Petruchio: Come on, a God’s name; once more toward our father’s.
Good Lord, how bright and goodly shines the moon!
Katherina: The moon? The sun! It is not moonlight now.
Petruchio: I say it is the moon that shines so bright.
Katherina: I know it is the sun that shines so bright.
Petruchio: Now by my mother’s son, and that’s myself,
It shall be moon, or star, or what I list,
Or ere I journey to your father’s house.
Go on and fetch our horses back again.
Evermore cross’d and cross’d; nothing but cross’d!
(Act IV, Scene V, The Taming of the Shrew)
Clearly, Shakespeare’s Petruchio was lying to dear Katherina when he told her the moon was out and she saw the sun; still he persisted and insisted that what he said was reality, simply because he was saying it. How often have you stared reality in the face and allowed the other person to convince you of a lie? Is it sometimes easier to go into denial and accept a lie than it is to confront someone?
There are many ways to catch lying behavior. Here are just a few:
Don’t focus on what someone says. Believe what you see or know to be reality, instead. Believe a person’s behavior as opposed to his words. If someone says one thing and reality points to another or if he says one thing and then does another, it is proof positive of lying behavior.
Many liars avoid eye contact; however a sociopath or well practiced liar can look right into your eyes and lie without blinking.
If the person hides his hands or keeps touching his face, covers his mouth, rubs his eyes, looks away or suddenly becomes distracted for no reason, changes the topic or dismisses it with an attempt at humor, it is indicative of avoidant behavior or lying. Body language can be a good indicator, but again-a sociopath or well practiced liar can avoid body languages’ tale tell signs.
A person who acts overly defensively, tries to make you feel wrong or guilty for confronting him about not being truthful instead of rationally discussing your concerns, usually has something to hide.
Trying to turn the situation, accusation or your own words around on you and putting you on the defense is a tactic many people employ in order to avoid truthfulness.
If someone threatens you with abandonment, ridicule, humiliation or even violence for not believing him in light of clear evidence pointing otherwise, run as far and as fast as you can in the opposite direction. This behavior is indicative of an emotional or mental disorder that can be potentially dangerous.
If someone insists over and over that what they are saying is true and you are the one who is wrong, or they continually deny an accusation based in truth, they are likely lying. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the Queen states “The lady doth protest too much, methinks”. If someone has to continuously affirm (or object) so much, you need to question why, especially if they become emotional or vehement in their protestation or affirmation.
We usually have a built in red flag indicator when someone is lying to us. We feel uncertain, uncomfortable; our intuition tells us something isn’t quite right. Don’t be so quick to dismiss it or slide into denial or apologize. You don’t necessarily have to back a liar down or confront him with the truth and insist he swallow it. Many times the best way to handle a liar is to walk away from him. And don’t come back.
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