National Honesty Day

National Honesty Day

I think it’s a tad bit sad that we have to have a National Honesty Day.  It’s the perfect excuse to write about a topic that bewilders me: Narcissists and Lying.

I personally have two levels of honesty:

  • The truth.
  • One margarita and then more truth then you ever wanted to know.

Sorry- just trying to add a bit of humor into a subject that really isn’t humorous to me.  I’ve been told that laughter is the best medicine and I am willing to try anything to maintain my sanity through this process 🙂

As someone who is still learning about Narcissism, honesty (or lack of it) is something that I find myself pondering often.  How can someone lie with such conviction?  How can someone lie without missing a beat.  How can someone tell a lie and then remain calm under pressure when confronted?  How can a person make up an entirely new reality and then appear to actually believe it?

A narcissist can.

When my X and I were dating, he told stories and I believe them. He told me that he grew up surfing at the beach by his house.  I later found out that this wasn’t true- his older brother said he was afraid of the ocean and would go boogie boarding but never surfed.   He owned two surfboards during our ten years together but never used them once.  He often said things like, “Our life is so busy- can’t wait until I can get back into surfing“.

He told me that he was the most popular child in his entire school.  He often bragged about his popularity when intoxicated.  I should have found this suspicious because he had zero childhood friends and made excuses when his high school reunions came up.  I later found out that a fellow classmate described him as “Shy, studious and somewhat reclusive”.  Not at all the child that he had repeatedly described to me.

These examples were more than lies.  There were plenty of those also but these were new realities.  If he didn’t like the actual reality, he would create a new one.  This trait was probably what allowed him to convince banks into giving him one more line of credit or another loan.  He was an expert at creating his own reality despite what was in front of him in plain black and white.

I remember back when we first enrolled in marital counseling together.  The therapist told us that he wanted to see each of us individually after a few sessions together.  During the first couples sessions it became obvious that he was lying over and over again.  I would look at him bewildered and explain the truth to the therapist.  I vividly remember the therapist recanting on his initial request to see us each privately.  His exact words were, “I feel that it would be a waste of my time and your money to see you as an individual because you don’t seem capable of honesty”.  Thus we never went to individual counseling sessions.

My X’s attorney addressed the court at our last hearing by saying that, “He wasn’t exactly lying- he was just telling the court what they wanted to hear”.  By every definition that I can find, that would be called a lie.  The truth is the truth.  My five-year old daughter can comprehend this.

Happy National Honesty Day, everyone!  -Tina

6 Responses

  1. Tina, you are not alone in this.

    Based on what I have researched of BPD & NPD–if their mouth is moving, they are lying.

    NPD & BPD are *incapbable* of telling the truth _unless it serves their purpose_.

    Many of my husband and my mutual friends originally did not believe me when I broke the isolation and started turning to others for help and support. Over the following months, they have heard how my husband’s version of events has changed, and how my version has remained the same. (Except for refusing to take responsibility for his choices, his behavior, his decisions, his *disease*.)

    My husband consistently whinges to others about how I keep changing the story (because I am no longer willing to accept responsibility for his load), but I have a small cadre of close friends that I turn toward to help me keep my perspective and my honesty–especially with myself. While they have sometimes questioned me, or asked me to clarify something, at no point have they told me they think I am being intellectually or emotionally dishonest.

    (He whines about a whole host of things, but that’s another conversation altogether.)

    These friends have, on the other hand, on more than one occasion, expressed bewilderment at my husband’s lack of sanity and reason, and his shocking disinterest in how anyone but himself is affected.

    Ironically, one of the things my husband originally told me appealed to him about me is my innate honesty and integrity. I do not believe in the little white lies that so much of our society is built on:
    *If the dress makes you look fat, I will bite my tongue, or pull you aside and say something in private before you buy it, depending on how many margaritas were necessary before the retail therapy could commence.
    *If I think you are tanking your marriage, I will pull you aside in private and say something so that you will at least have the opportunity to make your choices eyes wide open.
    *If I discover your child is doing recreational drugs / cigarettes, I will not close my eyes and keep my mouth shut; I will let you know, even if it means your child will realize I am the person who “told”.

