Five understandings to cope with a liar

Five understandings to cope with a liar
By Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on February 21, 2017

If you want to spot a liar, don’t think those online articles are going to help you.

A few Facebook tips for snagging pesky narcissists won’t snare every snake who slithers into your garden.

Ordinary people are bad at detecting lies. According to a report published in the Personality and Social Psychology Review synthesizing available research on lie detection, we spot just above 50% of lies thrown at us. Yes, that’s a coin toss.

No, you weren’t stupid when you got duped. Some liars are crafty. There is a difference between smart and devious. Bigly.


1. If you think someone is lying, don’t trust your gut.

Don’t make an assumption someone is lying to you just because you feel uncomfortable. There could be myriad reasons for that “feeling” which have nothing to do with another person.  Trust issues are your stuff, not necessarily rooted in the world.

Lying is a sin, as St. Augustine noted, and it is a serious charge. Tread lightly.

The revered gut is not led by your intellect but by the framework of your limited life experience and colored by your emotional baggage.

If you say your gut has never failed you, you only remember when your gut was right, and that was when your gut had proof.

2. People are free to lie.

If someone lied to you, it was a choice, and this is a universe of free choice, a wise woman told me.

Sure, you can expose the liar and smack him around in public with smart mouth and threats and humiliation.

Be careful.  What is your motivation?  Are you motivated by love for all and concerned with justice, repairing the damage or reconciliation?

Or do you want to terrorize the liar, imprison him in your wrath, because your ego has been clipped?

3. Check yourself.

In this scenario, how truthful were you?

Were you in denial?  Were you morphing this person into someone you wanted him to be instead of who he was? Did you fail to properly assess this individual?

At the same time, be aware of hindsight bias. Try not to beat yourself over the head with the red flags you now see but didn’t before. What is now a red flag was you giving a person the space to be human.

The one person who deserves your honesty, the gentle kind, is you.

4. Celebrate you were a target.

Realize if you were duped (perhaps again), you are probably someone with a high H factor.  H stands for the Honesty-Humility factor, a super trait reflecting sincerity, fairness, greed-avoidance and modesty.  Take the HEXACO test online.

It’s simple.  Honest people see honesty in others. That’s a beautiful thing.

Yet, research shows people low on the H factor scale, the dishonest, haughty and arrogant, the narcissists, hunt for people like you.

5. You are free to be misled.

You and the liars are free in a universe of free choice.

The liar didn’t respect you nor your relationship.  You feel belittled and foolish.  You are a victim.  You are free to feel what you feel.

Then, stand up, brush yourself off, toss a flippant, “Well, you fooled me,” and move on. Keep standing in truth, and see the many others who stand with you.

The snake, the one you evicted from the garden, the one you now send love and light from a distance, gifted you with another opportunity to Know Thyself.


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