People Who Feel Wrong

Austin Popper

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I once - very briefly - went out with a guy who sounds a lot like Lizard's Andy. Told me he owned a house (when I went round there it was as 'elderly person' as you could get, I suspected he lived with his parents), and had a house in Spain. He showed me the pics of the 'house in Spain' and it looked like a holiday villa to me, and I reckon the pics were taken on holiday. He started making noises about having to move (some kind of 'security' thing to do with his job) and was trying to get me to let him move in with me. I told him to move to the house in Spain and cut off all contact. I don't know if he was a fantasist, or a pathological liar, or even just a sad little man with no life, trying to make himself sound interesting, but as the manipulation started to cut in ('I've got to leave this house or they'll get me and I've got nowhere else to go') I was out of there.
Sometimes it's hard to know whether to pull the plug on a relationship. Other times, there is no question about it.
 

Swifty

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It's a difficult one. I wonder how many people who have committed serious crimes, have been viewed as harmless fantasists before hand?When you watch documentaries of the Columbine Killers{had we not seen the videos they made of themselves} they appeared to be nerdy guys who you would never suspect to do such a thing. They went onto inspire{for won't of another word} other nerdy appearing guys to do the same thing.So now it's the nerdy looking weird guys people expect to do this sort of thing!
He is a nerdy guy, yes ... I've known him for a few years now and first impressions are that he's a really really nice bloke. In fact, when his ex first told me what he was actually like, I wasn't sure who to believe but I chose to believe her anyway, not sure if I was doing the right thing. When her young daughters confirmed that he'd told them he'd throw them off the cliff, her original partner, the father, came down and had words with him after he'd been dumped. Me and her original partner go back years and I believe him (and her) 100% that she and the kids weren't lying.

Nerdy boy reminds me a bit of Paddy Consadine's character in Shane Meadow's film 'Room For Romeo Brass' ..

 

Zeke Newbold

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It's a difficult one. I wonder how many people who have committed serious crimes, have been viewed as harmless fantasists before hand?When you watch documentaries of the Columbine Killers{had we not seen the videos they made of themselves} they appeared to be nerdy guys who you would never suspect to do such a thing. They went onto inspire{for won't of another word} other nerdy appearing guys to do the same thing.So now it's the nerdy looking weird guys people expect to do this sort of thing!
Good old Bill Mahler nailed this one some time ago. (Mods: I don't think this counts as `political`):


I was (am) a weird nerdy single guy myself. I would never have gone on a violence spree but was full of anger in my younger days. It dissapates as you get older and realise how fucked up everyone else is, in spite of appearances - and how many close shaves you've avoided.
 

Lord Lucan

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It's a difficult one. I wonder how many people who have committed serious crimes, have been viewed as harmless fantasists before hand?When you watch documentaries of the Columbine Killers{had we not seen the videos they made of themselves} they appeared to be nerdy guys who you would never suspect to do such a thing. They went onto inspire{for won't of another word} other nerdy appearing guys to do the same thing.So now it's the nerdy looking weird guys people expect to do this sort of thing!
Not that I'm suggesting anything, but when people are caught for crimes, their families, friends and neighbours are the ones always the most surprised.
 

Eyespy

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That’s exactly my sister... she has many issues, and has behaved appallingly to so many people over the years. Basically whenever a group of friends calls her out on behaviour or lies, she has a HUGE and dramatic falling out with them, and moves on. Makes me sad because she’ll be 50 this year, and how long can she keep behaving like this? But she’s so utterly convinced none of it is down to her that she refuses to seek help to change.
I sympathise deeply, I have a sister like this.
Some how it is my fault that I have a lovely spouse, nice kids and a reasonably comfortable home has caused her hardships and problems and has been at her expense. Amazing level of double think some people can achieve.
 

EnolaGaia

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That’s exactly my sister... Makes me sad because she’ll be 50 this year, and how long can she keep behaving like this? But she’s so utterly convinced none of it is down to her that she refuses to seek help to change.
I regret to inform you these sorts of pathological habits don't have any built-in expiration date. I've seen too many cases in which they persist all the way up to death.
 

EnolaGaia

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I sympathise deeply, I have a sister like this.
Some how it is my fault that I have a lovely spouse, nice kids and a reasonably comfortable home has caused her hardships and problems and has been at her expense. Amazing level of double think some people can achieve.
I've seen this same long-term delusional effect in people who were not pathological liars - or maybe it would be more accurate to say they weren't pathological liars in relation to anyone other than themselves.

The two most extreme, close, and ultimately painful examples were my teen-era best pal and my sole sibling (brother). In both cases the individual:

- never managed to establish himself as a freestanding independent actor out in the "real world";
- fell back into lifelong occupation of his original childhood nest (family home);
- kept everyone else off his back by caring for others (one a hospital worker, the other a personal caregiver) by day; and
- committed slow suicide via extreme alcoholism by night.

