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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  • 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

  • JA

    August 14, 2016 at 6:07 am Reply

    One other thing Zari, he makes it a habit to want to be center of attention too. Like the name on license plate type or the look at me I’m on tv type. Smirks when people get aggravated or rumored laughs in court when clients are suing him! Maybe 1 day the judges won’t find it very amusing and slap him with 29 yrs in jail then reality might sink in. He also would love the fact he could post NSA ads on a certain search engine behind his wife’s back without a care in the world, yet again wouldn’t be so funny if he ended up with an incurable STD, but then the wife would have to suffer. It seems like narcs get away with everything! Who knows? Thanks for listening to me vent!

    • Zari Ballard

      August 14, 2016 at 10:10 pm Reply

      Hi JA,

      No, thank YOU for venting:) You describe it all and yes, it sure seems like they get away with everything. Even my ex (narc)’s mother told me once, “That Wayne…he can fall in a pile of shit and come up smelling like a rose”. But the truth is that nothing in this world is what it appears to be so we have to believe that the majority see through it but just aren’t sure what they’re seeing. Eventually, the colors always shine through. Those that are around long enough to see the show will “get it”.

      Stay strong and visit often!

      Zari xo

  • JA

    August 14, 2016 at 6:00 am Reply

    Zari, if a malignant narcissist doesn’t get his way, do they sometimes stalk or hover? An ex manager got real jealous and hateful when I told him I would no longer tolerate hearing about his marriage or relationship wooooes. Everyday he pulled the poor woo as me middle aged married man with a menopausal boring wife routine. He had been in trouble at the office 3 previous x’s for harassing and trying to exploit multiple women. They only kept him on because he was good at manipulating clients & making money for the company! Of course he was! Anyway, he finally got fired and owes about $600k to everyone since starting his own LLC. Everyone sees through his garbage, his wife is the one that loves him and tolerates it. They project to the whole world how great their lives are and of course that is a big lie. He cheated on her over 3x! Now he makes it a habit of sort of looking everyone up or driving around their neighborhoods or making threats to sue past clients. Is this the usual type of behavior from them? One ex client said they are notifying authorities. Why are these type so toxic? It truly is a sickness!

    • Zari Ballard

      August 14, 2016 at 10:13 pm Reply

      Hi JA,

      Sure, some do behave that way but, to me, those tip the scales toward sociopathy. The basic textbook narc doesn’t have that much motivation to get even. At some level they will stop out of fear of looking bad. For this person, calling authorities sounds appropriate to me! Toxicity needs to be nipped in the bud at SOME point and this may be the only way.

      Zari xo

  • Theresia

    May 24, 2016 at 2:50 am Reply

    Needed some details on narcissistic behaviour and came across this article. Thank you.

  • HP

    May 21, 2016 at 2:09 pm Reply

    hi zari,
    i reading about the lies an N can do..what can finally bring a Narc down? what cripple them? stop them?

    any insights?

    • Zari Ballard

      May 30, 2016 at 8:44 pm Reply

      Hi HP,

      Nope…there’s no way to bring a narc down. Nothing cripples them either except a sledgehammer to the knees. And there’s no revenge satisfying enough because THEIR revenge on YOUR revenge will always be worse. What I can say is that narcs are at their happiest when they know for a fact that your miserable. So…..The only way to “get back” at them that probably has any “meaning” to them at all is to block them, cut them off, ignore them, and move along.

      Zari xo

      • Cici

        June 21, 2016 at 8:55 pm Reply

        That’s exactly what I did. My experience (as I’m sure other’s have been) was horrific to say the least. HIm: “Why don’t you ever suggest things to do” – I do and have here’s a list of things we could do. Him: he does things on the list, with other women (and forgot to tell me?) Him: “No don’t make me meatloaf. My wife (he’s separated) makes good meatloaf and it won’t be the same.” Ahhh ok, you’re never eating meatloaf again? Him: recite these words I’ve thought of for you since you’re incapable of speaking in a way that makes ME comfortable” WTF? Did I become a Stepford Wife? Him: I don’t want you to be submissive reality: I want to SCREAM at you, verbally abuse you and have you sit quietly and take it because “you” should know how I am!” Ahhh don’t stand up to him because he just screams louder and “loses his voice, all because of you and oh the stress you’re causing him. Oh my I could go on and on. I’d play it one way and he’d expect the opposite. Then I’d play the opposite and I was being defiant. He’d pull me in and then abuse me or mistreat me and push me away and back and forth and back and forth. And here I kept telling myself, it was his fear of losing himself, fear of commitment, not wanting a “serious” girlfriend. NOPE – he just likes to abuse women, use them, discard them, then try to stay friends with them so he has a constant supply of women to go to when he breaks up with whoever the current girlfriend is. That’s what he did to me while I was in the relationship (within hours of our “breakup”. And that’s what he did to me when he “broke up” with the girlfriend I didn’t know he had – he downright USED ME and discarded me. He could have seduced any number of women right in his hometown but nope, he chose to drive 2 hours to come to me, play with my head, tell me to plan some things for us to do, (ha ha, red flag), seduce me and go back to his girlfriend within days (he “forgot” to tell me that until a month and a half later and by then I had already found out he had been lining up drunken bartenders while we were together. And he has someone who loves him now? WHY?

