Pathological Liar

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by JJJ, May 20, 2008.

  1. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Uuugggghhh! At work there is a customer that is such a pathological liar it drives me nuts!!!:biting::biting::biting:

    Just in the last 24 hours he

    ...has claimed he's never done business with us before (only 5 years worth)
    ...always pays his bills on time (now on a cash only basis since so many checks have bounced)
    ...that we should listen to him because of his pro sports experience (doesn't have any)
    ...that he went to West Point with my boss (nope)

    I try to have patience with him because I know he is someone's grown-up difficult child. He isn't violent, he just has such impaired reality it is sad. The saddest part is his sweet children now have just as much trouble determining what is real. I don't think they are actually mentally ill, I think the way they were raised left them unable to determine where reality left off and their father's delusions started.
  2. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Triple J,

    I've had a few clients/customers like this when I was employed. It took a lot of energy to deal with them. Their touch on reality was definitely skewed.

    Hope today is a better day for you at work.
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Ew. That is difficult. I guess you just have to detach and pretend you're acting out a script or something. "Really? Your first time with-us? Welcome to XYZ." Unless he'd see through that...
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I knew a woman where I used to work who was similarly very difficult. She was also obsessed about money. I remember she bent an earring and I offered to look at it to see if I could repair it for her - and discovered it had bent, because it was made from 18 carat gold, far too soft to be practical.
    She said to me once, "I bought a painting over the weekend. But I want to know if I made a good investment. What do you think?"
    I said, "I don't know. Paintings vary a great deal. It all depends on whether anyone else would want to buy it, and whether they would be prepared to pay more money than you did."
    She kept saying, "But is it a good investment?"
    I said, "Do you like looking at it?"
    She said, "Yes, if I can be sure I will make money from it. Will I, do you think?"
    Again I said, "I don't know. I don't think anybody could know."
    But she still wasn't convinced. She acted as if I was trying to cheat her in some way, by pretending I didn't know about paintings.

    Mind you, she didn't have it with her to show me, she didn't have a picture of it, it wasn't by anybody she or I had ever heard of, it wasn't about anything important, I had no idea if she had bought something painted by a person with talent, or some kid just doodling. And neither did she. And yet she still expected that people could tell her to the dollar how much her oil painting was worth "... because oil paintings are a good investment." And any hint from me that this was not the case, meant that I must be lying to her.

    Really freaky. Because she would lie to me all the time, usually to make herself seem rich (or about to strike it rich). Then she would get paranoid, as if afraid I was about to steal her impending wealth away from her.

    People who lie like this are not happy with themselves and their life as it is, and are trying to change things the quickest way they know, by convincing people that it already is different. Generally the lies they tell you are the lies that would impress them, if they were hearing it. He's "never done business with you before", because he knows that people get fed up with him in business as quickly as they get to know him. He's "always paying his bills on time" because that's what he wants you to think, even though he knows he's got the debt collectors after him. There's clearly something about his "pro sports experience" that he would value,m if you were him. Again, something about West Point and what it represents in a CV that he idolises.

    Very sad, really. Because while such people hide behind the lies they tell, they never get off their rear ends and actually make any positive changes in their lives, they feel their lies will compensate for all their inadequacies.

    Like my former co-worker - money was her sole focus, because in her mind, money gives you all that is of value - security, independence, comfort, safety. This told me she had come from a very unstable, very unsafe background and never wanted to even think about it, let alone risk experiencing it again. To even think about it is to accept that it happened, and I think she was in full denial, because if anyone had known about it then they would have despised her, in her mind. I suspect she was a refugee, probably immediately post-war. I've met a few and there seems to be a strong tendency in some at least, to be extremely selfish in ensuring their own survival, often as a result of things they have had to do (or consider doing) in order to survive. Some of them are lovely people, but at times their ability to detach and cut themselves off from caring about anyone else can be chilling.
    As I said, it's only a few, but when I've had the opportunity to dig deep, I find a refugee who saw or experienced horrendous things often in childhood.

