What Are You Hiding?

I have had the privilege of having people confide in me, telling me their deepest, darkest secrets. I know what the “official story” is about a great many things, and I have heard the truth behind the headlines directly from the sources. I have also been massively deceived by a sociopath, the greatest keeper of secrets, only to find out the truth at great expense.

One particular psychopath with whom I’d become acquainted with who was referred to by prosecutors as inherently evil and claimed himself to be a pathological liar could wield lies like his identifying superpower. With a keen ability to defraud, counterfeit, and masquerade, he enjoyed false careers as everything from an airline pilot, attorney, mental health counselor, therapist, investment banker, real estate, precious metals, and Wall Street broker, just to name a few.

The psychopath was the embodiment of the phrase, “If his lips are moving, he’s lying,” (according to one Chief Investigator) as he committed a wide variety of crimes while bilking unsuspecting widows, and vulnerable adults, among a long list of other types of victims, left wounded, alone, and penniless. Lying, he claimed, was his form of exercising his First Amendment right to free speech, which he was entitled to by constitutional law.

Being proficient at lying is not relegated to narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths, pathological liars, or evil people.

As much as we’d like to say, “I could never lie, like that,” the truth is all of us, including you and me, lie all day long, every day of our lives, albeit without any malicious intent.

What are you hiding?

You are deceptive, hide the truth, and lie every day; we all do. It’s a standard human basic survival skill.

You’ve learned from a very early age, generally two years old, that telling the truth does not serve your best interests. It usually starts with you being sent to your room or otherwise punished by a parent (or parental figure) for honestly fessing up to something that your parent(s) disapproved of. So, you learned to lie and have perfected the craft over time.

You learned to lie (just like we all did) to avoid punishment, disapproval, or pain, and to make life easier to manage, to make friends, to advance in careers or society, and to be attractive to others, especially romantic partners. Leaving you wondering why lovers lie?

Other reasons for lying include getting what you want, to be recognized, establish and maintain an image, to garner attention or sympathy, and to find out if someone else is lying or trustworthy.

No matter how much you know someone, how close you are to anyone, you can’t tell what’s going on inside someone else’s head, it’s just not possible. Just like no one can tell what’s going on inside your head, and you do the best you can to present yourself as the person you believe yourself to be, even if it means lying.

Those of us who might be on the autism spectrum are probably the worst liars (by that, I mean, not very believable when lying and lie the least), but the rest of us are fairly competent at lying.

The fact is, the whole world, the three-dimensional world that we all inhabit, is entirely an illusion of belief systems which are hardly based on truth, but on lies, we’re programmed to believe as truths, and we believe them so much, that we would defend them with our lives.

If we live, we live a lie to the best of our abilities, where we are surrounded by lies, but most of us do it with the best intentions.

How to Tell When Someone is Lying

In all areas of life, it is likely that you will run into an individual who is less than honest. There are so many ways for people to deceive, cheat, lie and steal, and if you’re not diligently paying attention, you might be swindled or betrayed by someone you’d considered as trustworthy.

This is not permission to go over the edge and be paranoid or adopting the extreme thought pattern that, “everyone’s out to get me,” only to be aware enough of your surroundings to be looking for clues that someone might be trying to put one over on you.

For a proficient or pathological liar, their ability to confidently state an all-out lie is unparalleled, so these tells may not be effective in getting to the truth from a cleverly deceptive liar. But other, “normal,” people will express some behaviors because they are not comfortable when lying.

Uncovering Deceit Expose the Liars

Being aware means getting to know someone well enough to establish their baseline behavior in a normal non-threatening conversation. If you don’t know how a person acts like when their engaged in conversation about something they interested in, when they would have no interest in being deceitful, you do not have enough information to notice a change in their behavior, which is your first clue that something might be awry.

Body language will likely change when someone is being deceptive. If in a normal conversation, he or she looks you in the eye and his or her body faces you straight on, and in the present conversation, they are not making eye contact, or their body is now at a 45 degree angle, that could be an indication that something’s up.

Someone’s facial expression, or eye movement which is different from their normal pattern of communication could also indicate someone is being less than honest and open, or intentionally hiding something.

Yes means yes, and no means no. If you’ve asked a simple yes or no question and the person you’ve asked answers with a long drawn out story, and can’t seem to settle on a yes or no conclusion, this is a clear indication of deceit or coverup. If you want the truth, you might want to ask this person, “Is that a yes, or a no?”

