If you’re dealing with a true narcissist, it’s no exaggeration to suggest that this person has told you more lies than truths. This is one of the single most important facts a victim must accept as they continue their healing journey. Andrew and I joke that lying is what our narcissist does when she’s not sleeping (implementing humor is one of our favorite coping mechanisms). Occasionally, we’ve attempted to analyze whether our narcissist deliberately lies, whether she thinks that something is only true at the time she says it, or if her perception is actually so warped that she believes what she says. Not surprisingly, our conclusion is that it’s a combination of all three. It’s a sensible idea, considering evidence such as narcissists passing polygraph tests even when purposely lying. Using the biopsychosocial model of psychology may be helpful if you’re trying to understand why your narcissist is so dishonest. If someone is genetically predispositioned to the disorder (bio), and their personal life presents the prime conditions for the disorder to evolve (psycho), and if the behavior is reinforced by peers and family (social), it’s an ambient environment for narcissistm to thrive. Problem is, narcissists are emotionally hungry. The realization that lying feeds this insatiable hunger, in addition to increasing the probability that they can achieve their means by manipulation, leads to more lying. The line between fact and fallacy becomes blurred and the truth becomes, to them, subjective.
One of the very first things you have to do for yourself is realize not only that your narcissist is pathologically dishonest, but also that you can’t do anything about it. Be assured that “fixing” a narcissist takes more time and psychological credentials than you have. Even the best experts in the field haven’t had much success reforming narcissists. Considering the vast majority of narcissists aren’t in therapy, and the ones who are won’t appreciate the diagnosis and will quit once it’s discovered, it’s simple to understand why your best bet is to accept what you’re dealing with. You aren’t going to be able to change it.
Once you’ve accepted this truth, you’ll have to discover which coping strategies work best for you. It’s inevitable that you will be lied to, and you’ll also be lied about. Planning a strategy for this in advance will ensure you maintain control over yourself and will keep you better prepared for incidents as they pop up. My next few blogs will cover the different types of lies you’ll encounter with your narcissist, personal stories about what did and didn’t work when we attempted to address our narcissist’s dishonesty, and some tips that will (hopefully) help you keep it together and create a plan for dealing with a manipulator.