So, I was watching and listening to this fellow speak on tv, as he often does, and he was saying something everyone knew wasn’t (couldn’t) be true. In fact, it occurred to me that this fellow has been saying things that weren’t true or, worse, denying for a long time that he had ever said those things in the first place. For a while, I thought this fellow was just a prevaricator, you know, maybe just an old-fashioned fibber. But he was so certain of what he had, or hadn’t, said that it occurred to me that maybe he wasn’t fibbing or lying after all. I mean, to be a liar doesn’t one have to know that what he is saying isn’t true?
So, I began reading what medical authorities had to say about people who are always saying things that aren’t true, but who say those things, (or deny having said them) with a perfectly straight face, and with a degree of certainty that suggests they really believe what they are saying. Well, for goodness sake, there are mental health specialists who treat people who chronically say things that just are not true. Psychiatrists and psychologists, for instance.
Dr. Scott Carroll, an MIT-Harvard educated psychiatrist, about whom I was recently reading, says some people who lie all the time (pathological liars) are functionally delusional. He says that means they actually believe their own lies. In fact, Dr. Carroll says they can, sometimes, even pass a lie detector test. Imagine that.
According to Dr. Carroll, these people are being micro-psychotic, not to be confused with people who are schizophrenic. They often have, according to Dr. Carroll, Borderline Personality Disorder and actually believe what they are saying, which helps them to be even more convincing. Dr. Carroll says when they are called on their lie, they can re-write their memories to believe a new lie on the spot. Imagine that.
I’ve heard a lot of people call this fellow who is always on tv a pathological liar. I’m not sure I know exactly what that term means so I avoid it. Dr. Michele Barton, a psychologist, and director of Psychology Life Well, notes that we all tell little white lies from time to time, but there is a big difference between someone who fibs every now and again and someone who is a pathological liar. “A pathological liar,” she says, “is somebody who lies without effort, someone for whom telling a lie comes more naturally than telling the truth.” Dr. Barton, in a recent interview, said, “it (lying) can become a part of the liar’s everyday life, to the point where their whole existence is a fabrication.” Imagine that.
According to Dr. Barton, “Pathological liars are usually very insecure individuals raised by very authoritative and strict parents who were not excepting of that individual as they were. Lying in children and adolescents is very normal and a common universal part of development and growth.” That said, Dr. Barton explains, “this is something that we are supposed to outgrow as we become responsible upstanding citizens as adults.”
Dr. Barton says, “most pathological liars have Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or, at least strong narcissistic traits, and they compulsively lie (and know they are lying) just to make themselves look better, and since one of the symptoms characteristic of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is an exaggerated sense of self-importance, it makes sense why that might be.”
Now, I keep hearing and watching this fellow on tv say that he knows more about almost everything than, well, everybody. So, I started counting what subjects this fellow said he knew more about than anyone else. Well, he apparently knows a lot or thinks he does. At least, by my last count, he says he knows more about over 40 different major, really important, subjects and issues than anybody, literally—than anybody. And, you know, he is really emphatic. He really seems to mean it.
Now, for all I know this fellow could really be a genius, and really know more about all of these subjects than anybody else. In fact, he’s assured a lot of people that he is a genius and that would be a good thing if he really is a genius. He has a really big job, so being a genius would be great. In fact, just having really good judgment would be great too. I’ve heard him speak a number of times and, maybe it’s just me, but I’m not that sure his judgment is all that great.
Anyway, as I said, this fellow is talking on tv all the time, and he tweets a lot too. Sometimes he sounds just like the cases the psychiatrists and psychologists write about because so much of what he says doesn’t seem to square with the facts. And when he says these things that just aren’t true, he says them with a straight face and in a really insistent way.
So, sometimes, I really wonder whether this fellow really believes what he says when he says it, even if everyone else knows what he is saying isn’t true. Just wondering.