Liar, Liar

liar5His mouth is full of curses and deceit and oppression; under his tongue is mischief and wickedness.

Proverbs 10:7

Just because an abuser is not raging does not mean he is suddenly safe or honest or genuine.  An abuser’s words cannot be trusted.  He is an artful deceiver and, in many cases, an out-and-out liar.  Words are simply a tool that can be fashioned to support his desired reality.

Of course, a healthy relationship should be grounded in truth, honesty and mutual concern, but the abuser does not share these values.  His primary concern is his own welfare, and where honesty should reign, he will not hesitate to construct and reconstruct a psychological house of mirrors that his victim must slog her way through, her objective being to somehow find some hard truth to hold onto amid the confusion.  The typical abuser seems quite adept at avoidance, deflection, deception, redirection, feigning ignorance, shifting blame or simply lying when the need arises.

In one such scenario, he might arrive home with an outlandishly expensive tool or toy that is either unnecessary or unaffordable (probably not the first time), but it’s something he wants.  Shocked by his spontaneous purchase, you may broach the issue by saying, “I thought we agreed we would not make any big purchases without discussing them.”

“I never agreed to that,” he might respond without apology.  Or he might make you the bad guy by saying, “And I thought this would make you happy,” or defend his decision by offering, “This is something we need.”

As you try to explain your concerns about more pressing financial priorities, he will say something like, “You always have to take the fun out of everything,” or “I try to do something nice for you, and this is the thanks I get.”  He will make sure you know that you are the wet blanket on his crazy-maker’s fire.  It doesn’t matter to him that the situation was uncomfortable for either of you because, when all is said and done, he still got what he wanted.

You will look for ways to make sense of his illogical form of communication, to find some common ground amid the nonsense.  But, if you want truth, the truth is that it doesn’t matter to him if you are confused, frustrated or disrespected.  How you are affected or what you think or feel about a given matter doesn’t matter.  His end game is to make sure you understand that his truth is the truth, whether or not it is true.

Maybe you have heard some of the abusers’ “liar” phrases intended to diminish, confuse and divert attention and responsibility away from him.

  • I don’t know what you are talking about. 
  • I never said that.
  • I already told you; you just weren’t listening.
  • You misunderstood me.
  • You may think you told me, but you didn’t.
  • I don’t remember that.

Initially, we buy into this stuff, doubting our own senses and assuming that our communication skills just need work.  But, when the pattern of deception and the lingo become engrossed in the lifestyle, the utter corruption of character cannot be overlooked.

After years of such crazy-making, I could not put stock in much of anything my husband said, and he would shame me for not trusting him.  Even if caught in an outright lie, he would rationalize his behavior, lie about it, blame someone else or offer a cool apology and insist that the matter be dropped. After all, that’s what words are for.

He could also manufacture conversations that had never taken place.  I remember standing before my husband with my mouth open as he cited fantasy conversations we had never had or claimed to know what I was thinking or going to say before I said anything.  He was simply diverting attention from himself by putting me in a position where I had to defend myself about something that never happened.  Lies are not limited to the abuser’s behavior.

Perhaps one of the most insane conversations I ever had with The Liar took place a couple of days after we separated.  A friend who watched our youngest daughter a few hours at her home after school every day recounted to me to a strange situation that took place a few days earlier.  She shared that my husband had failed to pick up our daughter at the usual time one afternoon, and he called to inform her that he had forgotten that he had a doctor’s appointment and then had a flat tire on the way home.

She didn’t believe his story, and neither did I.  I had to add to her account my suspicions that he was in a relationship with another woman and, in that context, his story made perfect sense.  So, in a telephone conversation a couple of days later, I confronted him.  The ridiculous exchange went something like this:

Me:   So, I understand from talking to Jackie that you were late picking up Amberly last Thursday.

Him:  I called Jackie to let her know that I would be late.  I forgot that I had a doctor’s appointment, and then I had a flat tire on the way home.

Me:  You didn’t mention a doctor’s appointment to me. 