        • Zari Ballard

          June 24, 2016 at 6:22 pm Reply

          CiCi wrote…And here I kept telling myself, it was his fear of losing himself, fear of commitment, not wanting a “serious” girlfriend. NOPE – he just likes to abuse women, use them, discard them, then try to stay friends with them so he has a constant supply of women to go to when he breaks up with whoever the current girlfriend is. Yup, that about sums it up.

          Please read my book When Love Is a Lie because it describes my life as a mirror of your own. My ex would GO OUT OF HIS WAY to come back, get in my head, and then leave. It’s all about what they can get away with – every day, all day. It’s all about keeping us in the queue. That’s all it is. If he can be with someone else, take a break to meet up with you and you allow it, and then go back to the one he left, he’ll just do it until the end of time. DON’T TRY TO ‘UNDERSTAND’ IT. SIMPLY DON’T ALLOW IT. This is what he does because it’s who he is. Narcissists KNOW right from wrong, they just don’t give a shit. Do you understand that? There’s just no point to our participation.

          Stay strong and go no contact. Block him, cut him off. You deserve to be happy.

          Zari xo

        • Jenna

          August 7, 2016 at 9:24 am Reply

          Omg are we talking about the same person?

        • Jenna

          August 7, 2016 at 9:26 am Reply

          I meant to reply to this one lol!!! Anyway it sounds like you are talking about the same Narc I was dating !!!

  • linda Robarge

    May 16, 2016 at 5:16 pm Reply

    Oh my God, Do we know someone like that?It’s unbelievable the torture and torment he put my daughter through in the 5 years they were together.He alienated her from her family and friends.If we had gatherings they would show up for maybe an hour, and lord forbid it looked like she was having a good time because that meant it was time to leave.He was so phony and fake it makes me sick now to think we ever accepted him into the family.When others were noticing things first and bringing it to our attention, we’d just bite the bullet for my daughter’s sake.Big mistake!!He belittled her and emotionally abused her to the point where she tried to take her own life.She had suffered with depression for many years and with medication it was under control, but with him in her life all the medication in the world couldn’t help.When she ended up hospitalized is when she finally left him.But he took their daughter and to this day still has her, after all when your brought into court and it’s said you tried taking your own life, well needless to say my daughter had no leg to stand on even with a lawyer.He got physical custody.So I could go on and on but she is better today.She goes to counseling weekly, she’s on medication, she attends workshops, etc.She sees her daughter weekly but it’s strictly according to the agreement she signed in court.No extras, no nothing.If she suggest something that has to do with their daughter it’s an automatic no.He has the control which he loves, he also loves making her pay for leaving him.The story out there about what happened is all lies,he has everyone believing he’s the one who was hurt, he did nothing,he did all he could for her and her other 2 children.That is all lies!!He did nothing for her 2 children other than tell them when they did things wrong .Didn’t really pay much attention to them and especially when their baby was born.Everything was about his daughter, no one else although he would never watch his daughter.Or ever change her diaper, the first 3 years of her life my daughter did everything, and that got her nothing.He has custody which he always threatened her with taking their daughter, and he did just that.He takes no responsibility for what he drove my daughter to do, none!!He is the true meaning of a “Narcissistic Pathological Liar”

    • Howard

      June 24, 2016 at 10:48 pm Reply

      Having suffered dreadfully from a long-term relationship with a narcissistic, pathological liar, I think your descriptions are good so far as they go. But I think these people, who certainly incite no pity from me, are actually extremely vulnerable, and that vulnerability drives them as much or more than anything. For example, in my relationship (on and off for 16 years), every time I broke up or threatened to break up with this sick girl, she went into full panic mode and swore undying love/allegiance/fidelity to me. Why? Because the idea that someone would throw her away was the most dangerous thing that could happen to her fantastical illusions of being the most special snowflake in the entire world. There was a real threat to her very existence when I threatened to leave her; that threat must also have been present from day-to-day and motivated a thousand small lies that tended to present her as a very special person, and a few hundred humongous lies designed to keep me from finding out things like she was cheating on me constantly and she had no real friends. Someone asked in another comment, what can you do do bring an N down? I think you can bring them down. Call their bluff. Tell them you see through their lies and think they are losers. Tell them everyone around them knows they’re liars and losers, which is why they have no true friends. And then break off your relationship with them totally. This will cut so deep into their narcissistic core that you should watch out for blowback, and it won’t cure or convert them … but it will hurt them and it will tend to keep them away from you in the future (again, watching out for attempts at revenge if you’re dealing with someone with sociopathic tendencies, which are not uncommonly linked with pathological lying, narcissistic tendencies).

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