Listen for Lies

Listen for Lies

A few people have asked me how to detect a narcissist.

In hindsight, I overlooked numerous red flags that, if taken seriously, would have made me realize the serious issues with my narcissist. One of the early warning signs was his lying.      ~Ekho

I came across this video on “How to Spot a Narcissist” by Charisma on Command. 

The video speaks of several tell-tale signs of a narcissist based on speech, but one that struck home is how readily a narcissist can tell a lie without skipping a beat. Not just a small, white lie (i.e., that haircut looks cute on you), but big, brazen, bald-faced lies. As a generally truthful person, you believe them, projecting your own honesty onto them. It's hard to imagine yourself telling such a big lie and keeping it together—so how could they? Yet their brains are wired differently, so they can and they do

I can think of so many HUGE lies that my narcissist told and, even when presented with evidence, he buckled down and continued to spew. For this blog, I will discuss three of the bigger ones.

1) Masking During and After COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic told me a lot about the true nature of my narcissist and how willing he was to lie. He was co-parenting his two sons with his first wife, Prissy, who was extremely zealous about COVID-19 and still is to this day. I was more careful than most people in our town, but she was extreme. As recently as 2023, she did not want her children to be around people unmasked or to eat in restaurants. She didn't want her children around mine due to COVID-19 risk, though both sets of kids attended the same public schools. In hindsight, it seemed like an attempt to cause friction and exert control in our relationship. I plan on writing several blog posts on the dynamics between my narcissist, Prissy, and me, but suffice it to say, she was very paranoid about COVID-19 well after most people abandoned social distancing and mask-wearing in our rural community.

In November 2022, no one in our schools was wearing a mask (they hadn’t for well over a year), yet she wanted her kids and my kids to wear them. I set my boundaries when she tried to demand that my kids wear masks and told her ‘no’. However, I stepped back and let my narcissist and Prissy collectively make decisions for their boys, promising to support their choices, as was my habit.

What I was not prepared to support was all the lies. Instead of simply telling Prissy he wouldn't make the boys wear masks (as they would have been the only ones in school with them) and would let them enter indoor venues, my narcissist lied. He promised to make the kids wear masks and avoid restaurants/shopping but didn't follow through on either. We took a beach vacation, spending our time in restaurants and shops. One evening, my narcissist’s boys, aged 9 and 12, wanted to Zoom with their mother. When she asked if they were eating inside restaurants, my narcissist mouthed to them to lie and say no, or else face his wrath.

To make matters worse, when Prissy did find out that the boys were not abiding by her protocols on masking and social distancing, my narcissist blamed me. He told friends who were sympathetic to Prissy’s COVID-19 demands that he and I fought all the time about masks, implying that he wanted the kids to wear them and I did not. What we fought all the time about was him lying to Prissy about it and making the boys lie. Yet he twisted the truth to 1) triangulate his first wife and me; 2) alleviate the pressure of him having to set a boundary; and, 3) blame shift the culpability to make me look like the villain and him the innocent bystander.

Even when confronted with his lies, he never budged and just dug his heels deeper into his quagmire of lies.

2) Moving versus Staying After Losing his Job

Another huge lie that he told – with various versions to different people – centered on him losing his job. He was a professor and was retrenched (basically laid off) from the local university. We had been dating at this time for about 3 years. He told me that he wanted to move in together, blend our families, and get married. We started to plan for that future, by looking for larger houses and even calling contractors for estimates for an addition to my home as a backup option.

At the same time, he told his first wife, Prissy, something completely different. She had long wanted to move to a larger, more urban area, but couldn’t because she co-parented her children with my narcissist. So he told her that he would look for jobs in urban areas and that, together, they would all move to a major city. Behind my back, he sent out hundreds of job applications to universities, federal and state jobs, research institutions, etc. in different states, as far away as Hawaii.

One day, while using his phone to check an email from our realtor about a new home we were going to put a bid on, I saw an interview invitation for a job in Alaska. A quick look at his email showed he'd been secretly interviewing for jobs nationwide for weeks. I also found messages to Prissy discussing their planned move out of state with the boys.

When I called him out on his job search and plan to move out of state with his ex-wife, he lied. He said he wasn’t looking for jobs and never interviewed. When I showed him the evidence, he still lied and pretended like he didn’t know what I was talking about.

