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Post Info TOPIC: Alcoholics Are Usually Pathological Liars


MIP Old Timer

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Alcoholics Are Usually Pathological Liars
 
 


Disclaimer:  This is not my writing but it is interesting and as an Alcoholic I can identify with it.

Larry,
-------------


Alcoholics Are Usually Pathological Liars

Long before they became physically addicted and often when they're very young, most alcoholics adopted lying as a "preferred defense strategy."  In other words, they usually found it easier to lie their way out of situations than to tell the truth and face the consequences.  And once fully addicted, they now have an endless supply of reasons for lying because they are always making excuses for their behavior and shortcomings.

So eventually, lying becomes a way of life and the first lie is that they don't have a problem and they don't need help.  And because everything else is built on top of the denial that they don't have a problem and they don't need help, everything else about their life tends to become a mixture of lying and denial as well.  That's how an alcoholic can rationalize sitting in a bar bragging about their children while in reality, they've abandoned their kids and stopped making child support payments.  In essence, the alcoholic is such a convincing and constant liar and denier, while they're in a good "buzz zone," they can even convince themselves of the lies.



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I would say lying and denial are separate. I can only identify in the fact that I was always in pathological denial and now I do not think I am (which is a huge part of step 1)...

As far as other are concerned...I am a terrible liar. I feel guilty when I lie....I suck at lying...I can't ever remember what story I told....So...no pathological liar was not me, even before I sobered up.

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I totally agree with this Larry, first the addict begins by lying to themselves, then others, then the entire fabric of their existance becomes literally a fantasy, a great quote about that is "I used to judge myself by my intentions while others judged me by my actions" and is the meaning of "The Road to hell is paved with good intentions"

This is why I loved the steps with a competent sponsor, laying out my character defects in a column format in step four, and then step five, going through those columns with someone who had done it themselves who helped me see my part, hence: "admitted the exact nature of our wrongs", which quite frankly I didn't even see until it was sitting there in black and white in my own handwriting

That's the thing about any form of insanity, is the person afflicted don't know they are afflicted with it, hence the term pathological along with the term liar, they don't even know they are lying any more because they don't know what the truth really is, that's why in step 2 it says we believe we can be restored to sanity but it takes the rest of the steps to do so in my experience

http://www.bma-wellness.com/papers/Addiction_Lies_Rel.html

The first casualty of addiction, like that of war, is the truth. At first the addict merely denies the truth to himself. But as the addiction, like a malignant tumor, slowly and progressively expands and invades more and more of the healthy tissue of his life and mind and world, the addict begins to deny the truth to others as well as to himself. He becomes a practiced and profligate liar in all matters related to the defense and preservation of his addiction, even though prior to the onset of his addictive illness, and often still in areas as yet untouched by the addiction, he may be scrupulously honest.

First the addict lies to himself about his addiction, then he begins to lie to others. Lying, evasion, deception, manipulation, spinning and other techniques for avoiding or distorting the truth are necessary parts of the addictive process. They precede the main body of the addiction like military sappers and shock troops, mapping and clearing the way for its advance and protecting it from hostile counterattacks.

Because addiction by definition is an irrational, unbalanced and unhealthy behavior pattern resulting from an abnormal obsession, it simply cannot continue to exist under normal circumstances without the progressive attack upon and distortion of reality resulting from the operation of its propaganda and psychological warfare brigades. The fundamentally insane and unsupportable thinking and behavior of the addict must be justified and rationalized so that the addiction can continue and progress.

Addiction protects and augments itself by means of a bodyguard of lies, distortions and evasions that taken together amount to a full scale assault upon consensual reality. Because addiction involves irrational and unhealthy thinking and behavior, its presence results in cognitive dissonance both within the addict himself and in the intersubjective realm of ongoing personal relationships.

One of the chief ways the addiction protects and strengthens itself is by a psychology of personal exceptionalism which permits the addict to maintain a simultaneous double-entry bookkeeping of addictive and non-addictive realities and to reconcile the two when required by reference to the unique, special considerations that àat least in his own mind- happen to apply to his particular case.

The form of the logic for this personal exceptionalism is:

    • Under ordinary circumstances and for most people X is undesirable/irrational;
    • My circumstances are not ordinary and I am different from most people;
    • Therefore X is not undesirable/irrational in my case - or not as undesirable/irrational as it would be in other cases.

