Treatment for lying

What Is Pathological Lying, and Can It Be Treated?

Written by WebMD Editorial Contributors

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on October 25, 2021

In this Article

  • What Is Pathological Lying?
  • Characteristics of Pathological Lying
  • Treatment for Pathological Lying

People sometimes call someone who lies a lot a “pathological liar.” Frequent dishonesty isn’t a good habit, but it doesn’t fit the official definition of pathological lying. 

To be labeled as a pathological liar, a person must lie frequently and for no good reason. Pathological liars harm themselves with their behavior, but they keep doing it despite the consequences‌.

What Is Pathological Lying?

‌Psychiatrists have recognized pathological lying as a type of behavior for hundreds of years. It’s also called “pseudologia fantastica” or “mythomania.” It isn’t listed as an official diagnosis in the psychiatric guidebook called the DSM-V. But it is a real and troubling condition.‌

Lying is a common behavior in humans. When someone tells a lie, there is often a clear reason for them to do so. Lying is a tool that people use to achieve a goal.

Pathological liars often lie without any reason. Their lies are extensive and elaborate. The urge to lie is compulsive. They often can’t control the impulse to make up stories, even when this causes them harm. They may lose jobs and ruin relationships because of their lying.‌

It isn’t clear whether pathological liars understand that what they say isn’t true. Some people fully believe in the things they say, even when they are clearly false. Other pathological liars will admit that they have been lying only when their lies are proved false.

Pathological lying usually starts when a person is in their teens. They continue the pattern for years. Their lying might become a problem that affects their relationships, career, and family.

Characteristics of Pathological Lying

Pathological lying is different from the occasional lies most people tell. It’s even different from patterns of dishonesty you might see in someone who’s trying to hide bad habits like infidelity or substance abuse. 

Researchers have found that pathological liars tell lies without good reason and without worrying about the consequences. They usually don’t plan to tell the lies. They also make up elaborate stories about themselves. It’s a lifelong behavior, and they can’t control the urge to lie.

Experts look for four main behaviors when trying to figure out if someone is a pathological liar:

Excessive lying.Pathological liars lie more than most people. They may make up stories that sound real enough that other people believe them. They then have to add more lies to back up the original lies. The lies they tell can also be outlandish and easily disproved. They might falsely claim to have received an award or say that still-living family members died.

Lying without good reason. The lies that pathological liars tell differ from lies most people tell because there isn’t a reason for them. Most people will tell small lies to avoid unpleasant consequences, like saying you were late because of traffic instead of admitting that you overslept. Pathological liars don’t have a clear motive. They tell stories that don’t benefit them and might actually hurt them when the truth comes out.

Long-term problem. Pathological lying happens for years. It begins when a person is young and continues indefinitely and in all areas of life. Their dishonesty might be the thing people remember most about them.

No other mental illness. A pathological liar might have other mental conditions such as depression or anxiety. But that isn’t the cause of their lying. Pathological lying is a condition, not a symptom of something else.

Treatment for Pathological Lying

Treating pathological lying is complicated. No medication will fix the issue. The best option is psychotherapy. But even therapy can pose challenges, because pathological liars aren’t in control of their lying. They may start telling lies to the therapist instead of addressing the problem directly.

Treatment will depend on what the person needs and what they respond to during therapy sessions. Finding a qualified, experienced therapist who can work with someone over the long term is the key to managing the condition.‌

If you or someone you know has symptoms of pathological lying, it’s important to get help. A therapist can make a treatment plan to control pathological lying. With time and work, a pathological liar can minimize the effects that their behavior has on themselves and their loved ones.

How to Stop Lying: 12 Tips for Honesty

Most people have told a lie or two in their lifetime. Maybe they twist the truth to keep someone from getting hurt. Or, maybe they mislead someone in order to achieve an end goal. Others might lie to themselves about their true feelings.

But the stories we tell can sometimes get away from us, and lies can have serious consequences.

