The Three Phases of Dealing with A Pathological Liar

Phase 1

He says unbelievable things, literally un-believable things, like that he’s the most popular kid at his school, like the ball you just caught was actually dropped, like “I have money stashed in a place where no one will ever find it.” These are lies. You pump virtuous rigor into exposing them.

Phase 2

He says unbelievable things, literally un-believable things, like that he’s moving to where you live, like the mechanic who easily diagnosed your car’s busted clutch doesn’t know what he’s talking about, like “You’re an uncle.” These are lies. You no longer think of them as lies, but rather as distortions of reality that can’t be helped. You repeat them to anyone who will listen in a posture of smug superiority.

Phase 3

He says unbelievable things, literally un-believable things, like that he and his friend, neither of whom have any money and both of whom live their lives in wheelchairs, are going to buy property and build a house on it, like you don’t know how real estate works, like “We have a couple of investors, and they don’t want to make a profit. They just want their money back.” These are lies. You know they can’t be helped. You know they serve a purpose. Repeating them to others doesn’t do for you what it used to. You keep them to yourself.

 

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