Armed with this powerful tool of personal exceptionalism that is a virtual "Open Sesame" for every difficult ethical conundrum he is apt to face, the addict is free to take whatever measures are required for the preservation and progress of his addiction, while simultaneously maintaining his allegiance to the principles that would certainly apply if only his case were not a special one.

In treatment and rehabilitation centers this personal exceptionalism is commonly called "terminal uniqueness." The individual in the grip of this delusion is able to convince himself though not always others that his circumstances are such that ordinary rules and norms of behavior, rules and norms that he himself concurs with when it comes to other people, do not fairly or fully fit himself at the present time and hence must be bent or stretched just sufficiently to make room for his special needs. In most cases this plea for accommodation is acknowledged to be a temporary one and accompanied by a pledge or plan to return to the conventional "rules of engagement" as soon as circumstances permit. This is the basic mindset of "IÇll quit tomorrow" and "If you had the problems I do youÇd drink and drug, too!"

The personal exceptionalism of the addict, along with his willingness to lie both by commission and omission in the protection and furtherance of his addiction, place a severe strain upon his relationships with others. It does not usually take those who are often around the addict long to conclude that he simply cannot be believed in matters pertaining to his addiction. He may swear that he is clean and sober and intends to stay that way when in fact he is under the influence or planning to become so at the first opportunity; he may minimize or conceal the amount of substance consumed; and he may make up all manner of excuses and alibis whose usually transparent purpose is to provide his addiction the room it requires to continue operating.

One of the most damaging interpersonal scenarios occurs when the addict, usually as the consequence of some unforeseen crisis directly stemming from his addiction, promises with all of the sincerity at his command to stop his addictive behavior and never under any circumstances to resume it again.

"I promise," the addict pleads, sometimes with tears in his eyes. "I know I have been wrong, and this time I have learned my lesson. YouÇll never have to worry about me again. It will never happen again!"

But it does happen again à and again, and again, and again. Each time the promises, each time their breaking. Those who first responded to his sincere sounding promises of reform with relief, hope and at times even joy soon become disillusioned and bitter.

Spouses and other family members begin to ask a perfectly logical question: "If you really love and care about me, why do you keep doing what you know hurts me so badly?" To this the addict has no answer except to promise once again to do better, "this time for real, youÇll see!" or to respond with grievances and complaints of his own. The question of fairness arises as the addict attempts to extenuate his own admitted transgressions by repeated references to what he considers the equal or greater faults of those who complain of his addictive behavior. This natural defensive maneuver of "the best defense is a good offense" variety can be the first step on a slippery slope that leads to the paranoid demonization of the very people the addict cares about the most. Unable any longer to carry the burden of his own transgressions he begins to think of himself as the victim of the unfairness and unreasonableness of others who are forever harping on his addiction and the consequences that flow from it. "Leave me alone," he may snap. "IÇm not hurting anybody but myself!" He has become almost totally blind to how his addictive behavior does in fact harm those around him who care about him; and he has grown so confused that hurting only himself has begun to sound like a rational, even a virtuous thing to do!

Corresponding in a mirror image fashion to the addictÇs sense of unfair victimization by his significant others may be the rising self-pity, resentment and outrage of those whose lives are repeatedly disturbed or disrupted by the addictÇs behavior. A downward spiral commences of reciprocally reinforcing mistrust and resentment as once healthy and mutually supportive relationships begin to corrode under the toxic effects of the relentless addictive process.

As the addictive process claims more of the addict's self and lifeworld his addiction becomes his primary relationship to the detriment of all others. Strange as it sounds to speak of a bottle of alcohol, a drug, a gambling obsession or any other such compulsive behavior as a love object, this is precisely what goes on in advanced addictive illness. This means that in addiction there is always infidelity to other love objects such as spouses and other family - for the very existence of addiction signifies an allegiance that is at best divided and at worst -and more commonly- betrayed. For there comes a stage in every serious addiction at which the paramount attachment of the addict is to the addiction itself. Those unfortunates who attempt to preserve a human relationship to individuals in the throes of progressive addiction almost always sense their own secondary "less than" status in relation to the addiction - and despite the addict's passionate and indignant denials of this reality, they are right: the addict does indeed love his addiction more than he loves them.

