By Joyce Alexander, RNP (Retired)
Psychopaths sometimes don’t know enough about how the rest of the world thinks to tell a “good” lie. I saw the following article about North Korea’s soccer team and how they had been apparently caught in a doping scandal, but were claiming that it was really an herbal medication that made them test positive for steroids.
The excuse given was that the team members had been struck by lightening and they had decided, heroically, to compete anyway. The steroids were accidentally taken with traditional Chinese medicines.
I have recently found other articles about the “stories” of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-II, that made me laugh out loud. In one article, he supposedly played his first round of golf and scored a 38, including five holes-in-one.
One of the things I have noticed about many psychopaths, and others who frequently lie, is that their lies are so “off the wall” that no one over three years old would believe a word of them. They will “lie when the truth will fit better” is a saying I’ve heard all my life. This seems to be especially true with pathological liars and psychopaths.
Dr. Robert Hare, well-known psychopathy researcher, says that psychopaths have difficulty realizing that their lies are unbelievable, even when the evidence that they are untrue is literally in front of them. In some way, the two sides of their brains can’t connect the evidence in front of their eyes.
An example of this are the lies told by Casey Anthony when she led the police to the place she supposedly worked, even going to a cubical, when she knew that she didn’t work for that company. She also lied about leaving her daughter with “Zanny the Nanny,” when such a person didn’t exist. Anthony even led the police to the door of the empty apartment with the police in tow.
Not all liars are psychopaths, but all psychopaths are liars. Liars signal that they are not to be trusted. But if you hear a lie that is so outrageous that it makes you laugh out loud, or have the feeling that the person telling it must be “crazy”—look out! You very well may be dealing with a psychopath.