It’s been a while since we looked at the overall pattern of Bob Malm’s lies. So, with that in mind, this post gives an overview of Bob’s various lies, and explores the potential root causes.
As to the scope of Bob’s lies, these appear to go back years. For example, Bob allegedly told Phil Smith, who at the time was serving on the vestry and has a background in HR, “Don’t worry about it. They’ll be retiring this year,” when Phil brought up poor behavior by church office staff. Roughly six years later, Bob tried the same lie on me to induce me to serve as junior warden. I initially fell for it, but later called Bob on it. In response, Bob began volunteering that he didn’t know when they would retire — but without coming right out and admitting he’d been lying to vestry members for years.
Flash forward to our kerfuffle. In it, Bob lied to the courts, claiming that various phrases, taken out of context, were threats. Under oath,, during discovery, he also made the claim that two of my cousins, and my mom, “time and again” make meetings with him and canceled — the suggestion being that I am somehow the person making meetings with him. There’s just one little hitch — this simply never happened, and if you push Bob on it, he cannot provide any documentation of his claim. Guaran-friggin-teed.
Then we get into some of his other imaginary claims. Doubtless, Jeff Chiow had a hand in these, but at the end of the day, as one of Jeff’s clients, Bob had to sign off on any court filings. Thus, Bob told a series of lies in his pleadings, including:
His claim that there had been a church shooting in the fictional town of Sugarland Texas (hence Jeff Chiow’s moniker of “Sugarland Chiow”).
His weird interrogatories, in which he lies by implication, asking if, inter alia, I am the author of the Survivors Awaken the Church blog, since my story is there. Yet even a cursory glance at the site would make clear that I’m not the author, nor the publisher.
That I never served as a police officer.
That I never was licensed to practice law.
That I violated the existing court order.
Apropos these issues, there is a distinction to be made between advocating for your client’s position, and misinforming the court. In other words, it’s one thing to say, “Plaintiff researched the matter extensively, and found no evidence that defendant ever served as a police officer,” and proferring the issue as a statement of fact. Having done the latter, Bob and Sugarland tried to pull a fast one on the courts.
Speaking of, Bob and Sugarland tried to pull a fast one on the Pennsylvania courts. As Jeff no doubt knows, one must have leave of court in order to issue a third-party subpoena in a protective order case in that state. Yet Jeff repeatedly tried to bypass that requirement and slide one by on the courts. Needless to say, word in the local bar association is that Sugarland has ethical issues, and in the unlikely event he ever again seeks admission pro hac vice in those courts, he may find he gets a very cold reception.
There’s also evidence that Sugarland and Bob have lied in other fora. For example, Bob’s wife Leslie claims I admitted in open court that Mom’s blog is really mine. So where did she come up with that notion? Not that Leslie herself doesn’t lie when she is in the midst of conflict, but anecdotal evidence suggests she may have gotten that lie from Sugarland.
So where does that leave us?
Clearly, Bob has been lying for many years, as evinced by his lie about the office staff. Not only that, but it apparently worked with Phil Smith, leading Bob to add it to his arsenal.
It’s interesting, too — members of Bob’s family, like him, lie when in conflict in order to try to get the upper hand. That suggests that lying in such situations is normative in the Malm household, which in itself is telling.
This view is bolstered by Bob’s claims about my serving as a police officer and being licensed to practice law. There, Bob’s lies appear to have their genesis in doubts about my veracity so like a lemming, he took the plunge and ran over the cliff. This, like his invention of the town of “Sugarland,” seemingly is less about telling a falsehood and more about a reckless indifference to the truth. The attitude seems to be, “I’m in court and trying to get the upper hand, so what does it matter?” In other words, these appear to be the hallmarks of someone who routinely plays fast and loose with the truth.
In other words, my belief is that Bob indeed is a serial liar.
Where does this come from? All factors suggest that Bob is way out there on the narcissism curve, probably to the point of having a personality disorder. On the one hand, Bob loudly asserts that he doesn’t need anyone. On the other, he appears to have a strong need for adulation and accolades, and seems to routinely manipulate others to meet those needs. In keeping with this, it is almost impossible for Bob to take responsibility for his actions; even an apology comes fully loaded with, “I’m sorry you were upset, but….”
In keeping with this, Bob appears to be big into image. He’s very focused on how he dresses, how he looks, etc. Even the various roles he’s played in life, from captain of his prep school lacrosse and football teams and yearbook editor, to priest, to marathoner, appear calculated to obtain recognition and ratification.
Besides playing roles that garner attention, narcissists also are famous for their ability to lie when needed, even when the assertion is facially ludicrous. Just like Trump arguing that his administration comprises the best and the brightest, Bob is more than willing to claim he’s not ignoring the requirements of his job, despite the utter dysfunction in the church office, the shoddy records, and more. One looks at his claims and laughs, yet Bob seemingly thinks his lies will work.
Narcissists also are well known for their lack of empathy. Here, one only has to look at Bob’s efforts to drag a dying woman into court to conclude that not only is he a narcissist, but he may well have concluded that Sugarland is a narcissist too, and have played to that attribute. The fact that between the two of them neither appears to have thought that this would be counterproductive suggests not only a serious lack of common sense, but an utter lack of empathy.
Of course, at some point lack of empathy crosses into anti-social behavior. Is Bob a sociopath? I don’t know, but I suspect so. Thus far, I see no sign that there is any compunction against almost any sort of behavior if he thinks he can get away with it.
In short, my conclusion is that Bob indeed is a serial liar. I also have concluded that he suffers from narcissistic personality disorder. As to whether he is a sociopath, I am not sure, but I lean strongly towards believing that he is. But no matter how you parse it, Bob is toxic. Charming, but toxic.