Most people have a pretty good idea of what a lie is … a knowing action taken by a person to say something that’s untrue.
Lying is a behavior that may occur once, once in a while, or on a regular basis, depending on the individual.
The act of lying can become habitual when it’s rewarded — or when the person who engages in lying feels rewarded when they lie … when their needs are met, they get something out of it.
Some habitual liars go beyond conscious action into the realm of unconscious acts. The habit can be so ingrained that they no longer even realize they’re doing it.
Then there is the most extreme version: the pathological liar. They lie all the time — about things large and small, including things where there is no apparent reason for them to have told lies.
Pathological liars will even lie when they know that they or their loved ones will be hurt by the lies they’re about to tell.
And most scary of all, some pathological liars believe their own lies once uttered.
Lying is prominent in the headline news these days for a most unfortunate, and ultimately dangerous, reason: the new US President has been found to have told lies, both big and small, on a regular basis. Reports from those who have known him for many years, decades even, are that this has been a life-long pattern of behavior.
CNN News hosted a panel discussion last night on the implications of such behavior by someone in a position of national and global power. A significant concern raised by the national news panel was that, regardless of party affiliation, a growing number of congressional members and members of the public don’t believe what the President says given his track record of untruths.
Results of a just-released national poll showed that 62% of Americans don’t consider the President to be honest. Per the poll, his public approval rating also dropped again to a striking low for a president, 33%.
One of the expressed fears of panelists was how will the commander in chief be believed when it counts most of all. Examples ranged from him telling the public that they have to evacuate a city due to a hurricane or other natural disaster … to a terrorist event on domestic or foreign soil and the action needed. Concern was also raised that his believability with leaders of other countries may also wane in ways that could threaten the US.
The discussion came on the immediate heels of a forceful bipartisan move by Congress, also yesterday, to compel the President to sign a new Russian sanctions bill. He did so with strongly expressed reluctance out of, as they said, being pushed into a corner (where politically he pretty much had to sign it amidst threats of a Congressional override were he to veto it). Parts of the bill showed clear lack of trust of the President with regard to relations with Russia.
Many in the psychological community (psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health counselors) have already publicly stated that the President has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Professionals have shown how he meets the assortment of diagnostic criteria for this condition. Habitual and pathological lying commonly go hand in hand with the operations of such individuals.
There are multiple forms of Narcissism. The one at issue here is overt, conspicuous Malignant Narcissism. My life was nearly destroyed by a Covert Narcissist. I’m still in recovery from the many destructive actions of an individual who covered up his illness well until the very end.
Deception, manipulation and destruction are what individuals with this disorder are known for — to serve their unquenchable thirst to be adored, credited and acknowledged as important.
Unfortunately for those they touch, their lies and other anti-social behavior can have terrible and lasting effects. Check out this book for a better understanding of such impacts: Hit & Run by a NARCISSIST: What Just Happened to My Life?! (Impacts of Narcissism, Narcissists, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Pathological Liars, Sex Addicts)
And remember to speak up against lies and in favor of truth, honesty and ethics.
The saying that “you get what you settle for” has potent meaning in “the truth about lying”.
Mona Carrington is an author and life coach, with in-depth background in psychology, including Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Pathological Lying. She hosts a Website and Facebook page dealing with such topics and aimed at supporting victims. She is not a political writer but has chosen to comment through this Blog given the many high-profile stories in the news on the subject of lying.