Sociopaths lie. No matter what type of relationship you have with a sociopath — romantic, family, business or casual — sooner or later the sociopath will lie to you. The circumstances may vary, the scale of the lie may vary, but at some point the sociopath will tell you something that simply isn’t true.
Following are seven classic lies from sociopaths (people who could be diagnosed with antisocial, narcissistic, borderline, histrionic or psychopathic personality disorders). How many have you heard?
- I love you
Sociopaths are incapable of love, as you and I understand it. Real love includes caregiving, and sociopaths simply cannot put someone else’s well being before their own. However, they have learned that if they say, “I love you,” they get what they want. So they easily mouth the words. Do not believe them.
- I’ll pay you back
Sociopaths often, although not always, ask their targets for money. They’ll say that you are the only one who can help them, or offer you a surefire investment opportunity. They’ll even sign a contract or promissory note. They’ll promise to repay you — but these promises are useless. The only time you’ll see your money is when they are trying to establish credibility — so they can ask you for more money later, which will never be returned.
- You can trust me
Beware of anyone who proclaims that they are trustworthy. Those who feel the need to tell you that they are trustworthy probably aren’t. And why are they saying this in the first place? Are you questioning their behavior or requests? If you are, pay attention — your intuition is trying to warn you of danger.
- I’m not married
For a sociopath, marriage is simply a contract giving them access to their spouse’s assets, or control them in some way. Love and fidelity have nothing to do with marriage. So if sociopaths want to have sex with you, or target you for some other reason, well, they ditch their marriage vows like a winter coat on a summer day.
- I can’t get (you) pregnant
Female sociopaths view pregnancy as a meal ticket — if they have your child, you have to pay them for 18 years. Male sociopaths view pregnancy as a control mechanism — once you are pregnant, you are tied to them for 18 years. Therefore, they have no qualms about lying to you about birth control.
- My phone died
You’ve been unable to reach the sociopath, possibly for days. You may be sick with worry — has something happened? Then suddenly, he or she answers, as if you just spoke 10 minutes ago. You express your worry, and the answer is a shrug — the phone died. The truth, however, is that the person was with someone else, or intentionally trying to upset you.
- Everyone thinks you’re crazy
This is a double-barreled lie. First of all, there’s nothing wrong with you — except, perhaps, the sociopath. Secondly, the sociopath is saying that your friends, family and associates are talking about you, when it’s likely that no one is saying a word. The sociopath’s objective is to put you on the defensive, and assert control over you.
How to know when the sociopath is lying
The problem with lies is that we’re not very good at detecting them. In fact, research shows that human beings can spot lies only about 53% of the time. That’s little better than flipping a coin.
And all those tips about how spot a liar — like they won’t make eye contact, or they’ll give themselves away with microexpressions — well, the tips don’t work with sociopaths. Remember, these are the people who can beat polygraph tests.
So what can you do?
Sociopaths lie like they breathe. They tell big lies and little lies. They mix lies with the truth, so you don’t know what’s real and what is not. And they often lie for the fun of it. So if you are sure, or relatively certain, that you’re dealing with a sociopath, then you must assume that anything out of his or her mouth is potentially a lie.
But what if you don’t realize that you’re dealing with a sociopath?
The best thing you can do is trust your intuition. If a statement strikes you as odd or improbable, or if you get a bad feeling about what someone says, pay attention. It could be a warning that the person is lying.
You may have been taught to give people the benefit of the doubt. Recognize that this is extremely risky. If you perceive that something is amiss, don’t talk yourself out of your perception.
Your instincts are designed to keep you safe. For your instincts to work, you need to listen to them.