Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Just a Tiny Rant About Liars

I hate liars so much I'm using clip art, which I also hate.

I hope you will all indulge me in a tiny, non-specific rant or better yet, just drink a cup of coffee and wait for the next funny or sexy post. Here's a break so you can do that if you want.

I need to say something tonight, and I'm going to be maddeningly general. What I need to say is that I hate lies. Hate them. I don't mean those little white lies we all tell sometimes so we don't hurt someone's feelings. The wedding was lovely. I especially liked the....well, it was just lovely.  Or even the occasional lies we tell to make life a little smoother. Cough. Cough. I can't come in today because I promised I'd take the family to the amusement park the first sunny day I think I have bronchitis. Probably need to go to the doctor. Cough. Cough. Those don't really bother me. The kind of lies I hate go deeper; they're damaging to the core, and they're either intended to hurt or the liar doesn't care about the effect. Either way....I guess I'll even go so far as to say, I hate liars.*

It's the lies people tell--whether the spoken ones or the withholding kind--to manipulate other people--usually people they claim to love or at least like--into thinking they're someone they aren't that make me hate liars. Now, I've been studying sociopaths this summer, so I know there's this entire group of people out there who lie because that's their nature. Like spiders spin webs. Or ducks swim. Sociopaths are more common than most people think, and they manage to hide among normal people. They aren't all Dexter or Jeffrey Dahmer or Dick Chaney. Hell, maybe they aren't all men. Some manage to function well enough to fit in, but once you spot one, you can expect the lying. And the emotional unavailability, the using, the grand impressions they have of themselves, their self-centeredness, their lack of guilt over the way they hurt people, and a whole lot of other traits, including a kind of appealing slick, smooth charm, of which the lying just seems inevitable. I may write more about sociopaths later. They're interesting, but ultimately depressing, and they don't ever change because....well, no remorse = no change. And I know hate is a strong word, but I hate them. Kind of like I hate a tornado or the common cold. They don't have feelings other than occasional annoyance, so I don't feel bad saying that. I hate them.

I think I might hate even more those liars whose lives are a lie and sociopathy isn't an excuse. The ones who pretend to be one thing, but are really someone else. The ones who act their way through life. Different from the sociopaths because they do have consciences. They don't lie because they lack guilt. They lie because they're too cowardly to live their lives in the open. They lie because they fear, or even know, people would leave them if they knew the truth they're hiding. They lie so they can get what they want from people, pretend to build mutual relationships with others, even though they're unwilling to be authentic and honest themselves.

These liars are almost worse than the sociopaths because they know how much they hurt people. They've been hurt themselves in some way too, and they know they're hurting other people. They're just too cowardly and immature to stop lying and take the consequences of being authentic. And the consequences might be that they don't get what they want from other people--be it friendship or brotherly love or even intimacy-- or that people will leave them. Because sometimes when you're honest, people do leave you, and that's a fact, so what's a person who wants to be liked or loved do? Well, liars lie.

Oh, they tell themselves lies too. They tell themselves they're lying so someone else doesn't get hurt. They're saving someone else's feelings with the noblest of intentions. Or even that the other person will be better off not knowing. Of course, that's bullshit, but that's what they tell themselves. Or they tell themselves it will just be for a little while, until the time is right to tell the truth. Or they can persuade themselves it's not such a big deal, and everybody lies sometimes, right? The truth is they're always lying to save their own asses, not to protect anybody else.

And the funny thing is, they really don't understand it when some people see through their lies, their inauthentic ways of being in relationships, and don't like them. They don't understand when people who should like them don't, because the lies are supposed to make people like, or even love them. The lies are supposed to keep them out of trouble. So they're hurt because they've lied, which works with other people, and they've run into someone from whom they can't buy love, or even like, with a lie, so they're still in trouble. And since they're lying to themselves too .... well, they can't think how to fix the problem so the problem must be with the person who doesn't like them. Yeah, it's convoluted, but it's true. And it's quite a quandary because if the lies don't work, and they don't believe who they really are is likeable or loveable, then what's a liar to do?

Of course, they continue to lie to other people too. And eventually the people who have believed their lies find out and are hurt just that much worse, because not only did they believe something that wasn't true or that the liar was someone he really isn't, they also feel stupid and hurt because they believed the lie. They trusted the liar. They thought they knew the liar....and suddenly, not only do they have to deal with the lie, they have to deal with losing someone they thought they knew. But didn't. There's no other way to look at it, liars hurt.

