What is a Pathological Liar?
- It is a behavior of habitual or compulsive lying.
- It is when an individual consistently lies for no personal gain.
- The lies are commonly transparent and often seem rather pointless.
- There are many consequences of being a pathological liar.
Definition of a Pathological Liar
- Pathological liar refers to a liar that is compulsive or impulsive
- lies on a regular basis
- is unable to control their lying despite of foreseeing inevitable negative consequences or ultimate disclosure of the lie.
Some diagnoses that might include pathological lying includes but is not limited to:
- Antisocial Personality Disorder (better known as sociopathy)
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Narcissism or narcissistic personality disorder
- Conduct disorder (often diagnosed in children and teens who have criminal-like behaviors or who demonstrate sociopathic traits such as animal cruelty, fire setting, and oppositional behaviors toward authority)
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and CD (conduct disorder)
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often combined with ODD or CD
Certain personality traits where pathological lying may occur include:
- self-centered behaviors and thought patterns
- Abusive attitude
- Obsessive behaviors
- Controlling beahviors
- compulsive behaviors
- Jealous behavior
- Manipulative behaviors
- Socially awkward, uncomfortable, or isolated
- Low self-esteem
Other names used for a pathological liar:
- pseudologia fantastica
- habitual liar
- chronic liar
- compulsive liar
Defintion of a Compulsive Liar
- someone who lies out of habit.
- someone who lies with ease and finds comfort in it.
- Lying is their normal and reflexive way of responding to questions.
- Compulsive liars bend the truth about everything, large and small.
- The person may even continue to lie when presented with the truth in cold, hard facts.
- For a compulsive liar, telling the truth is very awkward and uncomfortable while lying feels right.
- Getting a compulsive liar to admit he or she lied can be nearly impossible.
- If you notice that someone is constantly telling stories that make their life look better or more exciting than it actually is, this may be a sign that the person is a pathological liar.
Pathological liar is a stand-alone disorder, as well as a symptom of other disorders, such as:
- Obsessive-compulsive Disorder – is a mental disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations (obsessions), and behaviors that drive them to do something over and over (compulsions). Often the person carries out the behaviors to get rid of the obsessive thoughts.
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder – is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others.
- Histrionic Personality Disorder – which is a personality disorder characterized by a pattern of excessive attention-seeking emotions, usually beginning in early adulthood, including inappropriately seductive behavior and an excessive need for approval.
- Antisocial Personality Disorder – which is a mental condition in which a person has a long-term pattern of manipulating, exploiting, or violating the rights of others. This behavior is often criminal.
- Psychopath – a person suffering from chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behavior.
Sometimes people who are pathological liars may not possess characteristics of the other disorders.
Excessive lying is a common symptom of several mental disorders.
6 Things to Keep in Mind as you Deal with the Pathological Liar:
1.Know that a pathological liar will study you:
- The goal of the liar may be hidden, but you can count on the fact that the they don’t want you to know the truth.
- In order to evade someone, you certainly need to study the person and examine what that person might or might not believe.
- Liars, often sociopaths, are known to “study” the person they hope to take advantage of.
- In other words, they look for weaknesses.
2. Don’t forget that the liar lacks empathy:
- As hard as it is to believe, it is true.
- The liar does not have any moral consciousness of how the lying behavior may make you feel.
- The liar does not think before he lies
- The liar does not care anything about your feelings and never will.
- As difficult as it is to believe, it is not that easy for the liar to divulge the truth.
- The liar lacks the ability to consider what you might feel in response to their lie (which is empathy).
3.Normal people feel guilty and are relieved when you change the topic or stop asking questions:
- The pathological liar shows no emotion when lying which makes them believable.
- A person who is lying and has normal levels of empathy and concern for others, will often show relief when the topic being discussed is changed.
- A pathological liar is not fazed.
- You will rarely if ever see emotion.
4. All liars do not do the common things you think liars do:
- Believe it or not, liars do not always touch their nose, shift in their seats or from one foot to the next, or even look sneaky when lying.
- Some really experienced liars are good at giving you direct eye contact, seeming relaxed or “laid back,” and may appear very sociable.
- The thing to look for is eye contact that feels piercing.
- Some sociopaths have learned how to evade people with direct eye contact, sociable smiles, and humor.
- Trust your instincts and discernment.
- What do their eyes tell you?
- What does their behavior or laughter tell you?
5.The most sneaky liars are manipulative:
- The liar tends to manipulate more than anyone else and has learned how to become a “pro” at doing it.
- There is nothing impressive about the dangerous or evil manipulator.
- They know everything to say and do, they know what you want and don’t want, and again, they will “study” you.
- In fact, many pathological liars (and sociopaths) use sexual or emotional arousal to distract you from the truth.
- Proceed with caution when dealing with someone who seems to be directing their attention to you in such a way as to stimulate your arousal to distract you.
- That arousal could be psychological (peaking your interest), emotional (causing you to feel connected to them), or sexual.
6.Pathological liars exhibit strange behaviors:
- Some research suggests that pathological liars show no discomfort when caught lying.
- Other studies suggest that liars may become aggressive and angry when caught.
- The bottom line is that no pathological liar is the same
Beware of the pathological liar. I sure learned a lot on this post. Wow and whew… It is kind of scary really. A person that lacks a conscience and lacks remorse is very scary and can be dangerous. Unfortunately, I have met a few on my journey of life.
I wll be posting something important about mental illness every day throughout the month of May on my blog in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month.
Please keep visiting my blog My Loud Bipolar Whispers and look for statistics or other beneficial information related to mental illness to increase awareness, educate, reduce mental illness stigma and reduce suicides. It is crucial and imperative for all of us to get involved and save lives.
So, please visit my blog every day, but especially every day throughout the month of May.
Thank you. Hugs and blessings to all of you always and forever.
Dike, C. 2008. Pathological Lying: Symptom or disease? Psychiatric Times. Retrieved 8/20/2014 from, http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/articles/pathological-lying-symptom-or-disease.
Los Angeles Times. (2001). Panel Ousts Judge for Lying. Retrieved 11/4/2014 from, http://articles.latimes.com/2001/aug/16/local/me-34920.
Tamara Hill, MS, LPC
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