If you notice some inconsistencies in someone’s delivery, it could be connected to some other life experience which would trigger a signal which could be interpreted as a sign of someone’s deceit. If you really want to get down to what’s going on (and risk getting too personal) you might want to ask more questions and drill down to make a better determination whether this person is lying to you, or if he or she connected your question to a life experience in their past, which caused him or her to react differently.

When you’ve completed your conversation, gathered whatever information they’ve had to tell you, and you’ve confirmed that he or she has nothing more to say, then watch their reaction when you ask them if everything they’ve told you is true.
This is another simple yes or no answer. An honest person may admit to some inconsistency or add information that was purposefully left out at this point, which after allowing them to speak their piece would indicate the need to ask again if that was everything, and if they are telling the truth, leaving you waiting again for a simple yes or no answer.

A deceptive person will dance all around “Yes,” or, “No,” citing all kinds of irrelevant information and/or confusing details, and once you’ve received your simple yes or no answer, you might be brazen enough to follow up with the infamous, “Why should I believe you?”

Again, if their reply is over the top, emotionally charged, or they offer up a liturgy of character references, appalled that you might challenge them in such a manner, it could be an indication that they are being deceptive or withholding important information or details.

While brief and incomplete, hopefully these key signals indicating that someone’s not being honest and open with you will help you in determining if you’re dealing with a deceptive person, or an otherwise honest person who is not being completely forthcoming.

Good luck.

Don’t get paranoid, but be aware.

Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

In life, you may encounter people who are not as they represent themselves, and when they are stealthy in their approach to control or manipulate others, we refer to such a person as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Wolf in sheep’s clothing… That’s ba-a-a-a-ad.

Jesus coined the phrase about false prophets, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15), and Aesop tells a fable about a wolf who dons the pelt of a sheep who disguised as one of the fold walks freely among the herd and finds they are easy prey. That is until he is discovered by the shepherd and the wolf pays for his deception with his life, inferring that the wolf, no matter how clever he may be, will always be found out, sooner or later.

Modern-day wolves in sheep’s clothing blend in well with social circles, this is their primary skill. They have no qualms about lying, misrepresenting themselves and telling people in the circle what they want to hear in an effort to deceive and manipulate them for his or her profit, entertainment or pleasure.

If you’re anything like Aesop’s shepherd you will have a sense that something’s not right among the people in your social circle (the sheep) and you will do a security scan using your five senses (and maybe a sixth sense) to identify the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

While you are scanning your group of individuals, you may be able to discover the signs which might help you uncover your wolf in sheep’s clothing, for instance,

Something Doesn’t Sound Right

When they’re in their story-telling mode, they are very adept at concocting an authentic-sounding tale based on information they’ve garnered from other people or the Internet. Their story (or stories) sounds authentic enough, but there’s something that just doesn’t sound right about it.

If you’re around them for any period of time, it is likely that a wolf in sheep’s clothing will flub up and mix up the details, or utter contradictory information about their original story. Why? Because the original story was utter fiction, and they have other things to think about (the prey) besides tracking all the data which they spew to deceive others.

Not to worry, in the event that they get caught or confronted about an inconsistency, they’re usually quite adept at covering their tracks with a convincing fictional rationalization.

They Don’t Stand Still Too Long

Far from being sedentary, the wolf in sheep’s clothing will keep it moving at a steady and quick pace, so as not to be detected by relaxing or lollygagging. They’re on a mission, and they can’t be caught resting on their laurels.

They will find ways to develop bonds quickly with the right kinds of folks who will further their agenda or shore up their “trustworthiness.” They can be quite the silver-tongued persuaders, quickly finding their way into the hearts of those who are eager to see the best in someone or put their faith and trust in others.

Emotional Roller Coaster

The wolf in sheep’s clothing is likely to use your emotions to their fullest extent. At the outset, everything will be about you, making certain to keep your emotions ramped up and keep you in a state of exhilaration which releases bonding hormones which indenture you to the wolf.

The wolf will cozy up to you emotionally, spiritually, and even physically (which may include romantic implications). They will use any tools which are available to them to obtain their desired result.

Once they feel they have you firmly in their grasp, the attention will shift sharply from you to making it all about them, and you may fall victim to this ploy out of a sense of obligation. Be aware of this tactic.

Short Attention Span

The wolf in sheep’s clothing has an agenda, so veering too far off the road from where they want to go is intolerable, which may cause them to be anxious to reset the course mid-stream. Also, wolves are bored easily. They are constantly looking for ways to switch things up or try something new because the threat of boredom to a wolf is torture.

