The Pathological Liar: Sifting Thru a Narcissist’s Word Garbage!

The Pathological Liar: Sifting Thru a Narcissist’s Word Garbage!

pathological-liar-narcissistA narcissist is a pathological liar who will lie about anything and everything for the sole purpose of gleefully watching you sift through the word garbage. He/she also lies even when the truth is a better story. This means that he’ll lie about which super market he shopped at, where he stopped for gas, the hours he worked and what days he has off. He’ll lie about his past, his future, his family, and his exes. He’ll lie about his intentions towards everything – big or small – and he’ll tell you he loves you when he loves nothing at all.

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The narcissist lies by making things up and also by leaving things out – and he/she does it all in amazing detail. Some believe the N lies because he actually believes the lie but I disagree. I think that a narcissist lies (all the time) because it’s an easy way to devastate the recipient and because lying allows the narcissist/sociopath to recreate himself at will (and on a whim), thus creating an environment where he can always be giving himself props for getting away with something. To a narcissist, lying – just like the faking of emotions – is means to an end. He’ll lie so much about so many things that your head will spin. You become so fucking tired from sifting through his word-garbage for a speck of truth that you opt for the lesser of two evils – believing the lie. Sure, it’s the easy way out and exactly what the narcissistic partner wants but the alternative is even worse.

Narcissists and sociopaths live and breathe by a pathological relationship agenda from which they will never waiver – even if it takes years. And don’t you forget it.

I was thinking about my ex today and about all of the incredible lies he told me. I remember how, as the years passed, I could see this particular talent of his blossoming right before my very eyes. For example, to practice the art of pathological lying (I assume), he would tell at least one lie every day while, at the same time, deliberately leaving evidence of the truth – such as a store receipt – in plain view where I could find it. How crazy is that? Whatever I would find would almost always contradict what he had told me. And, because I simply couldn’t help myself, I’d have to address it and the ensuing conversations would go something like this:

Me: Where did you say you bought that book?

W: What book?

Me: The book you bought yesterday…the one about making guitars.

W: I don’t know…why?

Me: I’m just asking a simple question, that’s all. I thought you said you bought it at Bookmans.

W: Then that’s where I bought I it. What are you getting at?

Me: The receipt says Barnes & Nobles.

W: So? What’s the big deal? What are you accusing me of now?

Me: Well, it isn’t a big deal and I’m not accusing you of anything.  I’m just curious why you made a point of saying Bookman’s when obviously you were at Barnes & Nobles.

W: Jesus Christ! What’s the fucking difference? Why does it matter?

Me: It doesn’t matter! I just don’t get why you would deliberately lie about something so stupid?

W: Oh please…I’m so sick of this…What are you doing? Snooping around my receipts now?

Me: I wasn’t snooping, Wayne, it was right here on the counter.

W: Then obviously I wasn’t trying to hide anything! Could we get past this please?

Word garbage! Sure, we’re talking little lies here but a narcissist’s little lies are many – and they’re all intentional. When we feed into this nonsense, what are we really hoping to find? The truth? We already know what the truth is yet we become hellbent on hearing it from him (as if, by some miracle, that would ever happen). If we really wanted the truth, we need not look any further than the lie itself and therein lies all the justification we need for walking away. No human being on the planet should have to deal with all the lies that we deal with in just this one relationship! Why the hell do we put up with that? Why the hell do you put up with that? And how the hell does he keep getting away with it?

Long ago, based on my own experiences, I determined that the act of pathologically lying is nothing short of a deliberate narcissistic/sociopathic strategy for getting away with all the crap that a narcissist needs to get away with day to day. It isn’t a symptom of his disorder – it’s downright intentional! To tell a white lie here and there and only when absolutely necessary would do a narcissist no good because he is always up to no good and, therefore, it’s necessary to lie all the time. In a narcissist’s mind, the decision to lie as much as possible – if not all the time – is a no-brainer because it eliminates the possibility of him having to think too hard about lying specifically. He must create plausible denial every day, all day, and by honing his skills as a pathological liar, all bases are clearly covered. And although he may be slightly concerned about getting caught, he’s only concerned about the inconvenience it may cause for those first five or ten minutes just prior to him having to initiate a silent treatment and disappear into thin air. The fact that his/her lies have the potential to – and often do – cause great pain and suffering for the people around him (and particularly, his partner) doesn’t even enter into the equation.