In order for the addiction to continue it requires an increasingly idiosyncratic private reality subject to the needs of the addictive process and indifferent or even actively hostile to the healthy needs of the addict and those around him. This encroachment of the fundamentally autistic, even insane private reality of the addict upon the reality of his family and close associates inevitably causes friction and churn as natural corrective feedback mechanisms come into usually futile play in an effort to restore the addict's increasingly deviant reality towards normal. Questions, discussions, presentations of facts, confrontations, pleas, threats, ultimatums and arguments are characteristic of this process, which in more fortunate and less severe cases of addiction may sometimes actually succeed in its aim of arresting the addiction. But in the more serious or advanced cases all such human counter-attacks upon the addiction, even, indeed especially when they come from those closest and dearest to the addict, fall upon deaf ears and a hardened heart. The addict's obsession-driven, monomaniacal private reality prevents him from being able to hear and assimilate anything that would if acknowledged pose a threat to the continuance of his addiction.

At this stage of addiction the addict is in fact functionally insane. It is usually quite impossible, even sometimes harmful to attempt to talk him out of his delusions regarding his addiction. This situation is similar to that encountered in other psychotic illnesses, schizophrenia for example, in which the individual is convinced of the truth of things that are manifestly untrue to everyone else. Someone who is deluded in the belief that he is the target of a worldwide conspiracy by some organization will always be able to answer any rational objection to his theory in a fashion that preserves the integrity of his belief system. Even when he is presented with hard and fast data that unequivocally disproves some of his allegations, he will easily find a way to sidestep the contradiction and persist in his false beliefs. (He can for example easily claim that the contradictory data is itself part of the conspiracy and is expressly fabricated for the purpose of making him look crazy! Anyone who has ever tried -uselessly- to reason with delusional patients knows the remarkable creativity and ingenuity that can be displayed in maintaining the viability, at least to the patient, of the most bizarre and obviously erroneous beliefs.)

The addict's delusions that he is harming neither himself nor others by his addictive behaviors;  that he is in control of his addiction rather than vice versa;  that his addiction is necessary or even useful and good for him; that the circumstances of his life justify his addiction;  that people who indicate concern about him are enemies and not friends, and all other such beliefs which are patently and transparently false to everyone but himself, are seldom correctable by reason or objective data and thus indicate the presence of genuinely psychotic thinking which, if it is more subtle than the often grotesque delusions of the schizophrenic, is by virtue of its very subtlety often far more insidious and dangerous to the addict and those with whom he comes into contact. For in the case of the delusional schizophrenic most people are quickly aware that they are dealing with someone not in their right mind - but in the case of the equally or at times even more insane addict, thinking that is in fact delusional may be and commonly is misattributed to potentially remediable voluntary choices and moral decisions, resulting in still more confusion and muddying of the already turbulent waters around the addict and his addiction.

In many cases the addict responds to negative feedback from others about his addiction by following the maxim of "Attack the attacker." Those who confront or complain about the addict's irrational and unhealthy behaviors are criticized, analyzed and dismissed by the addict as untrustworthy or biased observers and false messengers. Their own vulnerabilities may be ruthlessly exposed and exploited by the addict in his desperate defense of his addiction. In many cases, depending upon their own psychological makeup and the nature of their relationship to the addict, they themselves may begin to manifest significant psychological symptoms. Emotional and social withdrawal, secrecy, fear and shame can cause the mental health of those closely involved with addicts to deteriorate. Almost always there is fear, anger, confusion and depression resulting from repeated damaging exposures to the addict's unhealthy and irrational behaviors and their corresponding and supporting private reality.



-- Edited by AGO on Wednesday 19th of May 2010 07:55:43 AM

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MIP Old Timer

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Ditto Mark.

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MIP Old Timer

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Yep

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Member

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Alcoholics have no corner on lying. All people lie everyday, usually more than once.

Lies are often wishes.

Michael

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MIP Old Timer

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LMichael wrote:

Alcoholics have no corner on lying. All people lie everyday, usually more than once.

Lies are often wishes.

Michael



Yes but Alcoholics like me started believing our lies were fact

Larry,
---------------
If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us.
- Herman Hesse, German novelist .

 



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MIP Old Timer

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LMichael wrote:

Alcoholics have no corner on lying. All people lie everyday, usually more than once.

Lies are often wishes.

Michael




Sounds like a bit of rationalization might be going on there.  biggrin

 

"Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty." 


Honesty, on all levels, is something that us recovering folks need to rigorously practice on a daily basis.  One of the characeristics, in the program Adult Children anonymous is  "We would lie when it would be much easier to tell the truth".  Which to me sounds like pathological lying.

