Part 2 on the series of 5 posts
Once upon a time,I took on a job to help a child who had fallen into the pattern of lying, when it became convenient for him to get out of taking responsiblity for himself and his obligations when he was at the age he needed to, because he was someone I cared about and I felt I could make a difference. Children as a rule lie for two reasons; either they are afraid of punishment or they will embarrass themselves. Adults will lie for the same reasons but also to spare feelings in others and to exaggerate their own importance. This is not a job for wusses. I’m not sure who was punished more, him or me, but I don’t do a job half-way, as my kids will testify.
I’m sure when people heard of the punishment I adopted, in an attempt to correct the lying for his sake, it did not always meet with everyone’s approval, but I was way past that and trying to save a child that I cared about. I have always believed in the reward and punishment system with the punishment fitting the crime. Since I believe that lies,stealing, and deliberately being mean to others require a stepped up program over the everyday mishaps of life, it took all the imagination I had. Basically it was an exhausting 24/7 job that lasted 6 months and saw rewards.
It is not a job that I would ever take on again and it taught me new respect for both Bar Tenders and Psychologists. One of the things he wanted to know was, “How can you always tell that I am lying, since you catch me in a lie every time?” My husband quickly responded, “Do not try to figure out her system.” Although I had no formal training, I was born with a knack to recognize a lie the minute the words came out of a person’s mouth and they walked in the door. Maybe because I grew up with a chronic liar as a child and learned early in life, the damage a lie can do. For that I have always been grateful.
Here are a list of symptoms that you can look for if someone in your life may be lying and you are afraid that they may be or will be doing great harm to themselves or to you. Don’t use this list as verbatim because sometimes people’s noses itch even when they tell the truth. I know a person who stares, when I look them in the eye and staring can make the most honest of people blanche,sometimes. Shy people also find it difficult to maintain eye contact.
Here then is the list and I hope you find it helpful. A person who lies:
1.avoids eye contact
2.pupils dilate and blinking reduces or stops
3.does not smile or if smiles, they smile after the statement such as”I love this gift” instead of smiling while saying,”I love this gift.”
4.fake or false smiles that form at the mouth and lips only and end abruptly or unnaturally, An honest smile will involve the entire face from downward forehead to eyes to cheeks.
5.smile is forced and clearly an act
6.eyes are vacant
7.gestures and explains too much uses fewer arm and hand movements while pulling their body inward to make themselves smaller
8.uses increased touching of their face often touching or itching the nose,chin or mouth. Rarely if ever will touch their chest with an open hand
9.raises voice pitch
10.increased pauses and hesitations and stumbles over words when speaking
11.talks slower and explains too much
12.avoids using factual statements that can be checked out. Such as where did they go?what was the name of the movie?,who did they see? Eventually they learn these questions so when in doubt spring a new one on them and watch reaction.
13.Uses generalizations instead of specifics
14.repeats question to buy time and takes longer to answer it
15.Uses fewer answers than usual
16.has more uhs and ums than normal
17.is inclined to mumble over speaking out
18.Statements sound like questions
19 avoids pronouns like I or we but will use unfamiliar names and then often forgets the names used
20.implies rather than answers or will ask a question rather than answer
21.avoids direct answers
22.claims sound too good to be true
23 reasoning sounds unrealistic or emplausible
24.if they claim to be outdoors but have a little awarenes of the weather that took place or indoors and has difficulty remembering the name of the street or business. Allowances need to be given for the forgetfull.
25.the guilty tend to get defensive while the honest tend to be offensive.
26.very uncomfortable and squirms a lot.
27.they always have excuses and are always the victim.(many children truly are victims-know the difference)
28.its never their fault and they blame readily.
29.will unconsciously place an object between the two of you such as a plate,water glass, or notepad. The natural placement is always in front of us, of course.
30. will parrot our words. Such as if we ask,”did you drink the last of the milk?” They will say,”No, I did not drink the last of the milk.”
In my own experience, the number one way I could tell that a friend of mind was lying was when I went by her home at 7:30 in the morning and saw her husband’s best friend leaving while the husband was out of town. Of course observation is always the best way to truly tell if a person is lying but even then there can be extenduating circumstances.:) I’m sure others can add more to this list, but anyone that can remember this long of a list either has to be very determined or paranoid. The sooner we can catch someone who lies the better it is for both them and ourselves. Acute is always easier to treat or cure, where as, chronic is not. Good Luck!
(Caution: Sociopaths (not all are serial killers), who make up 4% of the population,will not show most of these symptoms, although everytime their lips move, they are pretty much lying)