Faking It: Linda

"It's important for me to be in disguise. I'm a pathological liar. A total con," says Linda, who's using a

pseudonym. "I pretend to be sick. I told people that I needed a kidney transplant, and I didn't. I told my friend at my job that I was sick. I taped a dialysis tube to my chest. A year and a half later, she still believed that I was waiting for a kidney. She was even willing to actually give me her kidney."

 

Linda says that living a lie comes easy to her, and she learned many tricks to playing the role, such as: taking medicine to make herself throw up, changing her makeup to make her skin pale and losing 50 pounds to look severely ill. "I have been able, over the years, to convince world-renowned medical professionals that I need a kidney transplant," she reveals. "Lying to very intelligent people, who should know better, makes you feel very smart."

 

A doctor she worked with at her last job asked her why she didn't go to medical school. "I quickly replied, ‘Actually, I went for two years and quit,'" she says. "As a result of that lie, I actually got a promotion. I ended up getting published in local, national and worldwide journals. I was successful yet again."

 

Linda says the doctor was very compassionate, and she became close with his wife. "I was a part of their family. I was able to make them believe I was on dialysis, that I was throwing up regularly, that

I was going to the transplant center," she says. "They were extremely supportive of me. They cleaned up after me. They brought me food. They brought me to work." To this day she has continued to lie to them. "That family doesn't know that I don't need a kidney."

 

Linda says that she thrives on the chaos of the lie. "Being able to con people provides you with greater self-esteem. At the same time, I get rewarded with feelings that people that care about me and love me," she shares. But she acknowledges that it can be an exhausting job. "The shame always haunts me," she says. "It's torturous."

Linda claims she hasn't lied in five months. "I feel like it's just a matter of time [until I lie again]," she reveals. "I don't know how to get out of this cycle."

 

In the studio, Dr. Phil asks Linda, "What did you get out of this?" 



"I got love. People cared for me," she says.

"Did you ever feel guilty about it?" Dr. Phil probes.

"Always guilty, always ashamed, always scared," she says.

"Why do you think you lie?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I'm seriously messed up," she says. "I have no idea."

Dr. Phil lists some of Linda's lies, including faking doctor's appointments, and getting a SpoofCard to change her caller ID.

"I was calling them from my house, and it would pop up on their caller ID that I was calling them from the Mayo Clinic," Linda explains.

After listing more examples of Linda's lies, Dr. Phil asks her, "Why do you want to stop it now?"

 

"Because I hate doing it when I'm doing it. I hate every second of it, but I just seem to do it," she says.

"You say you hated every minute of it, but it had to feel good," Dr. Phil says. "This was working for you at some level."

"It worked, but, you know, it's not real love, because it's not based on the truth," Linda says.

"You've lied all your life," Dr. Phil says. "What do you think this is doing to your life?"

"It's making me not live. I'm in this isolated bubble all the time," Linda says.

"How do you feel about you?" Dr. Phil probes.



"I hate myself," she says.

"Do you think the real you is boring?"

"I think I'm evil. More than I think that I'm boring, I think that I'm just a terrible person," she says, tears welling in her eyes.

"Why do you think that you're evil?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Because I hurt people and manipulate them into liking me and caring about me," she says.

When Dr. Phil offers to make resources available to Linda, she says, "I would run to them."

He says he will offer her help to see if she will participate. "If you don't, if you jerk them around, you lie to them, you don't show up, I'm going to drop you like a 100-pound rock," Dr. Phil tells her.