It’s Narcissist Friday!
Are all narcissists liars?
It seems to be very common for those who leave the narcissist to learn that the narcissist has been spreading lies about them. Whether it’s a spouse or a parent or a friend, the narcissist will often create stories or twist truth to make their victim seem at fault. Because the narcissist cannot admit any blame, they have to pass it on to someone. So, if something goes wrong or a relationship becomes broken, it has to be your fault.
I could tell some horror stories. Most of them have come from readers here. Stories of lies told after a marriage breakup. Stories of lies told by a parent or sibling when the victim finally dares to deny contact or speak against the abuse. Stories of lies told by people who used to be friends. Some have been shocked to hear what has been said. Others know what their narcissist will say.
The true shock comes when the victim realizes that lies have been told before the end of the relationship, almost as though the narcissist was anticipating the end. In fact, narcissists usually prepare for negative results by insinuating the incompetence or wickedness of others. They speak against almost everyone in their lives to someone. Wives will hear negative words about bosses that no one at the company will ever hear. Bosses will hear comments about co-workers, suggesting that they aren’t doing their jobs or are compromised in some other way. Then, when the trouble becomes obvious, the traps have already been laid.
I found an interesting article in Psychology Today about how narcissists destroy the reputations of those they abuse. It is worth a quick read. There are always little things in these articles with which I might disagree, but the main one in this is the statement:
“the narcissist is so committed to his “truth” that his lies may not be conscious.”
I would suggest that this is not the best way to look at the narcissist’s lies. Yes, they may become so habitual that they roll off the tongue almost without thought. Yes, the narcissist might see the roles of right and wrong quite differently than their victims. Yes, the narcissist might believe himself/herself to be justified in seeking justice or revenge. But the point is not whether the narcissist lies unconsciously. The point is that the narcissist doesn’t care if he/she lies.
To the narcissist, a lie is simply a tool to use. Never forget that the narcissist has no empathy. He/she doesn’t know or care about the pain of others unless that pain has a purpose. If it works to hurt someone, the narcissist will do it. And, if a lie will serve the purpose, there is no hesitation to use it. A lie means nothing to the narcissist. So, I would not say that the lie is unconscious, but the lie is unimportant.
So, when you leave the narcissist or dare to stand up to him/her, be prepared for the lies. Be prepared to learn things about yourself that simply are not true. The narcissist will say things that can easily be proved wrong, but won’t care because the damage will be done. If confronted with the lie, he or she will probably just shrug it off. Like one politician said a few years ago: “We won didn’t we?” The end is all that matters to the narcissist. If it takes a lie, a lie will be used.
Now you are left with a bad reputation, and you didn’t even do the things people think you did. What are you supposed to do? Keep moving forward. Some people will believe the lie without giving you the chance to set the record straight. Some already rejected the lie because they know you. Some may wonder but will watch to see. As much as you can, don’t look back. Just look forward.
And listen: the narcissist will also tell your secrets. Maybe the stories aren’t exactly a lie, but a very hurtful version of the truth. Maybe people now know something you never wanted them to know. Narcissists are cruel.
Still move forward. You can’t undo what you did, and you can’t undo what others heard. What you can do is prove by your daily life that those accusations either never did or no longer do represent you. You are free of the narcissist and living a new life. When you have the opportunity, set the record straight. Or just say that it is being misrepresented and you don’t want to talk about it. You are still the one in charge. When people look to you, show them a person of love and integrity. Yesterday is long gone.
The narcissist is accountable to God for his/her lies and for betraying your confidence. But you may never hear an apology. Nor is this something the narcissist did “unconsciously.” It was wrong! It was cruel! And the narcissist did it knowingly. But, again, there may be nothing you can do to make things right except move forward with your life. You can say that your narcissist has lied or twisted truth to those who will listen, but your reputation begins today. Who you are today is what matters.
Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity.
I have also trusted in the LORD; I shall not slip.
Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart.
For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes,
and I have walked in Your truth.