That one struck home with me as soon as I heard it.  Most of us have/had  Alcoholic or addicts as parents (don't forget addiction to work, sex, food, gambling, religion, spending money, control, anger......).  All of these obsessive compulsive addiction have drastic affects on the children of these folks, causing them to become manipulators to cope (and in some cases to stay alive).  We lie in order to CONTROL how other feel about us.  Con artists do it to gain the confidence of their victims so that they can steal from them.  If we lie, in order to make others feel good about us, aren't we, in essence, stealing their emotions?  biggrin








-- Edited by StPeteDean on Monday 24th of May 2010 01:12:11 AM

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AGO


MIP Old Timer

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StPeteDean wrote:

 

LMichael wrote:

Alcoholics have no corner on lying. All people lie everyday, usually more than once.

Lies are often wishes.

Michael




Sounds like a bit of rationalization might be going on there.  biggrin

 

"Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty." 


Honesty, on all levels, is something that us recovering folks need to rigorously practice on a daily basis.  One of the characeristics, in the program Adult Children anonymous is  "We would lie when it would be much easier to tell the truth".  Which to me sounds like pathological lying.

That one struck home with me as soon as I heard it.  Most of us have/had  Alcoholic or addicts as parents (don't forget addiction to work, sex, food, gambling, religion, spending money, control, anger......).  All of these obsessive compulsive addiction have drastic affects on the children of these folks, causing them to become manipulators to cope (and in some cases to stay alive).  We lie in order to CONTROL how other feel about us.  Con artists do it to gain the confidence of their victims so that they can steal from them.  If we lie, in order to make others feel good about us, aren't we, in essence, stealing their emotions?  biggrin








-- Edited by StPeteDean on Monday 24th of May 2010 01:12:11 AM

 



Well if we are going to bring up rationalizing about our lying, do you feel you were a pathological liar?

How do you feel one can seperate lying and denial, isn't that just rationalizing lying?

I don't think anyone can be alcoholic and not have been, I think the pathological lying to ourselves and others comes with the territory, I don't think one can seperate denial and lying, because if you are in denial, that means you are lying to yourself, hence lying to others.

Sure many of us retained our cash register integrity, I did, however I judged myself by my intentions while others judged me by my actions, and the truth was, my actions were harmful, if I had the ability to be truthful I would have told every woman I was ever interested in before I got sober and truthfully for quite a few years after "run away from me, I am the hurtful plague, I will tell you I love you, and I will, but I will destroy you"

that's not love

Love is an action word defined by what we do, not what we feel

But I couldn't tell them that, because I was an insane, self centered, selfish prick, hence a pathological liar, because I didn't know what the truth was, until I went through the steps and saw all my devestation and delusion on paper in front of me in my own writing, there was no "their part" it was ALL my part, me me me selfish selfish selfish fear fear fear self centered

So even a simple statement as "I love you" was a lie, truth would have been "I am going to put you on an emotional roller coaster to Hell, I will have good intentions but I will hurt you like you have never been hurt, make you need therapy and not trust men for many years"

With addiction and denial comes a disparity betweens ones words, and ones actions, that is also known as lying, in Alanon they are even in many cases to view when a practicing aloholic is speaking as "quacking" because that is how reality based their perception of said events and future actions is, quack quack quack, we have all seen this if we have come around meetings for awhile.

To me anyone who is in AA that says they weren't an Pathological liar to me is in denial, hence still a liar, go through the steps with 50-60 sponsees and you get to see that up close and personal, that was 90% of my job it seemed was Socratic questioning (the steps) in order to expose delusion, which are pathological lies told to oneself.

I just don't think denial can exist without lying, since that's all denial is.

Denial is living in a fictional reality, if you live in a fictional reality, you tell people fictional stories, telling people fictional stories is also known as lying.

You lie to yourself, you lie to everyone else, it's simple, that's also why Alcoholics are patholgical liars, if you have an inability to see the truth, you have an inability to tell the truth, it's not about intent, it's about living in actual reality, if you don't live in reality, you have a literal inability to speak about reality, and in my experience anyone who says otherwise is still in.........denial

It's not opinion, it's simple math, if you can't see the truth, you can't speak the truth

We are all entitled to our own opinions, but not entitled to our own facts is how I have heard it described


-- Edited by AGO on Monday 24th of May 2010 04:27:15 AM

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MIP Old Timer

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I was a total liar. I lied about everything, even when there was no need to. Most of all, I lied about my drinking.

