Me and the truth have an uneasy alliance.
We’ve all heard the saying that there are only two things that are sure in life: Death and taxes. I think we can safely add one to that list. Narcissists lie.
Narcissism and lying go hand in hand.
My father lied about everything. He lied to benefit himself. He lied in attempts to make himself to appear more important. He lied when there was no good goddamn reason to lie.
Any event my family attneded was anxiety filled for all of us because we knew we had to sit silently while he bragged about trips that didn’t happen or money we didn’t have or accomplishments that we didn’t accomplish. We knew that everyone around us knew he was lying. It was humiliating.
He even had a nickname at work. ‘Honest John’. He bragged about his nickname. Even as a child, I knew his co-workers meant the nickname in an ironic way. Not him though, he took it as a compliment.
When I was a kid, he continuously told me about the importance of telling the truth. The truth should be valued above all else. Then, he lied about everything.
It’s no wonder that I’ve had a weird relationship with honesty.
One skill I’ve gained from this is a bizarre knack for remembering words. I can’t remember where I put my debit card, my keys, or my fucking bifocals half the time, but if I have a conversation, I can recite it back verbatim. Even long ones. I remember lines from movies or song lyrics..even if I haven’t seen the movie or heard the song for decades.
I think that I developed this ability at a young age as a defense mechanism. If I paid close attention to what people said and remembered it, then I had a fighting change at having some sort of grasp on reality.
As far as I know, this skill hasn’t really gained me much but frustration. I fucking REMEMBER what people say. They don’t always remember. I don’t think that (in most cases) people are lying when they say “I didn’t say that’ or ‘that’s not what I said, what I said was <fill in the blank>’. I think in most cases, they just don’t remember.
But I do.
I guess it’s helped me win a few arguments with Randy, but mostly, winning an argument over something dumb isn’t really a win, is it?
For many years, I inflated or invented events. I didn’t WANT to, but I felt compelled to. Lying never made me feel good, but the fact that it made me feel bad didn’t stop me from lying. When I finally gave lying up and decided to live my actual life, it wasn’t because I suddenly became more virtuous.
I was just tired of juggling real life with my pretend life. It was fucking exhausting.
I find, however, even after decades of making a conscious effort to be truthful, that I often catch myself on the verge of a lie…even after all these years. I’ve tried to be cognizant of this and what I’ve found is that I tend to want exaggerate to people who are dismissive of me. People like my father. This both pisses me off and saddens me. When will I stop needing approval from people who aren’t able to give it? I am hopeful, though. I believe that if I recognize it, then I can work toward eliminating it.
Life is really hard, y’all.
Another skill that I’ve developed from living with a person who lied all the time, is it’s fairly easy for me to spot a lie. I don’t usually get angry when a person lies. Mostly, I am just curious. Why would they lie about THAT?
It’s not hard to spot a lie, most people suck at it.
When I hear someone lie, I don’t assume that they have narcissistic personality disorder, but I do wonder why they are lying. I do want to tell them to just stop. Not because what they are doing is bad…but because their life will be so much easier without it.
I think it’s human nature to inflate the truth. Sometimes, lies are necessary to spare feelings or to circumvent some unpleasantness. Lying to manipulate a situation is a shitty thing to do, but that’s something else I think we’ve all done at least a few times in our lives.
In short, we’re all big fat liars.
It just becomes an issue when we lose the ability to control it or lose sight of what the actual truth is and buy into our own lies. And it’s absolutely horrible when we use lies to hurt people.
If you’ve been affected by narcissism and find that you are uneasy with the words that come from your mouth, please take some time to consider why you are lying. If you can let it go and try to live more honestly, please do. It’s so much easier.
You don’t NEED the lies. I promise, you ARE valid without them.