Both ended up as Jekyll / Hyde characters who were appreciated (and whose fatal flaws were overlooked) for the convenience / service they somehow consistently afforded others, yet were otherwise deeply and darkly scathing in their propensity for damning anyone else for having attained the independence and benefits they themselves had failed to have fall into their laps without putting out any requisite effort.

Both evolved into bitter and arrogantly judgmental pricks who scared away anyone who'd ever liked, much less loved, them. Both died alone, beyond the reach of all the people they'd ejected from their personal sphere. I have little doubt that to the extent either consciously recognized their solitude in those final hours they blamed everyone else for that as well.
 

PeteS

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I regret to inform you these sorts of pathological habits don't have any built-in expiration date. I've seen too many cases in which they persist all the way up to death.
Certainly that was the case with an elderly person I knew. Lied up to the very time of her heart attack from which she died an few hours later in her nineties.
 

escargot

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Certainly that was the case with an elderly person I knew. Lied up to the very time of her heart attack from which she died an few hours later in her nineties.
Reminds me of the alleged final words of the famous 'White Horse Psychic' Jeanne Dixon during her fatal heart attack - 'I knew this would happen!'
 

escargot

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I spend part of my working day in places where suicides sometimes happen. If anyone nearby looks a bit nervous and maybe drunk, takes an interest in the dangerous part of the environment, wanders up and down, makes or takes fraught-seeming phone calls and so on, I ring or text to get them watched on CCV and hopefully someone will be there ASAP to talk to them.

Maybe they're just having a bad day. Maybe I've averted some tragedy, maybe not, I'll never know. But if they look wrong to me I take an interest.
 

Swifty

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I spend part of my working day in places where suicides sometimes happen. If anyone nearby looks a bit nervous and maybe drunk, takes an interest in the dangerous part of the environment, wanders up and down, makes or takes fraught-seeming phone calls and so on, I ring or text to get them watched on CCV and hopefully someone will be there ASAP to talk to them.

Maybe they're just having a bad day. Maybe I've averted some tragedy, maybe not, I'll never know. But if they look wrong to me I take an interest.
It's a dirty job but someone's got to do it .. I've had to stop two kids jumping off roofs in the past .. have this as gratitude

 

escargot

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It's a dirty job but someone's got to do it .. I've had to stop two kids jumping off roofs in the past .. have this as gratitude

You could update that now and then, as when Eric Idle did when he performed as Koko in The Mikado.*
All his references are still recognisable from the news of that time. He often changed them to include the tabloid outrages of the day.

'And who on close observance must be either stoned or pissed' - that was strong stuff in 1987!

(As I looked up Idle's lyrics I read 'Bishops who don't believe in God' just as Bishop John A.T. Robinson's Honest to God was mentioned on t'wireless. Spooky!)
 

Scribbles

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We had a guy in to finish-up my garden art studio (just an insulated shed with double glazed windows, nothing fancy) who was a Walter Mitty. He seemed shockingly normal when I first met him, but I always reserve judgement on anyone who does any work on the house or in our garden, because invariably they turn out to be conmen or expect me to meet some emotional need by knocking off work to talk to me about their problems for an hour.

Anway, of course, as soon as he starts on the job, his 'personality' comes out. The guy is Polish but he spent some time in America (this I believe because his accent was a strange mix of Polish and New York) and I'm getting mob stories, health insurance frauds, liqueur scams, runs to Mexico for illegal stuff etc

Now at first I want to find all this interesting even if it's made-up, and even if it's delaying the work, but a good story always winds-up in such nonsense. He's just talking crap, for prolonged periods. And I can't even ask the guy if he wants a coffee without getting trapped into listening to a stream of conscious story in which he is always the hero. He quickly gets on my nerves.

Worse, I can tell he's trying to ingratiate himself with me. Offering me fags, saying he can get this and that on the cheap for me, telling me he can help me defraud HMRC.

Nope, nope, nope.

We gave him his three days, paid him his money, and are finishing off the studio ourselves. Last straw was him asking if he could rent our garage to store some stuff in.

No.

Anyway, the thing about people like this is, their constant need to tell stories, to invent their own reality, is born in trauma. Sustained trauma, or as it's now diagnosed, complex-ptsd, does all sorts of things to the mind, and the reality for the person often breaks down, leaving them unable to sustain relationships or hold down jobs. They start off in new situations, present themselves in a certain light, and start grooming the people around them. But it can never last. In the end, reality will always come in like a wrecking ball. Then these people just move on, leaving a huge mess behind them.

I'm probably not telling anyone here anything they don't already know, but sustained childhood neglect and abuse often leaves this type of legacy. Also women who have been in violent relationships, or who have worked in prostitution, often get diagnosed with personality disorders, when actually their difficulties do not stem from an inate illness, but are caused by trauma.
 