If lying’s become a more regular habit in your life, try not to be too hard on yourself. After all, most people do lie, even if they don’t admit it.

Instead, ask yourself how you can break this pattern and be more truthful going forward. We’ve got some answers to this question that can help.

The next time you find yourself in a lie, stop and pay attention to what’s going on inside.

Ask yourself:

  • Where are you?
  • Who are you with?
  • How do you feel?
  • Are you lying to make yourself feel better or avoid making someone feel bad?

Answering these questions can help you pinpoint which scenarios, emotions, or other factors trigger you to lie. Once you’ve identified some triggers, take a mindful look at them and think about some new ways to respond to them.

For example, if you tend to lie when you’re put on the spot, try planning out possible responses before going into situations where you know you might be in the hot seat or under a lot of stress.

Lies can take different forms. Erin Bryant, author of a small 2008 study looking at how college students separated white lies from other types of dishonesty, suggests lies can be divided into several categories.

Types of lies

  • white lies
  • lies by omission
  • exaggerations
  • “gray” or subtle lies
  • complete untruths

Narrowing down the type of lying you tend to engage in can help you better understand the reasons behind your lying.

Maybe you exaggerate your achievements at work because you believe you’re less successful than your friends. Or, maybe you don’t tell your partner about your lunch with an ex because, even though you have no intention of cheating, you worry what they might think.

“Sure, hanging out sounds great!”

“I’d love to have you over for a few days.”

“No, I’m not too busy. I can definitely help with that project.”

Do any of those phrases sound familiar? Have you said them without an ounce of sincerity? Maybe they’re half true: You’d like to hang out but you aren’t feeling it right this minute.

You might feel more motivated to lie if you have a hard time creating boundaries in your personal or professional life. These lies might not seem like a big deal, but they can take a toll on you.

It’s not always easy to say no, especially if you don’t want to hurt a friend’s feelings or face possible consequences at work. But being more assertive about your needs can help you speak up about what’s best for you.

Start by giving complete answers, not ones that you think the other person wants to hear.

For example:

  • “I can’t take on more work this week because I need to focus on the tasks I already have. But I can help out next week.”
  • “Tonight doesn’t work for me, but I’d like to hang out. Could we try for later this week?”

Looking for more tips? Our guide to being more assertive can help.

Remember the old adage, “honesty is the best policy”? There’s a reason it’s stuck around. Lying (or omitting the truth) really doesn’t help anyone, including yourself.

If you lie because you think the truth will upset someone or cause harm, ask yourself what the worst outcome would be if you decided to tell the truth. Chances are, it’s not as bad as you think.

Imagine that you have a brother who really wants you to help with his new startup idea. You aren’t feeling it and keep putting him off. Eventually, he might eventually give up on the whole idea because he can’t do it alone.

If you told him the truth, the worst case scenario would likely be that he gets upset at first. But after that initial reaction, he might seek out a partner who’s completely onboard. This will only help him in the long run.

If you’re trying to be more honest, don’t attempt to flip a switch and stop lying entirely from that point forward. Sure, it might sound like a good plan, but it’s not realistic.

Instead, just commit to being more truthful each day. If you slip up or find yourself back in a lie, don’t get discouraged. You can make a different choice tomorrow.

If acquaintances, co-workers, or family members ask prying questions about your personal life, you might feel tempted to lie and get them off your back. At the same time, you aren’t obligated to give everyone open access to your life.

You don’t have to lie to avoid sharing details you’d rather keep private. Instead, try a polite but firm refusal, such as, “That’s between me and (partner’s name),” or, “I’d rather not say.”

If they know you won’t tell them anything, they may stop asking sooner.

Dishonesty might help you stall when you need to make a decision, but it generally doesn’t solve problems.

Say you want to break up with a casual partner, but you’re finding it hard to start the conversation. Instead, you offer excuses like, “I’m really busy with work this week,” or “I’m not feeling well” whenever they try to make a date.