Finally, he got really angry and screamed “I wasn’t going to move, it is just all part of the normal process when a professor loses their job, they have to enter the job search even if they are not looking. You are too dumb to know this, but it is common knowledge.”

Like I was supposed to believe that he was spending hours and hours applying for and interviewing for jobs that he had zero intention of taking and talking to Prissy about their pending move that, allegedly, he had no intention of acting upon.

I broke up with him for lying to me and future-faking with me. In response, he love-bombed me. Long story short, he quit looking for jobs and convinced me to buy a home that we would live in as a family. Foolishly, I agreed, and we blended our families. Prissy, still thinking that they were moving to an urban area as my narcissist promised her, was distraught when she found out, through a social media post, that not only was he staying local, but we had bought a house together and blended the families. He told Prissy and me completely different and mutually exclusive stories, indifferent to the fact that we were planning our futures based on his faux and dishonest promises.

3) Assaulting Me and the Aftermath

Arguably, the most insidious and harmful set of lies that he told was after he assaulted me for the second time. Instead of admitting that, in a fit of rage, he confiscated and broke my electronics so that I could not call for help and, then, assaulted me – leaving me with a broken collarbone, concussion, and cervical strain, he told everyone I went crazy and self-harmed. This was the second time he was arrested for assault, yet he didn’t budge from this lie – and his flying monkeys believed him. 

When I confronted him in divorce counseling about my assault, he claimed I self-harmed. He acted as if I couldn't remember that night – like I wasn’t there and he was telling his tale to one of his flying monkeys. Even when the therapist made him admit his actions, he lied, saying that I broke my own collarbone by bracing myself when he shoved my head into the wall. He insisted he was 'protecting the house' and 'protecting his children' (who weren't even there) from me. Despite the therapist's skepticism, he stuck to his far-fetched lies.

When I agreed to a Civil No Contact Order instead of a permanent PFA, he told everyone who would listen to him that I could not get a PFA. Rather than admitting that I did a goodwill gesture in agreeing to a Civil No Contact order so that he could keep his job and provide for his kids, he lied, without a twinge of guilt. He had no qualms about lying and making me look bad – even though I was doing him a major favor. Again, he held to this outlandish story during our initial counseling sessions. I had to remind him, over and over again, to stop lying because  “I was there.”

Finally, when the case went to court, I agreed to allow him to go through the Violence Diversion Program rather than a trial and jail so he could keep his job. What did he do – he lied. He claimed the case was dropped because I self-harmed and didn't want to testify out of fear of getting into trouble. He clung to his lies until he couldn't anymore, then chuckled and bragged with an evil grin that his followers, especially Prissy, believed him.

So what is the lesson?

It is common knowledge that narcissists lie. Not all people who lie are narcissists, but all narcissists lie. The video suggests “taking the 10,000-foot view.” To do this, summarize the narcissist’s claims (or the person you think might be a narcissist) at a very high level and let your intuition tell you if this makes sense. Looking at just the last lie (i.e., I self-harmed / he didn’t assault me), what one would have to believe to make his lies make sense is as follows:

  1. He was erroneously arrested not once but twice for assault and harassment; the police mistakenly arrested him when they should have arrested me both times.
  2. I went insane but there were no signs of insanity beforehand (mind you, the monkeys had me watch their kids right up to the weekend before my assault, so they must have trusted my mental capacity).
  3. I broke my own collarbone, gave myself a concussion, and caused my own cervical strain (no clue how one does that).
  4. My narcissist had to defend the house and his kids, who were at another family’s house at the time, against me.
  5. He was ordered by the state to complete the Violence Diversion Program but never did anything violent to warrant this.
  6. I was violent and insane, despite holding a demanding full-time job, being a respected community member, serving on nonprofit boards, raising two kids, managing a house, and having no criminal record.

Anyone operating at a 10,000-foot view would hear this story and immediately raise their eyebrows.

Now, flying monkeys, in my experience, have little regard for the truth. They want to believe the narcissist and revictimize the victim. So this suggestion likely will not be convincing to them. But it might help a generally kind and honest person identify a narcissist before they can do too much damage.

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