    I do not believe in dishonesty, even by omission, and my husband told me that was something he found very attractive.

    Many of our mutual friends have now privately told me they have taken my husband’s stories with a large grain of salt for *years*. These are people who have known my husband decades longer than they have known me. I am discovering that I am at least not unique in believing and being burned by his lies.

    What really breaks my heart is how much damage he is inflicting on our daughter. Most recently he keeps focusing on how I cannot “handle” her. Conveniently ignoring that 8 months ago he repeatedly threatened suicide in her hearing, he’s now convinced our 6 year old is acting out because magically in a span of 8 months, I have lost my ability to parent. It couldn’t possibly be because I am the safe parent, who she can be honest and genuine and authentic with her frustration and fear and grief?!

    I keep telling him she needs his time and attention–not a 30 minute car ride, but quality time and attention. He just wants to know what magical question and answer will solve this. What part of “time and attention” is too complicated for a literate 38 year old adult to comprehend?!

    Sorry, very frustrating exchange with him today. I cannot wait until the divorce is finalized.

    Your blog is one of the highlights of my life right now. Both yourself, and the other commentors. It is such a relief to communicate with other people and realize none of us is alone in this situation!

  2. I have come to believe that my husband truly believes what he says. He rewrites history constantly, he says I am the one with the rage and anger issues, I am the alcoholic etc and so on. In one or two moments of honesty he has admitted to maybe being too drunk to remember exactly how he choked me that caused me to black out, but surely it was an “accident”. I don’t know anymore. So much is “he said, she said”, I just don’t engage. Luckily my husband is more of a train wreck than a charming conniver so I do come off as the sane one. His stories change frequently (though according to him, mine are the ones that change) and he definitely describes himself as who he would like everyone to believe he is (honest, warm, loving and trusting) and describes me as who he actually is (mean, angry, bitter and full of hate). It is very perplexing and I find myself questioning myself sometimes. I just have to remember back to my life before him when life was calm and peaceful. Then I know: it is not me. I am with Heather, I can’t wait for the divorce to be final. However I am sure it is just the beginning of a new kind of torture.

  3. Janine, you are not alone. What he does, with reversing the character traits and the person they are attached to, is called projection. It is very common among NPD & BPD. They feel the need to protect their surface persona at any cost, because they fear they have no substance underneath that surface, so whenever something threatens that surface persona, they immediately jump into defensive mode to protect their “mask”.

    It is not you. If you can remove yourself from the situation, logically look at the accusations and see how they do not fit your behaviors, then you are not the irrational one in the situation.

    If you do not have children together, once the divorce is finalized you will not have to give him access to foment chaos ever again. And if he continues to do so once the divorce is finalized, get a restraining order. If he breaks it, you can have him put in prison.

    Start documenting *everything*.

  4. My X started the lies from day one. He told me that he had been in the marine corps as a ‘sniper recon’ and when I questioned him about it (he was the only one who ever talked about being a marine) he said it was a difficult thing for his family to talk about because he had killed people while serving. I believed him…why wouldnt I? Guess what. It was all a lie. That was just the beginning and my head is constantly spinning. My mom is always telling me to quit trying to understand because my brain will never comprehend his actions. He a crazy, crazy human being. I wish that it would change so life would be easier…but I wont hold my breath.

  5. Hi Heather,

    We have a child and a restraining order plus he has been arrested for threatening me…but of course that was a misunderstanding. It is so frustrating but I am actually getting pretty good at ignoring him when he accuses me of crazy things in court. I stew over it later but you are right, I need to remember to remove myself. There are moments I feel really bad for him because he is obviuosly so sick but he doesn’t see it and doesn’t get help. He is “forced” to go to counseing and rehab so that says a lot. I don’t think that has been lost on the court either thankfully.

  6. Carly, I still wish my husband would change so we could be the happy family we talked about. The one I really thought we were going to be when he was apparently just struggling to hold it all together. It was all fake. It’s not gonna happen. You do have to stop trying to understand, you never will. Their behavior makes no sense to rational people.