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So, the joke often told on narcissist recovery sites “How do you know a narcissist is lying? Because his mouth his open!” is about as true of a statement as anyone can make about a narcissistic partner. Everything he does, everything he says, all those ludicrous narcissistic behaviors that we ignore…all of that is based on the premise that he is, by choice, a pathological liar. Consequently, we can, if we so choose, spin ourselves silly trying to unscramble the narcissist’s mixed messages but it won’t give us anything better than what we’ve already got. In other words, it will never get better than the bad that we have already have!

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When our partner is a narcissist, we are constantly trying to figure out why and there’s no need. We know the answer. By being a narcissist’s enabler…by choosing to question his nonsense and then BELIEVE IT, we become a quasi-participant in the trauma bonding and fairly responsible for setting up the cognitive dissonance and uncertainty that will surely come later. We undermine our own intelligence! Just because we don’t like the truth doesn’t make it any less true! And that’s okay – we don’t have to like it. But, in order to be free, we do have to accept it as well as all the pain that comes with it. The good news is that, while the answer may be permanent, the pain that we feel is not. It will go away but not by avoiding it and only after we allow ourselves to feel it.

Be good to yourself, my friends, and don’t cut yourself short (God knows the narcissist does enough of that).  Acceptance will save you hours of suffering time and, believe me, letting go of the narcissist will add years to your life.  Stop sifting through the narcissist’s word garbage for specs of truth when his pathological lie is the only truth you need.


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  • Tali

    February 12, 2017 at 12:24 pm Reply

    After having survived two narcissists(ex husband and his mother)and now my 13 son is being recognized as one, I can tell you they do lie on purpose. They do it because they can and because it illustrates how far beneath them and unimportant you are. They also do it to get their way or get out of trouble. The thing I’ve noticed though, is even if the lie changes to the polar opposite, they really do believe what they are saying, and they expect you to as well. They suffer cognitive dissonance when confronted with irrefutable proof, and will simply stop, as if their brain froze, take a silent, blank moment to recover, and then either drop the subject completely, or try to lie more. The reason is because they think they are perfect, and you can’t be perfect unless you have a carefully crafted fantasy world. The trouble is fantasy worlds are easily subject to collapse, so they will change their “reality” on a dime to fit the situation, and expect you to believe it as well to keep the illusion in their heads. Its enough to drive normal people crazy, and yes, they do it on purpose, because frankly, its a bonus to them, fantasy world of perfect me, and destroy/control another at the same time. Its sick, and takes its toll on those around them that can’t escape it, siblings, parents, etc. At least with an adult narcissist, you can walk away, but when its you child, or your sibling, and you are a child…Its no wonder they get so good at these behaviors, the victims can’t escape! Not until many years of abuse later, anyway. By then the damage is done.

    • Zari Ballard

      February 17, 2017 at 10:33 pm Reply

      You hit the nail on the head, Tali. I couldn’t have said it better than that!

      Zari xo

      • Gwen

        March 17, 2017 at 8:05 am Reply

        My relationship with a pathological liar because he found someone who would by his BS and is younger and prettier. I’m devastated and not sure I can handle this.

        • Zari Ballard

          March 18, 2017 at 5:04 pm Reply

          Hi Gwen,

          You CAN handle this, I promise. I know what it appears now that he’s with this new person but it is not the reality. He will do it to her and to the next one and the next one and on and on. It’s not about her being prettier and younger because the truth is that he has no preference. I wrote an article about this. It’s all about what he can get away with day to day. You don’t have to buy ANYONE’S BS…she will learn as well but better her than you right now. If you’d like to speak about it, please consider booking a consult. I can help you change this perspective. YOU are perfect just the way that you are. HE is the one with the problem. I know how you feel…it’s a mindset issue and this can be changed!