From your perspective, this is a kinder way of saying you don’t want to see them. In reality, you’re just prolonging the breakup process. They might fail to pick up your hints, remain invested, and have a harder time when you actually do reach the point of breaking up.

In this example, your desire to hurt them less could actually end up causing them more pain.

Everyone lies for unique reasons, says Kim Egel. She adds that some people might find the truth more distressing than the consequences of lying. In other words, “we lie when telling the truth surpasses our comfort zone.”

Discomfort with the truth can lead to lies that attempt to control or change a situation. If you feel unhappy or distressed by something but believe you can’t change it, you might attempt to deceive yourself and others instead of accepting how you truly feel.

Getting more comfortable with the truth often involves accepting a challenging or painful reality, perhaps even admitting you made a mistake. Learning to accept the truth can be an ongoing process, but it often results in some valuable lessons.

“We lie because that’s what we were taught to do,” Egel says.

There’s a good chance when you were a kid, one of your parents said something like this: “Even if you don’t like your birthday present from Grandma, tell her it’s just what you wanted so you don’t hurt her feelings.”

Bryant’s 2008 study suggests most people generally accept white lies as harmless. In some cases, white lies might even be encouraged as a common part of social interaction.

Egel believes “there’s always a way to express truth in a classy, well-intentioned, and respectable way.” She goes on to explain that while lying can damage your relationships with others, it can also damage the relationship you have with yourself.

“When we start breaking trust within our own world,” she says, “that inauthenticity spiderwebs from there.”

Instead of justifying why a lie is necessary to protect someone’s feelings, put that energy toward finding a way to achieve that same goal by telling the truth.

“Sometimes situations come up and there really isn’t a linear and straightforward way to handle them,” Egel says.

She suggests using skills like intuition and timing, or even tracking how conversations pan out, before deciding what you’ll say and how you’ll navigate the path ahead.

Gut check

The decision to be truthful is one you have to make yourself. Before you make the choice to lie or not, consider whether your actions:

  • show respect for yourself and others
  • support everyone’s best interest, not just your own
  • might have future consequences

Compulsive, or pathological, lying refers to a specific type of dishonesty. Some experts believe it differs significantly from other types of lying, though it doesn’t have a specific diagnosis.

You might be dealing with compulsive lying if your lies are:

  • impulsive
  • unplanned
  • uncontrollable
  • not serving purpose
  • frequent and persistent throughout your life

Compulsive behaviors are hard to stop on your own, and working with a therapist can make the process much easier. They can help you learn more about the underlying reasons behind your lying and help you stop.

If you started lying to cope with a difficult childhood, for example, working through what you experienced could help you feel less of a need to lie.

Some people who lie compulsively believe their lies, which can make recognizing these lies somewhat difficult. If this applies to you, talking to a close friend or family member can give you some insight into what’s happening. You can also bring someone you trust to therapy if you think you’ll have a hard time sticking to the truth.

Even if your lying doesn’t feel compulsive, working with a therapist can be a big help if you’re trying to overcome a habit of lying. This is especially true if you find that lying is having a negative impact on your day-to-day life.

Egel encourages taking action to seek support sooner rather than later. “Like anything in life,” Egel says, “the sooner a problem is acknowledged and worked on, the less damage done.

This can be particularly true with lies, which often build on each other and become increasingly complex and hard to keep track of. If you’ve been telling lies for a long time, you might not know how to begin untangling them and worry everyone will be angry once they hear the truth.

A therapist can offer compassion and support as you begin the process. In therapy, you can also talk about your goals around honesty and get guidance if you continue to struggle with dishonesty. They can also help you rebuild trust with loved ones.

Lying is a complex behavior that can serve a lot of functions. At the end of the day, it usually doesn’t do anyone any favors.

If you’re finding it hard to be honest, either to others or yourself, consider reaching out to a mental health professional to get to the root of the issue. Worried about the cost? Our guide to therapy for every budget can help.