The wolf often juggles many tasks and items at once to keep his quick-paced lifestyle and may not follow through on much of anything to completion. Why? Because in most cases while a particular activity may be enjoyable or preventing him or her from being bored, they are not really enjoying it much, because it’s all a part of their act.

They move quickly from one thing to another to avoid being bored. (And don’t even think about them signing up to ensure a long check-out line, or stand for being held up in traffic.)

Their Mind Breaks Character

Even though their upfront game is tight, you can see their mind givethem away sometimes, if you’re attentive enough.It is not uncommon for the wolf’s mind to

It is not uncommon for the wolf’s mind to wander when others are intently focused. In a classroom environment, group meeting, intense roundtable discussion, boardroom meeting or brainstorming session, their thoughts will clearly take them somewhere else.

If you are attentive, you will witness the disconnect via eye movement, facial expression, and a shift of body position. It may not last for long, but the wolf has traveled deep within to plan his next move, taking a moment to review an entirely different manipulation, or to fantasize about a potentially beneficial outcome.

How to Deal with a Liar

How to deal with a liar? The truth is, if you can handle it, behavioral scientists report that during a 10-minute conversation people will lie two to three times, and if we are people, these statistics are true for you and me, too.

That’s a hard pill to swallow because we don’t like to be lied to, and we don’t like to be thought of as a liar, so we try to cover it up with withholding otherwise negative information (which is the unspoken lie of a weak-kneed chicken-hearted person, or people-pleaser). I know, “But I was trying to be nice,” but it’s still a lie.

And if you’re sensitive or aware enough to know when someone is lying to you, guess what? You’re wrong 47 percent of the time, so the joke’s on you.

Think law enforcement, CIA and lie detector professionals fare any better? Well, they do. They’re only wrong 40 percent of the time. Even with all the technology and behavioral science we can muster, only a seven percent increase in actual detection of a lie.

Even so, when you catch someone in a lie, it seems like such a betrayal or breach of trust how could anyone not take it personally?

So, what do you do when you catch someone in a lie?

Well, there are a couple of ways to approach the fact that someone has lied to you (assuming you know the facts, and that there is no other option than you’ve actually witnessed a bold-faced lie first hand).

Your first option is not to do anything, understanding that people lie all the time, and this person felt the inclination or need to lie based on any number of life circumstances and situations, and who knows? If you’d lived the same life and been faced with the same options at that particular point in time of your life, you may have responded the same way. Who knows? It could happen.

On the other hand, you could just laugh it off and make a joke of it, like it’s really no big deal. In this scenario, you might laughingly hint to what they might have said as being inaccurate or an exaggeration, without having to put the person on the spot. This gives them the un-threatened time and space to review what they’ve said and maybe consider approaching a more accurate story after they’ve had a chance to work it out for themselves.

You could take the Columbo approach, another non-threatening tactic, pretending that you’ve had a memory lapse, or appear to be confused because you’ve been juggling a lot of information that has become overwhelming and confusing. With this approach, you can query the person at leisure, by playing dumb, while continuing to ask questions to clarify your confusion, you’re likely to end up with a more accurate picture after some continued communication exchange.

Then, of course, there is the more direct option, which is to challenge their lie face-to-face, eye-to-eye. While this is the most direct approach, this is by far the most difficult and there is little or no margin for error. You must have your facts in order, in such a way so as not to be challenged yourself, or you could be labelled as a liar. In this direct fashion of facing off with the liar, it might be best done in private, or with others who may have been affected by the lie. Either way, be direct, keep control of your emotions, deal with the facts, and let the chips fall where they may.

Report the lie, if you feel the need to, to the proper authorities, manager(s), employers, agency, or victim, but if you do, keep it unemotional and stick only to the facts. Don’t use conjecture, accuse or try to speculate why this person feels as though they had to lie about anything. And if you are motivated by fear, anger or revenge, do not report it – at least not now – wait until you can make a report with complete control of your faculties. Often, after you’ve given yourself time to cool down, you might think that it wasn’t as much of a crisis as it felt like at the time, and you’ve avoided someone’s thinking that you’re over-reactive.

Above all, make note that you’re dealing with someone who has the propensity to lie. Try to cover your back by documenting all communication with this person. Try to communicate by verifiable methods such as email or texting. If this person is a highly advanced liar, they will not commit their words to writing. No problem, pay very close attention to what they say, noting the day(s), time(s), place(s) and player(s), then summarize their statement to him or her in a text or email just to confirm that you understood them correctly.