Psychopaths tend to be prolific liars. As we continue to look at the traits that make up the modern definition of psychopathy, this is the first directly antisocial trait of the condition that we’ve explored. Psychopaths lie for any number of reasons and this trait of pathological lying becomes closely intertwined with many of the traits we will explore as the month continues. In my discussions with other psychopathic-identifying individuals, it seems that we can often “become” the lie, having convinced even ourselves of its false truth.
I lie for many reasons. Sometimes I need to deflect responsibility for my actions. Other times I am trying to manipulate a target into giving me some sort of tangible benefit, such as money, companionship, or strategic advantage. In the past I have lied so much that I have become lost the web of lies that I’ve spun. As I’ve become older and realized the ways in which I differ from the neurotypical, I become more strategic, however. I have learned that lies cannot be told without purpose nor forethought. At least, not in general.
Many readers have asked me in the past year what the key to successful lying is. The key, that the successful psychopath undoubtedly holds dear, is to tell just enough truth to where any lie can be taken at face value. This way, a needed lie is much more believable to the target. If you have been a reliable source of truth, then would not the occasional deflection of responsibility via a lie be taken more easily?
In addition, many psychopaths know what their target wants to hear. For those pleasant situations where a lie is in harmony with the target’s desires, great strides can be made for using that person as a tool later on. The successful psychopath knows when to listen and when to speak. Listening for clues as to which lies will be taken more easily is key as well.
Yes, psychopaths are pathological liars. For many psychopaths – usually the “unsuccessful” – lies are more prevalent than truth. However, the successful psychopath will learn to craft his lies into a fashion such that he will never be backed into a corner. The best lies need no sugar to be swallowed whole and the strategic among us know that all too well.
For my psychopathic readers, what are some tools (other than those noted above) that you employ to ensure that your lies are taken hook, line, and sinker?