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Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

by | Mar 3, 2015 | Articles, Emotional Abuse | 21 comments

Where there are lies, there is evil. When I think of evil, I think of Sauron, Hannibal Lecter, and Emperor Palpatine. I don’t think of a Sunday School teacher at church. But maybe I should. I just finished the book, People of the Lie by M. Scott Peck. I seriously could not put this book down. It was fascinating and disturbing. I compiled my favorite creepy quotes in one place, along with my brief commentary:

“When confronted by evil, the wisest and most secure adult will usually experience confusion. Imagine then, what is must be like for a naive child who encounters evil in the ones it most loves and upon whom it depends. Add to this the fact that evil people, refusing to acknowledge their own failures, actually desire to project their evil onto others, and it is no wonder that children will misinterpret the process by hating themselves.”

This is covert child abuse. The kind that happens in “Christian” homes.

“Among themselves, therapists will not infrequently refer to a patient’s psychopathology as being “overwhelming.” We mean this literally. We literally feel overwhelmed by the labyrinthine mass of lies and twisted motives and distorted communication into which we will be drawn if we attempt to work with such people in the intimate relationship of psychotherapy. We feel, usually quite accurately, that not only will we fail in our attempts to pull them out of the morass of their sickness but that we may also be pulled down into it ourselves. We are too weak to help such patients – too blind to see an end to the twisted corridors into which we will be led, too small to maintain our love in the face of their hatred.”

Imagine being married to a person like this. (Some of you are!) If a psychologist feels overwhelmed being with such an individual once per week, how are the family members expected to cope on a daily basis? “…the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs 13:20

“Finally, as I have mentioned, very few evil people are willing to be psychotherapy clients in the first place. Except under extraordinary circumstances, they will do everything possible to flee the light-shedding process of therapy.”

Do you know people like this? They desperately need professional help, but they’ll be damned before they submit to such an affront to their pride.

“There is another reaction that the evil frequently engender in us: confusion. Describing an encounter with an evil person, one woman wrote, it was “as if I’d suddenly lost my ability to think.” Once again, this reaction is quite appropriate. Lies confuse. The evil are “people of the lie,” deceiving others as they also build layer upon layer of self-deception….”

Liars confuse us. Confusion and chaos are Satan’s territory. If you are in a state of confusion, chances are you are in close proximity to a liar.

“The attempt to heal the evil should not be lightly undertaken. It must be done from a position of remarkable psychological and spiritual strength.”

Yet so many churches expect a broken down wife to pick up the pieces of her life and be a source of healing for her abusive husband. Um. No.

“…it is necessary that we first draw the distinction between evil and ordinary sin. It is not their sins, per se that characterize evil people, rather it is the subtlety and persistence and consistency of their sins. This is because the central defect of the evil is not the sin but the refusal to acknowledge it.

Did you catch that? This is a key characteristic of an abuser.

“Evil deeds do not an evil person make. Otherwise we should all be evil, because we all do evil things….If evil people cannot be defined by the illegality of their deeds or the magnitude of their sins, then how are we to define them? The answer is by the consistency of their sins.While usually subtle, their destructiveness is remarkably consistent. This is because those who have “crossed over the line” [into evil] are characterized by their absolute refusal to tolerate the sense of their own sinfulness.”

See the repeating theme here?

“A predominant characteristic, however, of the behavior of those I call evil is scapegoating. Because in their hearts they consider themselves above reproach, they must lash out at anyone who does reproach them.”

Do you know someone who takes every piece of feedback you might give to them and turns it onto YOU? As if YOU are the one with the problem? That’s scapegoating. All abusers do it.

“Scapegoating works through a mechanism psychiatrists call projection. Since the evil, deep down, feel themselves to be faultless, it is inevitable that when they are in conflict with the world they will invariably perceive the conflict as the world’s fault. Since they must deny their own badness, they must perceive others as bad. They project their own evil onto the world….Evil, then, is most often committed in order to scapegoat, and the people I label as evil are chronic scapegoaters.”

So I hope it’s dawning on everyone here: abusers are, well, EVIL.

