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Surviving A Pathological Liar

I was completely blindsided. I had no reason not to trust her. Why would someone do something so destructive to another, with seemingly no benefit whatsoever to herself?

Pathological Liar:

(noun) 1. a person who tells lies frequently, with no rational motive for doing so.

I know it could have been worse. I did not lose money to this person. I did not engage in a romantic relationship with someone like this. I did not even dedicate so much time to her fantasy proposal. But I did lose what I thought was a dream come true. A possibility. An opportunity. Something I desperately wanted.

And I fell for it. Hook, line and sinker. I don’t necessarily think I was being naïve or missed the signs and signals. But I do know I so badly wanted to believe her offer that I certainly was quick to write off anything that didn’t fully make sense to me.

When I first figured out I had been had, I cried. Then I got seriously angry. Debated if I should seek revenge by letting others know, if I owed it to her other friends to warn them that they were dealing with someone psychotic, or if I should just be the bigger person, drop it and move on.

I still am not completely decided on what I will ultimately do. But there is a reason I am writing this article. And it is part of my healing process.

There is a concept in Jewish Mysticism that when something bothers us in another person we are very often staring in the mirror. The issues we find and encounter in our lives relate to the very work we must deal within ourselves.

So then the real questions for me are: how am I dishonest with myself? How do I create stories, possibilities, opportunities that don’t truly exist? That don’t represent who I am, what I do and what I am capable of? What lies do I keep feeding, believing and living with?

To fill you in a bit more, a woman I had known and taught called me out of the blue after about a year of no contact. She presented me with an incredible opportunity to work for her company. Something that would have utilized my talents and strengths in a direction and way that I never had the guts to try myself. She was giving me that “in” to a world I didn’t know how to broach but so very much wanted to engage with. It was exactly what I wanted. Needed. Hoped for. Dreamed of. And here it was, on a silver platter, no resume or interview necessary. Just an agreement that I would fly across the country and dedicate a week to meeting and getting to know the billion dollar company that she worked for.

I thought I had won the lottery. Little did I know I never even had a ticket.

I figured it out when she wouldn’t return my calls, emails or messages. At first I thought she was just incredibly busy. But eventually I had to face that no one is that busy.

So while she had never given me her work email or phone, only her personal cell, I thought I would try the company with the hope that her secretary could suggest some good times to reach her. The operator answered. I spelled her name twice. Letter by letter. But the guy told me they had no one there by that name. Perhaps at a different office or location? Nope. No one by that name in their global directory. I was still so hopefully that I actually thought this guy didn’t look her up correctly. So I called back after hours hoping to get another operator and I did. Yet only to receive the very same response.

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Still I refused to believe that I had been completely lied to and manipulated. Perhaps she worked under a different name? And then I called a mutual contact. I gingerly asked if she knew where she worked. She thought she worked as a receptionist.

Clearly my questions were strange so she asked for more detail. I told her everything. Her response was quick and simple. “I’m sorry.” She continued that she was not surprised that this woman would do such a thing. She didn’t realize she would take her lies this far but it didn’t shock her.

And so I sit here and type, less than 24 hours after the bomb dropped. Months of looking forward to this opportunity. Of mentally planning and preparing for how I would make my huge debut in the corporate world. Finally feeling that my training and years of public speaking would be used to impact this incredible audience of high powered and important people through leadership training and teaching interpersonal relationship skills. I would be surrounded by brilliant people. Successful people. And I wanted to be one of them.

In truth, I basically fell for a more sophisticated version of the scam email that tells you some lady in Africa died with no one to leave her fortune to and they want it to go to me. ME! Can you imagine? How lucky am I? What a miracle! What a gift! So this story just had a prettier bow and bigger box. But at the end of the day, nothing was inside.

Ultimately we see what we want to see and we believe what we want to believe. I wanted this job. I am qualified for this job. I deserve this job. And while this job doesn’t exist, simultaneously it does…somewhere. And yet, I did nothing ever before she called, to find it.

She lied to me. She deceived me. But the saddest truth of all is how often I lie and deceive myself. If I know this is what I should be doing, why haven’t I taken a single step on my own in that direction? If I want to impact the world on this level, then why do I keep settling for jobs and options that will never get me there?

Don’t get me wrong. I am not blaming myself that I fell victim to someone who is a sociopath. But being that I went through it, I at the very least want to make sure I take some good lessons from the experience.

And step one is that I am going to stop waiting for things to happen and start making them happen. I saw a great quote which reads: “Go where you are celebrated, not where you are tolerated.” For way too long I have settled. I have undermined myself. I have been the very handcuff that hasn’t allowed me to go where I truly want to be.

Yet I have never taken responsibility. It was always someone else’s fault. Or circumstances. Or bad timing. But then the phone rang that day a few months back and I felt that my life could catapult to where it should have always been. And it should. And it can. And it will. But not because of someone else. Only if I do it. Only if I make it happen.

So ironically, the changes I need to make may finally be made thanks to some very sad and mentally ill woman who had nothing better to do with her time than play with my head. But…she got me thinking. She got me shifting. And maybe, just maybe, because I fell for a reality that was a fairytale that she created, I will be able to finally make my fairytale become my reality.

 

Image from Flickr.