As I was leaving my job one afternoon, after a 10-hour work day, an old acquaintance from school, whom I had not had any contact for the past 3 years other than the few comments we would exchange in Facebook, called me to invite me to a party over the weekend and also to “hang out one of these days”. The conversation started with a simple greeting and an inquiry regarding how I had been lately. I gave him an uninterested response, as if I did not care for the fact that he was calling me after all these years, but it was actually due to more important matters lingering my mind. I told him that I was fine and also happy that he had called me. I was not really fine and “happy” was masqueraded by indifference. I’d had a relatively stressful day at work and I still needed to go to the bank, with a 15-minute drive and only 7 min before End of Business. I was also wearing an outfit that accentuated that fact that I had gained weight lately and I also needed to pump gas. These are all minimal annoyances but they still managed to make me feel on the opposite side of the “I am fine, thanks for asking” a normal person, having a normal conversation, would usually say. I ended our phone call telling him that I was going to a concert the day of the party and that I would call him over the weekend to get together and do something. I was not sure if I was going to go to the concert yet and I didn’t really had in mind to call him, yet I still made it seemed otherwise only to be polite.
I go about my daily life having these conversations, and even though I proud myself on being an honest person who speaks his mind, I seldom tell the truth regarding normal everyday stuff.
There have been many times in my life when I wanted to truly be honest with somebody. Being able to say that I was completely open with at least one person throughout my life and that I was truly myself around that someone. Many times it was required of me to be honest, other times people actually deserved for me to be truthful with them. Whether it was someone from my family, a co-worker, a girlfriend, close friend, or a church member. In many cases it would have even made my life less complicated at the moment. Yet, every truth that I have ever said has been thinly veiled by a lie. Sometimes, I will utter lies without being able to stop myself. That is why I believe I suffer of Pseudologia Fantastica, better know as pathological lying.
In 1891, German Psychiatrist, Anton Delbruck, came up with the idea of a mental disorder in which the patient will compulsively lie or feel the need to distort the truth in a habitual manner. He called it Pseudoligia Fantastica. One of the definitions of Pathological Lying is “the falsification entirely disproportionate to any discernible end in view, may be extensive and very complicated, and may manifest over a period of years or even a lifetime.” Even though we might look at our every-day lives and see nothing wrong with the actions we take, there is a certain dishonesty in the way we present ourselves.
Most people with a Facebook profile present parts of themselves in this public forum that think would make other people think of them in a way they want to be seen. We aren’t always our Tweeter feed or what our Timeline shows. Everybody has that “alter-ego” that we present to the world. Sometimes it is who we are, but only with the proper context, people are going to know who we really are. The sad truth is that nobody will ever know anybody. Ever.
I agree with the fact that truth is not our most favorable ally all the time. Sometimes it is better to tell a lie than to honestly express what we think or feel, but over time, we create an idea of who we are and we act as that person, based on the lies and half-truths we have told. It is the old Does-This-Dress-Make-Me-Look-Fat dilemma that every man, at one point, will find himself in.
Considering that we all lie, I have come to believe that I am a special kind of liar. Not only am I a pathological liar, I am also a cynical liar. I like telling brutally honest truths so that later I may get away with some outrageous lies. I am a very manipulative person and opening up as a sincere individual allows me to do that. I know how this sounds. I must be a horrible human being if I do these kinds of things AND I write about them, but the problem is that I am not always aware I am doing it and when I am, I do it in an ironic way, almost as if testing how far I can go. I always plan on telling the truth afterwards but sometimes I forget that I was lying to begin with.
I am not sure if being aware of this is the first step for overcoming a psychological condition or if it makes me a conceited asshole who is aware of it and does nothing about it. Only my inability to establish meaningful relations will tell.