          Stay strong and please know that I am here to support you….

          Zari xo

  • andreack

    December 4, 2016 at 7:09 am Reply

    Helpful and (mostly) true. I do not think the N “decides” to lie all the time. I think the motive is just out of their line of sight. They DO lie all the time. It is more structural than a conscious act by act “decision.” IMHO

    • Zari Ballard

      December 6, 2016 at 8:17 pm Reply

      Oh I beg to differ…everything the narc does is by intention (including lying). They absolutely KNOW right from wrong…they just don’t give a shit. Everything they do and say is by conscious decision.


  • CR

    November 20, 2016 at 10:39 am Reply

    This is exactly what my husband does! He uses word garbage all of the time. Whenever he is confronted about one of his lies he always uses that same scenario you presented and he always finishes off with “Can we get past this please? Or, “Can you just drop it?” Then I get the silent treatment–sometimes days will go by with barely a word and then wham he acts like everything is fine. Meanwhile, I’m still not over it but he somehow manages to turn it all around on me. He’ll claim that all I do is nag and Bch. He’ll say I am negative. He makes me feel like a piece of crap for confronting him when I have solid evidence that he lied. He tries to make me think I am crazy. He’s an exhausting person. I expend so much energy trying to stay one step ahead of him so I can present him with irrefutable evidence when I do catch him in a lie–which is almost every day. It’s gotten so bad that I often think about just ending it all. No one cares about me anyway. I live in Japan (he’s military-high profile position). I’m so isolated. I have no friends. I have no family (my parents died) and I haven’t seen my only sibling in 20 years so there is no one to share my story with. I do work as a Registered Nurse but only part time. I rarely associate with my coworkers because we work odd hours and every one is always busy with their own lives. I am so depressed, anxious and sad all of the time now because of him. He has told me he doesn’t care that he hurts my feelings and to stop bothering him with how I feel about what he does to me because I am paranoid and he is sick of it. He just started hiding his phone, just recently changed the password, is a compulsive gambler. He spends money like water. He recently got his own bank account–he said he doesn’t want me to able to see what he buys anymore. I keep trying to move our savings around so he doesn’t deplete all of the money out of it (gambling) but he always manages to get his hands on it. He lies about the dumbest crap like buying a coffee from Starbucks. Like you said–he leaves out the receipt but he will still lie to my face and say he didn’t go for coffee. I could go on and on but what’s the point. You get the idea. I offered to go to counseling with him about the gambling issue. Initially he agreed but then he refused. He said he makes a lot of money and he should be able to spend it how and when he wants to. The other day he told me he was in a meeting that was going to last for hours. I had a feeling he was lying to me so I drove to the military base where the supposed meeting was. I drove over to the little casino on base–lo and behold there was his car was in the parking lot. I I walk in and there he is gambling away. The look on his face was priceless. He immediately jumped up. We walked out to the parking lot and he drove off like a bat out of hell. He didn’t come home until 4 hours later. Then when he finally got home he would not talk about it. Later on he told me I was embarrassing when I came into the casino. Of course it is a very tiny casino (15 slots) and he was gambling next to some girl. They were the only two in the place so I thought it odd that they were sitting next to each other-laughing and talking when I walked in. He said he has seen her there before but he doesn’t know her. Not sure if I believe that. Ever since then he has been acting strange. Hiding his phone, changed the password, its on silent, he’s not on it much around me anymore–usually I can’t get him to put it down. So if I add it all up I’d say he’s either talking to the girl from the casino or someone else. Anyway, when he goes to work tomorrow–I am thinking about going to a hotel and just let him wonder where I am at for a while. Not that he would care anyway! We live on an island so he will know I am here but he just won’t know where. I don’t want to answer my phone or let him know anything. Probably not the best idea but I can’t take it anymore. I can’t sleep, eat or think clearly. I have lost 5 lbs this week. I stay up all night crying because he doesn’t want me to do it in front of him. So he sleeps and I cry it out and just try to function the best I can when he is not here during the day. I live a pretty sad existence. Thanks for letting me vent.

