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Psychopaths and outrageous lies

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.

Just what will Kim Jong-Il make of all this? North Korea say medicine using musk deer glands caused five players to fail drug tests

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.



334 Comments on "Psychopaths and outrageous lies"

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  1. Ox Drover says:

    Dear Rush,

    I am the author of this article, but I post under the Screen name “Ox Drover” and I caught my P son in a lie at age 11 (this was the FIRST indication that he was a psychopath-to-be as other wise he was a well behaved and well liked kid) anyway, he stole some money and a check out of my purse and traded it to another kid for a radio he wanted. The other kid’s parents and the kid came to my home and we all sat down together and EVEN WITH THE OTHER KID THERE, AND THE CHECK AND THE MONEY HE DENIED, DENIED, ***DENIED**** and No one over 3 would have believed his lie, and then when he was 15-16 and really started lying and acting out, he would continue to LIE even in the FACE of the EVIDENCE. When he killed the victim (he was 20 at the time and it was not his first felony) he LIED TO ME about it for years….in spite of the truth being EVIDENT and I wanted to believe him so I did….sort of.

    I agree with you that adults have a difficult time believing that a kid could be such a LIAR…..and as a medical professional who has worked in psych with personality disordered kids I still find it difficult to fathom, so you are NOT ALONE.

    The second quote is from information from Dr. Robert Hare’s book “Without Conscience.”

    I suggest that you read that book, Rush, along with Dr. Liane Leedom’s book “Just like his father” as there is some genetic basis as well as environmental issues with psychopathy. Another interesting one that I just finished (it will be reviewed here on LF soon) is “The Science of Evil on Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty” by Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen w ho is an autism researcher but the lack of empathy between personality disordered people and those with autism is similar but not identical but the research on the genetics is interesting.

    My biological father is a psychopath, a violent one, and my egg donor (mother)’s brother was a VIOLENT psychopath as well as my son’s paternal grandfather is a psychopath so there is ample genetic tendency for the disorder in my family as well as my X husband’s. That as well as some “general” dysfunction common to many families and I had a situation tailor made to produce a psychopath.

    Glad you landed here Rush, as having a child that is a psychopath is a difficult row to hoe. God bless.

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