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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Is it abuse or brain damage when pathological lying comes from alcoholics?

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If you were wondering, pathological lying is abuse

Alcohol can damage the hippocampus of the brain, making it hard to decipher whether an alcoholic is lying or has brain damage. An article I found on the subject is HERE.

You can also see the disturbing pictures of brain damage from alcohol HERE.

Do you wonder if you are in an abusive relationship with an alcoholic (even if the abuse isn't physical)? Take the quiz HERE (mainly for partners of alcoholics, but you can modify your answers if you are in other kinds of relationships). 

But the disease of alcoholism (without brain damage) can also turn a person into a pathological liar. Here are some snippets from an article by Floyd P. Garrett, M.D.:

The first casualty of addiction, like that of war, is the truth. At first the addict merely denies the truth to himself. But as the addiction, like a malignant tumor, slowly and progressively expands and invades more and more of the healthy tissue of his life and mind and world, the addict begins to deny the truth to others as well as to himself. He becomes a practiced and profligate liar in all matters related to the defense and preservation of his addiction, even though prior to the onset of his addictive illness, and often still in areas as yet untouched by the addiction, he may be scrupulously honest.
First the addict lies to himself about his addiction, then he begins to lie to others. Lying, evasion, deception, manipulation, spinning and other techniques for avoiding or distorting the truth are necessary parts of the addictive process.
... In order for the addiction to continue it requires an increasingly idiosyncratic private reality subject to the needs of the addictive process and indifferent or even actively hostile to the healthy needs of the addict and those around him.
... in the more serious or advanced cases all such human counter-attacks upon the addiction, even, indeed especially when they come from those closest and dearest to the addict, fall upon deaf ears and a hardened heart. The addict's obsession-driven, monomaniacal private reality prevents him from being able to hear and assimilate anything that would if acknowledged pose a threat to the continuance of his addiction...
... At this stage of addiction the addict is in fact functionally insane. It is usually quite impossible, even sometimes harmful to attempt to talk him out of his delusions regarding his addiction. This situation is similar to that encountered in other psychotic illnesses, schizophrenia for example, in which the individual is convinced of the truth of things that are manifestly untrue to everyone else.
... In many cases the addict responds to negative feedback from others about his addiction by following the maxim of "Attack the attacker." Those who confront or complain about the addict's irrational and unhealthy behaviors are criticized, analyzed and dismissed by the addict as untrustworthy or biased observers and false messengers. -- Floyd P. Garrett, M.D., Psychiatrist

Perhaps this is why addiction often mimics psychological disorders like Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Schizophrenia

Here is an excerpt from someone I found on the AA Active Board:

Alcoholics Are Usually Pathological Liars
Long before they became physically addicted and often when they're very young, most alcoholics adopted lying as a "preferred defense strategy."  In other words, they usually found it easier to lie their way out of situations than to tell the truth and face the consequences.  And once fully addicted, they now have an endless supply of reasons for lying because they are always making excuses for their behavior and shortcomings.
So eventually, lying becomes a way of life and the first lie is that they don't have a problem and they don't need help.  And because everything else is built on top of the denial that they don't have a problem and they don't need help, everything else about their life tends to become a mixture of lying and denial as well.  That's how an alcoholic can rationalize sitting in a bar bragging about their children while in reality, they've abandoned their kids and stopped making child support payments.  In essence, the alcoholic is such a convincing and constant liar and denier, while they're in a good "buzz zone," they can even convince themselves of the lies. -- Larry H.

Quotes on lying and addiction from recovered alcoholics:

The deceit & dishonesty that addiction brings to love is certainly not what love is about. It's contrary to its very nature, to its essence ... Addiction replaces family & friends with those that don't love, those that really don't care, & those that will never have your back ... Addiction is a bully, a liar, a cheat. It taunts. It stifles. It disrespects & disrupts. It removes the life & the heart out of the spirit ... Addiction puts extraordinary pressure on ordinary people. It puts strain on all they hold dearly. It takes honor from everyone it touches. -- Jim Wallor, PainofAddiction.com

Grandiosity and self-centeredness are issues with all recovering addicts ... why we need sponsors to help us stay on track. -- Michael Liimatta, Chief Academic Officer at City Vision College, Kansas City, Missouri

Alcohol destroyed my ability to stand up for something more important than my own narcissistic addictions. -- Bill Wilson

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