Don’t make the mistake of thinking that liars aren’t aware of their behavior. Lying is a conscious tactic to manipulate another person. You must understand that you are the target of manipulation when someone lies to you.
Why do people lie? The liar is trying to take a position of power over the target, to secure a one-up, one-down advantage and the best way to do this is through deception.
One often overlooked type of deception is lying by omission. A manipulator believes they didn’t lie by not telling you the whole truth. Bill Clinton is a good example: when he said “I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” he neglected to add that he obviously doesn’t consider fellatio to be sexual relations (only intercourse is, perhaps) because “that woman” was doing it to him. This is a gummed up, hobbled together mess of a deceptive mental process.
Being vague is another version of the lie and its purpose is to keep the recipient only partially informed. Its opposite — unnecessary specificity — is a tactic used to make the lie seem true.
Liars also obstruct the truth behind a wall of true facts designed to give the illusion that they are being honest. Behind the wall is a one crucial detail that negates the avalanche of true bits of information and, if revealed, would turn those facts into corroboration for the lie.
Regardless of the tactic employed in the lie, you must remember that disturbed characters purposefully lie to keep you in the dark, to help them maintain the upper hand, to avoid accountability and responsibility for their actions, and to control you.
In my opinion, one lie is too many and I encourage my clients to practice radical integrity. Understandably, we all tell white lies thinking we are protecting our loved ones, but more than one lie represents a pattern of deceitful intent designed to control.