Scribbles

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Also, I highly recommend Malcolm Gladwell's new book, Talking to Strangers.

If you've ever wondered why people get away with stuff for so long, this book's explains how.

Basic premise is that "most" people are willing to believe that the world is mostly good, that people are generally honest, that they can tell when someone is telling a lie. This makes sense in evolutionary terms, because if our default wasn't to trust, then we would spend too much time getting people to prove themselves and spending energy on checking people out, rather than just cooperating.

Gladwell argues that it's worth the small price of being conned every now and again, because our lives are much easier being able to trust other people most of the time.

However, those that have little trust in others, again often something that can be traced back to a difficult childhoods, are very useful in professions such as fraud detection. Their default is that everyone is lying, so they look for the lies. They don't do what most of us do and allow ourselves to be fooled into thinking everything is OK, because our default is that people are mostly truthful.

One last thing on this book. Gladwell demonstrates that we expect people to show facial expressions that match the emotions that they have. So if someone "looks" remorseful, we allow ourselves to believe that they "are" remorseful. We don't like to think the person is deliberately looking remorseful because it will get them out of trouble.

I would say that the thing that Gladwell misses in this is instinct. How often do we see written on this board "something felt wrong" or "something about them" felt wrong. Gladwell sticks to us reading facial expressions, but humans communicate in much more complex ways than that. I think The people who get groomed by conmen or taken in by liars, are people who habitually override their gut feelings.
 

escargot

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Also, I highly recommend Malcolm Gladwell's new book, Talking to Strangers.

If you've ever wondered why people get away with stuff for so long, this book's explains how.

Basic premise is that "most" people are willing to believe that the world is mostly good, that people are generally honest, that they can tell when someone is telling a lie. This makes sense in evolutionary terms, because if our default wasn't to trust, then we would spend too much time getting people to prove themselves and spending energy on checking people out, rather than just cooperating.

Gladwell argues that it's worth the small price of being conned every now and again, because our lives are much easier being able to trust other people most of the time.

However, those that have little trust in others, again often something that can be traced back to a difficult childhoods, are very useful in professions such as fraud detection. Their default is that everyone is lying, so they look for the lies. They don't do what most of us do and allow ourselves to be fooled into thinking everything is OK, because our default is that people are mostly truthful.

One last thing on this book. Gladwell demonstrates that we expect people to show facial expressions that match the emotions that they have. So if someone "looks" remorseful, we allow ourselves to believe that they "are" remorseful. We don't like to think the person is deliberately looking remorseful because it will get them out of trouble.

I would say that the thing that Gladwell misses in this is instinct. How often do we see written on this board "something felt wrong" or "something about them" felt wrong. Gladwell sticks to us reading facial expressions, but humans communicate in much more complex ways than that. I think The people who get groomed by conmen or taken in by liars, are people who habitually override their gut feelings.
Was this serialised on R4 recently?
 

PeteS

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Also, I highly recommend Malcolm Gladwell's new book, Talking to Strangers.

If you've ever wondered why people get away with stuff for so long, this book's explains how.

Basic premise is that "most" people are willing to believe that the world is mostly good, that people are generally honest, that they can tell when someone is telling a lie. This makes sense in evolutionary terms, because if our default wasn't to trust, then we would spend too much time getting people to prove themselves and spending energy on checking people out, rather than just cooperating.

Gladwell argues that it's worth the small price of being conned every now and again, because our lives are much easier being able to trust other people most of the time.

However, those that have little trust in others, again often something that can be traced back to a difficult childhoods, are very useful in professions such as fraud detection. Their default is that everyone is lying, so they look for the lies. They don't do what most of us do and allow ourselves to be fooled into thinking everything is OK, because our default is that people are mostly truthful.

One last thing on this book. Gladwell demonstrates that we expect people to show facial expressions that match the emotions that they have. So if someone "looks" remorseful, we allow ourselves to believe that they "are" remorseful. We don't like to think the person is deliberately looking remorseful because it will get them out of trouble.

I would say that the thing that Gladwell misses in this is instinct. How often do we see written on this board "something felt wrong" or "something about them" felt wrong. Gladwell sticks to us reading facial expressions, but humans communicate in much more complex ways than that. I think The people who get groomed by conmen or taken in by liars, are people who habitually override their gut feelings.
Food for thought there. I've never related this Walter Mitty habit to trauma. Doesn't explain all cases of course - I've known habitual liars who had a very normal upbringing. Part of my job was fraud investigation, but I wouldn't say I was distrusting, simply that I am pretty intuitive and can fairly easily spot if something is wrong, as you did with your contractor. It really does amaze me sometimes how normal, intelligent people are so easily taken in, but perhaps that does relate to my training.
 
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