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Diamant, I. (1997). The Theory of mind in the Borderline Patient and its Relation to the Question of Lying. Psychoanal. Psychother., 11(2):159-171.

(1997). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 11(2):159-171

The Theory of mind in the Borderline Patient and its Relation to the Question of Lying

Ilan Diamant

The paper makes a clear distinction between mature and immature lying. Normal lying is defined as a mechanism aiming to manipulate another's mind; its direction is to change another's belief, and thus another's behaviour. The paper introduces a cognitive-developmental ‘Theory of Mind’, and suggests that this a fundamental prerequisite for lying. This means the liar needs to have the knowledge that the dupe (‘dupe’ is used as a term for a person who is ‘lied to’) maintains a different belief from his, that the lying is aiming to change this belief, and, consequently, to change the dupe's behaviour. Three interviews of borderline patients are discussed. It is claimed that borderline patients do not always have access within their own minds to what is definitely an accurate representation of their inner truth, as opposed to the object's representation of the truth. The borderline patient does not have the equipment needed to establish the boundaries of the self. Lying is thus examined as primitive in nature. Two modes of lying are proposed. The common one is lying without taking into account the other's mind. In this type, the patient has learnt to apply an instrumental chain of associations. The other mode aims at establishing the inner truth which does not exist within the self, and can only exist as part of the interaction with the other. The latter may function as a repetitive process directed in the service of the fragmented self reconstruction.

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