Being lied to is a betrayal of sorts. Feelings of betrayal stir up additional strong emotions like anger, mistrust, sadness, and disappointment. Don’t let your anger get the best of you in front of the liar. Find another outlet to process your negative feelings. It’s better to deal with the lying by being kind and supportive, but firm.
Expect the liar to deny their behavior. Try to anticipate their reaction. Don’t be surprised if they become enraged or express shock at being accused. Don’t take it personally. Let them know that they don’t need to impress you and that you value them as a person.
You always have a choice to deal with a pathological liar. You don’t have to engage with them at all. You are in the driver’s seat, and you can choose whether to continue the conversation with someone that you know is being dishonest.
PsychCentral states that you can protect yourself by feeling free to call them out on their lies. If it was anyone else who was telling a story and the details weren’t adding up, you’d probably be obliged to question it. Why act any differently under this situation? A good strategy is to act confused (you might not even have to act much!). For example, you might say something like, “You just said that took an acting class at college and got a leading role; yet, I see your college transcript in front of you, and it doesn’t list an acting class. I’m confused as to why you want me to believe that you have a lead in a play.” Calling someone out on a lie can be helpful as long as you do with tact and come from a place of integrity. Don’t belittle them or argue with them about it. The main goal here is just to let them know that you didn’t buy it.
Another strategy is to attempt to clarify the information by appearing as if you don’t understand them. After being lied to you simply act like you don’t get it. For example, “I don’t get why you told me that you were at school yesterday when Sam told me he visited with you at your home.” A pathological liar wants to have the upper hand, and by giving off the appearance that you don’t understand a situation, you take the top position. This will help the liar come clean without feeling like he or she just got caught in a lie.
Another tactic you can try when trying to protect yourself from a pathological liar is not to believe anything at all until you can confirm it. You may not be able to stop the behavior, and that means that you won’t ever be able to take anything they say at face value. If you give the appearance that you believe the pathological liar’s lies, they will be off and running and may embellish the lies even more. Once the liar believes they have you well in their clutches, they feel empowered to keep the lies going. Under these circumstances, it’s best to remain neutral while focusing and detaching. As you can, weigh the lies with the facts.