    • Zari Ballard

      November 24, 2016 at 7:56 pm Reply

      Hi CR,

      I am so, so sorry that you are going through this. Don’t say no one cares about you because I do and anyone reading your story will care as well!! We’ve all been there and somehow, someway you can and will get through this. The biggest problem for you, I feel, is being so far away…in Japan…and the feeling of isolation. If it’s any consolation, I was married to an army officer/pilot for seven years a long time ago (my son’s dad..we haven’t heard from him in years) and, believe me, everybody that I met (all the higher-ups) were narcissistic, cheating bastards only I didn’t have a clue what “narcissism” (as we now define it) was back then. It’s like a Boy’s Club where they all do it.

      Word garbage is awful and, yes, you could have the evidence right in your hands and they will deny, deny. Girlfriend, you are not alone. Don’t EVER think of suicide – EVER – let alone over some GUY!!! That’s not right. Never judge your own worthiness that way…you are perfect! Is there anybody at all…a relative…nothing?…that you can stay with if you left his ass? Where are you from originally?

      Look, I just went to my personal email and sent you a PDF copy of my book When Love Is a Lie. I sent it to the email you used to post your comment here so please look for it. I hope it gives you some comfort that you are not alone. Please feel free to write here anytime or to me via the email that I send the books from. There are over 80 articles on this site that should help as well. Knowledge really is power in these types of relationships and since narcissists will NEVER admit to what they do, you have to be confident in the truth that you know. And you DO already know the truth!

      Look for the book and thank you for sharing….

      Zari xo

  • Joi Blake

    November 12, 2016 at 7:30 pm Reply

    This describes my step dad so well. My mother has caught him lying multiple times about his”life story” but records and documents and also his family had stated otherwise. Also he loves being the center of attention. Every time I’m telling the rest of the family about my day at work he’d cut me off and start talking about whatever he did that day. He’d try to make his story better than mine and I don’t know it just makes me mad. Like come on you could have waited!! He’d also try to belittle my job in front of my mother and start talking about how at his job he makes more and blah blah blah. I’m only 18 of course I’m not gonna have as high of a paying job as him. So what if it’s part time, a job is still a job and I’m better at keeping one. I just don’t know how to handle him anymore and I’m tired of having to deal with his behavior.

    • Zari Ballard

      November 17, 2016 at 6:50 pm Reply

      Hi Joi,

      I am so sorry you are having to deal with that. Since it is your step-dad and you risk having conflict with your mom if you stand up against him, there’s not much you can do except try to communicate with your mom and family when he is not around. I know that sucks but the only alternative is to interrupt HIM when he interrupts YOU. If this is happening, say, around the dinner table, I would have to do that (“Excuse me, can I finish please?”) or if he’s talking about how he makes more, I’d want to say “Yeah, but I’m only 18, how can you even compare that?” or “Who compares themselves to an eighteen year old???I know that I’m doing good and you can’t convince me otherwise”) OR if he really pissed me off, I’d be inclined to say, “Sure, you make more money but at least I KEEP my jobs for a long time.” Of course, you know how much you can get away with and never put yourself in danger but sometimes we need to stand up to these bastards. It sounds to me like he is just a jealous narc who always needs to “one-up” a conversation no matter what it’s about. I hate that too. This shows just what a little ridiculous man that he is. Remember that it’s all about what they can get away with. Maybe if you firmly put him in his place just one time, he’ll think before he interrupts you the next time.

      Good luck, my friend. In the meantime, you just keep working and bettering your life and doing what you do. A narc can only affect us if we allow it:)

      Zari xo

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