And I have to admit, since I'm on this rant, that I am unfortunately too trusting. I too often believe people are doing their best. I too often look past obvious character flaws, questionable behavior, billowing red flags, because I don't believe anybody is perfect. I'm not even looking for perfect people in my life. And I hate to give up on people, because I hate the idea of people giving up on me. So even though I'm incredibly empathic and I fucking know when people are lying, I forgive them. I make excuses for them. I wait until the situation is unmanageable before I call them out on the lies. I believe if I just do everything right, things will change. ... Yes, I did just describe a classic co-dependent. People--and not just liars, but especially liars--like us for just who we are though: really nice people who give until it hurts.

But I need to get over being such a nice, malleable sucker. Being nice and authentic and forgiving isn't working for me. I should have gotten over it years ago, but I still keep handing out second chances like a firefighter hands out candy at a parade. Maya Angelou said, "The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them."** I never do. I always believe there's somebody in there who's trying just as hard as I am. And it's not fucking true. Even, for example, tonight when a friend told me, "Surely you knew he wasn't real. It's so obvious. You never see behind his false front." And I said, "Well, yes, but I think I got behind that to the real person..." Oh, the pity on her face as she shook her head. See, I knew, but I lied to myself just like he was. And that's just one!

Here's the bottom line: the liars of the world don't care if they hurt other people. They don't care about broader issues like ethics or morality, although they may think they do. They only care about getting what they consider their needs and wants met.

It's hard for me to say I hate them, because the truth is I often feel sorry for them. I can see they're so afraid they're not good enough. They're so afraid somebody will see the skinny, pimply girl who was never asked to a dance, or the overweight kid who couldn't make the football team or even the homecoming queen who got pregnant and had an abortion ... they're so afraid they're still that unlovable person that they can't take a chance on being real. For similar reasons of my own, I have to constantly check myself for authenticity because of my own insecurities .... and see, sometimes I fail too. So I don't judge when I should.

What I need to do though is to stop giving people so many chances. My friend the Hot Italian tells me I teach people how to treat me. I teach them by lowering the bar to allow for their weaknesses. Part of my journey through this life is to learn how to be the empathic, compassionate person I am and must be, and still protect myself from the liars. And lately, I'm tired. It may not be true that there are more of them than there are of us, but they cause so much more unhappiness it makes them seem bigger. And stronger.

OK, that's over. If you read this far, you're probably a masochist. See my dungeon post. If you're wondering if ranting made me feel better, the answer is no. Liars will still be cowards and users and I can't write that problem out of existence. I can only focus on my own quest for authenticity. Just my own. And although writing is often good therapy, sometimes it just keeps the plates spinning. So the rant didn't really accomplish anything unless one of you gets something from reading it. I think I'll try sleep next.

* I'm not really a hater as I hope you can tell if you've read anything else here, but I'm pretty furious tonight about a couple of different situations. And redheads burn hot. It's a fact. I'm slow to catch, but when I's not pretty. And the funny thing is, there are liars on the edges of my life who will think this is about them....and it's general enough that it probably is, but maybe I gave up and I really don't give a shit any more so it's not.

** I didn't write those pronouns. I just quoted them.


  1. Queen of Cups. I know you. :-) Incredibly, I was thinking, just today, about liars and feeling somewhat bitter and befuddled, myself. Anyway, I have nothing to add but sympathy, and an "I hear ya!"


  2. Jen, I'd say it's good to know I'm not alone, but that doesn't seem right. I'll just say thanks for the sympathy and back at you.

  3. I hit my limit with liars a few years back.
    I've learned to walk away from them, rapidly, and in the opposite direction, with no lingering emotional attachment.
    It wasn't easy to learn that.
    The hardest part is that it's like an allergy. I can't tolerate lying, I really can't. It leaves me very few friends, sad to say.
    And it starts with those "white lies" that people like to see as harmless. They're not. They are a gateway drug, so to speak. The beginnings of a pattern.
    I could tell you some stories that you'd rather not hear, of situations you'd rather not think about, but from the sounds of your rant, you already know that they happen.
    I think the worst part about someone who lies is that it ends up hurting everyone. The effects spread so much further than just one lie, or just one person.
    Hang in there.