The Big Book says that I need to live with rigorous honesty if I want to keep off the booze, which to me is poison. Just today, somebody pointed out to me that a pretty glaring omission in some work that I'd done. Nobody else was aware. There was no issue of me not mentioning it to my boss, even if it means that I will (probably) get a bad appraisal or marked down as expendable if that time comes. I told her immediately. She's not very happy, at all. But so what. Rigorous honesty is a key part of the program.

I KNEW that if I lied about it, it would eventually lead me to a drink. I'd rather have that trouble (which I can deal with with the help of my HP and the 12 steps) than drink (which will eventually kill me).

Funny thing is, with the program, I'm not fearful. Certainly, I'm gonna get some skin ripped off of me (my own mistake led to this), but today I don't need to drink on it, provided I'm honest about it and look at my part in it.

Rigorous honesty.

Steve


-- Edited by SteveP on Monday 24th of May 2010 04:13:26 PM

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MIP Old Timer

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AGO wrote:

 

StPeteDean wrote:

 

LMichael wrote:

Alcoholics have no corner on lying. All people lie everyday, usually more than once.

Lies are often wishes.

Michael




Sounds like a bit of rationalization might be going on there.  biggrin

 

"Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty." 


Honesty, on all levels, is something that us recovering folks need to rigorously practice on a daily basis.  One of the characeristics, in the program Adult Children anonymous is  "We would lie when it would be much easier to tell the truth".  Which to me sounds like pathological lying.

That one struck home with me as soon as I heard it.  Most of us have/had  Alcoholic or addicts as parents (don't forget addiction to work, sex, food, gambling, religion, spending money, control, anger......).  All of these obsessive compulsive addiction have drastic affects on the children of these folks, causing them to become manipulators to cope (and in some cases to stay alive).  We lie in order to CONTROL how other feel about us.  Con artists do it to gain the confidence of their victims so that they can steal from them.  If we lie, in order to make others feel good about us, aren't we, in essence, stealing their emotions?  biggrin








-- Edited by StPeteDean on Monday 24th of May 2010 01:12:11 AM

 



Well if we are going to bring up rationalizing about our lying, do you feel you were a pathological liar?
__________________________________________________

Oh most certainly.  Hence the mention of the ACOA characteristic, that nailed me.  That's why I had such a hard time getting sober for the first two years. 


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AGO


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yeah me too

all the acoa crap as well, caught myself lying to my sponsor coupla years ago when the truth was easier, was like wtf, haven't seen this in awhile, told on myself....

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Well I'll tell you what the BIGGEST pathological liar is your own brain in precieving others because YOU DO NOT FOLLOW THEM AROUND 27/7!!! Using the "all are 'pathologiocal liars' " bit is just another ego ruse to keep the Real God Made Self from being something else other than what they really are and what It truly IS. It would be nothing more than concoccted "happiness" made by the human "you" In other words BRAINWASHING by the "fellowship of A.A."

This is where the saying To Thine Own Self Be True kicks in with your own self examination of your own life and your own God Given Abilities. To deny them would be the WORST LIE to live with and most "recovered" "alcoholics" are pretty adroit at the living The Truman Show bit because after they've been 12 stepped into the fellowship, and there is a BIG DIFFERENCE between the fellowship and the steps, it would be all they know because that"s what they themselves are living 24/7!!!

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sad but true
Larry_H wrote:

Disclaimer:  This is not my writing but it is interesting and as an Alcoholic I can identify with it.

Larry,
-------------


Alcoholics Are Usually Pathological Liars

Long before they became physically addicted and often when they're very young, most alcoholics adopted lying as a "preferred defense strategy."  In other words, they usually found it easier to lie their way out of situations than to tell the truth and face the consequences.  And once fully addicted, they now have an endless supply of reasons for lying because they are always making excuses for their behavior and shortcomings.

So eventually, lying becomes a way of life and the first lie is that they don't have a problem and they don't need help.  And because everything else is built on top of the denial that they don't have a problem and they don't need help, everything else about their life tends to become a mixture of lying and denial as well.  That's how an alcoholic can rationalize sitting in a bar bragging about their children while in reality, they've abandoned their kids and stopped making child support payments.  In essence, the alcoholic is such a convincing and constant liar and denier, while they're in a good "buzz zone," they can even convince themselves of the lies.


 



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