Position, Position, Position — Why the Habitual Liar Lies

Using the example of Ben Ferguson’s interview with #AndySavage #churchtoo #silenceisnotspiritual

A political candidate was confronted by reporters regarding something she had said during a speech. She denied saying it. So the reporters showed her the tape. She watched the tape and watched herself say it. She then looked back to the reporters and they asked her if she saw what she said. She replied, “No, I didn’t say it.”

Recently Ben Ferguson, a radio show host, was confronted about whether a live radio interview he had done with pastor Andy Savage had been edited before the interview aired. Ferguson emphatically denied that the show had been edited before it was put online. In fact he said, “I never allow my interviews to be edited before we release.” (source) He denied the allegation so aggressively on twitter that he called in question the motive of his confronter. Yet, within days it was undeniably proven (by Amy Smith from Watchkeep: link) that the online version of the interview had, in fact, been edited. The radio show host had knowingly and purposively lied and he continued to maintain his lie in light of documented proof.

When confronted with seemingly senseless and remorseless liars we often ask ourselves, “Are these people delusional? Are they in denial? Or at the least, are they being irrational?”

These are questions that victims of domestic abuse also find themselves asking because lying is a common tactic of their abusers. In fact, the abuser can tell his lie with such confidence and conviction that the victim can be left feeling crazy, confused, and questioning herself.

Most of us are familiar with the real-estate slogan that emphasizes an important aspect of real-estate: Location, Location, Location. Dr. George Simon, a clinical psychologist who has spent the majority of his career dealing with manipulative and character-disordered people, plays on this triple emphasis when discussing aggressive personalities.

According to Simon the primary interpersonal concern and agenda of an aggressive personality is Position, Position, Position. These bullet points show Simon’s explanation of what is behind the pathological liar’s need for position. (source: Manipulators & Character Disorders: Interventions, Perspectives & Strategies workbook p13, 2016)

  • Position (want upper hand/advantage)
  • Position (want to ‘win’, dominate, control)
  • Position (seek superior position — either don’t recognize or won’t submit to a higher power or authority)

Dr Simon says that when you understand these three aspects of position you understand pathological lying.

It’s all about position.

Habitual liars don’t want you to know who they really are.

Simon explains that habitual liars don’t want you to know who they really are. They don’t want you to know what’s going on or what they are really up to. When they can keep their targets confused and in the dark about what is really happening, they have the advantage. They have the position.

And that is what it’s all about.

Is this type of liar delusional? Is he in denial? Is he being irrational? As the target you probably want to ask the liar, “Are you out of your mind?”

It seems completely senseless and irrational that Ben Ferguson or the political candidate would lie about something that could easily be proven true or false. And yet they maintained their lies even after they were publicly exposed.  “Are they crazy?” we wonder.

No, they are not and neither is your abuser. They are not delusional or in denial. They are not even being irrational. In fact, they are being very rational. Remember — it’s all about position.

It’s always about position.

Further Reading

Why Some People Lie So Much by Dr. George Simon

Habitual Liars and Their Agendas by Dr. George Simon

7 thoughts on “Position, Position, Position — Why the Habitual Liar Lies”

  1. One of my favorite comments that I’ve found on ACFJ is “How do you know when your abuser is lying? When he opens his mouth to speak”. I’m pretty sure that their motivation for doing or saying anything is for position. The position of being over their target. Keeping their victim under them is necessary to maintain control. Because that is really what it’s all about, isn’t it?

    My husband of […] years (separated about a year since I came out of the fog) was not physically violent, did not call me horrible names, no longer yelled and raged. But he had a look that was sufficient to make me cower. When a good friend mentioned that he didn’t have to use rage anymore because I was so well controlled, I wept. Because that was true. His lies had me believing I deserved to be so under his control that I could barely think for myself. But they were pernicious lies. Small, chipping away at the real me until I was just a shell of who I was meant to be. People who know me comment that I’m like a new person. They have a hard time understanding how there can be so much joy in the ending of a very long marriage. But there is joy in freedom. Freedom from the oppression of lies.

    The example of a child’s ball held under water just came to mind. That’s how their lies are. They hold you down. Feeling like you’ll drown, sometimes. But when you’re able to get out from under the control and the lies you burst up out of the water, filled, it seems, with new life. I praise God for His mercy in allowing me and leading me to escape the lies.

    Thank you to ACFJ for playing a very vital part in my journey to freedom and recovery. I share my story to hopefully help others. The stories of so many who have shared on this blog are one of the things that has helped me most.

  2. All members of this club have paid very heavy dues. Deep scars, compassion and hope are our badge of honor, often returning to a mode of deeper healing. We will be healing for a lifetime, but we will also be wearing our badge, even through our difficult seasons.

  3. Ben Ferguson said:

    I never allow my interviews to be edited before we release.

    Using the word “never” instead of just saying “did not” would make this statement ‘not a reliable denial’ according to Statement Analysis. At best, it is unreliable and at worst, it’s a lie, which was subsequently proven.

    Lundy Bancroft also addresses an aspect of this lying, when abusers deny and minimize abuse:

    The partners of this style of abusers ask me: ‘After an incident, it seems like he really believes the abuse didn’t happen. Is he consciously lying?’ The answer in most cases is yes. Most abusers do not have severe memory problems. He probably remembers exactly what he did, especially when only a short time has passed. He denies his actions to close off discussion because he doesn’t want to answer for what he did, and perhaps he even wants you to feel frustrated and crazy. (Why Does He Do That? p. 72)

    As you noted, it’s always about maintaining position (power / control over) and avoiding accountability. I had a boss that did this, and it was absolutely crazy-making. I also have a sibling that would lie to your face and tell you they didn’t say something, literally 2 seconds after they said it. It’s evil.

  4. I honestly look very much forward to these duplicitous, calculating, abusive, malignant, lying, wicked people burning in hellfire. The longer I have lived, the more injustice I have seen and become aware of, the more I have begun to understand the need for future divine retribution and the punishment of the wicked.

Leave a comment. It's ok to use a made up name (e.g Anon37). For safety tips read 'New Users Info' (top menu). Tick the box if you want to be notified of new comments.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.