1. What is a pathological liar?
A pathological liar is someone who has made lying a regular habit. They can lie about both small, incidental topics, as well as create elaborate stories. The chronic need to lie about a vast genre of topics is what differentiates white lies from pathological lying.
2. What causes pathological lying?
There are several root causes for someone to develop the compulsion of pathological lying. On one side of the spectrum are people with deep feelings of inadequacy, which drives their need to create a false narrative about themselves. On the opposite side of that spectrum are individuals with either Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) or Anti-Social Personality Disorder (ASPD). They lie to play emotional games with the people around them. In addition, they derive entertainment out of fooling unsuspecting victims with their lies. The diagnostic criteria for both NPD and ASPD include a grandiose sense of self. Lying helps their internal need to be seen as better than other people or the victim when it suits the pathological liar’s specific set of circumstances.
3. How can someone spot a pathological liar?
Pathological lying can be initially tricky to spot. The depth and detail of the lies often cover the lack of truth to their story. Pathological liars will go to elaborate lengths to falsify details of events that never took place. They also include small nuggets of actual events but spin the entire story to be viewed from a very different angle than the truth. Looking for the pattern of actions not aligning with words helps to spot a pathological liar. Over time, their mask always begins to fall.
Time is the pathological liar’s worst enemy.
4. How can a target cope with a pathological liar?
The best way to cope with a pathological liar is not to be associated with them. Put as much distance as possible. If being in contact is needed, begin documenting all conversations. A pathological liar loves to use gaslighting to confuse their victims, especially when caught in a lie. Once the truth comes out, the liar will spin a new story in an attempt not to have their scam fully revealed.
5. Can pathological lying be treated?
If trauma, anxiety, or depression are causes of pathological lying, therapeutic help is available to address the underlying issue. With guidance, the compulsion to lie can be overcome, and new relational skills developed. However, therapy has proven ineffective if the pathological lying is due to Narcissistic Personality Disorder or Anti-Social Personality Disorder. These individuals rarely stay in counseling long enough to fully address their lack of empathy and attachment with others.
The Take-Away: Pathological lying will end if the individual fully recognizes their bend towards chronic dishonesty and is willing to engage in individual counseling to learn new relational skills.
It is common for victims of abuse to take on the responsibility for the abuse they received. This happens because the abuser deflects ownership of their own choices and the survivor begins to believe lies about themselves.
To keep reading: visit Why do victims blame themselves?
Understanding the distinct differences between emotional and psychological abuse is vitally important to survivors and their recovery. The underlying motivations of these two forms of harm are vastly different. Both types of abuse are extremely hurtful to the target and must be addressed within the relationship.
To read more, visit southlakecounseling.org/blog
Financial abuse. Economic harm. When money is used as a weapon within an intimate relationship.
The conversation about exposing financial abuse is just now starting to get traction and we have a long way to go before this hidden form of relational abuse becomes widely known and openly discussed. We have to push against the apathy that currently exists about relationships that include economic exploitation.
What are the 3 main forms of financial harm?
Family Court Fraud – Passive Control – Overt Control
To read the full blog, visit southlakecounseling.org
With the release of the second book in the Healing from Hidden Abuse series, Exposing Financial Abuse: When Money is a Weapon, I have innocently been asked why this an important topic to cover. It’s a good question but one that, honestly, took me by surprise a little bit each time I was asked.
Why wouldn’t any discussions of calling out abuse be significant and why does this specific one need a qualifier of why it’s important?
After I had been asked this question several times and heard my own reply, I realized that the topic of financial exploitation and abuse really does have a long way to go before it is seen as a “legitimate” form of domestic violence and doesn’t require an explanation of why someone would write a book about it. I am beginning to realize why very few books are currently published on the topic of financial abuse within personal relationships. Sure, there are books on elder abuse and ponzi schemes. but I have found very little research or published works on this particular genre. Part of my motivation for writing Exposing Financial Abuse was to fill the gap in published information.
We would never ask authors who write about physical abuse why it is an important topic to cover. It would actually be an offensive question. Financial abuse should be no different. The lasting impact on the survivor and society as a whole are enormous. How? Let’s take a look and maybe people will no longer have a reason to ask why financial abuse is an important topic to cover, and see it in the same dangerous light as physical harm perpetrated by an abuser.
I live in a world of therapy and recovery where harm done to others is enough reason to educate oneself on the topic. The devastation itself doesn’t have to walk up to our own front door and barge in to make it something that is concerning to me and my colleagues in the field of trauma-informed care. However, the larger world around us needs to know why financial abuse happening to someone else should be of importance to them personally. If we don’t experience it, sometimes we have a hard time caring that others do.
Financial abuse leads to poverty
Within the pages of Exposing Financial Abuse, raw and unedited survivor stories are the main focus and serve as the foundation of the book. During the research prep stage, I read close to 2000 individual experiences of financial abuse, and then protection and restoration. That’s a lot of data on this topic and I learned so much.
One common theme among the survivors who participated in the research project was the complete financial devastation that took place when an abuser overtly or covertly gained control over the victim’s finances. This often leads to living at or below what would be considered the poverty level. When basic needs become scarce, survivors do what they must to take care of themselves and their children. That often includes needing temporary government assistance, the help of local community food banks, loans from family members, and the use of payday loans that have spiked interest rates. In the Chapter titled Basic Needs, I cover story after story of exactly how financial abuse leads to living at poverty levels; even when the family income does not warrant it.
Financial abuse leads to debt accumulation
Targets of financial exploitation have had their names and personal data used to open accounts where the debt balance was run up and the abuser disappeared when the bill arrived. On the other side of the coin, survivors of economic exploitation sometimes will turn to their credit cards to help fill the gap financially where the abuser left a damaging hole. Personal debt to income ratios not only impact the individual but unpaid debt that must be taken at a loss by the company can have a snowball impact on the economy as a whole.
Financial abuse often includes criminal behaviors
Within Exposing Financial Abuse, a whole chapter is devoted to the illegal and fraudulent activities perpetrated by abusers who use money as a weapon. If financial abuse happening to someone else really isn’t of interest to some people, I certainly hope crimes being committed within our neighborhoods and among friend groups is enough to get the attention of many people.
A society that looks the other way regarding personal financial crimes runs the risk of becoming numb to other crimes. This is a very dangerous path to be headed down.
Financial abuse is rampant within the Family Court system and kids are suffering because of it.
Right now, today, some parents are hiding their true income and assets so that it will not be included in the calculations for child support payments and they can pay the least amount each month. That is disgraceful and should not be tolerated within our communities. When deadbeat parents refuse to pay their legal, ethical share to the care and support of their children, it leads to the responsible parent having the full financial burden. Often, it is more than one person can manage and debt begins to accumulate and families inch closer to the poverty line. This takes place even when the responsible parent is working full-time. It is very expensive to just maintain adequate food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and medical care. Those are basics needs to raise children. Never mind any added wants or desires.
I have barely tipped the iceberg of why relational financial abuse is an important topic to cover. I hope others with greater specialized education will pick the ball up and run with it. We need a collective approach to addressing this hidden abuse that has devastating consequences for us all; even if our lives have never been directly touched by this form of harm. It does frame how we function as a society.
Keep Dreaming Big!