sociopaths have learned how to evade people with direct eye contact, sociable smiles, and humor. Trust your instincts and discernment. What do their eyes tell you? What does their behavior or laughter tell you?
  5. The most sneaky liars are manipulative: I once heard someone say “we all manipulate.” While this might be true to a certain degree, the liar tends to manipulate more than anyone else and has learned how to become a “pro” at doing it. There is nothing impressive about the dangerous or evil manipulator. They know everything to say and do, they know what you want and don’t want, and again, they will “study” you. In fact, many pathological liars (and sociopaths) use sexual or emotional arousal to distract you from the truth. Proceed with caution when dealing with someone who seems to be directing their attention to you in such a way as to stimulate your arousal to distract you. That arousal could be psychological (peaking your interest), emotional (causing you to feel connected to them), or sexual.
  6. Pathological liars exhibit strange behaviors: Can you remember how you felt, perhaps as a child or teen, after you were caught lying to a teacher, a parent, or friend? Did you feel guilty, sad, or afraid that the other person would no longer accept you? Some research suggests that pathological liars show no discomfort when caught lying, while other studies suggest that liars may become aggressive and angry when caught. The bottom line is that no pathological liar is the same.
 As you can see, trying to understand the liar is as difficult as trying to understand how the world began. It’s something that requires a lot of study, patience, intuition or discernment, and wisdom. Research continues in trying to understand the mind and behavior of the pathological liar. Psychiatrists and mental health professionals continue to research the liar in order to understand why they do what they do and how we can protect their victims.

I wish you well

About Támara Hill, MS, LPC

Támara Hill, MS, LPC, is a licensed therapist and certified trauma professional, in private practice, who specializes in working with children and adolescents who suffer from mood disorders, trauma, and disruptive behavioral disorders. Hill strives to help clients to realize and actualize their strengths in their home environments and in their relationships within the community. She credits her career passion to a “divine calling” and is internationally recognized for corresponding literary works as well as appearances on radio and other media platforms. She is an author, family consultant, and founder of Anchored in Knowledge.com. Visit her at Anchored-In-Knowledge or Twitter.

 

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The subject of diamonds….

        My birthday is today.  Danny and I went out with some good friends last night, the kids and grandbaby came over tonight, and  it was a really lovely, easygoing weekend.   It was not without a little controversy, however! 

         On Friday afternoon, before our dinner date, my husband of thirty years presented me with a birthday gift that was as surprising as it was beautiful.  He gave me a pair of  rose colored gold teardrop earrings, the center filled with clusters of little diamonds.  And as amazing as they are, and as thoughtful as my husband was trying to be, I’ve decided that I cannot accept them, and have asked him to take them back.  When I told this to my friends on Friday night, their mouths dropped open and they looked at me like I’m crazy.  My kids think I’m crazy, but they also say they aren’t surprised,  and Danny, while he was a little pissed off at first, now says he totally understands….I’m hoping that’s true! 

        So why am I not accepting such a loving gift?  Well,  I hate to admit it, but this is truly a political position; its a position I also have to admit that I’m sort of surprised that I feel so strongly about.  But if you know anything about diamonds, and the diamond industry, those shiny little pieces of rock tend to lose their luster when you realize how enmeshed they are in violence, war, greed, and unbelieveable crimes against humanity.  Just a few pictures edited together by a young woman I found on youtube:

http://video.aol.com/video-detail/conflict-diamonds/2962276781

While jewelers in the U.S. are quick to reassure consumers of diamonds that the war in Sierra Leone is over, and that they have all signed an agreement not to traffic in blood/conflict diamonds, the watchdog group Global Witness, which has been monitoring the diamond trade since the year 2000, counters:

 From GLOBAL WITNESS on Feb. 8, 2010

Tainted Love: blood diamonds still cast shadow over Valentines Day

“Consumer pressure will be vital to ensure that the diamond industry finally acts to eliminate conflict diamonds once and for all,” said Elly Harrowell, campaigner at Global Witness.  “Some progress has been made in recent years but the unpalatable truth is that around the world civilians are still suffering terribly as a consequence of the diamond trade.”

In 2003, following a global outcry about the problem of conflict diamonds, an international certification scheme was established to monitor the trade. Countries who signed up to the Kimberley Process were obliged to demonstrate that their diamonds were not bankrolling brutality and conflict. 

 The polished and retail sectors of the diamond industry opposed stringent government regulation when the Kimberley Process was being negotiated, and the industry was left to police itself.

         International diamond trade bodies have issued countless press releases and statements claiming that the problem has been solved, but have provided little information on what they have actually done to fix it and fulfill their promises. Despite vast profits made by many in the diamond industry ( – in 2005 diamond jewelry sales were over US $60 billion -) little has been invested to ensure that blood diamonds will not be able to enter the legitimate trade. (By the way, NONE of the money gathered by the diamond merchants has made it to the people who spend their lives digging up the diamonds.  As a matter of fact, almost none of the men, women and children who work in the diamond mining industry has ever even seen a polished diamond!)

 From The Diamond High Council (HRD) (the official representative of the Belgian diamond industry) 

“Experts agree that today it is scientifically not possible to determine the exact origin of an individual diamond.  Although projects are in development, it will take several years before a technique will be operational for commercial purposes.

In order to respect the embargo and end the conflicts, workable and immediately applicable solutions had to be found.  That was done through a system of certifications, established by the legitimate governments. As it appears that certificates can also be forged and diamonds could be commercialised through third countries, a more global solution has to be found.”

The HRD Conclusion:

“One cannot blame the diamond industry not to be able to prevent every small scale smuggling across the African borders and at the same time close the eyes for tanks and aircrafts full of weapons crossing that same border in the opposite direction. And a conflict needs oil, if it isn’t in the ground as natural resource then to fuel military machinery. The only difference between a diamond and a conflict diamond is the conflict. End the conflict and there are only diamonds, diamonds that bring prosperity for producing countries.”

Hmmm….yes, well,  for me, that means there will  be no diamonds. 

 

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