“Utterly dedicated to preserving their self-image of perfection, they are unceasingly engaged in an effort to maintain the appearance of moral purity. They worry about this a great deal. They are acutely sensitive to social norms and what others might think of them. Like Bobby’s parents, they dress well, go to work on time, pay their taxes, and outwardly seem to live lives above reproach. The words “image,” “appearance,” and “outwardly” are crucial to understanding the morality of evil. While they seem to lack any motivation to BE good, they intensely desire to appear good. Their “goodness” is all on a level of pretense. It is, in effect, a lie. This is why they are the “people of the lie.” Actually, the lie is designed not so much to deceive others as to deceive themselves.”

Remember what the Bible calls Satan? An angel of LIGHT. Remember those Pharisees that Jesus had so many nice things to say about? They were white washed tombs with dead man’s bones in them.

“Evil originates not in the absence of guilt, but in the effort to escape it. It often happens then, that the evil may be recognized by its very disguise.”
“Since the primary motive of the evil is disguise, one of the places evil people are most likely to be found is within the church. What better way to conceal one’s evil from oneself, as well as from others, than to be a deacon or some other highly visible form of Christian within our culture? …Evil people tend to gravitate toward piety for the disguise and concealment it can offer them.”

Within the church— and within the “Christian” home.

“The reader will be struck by the extraordinary willfulness of evil people. They are men and women of obviously strong will, determined to have their own way.”

They must win at all costs. You are just road kill in the way.

“As I noted in The Road Less Traveled, it is often the most spiritually healthy and advanced among us who are called on to suffer in ways more agonizing than anything experienced by the more ordinary. Great leaders, when wise and well, are likely to endure degrees of anguish unknown to the common man. Conversely, it is the unwillingness to suffer emotional pain that usually lies at the very root of emotional illness. Those who fully experience depression, doubt, confusion, and despair, may be infinitely more healthy than those who are generally certain, complacent, and self- satisfied. The denial of suffering is, in fact, a better definition of illness than its acceptance. The evil deny the suffering of their guilt – the painful awareness of their sin, inadequacy, and imperfection – by casting their pain onto others through projection and scapegoating. They themselves may not suffer, but those around them do. They cause suffering. The evil create for those under their dominion a miniature sick society.”

And this is why abusive men hiding in their homes need to be exposed. Their homes are sick because they are sick, and they spread their sickness to everyone around them.

They are evil. They are People of the Lie.

21 Comments

  1. Wendy Oliver

    Wow! Sooo well written… I’m thinking it is because you LIVED IT?!?!
    All I know is you wrote it and posted it for the first time in 2015… when I was still unpacking my betrayal, pain and heart ache of THE LIAR I WAS MARRIED TO! I just read THIS TRUTH DEPICTION on 1/23/2020… a little Less than 5 years LATER!
    Reading it tonight, took me BACK to a space I had walked out of.. or should I say CRAWLED AND CLIMBED OUT OF. You captured IT WELL!… thinking only the “sisters” that have experienced this EVIL… can get the DEEPNESS of this truth!…..we have a “sisterhood” that joins us together..
    ARISE we are and will from THE EVIL!
    Thank you for the TRUTH here!!

    Reply
  2. Teisha

    That first excerpt… Kids blaming and hating themselves happens. I’ll be 40 this year and I’m still trying to undo that damage. Anyone who tells you that an emotionally/verbally abusive father won’t do any serious harm to a child is wrong.

    My mom did the best she could to try and be a buffer and offset the toxic messages of abuse. Part of me wanted to be angry that she kept making excuses and smoothing things over, but in learning more, I have more compassion for her than anything now. What horrible things she had to put up with, and what a difficult position she was in.

    My heart breaks for the kids and moms stuck in this kind of situation where they are the scapegoats for someone else’s sin.

    Reply
  3. Anna

    Hi Natalie,

    I contacted you a week ago (via the online form) regarding coaching.

    Would you be able to give me more information?

    Many thanks.

    Reply
    • Natalie

      I didn’t get anything – but I will email you now!

