Duped: Double Lives, False Identities, and the Con Man I Almost Married

Duped: Double Lives, False Identities, and the Con Man I Almost MarriedDuped: Double Lives, False Identities, and the Con Man I Almost Married by Abby Ellin
Published by PublicAffairs on January 15th 2019
Pages: 272
ISBN: 1610398009
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“He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second time and third time till at length it becomes habitual.” – Thomas Jefferson

Abby Ellin was duped by a man called “The Commander”. He told her that he was a doctor with a secret job, he worked for the government and could not give her details about what his job ensued. He went on secret missions and sent her back amazing photos of his time fighting espionage overseas. The only problem, he was not who he said he was, the photos were not his own and she believed his lies hook line and sinker…until one day she didn’t. She noted that “his stories were so ludicrous they had to be true.” She believed him but then started seeing things that did not add up. Then she began to slowly learn the truth and the depth of his deception. After learning the truth, Abby, a journalist wrote about her experiences in an article published in Psychology Today (July 2015 magazine). After that article she was contacted by numerous individuals who had also been duped.

This book details her experiences along with those of others. Abby notes how lying is learned. She details how children hear their parents lying to friends on the phone (the old sorry, I’m not feeling well, I can’t make it today when in fact said parent just wants to stay home and binge watch Netflix), parents also tell their children to say that like gifts that they do not, to not tell someone they think they are overweight, to tell lies so as not to hurt someone’s feelings, etc. Children grow up with tales about Pinocchio and what happens when you tell a lie and yet they see lying all the time. The Author even shares how she went out and purchased a 2.5 carat cubic zirconia ring to use as her engagement ring, letting people think the commander bought her a diamond. She was in fact duping her friends and relatives with her fake ring.

So why do people lie? According to David J. Ley, PhD people lie for six reasons
1.The lie does matter….to them
2.Telling the truth feels like giving up control
3.They do not want to disappoint you.
4. Lies Snowball
5. It’s not a lie to “them”
6. They “want’ it to be true.
Here is a link to that article also published in Psychology today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/bl…

The Author also shares how no one really knows what it feels like to be duped unless one has gone through the same thing. “They don’t understand what it’s like to believe in someone and be utterly, completely mistaken. To discover that the person closest to you is actively working against you. One of the main reasons to be in a relationship is to have someone who’s got your back. That was a large part of the Commander’s appeal: he was on my team. Except, of course, he wasn’t.”

How do people pull off having two families? What I really want to know is how do they afford it, I mean seriously…. two families, two homes, kids, bills, it boggles my mind. Then there are those like the Commander who lied all the time, saying he was a spy, he was involved in secret missions…. why???? why lie? Was it to give himself a sense of importance? Did he have a driving need to impress others? Was it to cover his tracks and explain why he needed to be gone so he could date another woman?

The Author delves into lies and is very matter of fact and does not come off as bitter or angry about how she herself was duped. She details lies, why people are willing to believe lies, and how it feels to be duped. Pathological lying is not a clinical diagnosis although there are those who may wish it was. Ever meet someone who lies all the time that you begin to wonder what is real and what is the truth?

I found this book to be interesting and an easy read. I appreciated that she was matter of fact and even humorous at times. As I stated earlier, she does not come off as angry or bitter, but wants to share her story and the others in this book to shed light on this issue and how those are duped.

Thank you to Perseus Books and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.