    Of course, there can be many other reasons for someone to be a compulsive liar. But I do find them fascinating, once I've got over the annoyance and learned to take them with a large vat of salt.

  5. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Ya know...I think I'd make it my personal mission to one-up his stories.

    Let's see...

    You could be best friends with the Queen of England. She pops in every now and then. So sorry you're never here when she comes in. She'd probably love you.

    You could be Hugh Hefner's *favorite* Playboy model. You just do this job to pass time, but he brings in his posse of girls quite often. I always look for you to introduce,'re not here. I'm sorry.

    You could tell how you won the $135 million lottery yesterday but just gave it all away in an hour. Sorry you weren't here...again.

    Any suggestions? ;)

  6. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Any suggestions? ARE YOU KIDDING??????? PFT.....

    I will start by telling you that I shared a house with a young man after I left x who was self-medicating schizophrenic and a known pathological liar.

    The stories he has told so often he now believes there is some truth to them. The best thing to do is stay away from him. People like that are dangerous. Fun to be sarcastic with - but a co-morbid with pathological liars can be vindictive behavior.

    My best advice if you have to deal with him is to not argue, but don't be overly friendly either. Make your replies worded so you are calling him to back up his outrageous stories.

    If he comes in and says "I have never been here before." You say
    "Wel then we need to take your picture and write the date on it." - then post it so when he comes in and says "I've never been here before." You say "I was sure this was you." and hand him the picture. If he denies it was him - take another picture, write his name on it with the date. Save it for the next time. When THAT story stops - you are actually pointing to his picture EACH and every time he comes in saying "Okay HE (tap picture) is back.

    If he says he pays his bills on time - you say...
    "Yes you do, all customers who pay in cash pay on time."

    If he states he went to West Point - you say...
    "I'd love to see your picture in uniform. What year did you graduate? Bring in your year book." If he says he doesn't have one - get the year - find a year book and next time he comes in tell him to point himself out." If he can't or comes up with he must have been sick that day. You say "Until you bring me your WP yearbook I don't want to hear it I want proof."

    When he says he's a sports pro and your boss should hire him? Ask him why he quit. Can you see his team photo? You say "Well our boss is the kind of person who likes pictures with his stories -so you bring me proof that you are a sports pro and I'll give your name to the owner for consideration. Until I have proof I'm not discussing the matter with you."

    All the things above you are doing is putting the ball back in his court. I have been screamed at to the top of his lungs about I DON'T HAVE TO PROVE ANYTHING to you - and THAT is how I knew I got to him. Each time he couldn't prove it - believe it or not - I was instructed NOT to get sarcastic with him, but call him on it - and when he knowingly couldn't prove that statement after a realtively decent amount of time - then you simply state "I'm sorry, until I have proof I don't care to hear your story."

    That's polite, it puts the ball back in their court and until they can prove you wrong - you have told them you don't want to hear it.

    But if you HAVE to be sarcastic I would go with Abbey's Queen of England routine - ROFLMAO

    OH yeah Abbey - Well I know Tony know of the Blair witch project.

    If he states he is a sports pro - you say...
    "Is that what you majored in at West Point?"
    "What professional teams did you play on I'd like to get your card."
    "What was your coaches name? I think I can find him on the internet and call him for you."
  7. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Why not just accept the man has problems and let it go? Sorry, I don't understand those of you who want to be punitive and humiliate him. Yes, he's a pain in the rear but he is a sad pain in the rear. Imagine if you felt compelled to lie because the truth is either too embarassing or too boring or too ..... Personally, I like the way JJJ is handling it -- she has empathy for the man and his family. Her compassion shows.
  8. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Oh, I'm not saying I wouldn't accept him as he is. A person who is a pathological liar probably won't change. It's not my 'job' to change him, either. But, if it frustrates you in YOUR job, I'd do something to appease myself. I have a sarcastic kind of humor (if you haven't noticed). He'd probably love the exchange of stories.

    My experience with people like this is they LIKE TO TALK. They'll invent things so they can talk and they like personal attention. So...I'll bring the talk on. It is not to humiliate them at all.