      Reply
  4. MicroGal

    What’s scary is my narc ex read this book and loved it. It’s disturbingly sick. Was he gaining more knowledge of how to abuse and torment me?! He is a pathological liar who cheated on me repeatedly through our marriage (as often as he could). This leaves me with a sick feeling in my stomach.

    Reply
    • Natalie Anne

      Narcs do learn from reading. They often get great ideas from the counseling appointments they are forced to go to with their target. Emotional abuse IS sick, and it makes the targets sick in so many ways…

      Reply
  5. Hope

    Well put!! This was wonderfully written, and I love the quotes 🙂
    I have definitely seen this, and have labelled it as evil myself, for as it says it is not the act of sin that is evil it is the unwillingness to change, and the consistency with which it continues.

    Reply
  6. Julie

    How do I tell a person I love that she is close friends with an abusive girl? I fear that my friend wants to help this “needy, wounded” girl by serving her and loving her unconditionally, but she doesn’t see that what the abusive girl needs is to repent of her sin. My friend has always shown a teachable attitude. How do I broach this subject with her? At least so that when her “friend” turns on her (which she will, as she always has with other “best friends”) my friend will recognize the signs and remember what was told to her before. I feel such a burden to warn her. I know she is ensnared and doesn’t even realize it.

    Reply
    • Natalie Klejwa

      I think you could ask questions to get her thinking. Things like, “How do you think your efforts to help have impacted so and so?” Your friend’s relationship with the other girl is out of your jurisdiction. It’s between those two girls. Asking questions might help your friend to think through things, but ultimately, she will need to go through her own learning experience. Sometimes we learn best by making mistakes. I’m guessing those two won’t get married – so it’s all good in that respect. 🙂

      Reply
  7. carlene

    Also must acknowledge … sometimes evil is truly just evil seeking a willing vessel. Doesn’t necessarily make it easier on the target. But when I look back and recognize too many kinds of evil, too many ways to do evil, for a particular person to have imagined or even been capable of doing, I recognize years when I could have been praying against instead of cowering under. Which lets me know better what to do now. And maybe I couldn’t have seen from inside. Maybe I had to be out, away from the smokescreens, to be able to see clearly.

    Reply
  8. CeeKay

    Incredibly powerful truth! Thank you for speaking it.

    Reply
  9. Lynn

    “Yet so many churches expect a broken down wife to pick up the pieces of her life and be a source of healing for her abusive husband. Um. No.”

    Amen to that!

    Reply
  10. Virginia Knowles

    Excellent quotes! That made me think of Patricia Evans’s book The Verbally Abusive Relationship, so I am writing a post on pervasive, pernicious power.

    Reply
  11. jennie

    This is very insightful.

    Reply
  12. Jill

    What a great article – thank you. I had seen the link between my husband (and other abusers) and ‘People of the Lie’, but you put it so well.

    Reply
  13. Loretta

    Powerful words and so true. I’ve experienced this in my own life; not with my husband, he is a wonderful man but with my entire family. Needless to say we are not on speaking terms. In our own church we struggle with this issue. Our minister, elders and deacons are well aware of the issue of abuse and past history was kept in family, not talked about and tolerated. Issues like these are becoming more and more exposed and our church leaders are not equipped to deal with them. They are not health counsellors. They know what is right spiritually but not what to do practically. It is difficult to see family’s broken up and we try as Christians to keep it together as much as possible so we bury our heads in the sand and hope it goes away. My point is that in our churches (the one I belong too) we now work closely with a Christian counselling group, we have an organization for addicts and other issues. They are all being addressed in a Christian manner and we are very blessed because let’s face it we live in a broken world that encroaches more and more into our lives as we come closer to the last days.

    Reply
    • Hope

      That’s awesome that your church is realizing that they, by themselves aren’t fully equipped to deal with all that madness 🙂

      I wish more churches were willing to actually recommend therapy and the like, rather than being so quick to dismiss stuff.

      Reply
  14. Lisa Whitehead

    And the trouble is, that those of us who recognise and hate and repent of our sin, will read and understand this post – while those who have a seared conscience will fight it!
    Thanks for the information and the prayer points!

    Reply

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