Him:  So?  I don’t have to tell you everything I do.

Me:  So, which doctor did you see?

Him:  What does it matter?

Me:  Because I want to know.

Him:  Why do you want to know?

Me:  Because you had an obligation that you failed to meet that put Jackie in a difficult spot, and I think you’re lying.

Him:  You’re accusing me of lying?

Me:  Yes.

Him:  So, you’re really going to stoop so low as to check up on me?

Me:  I shouldn’t have to, but I will.

Him:  You’re being ridiculous.

Me:    It’s not a difficult question to answer.

Him:  I see a lot of different doctors.

Me:   I know.  Which one did you have an appointment with?

Him:  Hmm.  I don’t remember.

Me:  You don’t remember which doctor you saw last week?

Long pause.

Him:  Okay, I didn’t have a doctor’s appointment.  But, I did have a flat tire. 

Me:  So, you lied about not having a doctor’s appointment?

Him:  What’s the big deal?  It’s none of your business.  But, I did have a flat tire.

Me:  Which tire?

Him:  I don’t remember.  What difference does it make?

Me:  You don’t remember?

Him:  It doesn’t matter.  I got it fixed and picked up Amberly on my way home.  Who do you think you are, my mother?

Me:   Where did you have it fixed?

Him:  I don’t remember.

Me:  Really?

Long pause.

Him:  Okay, I didn’t have a flat tire.  I was downtown, and I just lost track of time.

Me:  What were you doing there? 

Him:  Just looking around and spending some time relaxing.  Why do you care?

Me:   You already lied about your doctor’s appointment and the flat tire, and now you’re being evasive.  So, who were you with?

Him:  Nobody.

Me:  Nobody?


Him:  I don’t remember.

Me:   You don’t remember who you were with last Thursday?

Long pause.

Him:  Did you see me?  [Yes, he really said that.]

Me:  Would your story change if I did?

Long pause.

I waited.  Then I heard him talking softly to himself, as though he thought I couldn’t hear him.

Him:  Her parents have money.  Maybe they hired a private detective to check up on me.  They would be the kind of people to do that. Then he spoke aloud.

Him:  Okay, I was with someone.

Me:   Who?

Him:  A friend.

Me:   What friend?

Him:  So, now, I am not allowed to have friends?

Me:  Give me a break.  Just tell me who you were with.

Long pause.

Him:  Okay, it was a woman friend.

Me:  A friend…

Him:  Yes, she’s just a friend.

Me:  Then why didn’t you tell me about her?

Him:  Because you wouldn’t understand.

Me:  Oh, I understand.

Him:  This is exactly why I don’t tell you things.  You always make too big of a deal out of everything.

No, the truth is that I had failed to make a big enough deal out of too many things.  I believed I could somehow navigate the house of mirrors my abuser constructed.  I learned the hard way that you cannot make straight the ways of the crooked, you cannot reason with the unreasonable, and you cannot trust the words that fall from the lips of a pathological liar.

If your abuser is anything like mine was, step back and take a good look at the kind of man you are dealing with.  There is no sense wasting your precious time and energy on a person to whom truth means absolutely nothing.  There is no right way to live with a liar.

Epilogue:  Not long after that conversation, my then-husband broke off his relationship with that woman.  Several weeks later, the man sent me a beautiful bouquet with three vivid red roses along with a long, sentimental love note that said the roses symbolized the past, the present and the future.  He went on about the good times we had shared, how he intended to rectify his mistakes and then passionately petitioned me to wait for him, stressing how much he loved me. I soon discovered that, when he sent me those beautiful roses, he had just initiated a dating relationship with another woman.

I still love receiving flowers, but I don’t really care for red roses anymore.

Copyright 2014

Cindy Burrell
All Rights Reserved

21 thoughts on “Liar, Liar”

  1. There are so many ways they can lie! A type that was most frustrating to me was the lie of the smiling face and calm, even tones, while the words were demeaning, disrespectful, accusatory, mocking, and/or cruel…

    1. The nasty, passive-aggressive types are really scary, because their demeanor says one thing, while they let their toxic words inflict the damage. Yikes.