  4. Nope. They're not all men.

    Users and liars. Been there. Done that. Ten years worth.

  5. The folks you rant of that annoy me the most are the ones who are parents of youngsters who then grow up propagating the species. The offspring of liars grow up thinking that this type of life is the truth. Spend the last 31 years 'studying' that species of sociopath. Let's write a book! ;)

  6. My first (beautiful and perfect ;-) comment got eaten cuz I typed it with one finger on my Iphone.

    I stand right beside you regarding liars. The way I think about it, we're all bats, flying blinding through our social lives, trusting to our echolocation--our instincts, our common sense, and our empirical knowledge--to guide us through the tricky passages and the wide, open spaces.

    Liars fuck with our radar. Liars distort our radar to hide their wrongs. Liars distort our radar to gain what they do not deserve. Liars distort to manipulate and cheat and escape scott free! When our directional sense is damaged, we become frantic, confused...we crash into things and even hurt ourselves. And that is wrong. VERY wrong.

    I always have deeply resented having my journey through life--already fraught with perils as I navigate those tricky passages, or attempt to cross those wide open spaces--made that much more difficult by someone else who, in your words, " only care about getting what they consider their needs and wants met."

    So, yes, I "hate" liars and am not ashamed to admit it. Why not? How many evil, harmful, nasty, destructive people ever go through life TELLING THE TRUTH? Hmmm?

    And, Carol, you do need to dial up the bandwidth (or whatever) on your radar a bit. Not too much, though. Then it will create a serious trust interference, instead, and that's not good, either.

  7. Oh, heavens, no Women can be some of the best (worst?) liars out there. I have a better bullshit detector for male liars (so obvious, in their cockiness, most of the time...they're just too damned eager and sure of themselves. That's my red flag) than women. My most brutal lies have come from women, from friends who I trusted, who I trusted that they accepted me and loved me...only to discover a nasty arsenal of bitter, ugly weapons they'd been stockpiling against me, ready to lob whenever it suited their agenda--especially when I became some sort of threat.

  8. Hilinda, liars are definitely hurters. And they're at their worst when they do it on purpose. It's too bad you have to choose loneliness over liars.

    And really, if you've got a story to tell, you can tell it here.

  9. Julie, I could write a book about both liars and sociopaths! They seem to have become a theme in my life the past couple of years, and in the lives of several people I'm close to. And the most despicable ones are the ones who involve kids. I know you've probably seen way more than you signed up for when it comes to kids.

  10. Becky, your comment magically appeared out of order. I like your radar metaphor, and your description of the confusion and hurt. Really, mine works just fine though. I get the danger pings. I just ignore them because I think there's something juicy over there and I can get to it in spite of the danger. Of course I sometimes end up getting knocked completely to the ground. And look out once they get you to the ground!

    What are the kinds of things I ignore? I'll just give this piece of advice: if someone tells you you're the first person he (or she) has ever been able to be honest with and he's so glad he can be himself with you, he's not going to be able to keep it up, and he's probably kidding himself that he's even capable of honesty and real intimacy. No honesty = no intimacy. He may want it, but both honesty and the resulting intimacy take real courage and real commitment to doing the work with another person.

    It's OK if people don't want to do that. I just hate the liars who say they want to and then do all the taking and all the faking.

  11. Anon, I hope the next ten years are better.

  12. It sounds like you have been beaten over the head with this lesson until it finally sank in. I am an empath also and this was a very hard lesson for me to learn. My parents were abusive non-loving people which caused me, at a young age, to emulate that which I desired most. The deepseated need to feel loved and appreciated left me exposed to those who would use it to their benefit.

    I am an open loving person who does trust easily but I also know the nature of the beast, mostly through heartbreak. However, I accept this as the price I pay to be the authentic person that I am. Why do I accept it? because I like who I am and they will not change that. That's not to say that I haven't become better at spotting the users because I have, infinitely so, and I believe you will allow yourself to do this also.

    Others actions only reflect poorly on them, not on you! I hope you won't let the liars cause you to withdraw from showing the real you because the real you is beautiful, and I would never lie to you.

  13. Jeez, Vapor, now you went and made me cry. Thanks. No, really, thanks for your comment.

    Lots to think about in your comment. At my age you'd think I'd be better at it, but I was sheltered from certain kinds of relationships by an early, long marriage. I wish I'd learned this stuff on the other end of my life, not here in the middle.