    2. Oh yes, I can relate to that! My ex would do that all the time and how I hated it. He would make me out to be the crazy one when on occasion I would raise my voice out of frustration while trying to talk with him. He would just stay calm with a smirk on his face while mocking me.

  2. I remember picking every petal off a red rose and stomping on them……..and then feeling guilty (my mistake).

    1. Why is it that we feel badly when we are simply responding to their behavior? There is nothing wrong with being angry, but I think we are trained to feel badly, to keep trying to be perfect, to prove ourselves. Any thoughts?

      1. I agree Cindy. We are trained to feel badly and no wonder … Jeff Crippen at A CRY FOR JUSTICE has posted an interesting article concerning another pastor’s posting and it’s creating quite a storm. The pastor in question wrote “A Christian Wife’s Marriage Catechism” … so far, many of the women’s comments on that blog have not been allowed. Makes you wonder why??

        1. Hello.

          Yes, I subscribe to ACFJ and work closely with Pastor Crippen and Barbara Roberts. I also posted a response to that terrible piece – and the follow-up they posted today directed at husbands, as they took some flack for not being fair to the genders. Whether they will approve my comments or not, we’ll see…

          We will probably bring this to the attention of our readers here, too. Appalling!

          Keep up the good work and stand strong in the truth!


          Thank you for writing to share.

      2. For me, showing anger in response to something my ex did or said only seemed to give him this power of sorts. He would often brush past me with a smirk on his face saying how he wasn’t the one with an anger problem. He seemed to love getting that reaction out of me because I think it allowed him to feel somewhat superior.

        And also, the church I attended with my ex really pushed the whole submissive/respect thing to the point that I felt a Godly wife shouldn’t show anger…weird huh?!?

        1. i know exactly what you are talking about. Abusers know there is a double standard and also know how to put us into a position where we have to violate what the church tells us how we’re supposed to respond. It’s okay for them to be hostile and disrespectful, but if we respond in kind, we’re failing our calling as a wife. It’s twisted and hypocritical. Abusers love the way the whole thing works in their favor. My complaint is more with the church that tends to condone such nonsense.

  3. Deceitful people set you up to be taken advantage of by others. It’s a very sly and manipulative tactic that my passive husband used for years. That way he couldn’t be accused of actually inflicting the verbal abuse; he let others do it for him:-( Even when I became aware of what was happening I just kept thinking, “maybe, this time it will be different” …

  4. I explained and explained to my lawyer how the ex-idiot would change history and tell me about something that never had occurred as if it was truth. He believed me but assumed the ex-idiot only did it to me. Then one meeting the ex-idiot did it to my lawyer. My lawyer was so stunned. He knew what had been said and what had occurred and this person was telling him that “No, this did.” It was very eye-opening for my lawyer and changed how he did things. He now has at least two other victims of abuse as clients and is fantastic.

    1. That is an interesting story. Isn’t if funny how people can downplay abuse when it happens to someone else, but when they are suddenly face-to-face with it… everything changes I am impressed that your lawyer applied what he learned to help others. That’s fantastic!

    1. Hello, Cindy.

      Thank you for commenting. I’m glad to know that my blogs speak to you. Like you said, the liars’ ways are so common, they’re almost funny – and definitely sad.

      I sure wish someone had shared the truth with me long ago…

      I trust you are happy and well!

      Thanks for stopping by and for kind encouragement. Come by and share anytime.


  5. Great blog Cindy, and so true! My ex-husband was the ultimate liar as well. It was so interesting when you listed the 6 statements yours used to escape being caught in a lie. They sounded so familiar…my ex used to use every single one of those!

  6. Thank you for this blog. It has helped me tremendously. I have always known my husband was a liar (still is). But the Lord allowed me to see much more in court. He accused me of lying before the Judge. But when the Judge sided with me, he cried and said he lived his wife and just wants to help me financially. Then outside the courtroom, I heard him talking to a buddy on his cell saying, “can you believed she won without any evidence!” I didn’t feel hurt or shocked, but glad that God helped me see more truth. This has helped me move forward.

    1. Hello, JS.

      Thank you for taking the time to write and share some of your story. I’m glad that the judge had the discernment to see through your husband’s lies. As a result, you have been protected and blessed.

      I’m also glad that that piece validated your experience. If there is any way I can help or direct you further, please let me know.



  7. Thank You For sharing ,, I have been with my husband for 23 yrs and i am knumb i woke up to what was going on with me a yr and a half ago and once i began learning more the more lies and hurt and abuse this story is exactly to the T what i have been dealing with , As i was reading i was frighten how our stories are just to much alike im in a middle of a divorce i have 3 weeks before the trail ** AND I NEED HELP I HAVE TO PUT A LOT OF PROOF TOGETHER BUT I AM SO EMOTIONALLY DRAINED FROM GETTING HIT EVERY SINGLE DAY NOW FOR OVER A YR TRYING TO BREAK ME SO I CAN HAVE ANOTHER BREAK DOWN WHAT ARE THE MAIN THING I NEED TO PROVE MY CASE TO THE JUDGE WHAT DO I NEED TO PULL TOGETHER ON THE EMOTIONAL, FINCIAL ,MEDICAL ABUSE ? I NEED HELP HE HAS ISOLATED ME FROM FAMILY AND FRIENDS AND IHAVE ONLY THREE WEEKS

    1. Hello, Tammy.

      I’m glad to hear from you although I am sorry to know how stressed and exhausted you are at the moment. I get that. But let’s see if we can break this down into more basic goals.

      First of all, if you are still in contact with your abuser, you need to end it. He will do everything possible to keep you preoccupied with him and focused on the insanity he breeds. You need to stay away from him, including phone conversations, texting, all of it. You need some time and room to detox. If he persists, don’t or shows up at your home or where you work, call the police. You need to take this seriously.

      Not knowing the primary objectives of the justice system where you live, let me encourage you to first document tangible evidence of abuse, particularly physical abuse and financial abuse. Many judges are not as interested in verbal or emotional abuse, as they can be based on hearsay and are difficult to prove. So focus on tangible evidence first.

      Also, I think you should attempt to contact your family and friends and explain that your abuser required you to separate yourself from them. See if any are willing to help in any way. Try to be rational and reasoned with you speak with them and see what happens.

      If you have doctors’ reports or hospital records that document physical abuse, you will need to gather them for presentation and consider seeking a restraining order against your abuser.

      Finally, you need to know that, if your abuser feels like he is losing his grip, he will pull out all the stops. He may apologize and make promises that it will never happen again, tell you that you are the only one he has ever loved and that you were meant to be together… blah, blah, blah. Don’t buy in to any of it. Trust me in this. Abusers are liars. They understand that words work on us, their victims. You need to take a lot of time and distance away from him to detox and get your bearings and begin healing so that you can see where you have been and set a course toward a better future. Don’t believe a word he says. If you give him an inch, he owns you. If you want to reclaim your life, you need to start now.

      As you move forward and after the court action, please begin the hard work of educating yourself on the abuse dynamic and the role you play in it. You will have to be the one to break the cycle. I know that is asking a lot after all you have been through. But, the overwhelming majority of abusers don’t change because they don’t want to. If he can’s abuse you, he will simply find someone else he can abuse.

      You deserve better.

      I hope you will keep me informed. Remember: stay away from him, don’t answer his calls or messages, don’t get hooked in. You will only create more heartache for yourself.

      Just say ‘no.’

      Let me know if I can direct you to any information on the website that might help. When things cool down, you might want to get a copy of my book, “Why Is He So Mean to Me? (second edition).” It’s only $8.95 as an ebook, and it might just be the most important $9 you will ever spend.

      I have been where you are, I know how this game is played, and I want to help.

      I hope you will keep me informed.


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