Crystal has previously worked as a writer and editor for GoodTherapy. Her fields of interest include Asian languages and literature, Japanese translation, cooking, natural sciences, sex positivity, and mental health. In particular, she’s committed to helping decrease stigma around mental health issues.

How to treat pathological deceit?

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Sally, a client who came to me because she had developed a habit of lying to her boyfriends, is a good example of how an adult can learn to change their brain and understand that relationships are an important aspect of such change.

My mother often told me and my brothers and sisters, “Why lie? The truth is much more interesting. But in Sally's case it was different. Real life has never been as interesting as her lies. If Sally didn't feel like going anywhere on a Saturday night, she would tell her friend that she was going for the London. If she was late for a date, she would lie that her tire had burst.

There was another kind of lie: if the guy liked action films, Sally (who preferred foreign films) pretended to like them too. Does Sally want to help her boyfriend with money to buy a car? Does she agree that he moves in with her without paying the rent? Of course!

Flexibility is very important for maintaining relationships, especially love ones. We must be able to imagine what is happening in the life of each of us, and be sympathetic to each other's needs.

However, Sally was a real human snake, twisting herself into a tight knot in order to comply with the desires of a man. Sally wanted to show the men that she could fully satisfy their needs, never give them trouble, never show up late, and never do anything that was different from what they wanted.

Sally's lie was not just a lie; it was her strategy to stay in touch with her lover. In addition, lying was a source of dopamine for Sally. Coming up with another story, she was very excited (will she be exposed this time?), And she also looked forward to tenderness from her beloved when he heard about her next tragedy or readiness to support his plans. However, all Sally's romantic relationships ended the same way: her endless lies ruined them. Sally came to me for help because she wanted to break this vicious circle.

But could she have changed after so many years of sophisticated lies?

Among the common methods for solving problems such as Sally's is the concept of self-control, which is based on the theory of separation-individuation. The general idea is that Sally needs to pull herself together and stop doing things that are ruining her relationship.

If she has an impulse to lie, she should simply ignore it until the temptation passes, even if it makes her nervous.

This makes good sense, since self-control is an important element in the process of change.

Refusing conventional therapy

However, the conventional therapy approach described above does not take into account the complex role of relationships in Sally's problem, or the fact that lying has become an integral part of her brain's dopamine reward system.

The self-control approach does not use neurological methods to change the brain.

(Specifically, neurochemicals released from healthy relationships help dampen neural pathways for bad habits and strengthen new, more rewarding pathways.)

Needless to say, it triggers the classic cycle of depressive reactions:

if Sally believes that the ability to be independent and maintain her composure is a sign of maturity, then she will feel like a childish failure if she succumbs to the temptation and lies again. Then she will begin to seek solace in the most reliable source of dopamine, namely, she will try to come up with truly impressive lies in order to achieve admiration and love.

I am well aware that some psychotherapists would try to help Sally get rid of the habit of lying based on an analysis of her past and present relationships. A psychodynamic therapist, having understood the history of Sally's family, would most likely tell the girl that her parents never accepted the true, real Sally, preferring the fake versions that she showed them.

There would probably be a lot of talk in therapy sessions about why Sally tends to pick guys who are too comfortable dating a girl who meets all their needs. And most importantly, during such sessions, much attention would be paid to the analysis of the concept of acceptance.

All of these wonderful qualities are indeed worth bringing into a healing therapeutic relationship. However, they are not always enough to start the process of changing the brain, and even if it succeeds, such changes can occur with a significant delay.

Although I assumed that Sally's lying was related to the nature of her past and present relationships, it seemed to me that traditional therapy alone would not help her get rid of such a firmly ingrained habit of lying .

Why do we continue to use only two ways to change habits and relationship patterns - self-control and therapeutic acceptance?

  • One of the reasons is that most people (even psychotherapists) lack knowledge about the neurobiology of relationships.
  • Another reason is the strong, centuries-old belief that the brain cannot be changed.

However, recently there has been a huge amount of evidence to the contrary, confirming that the brain can change and this process is permanent.

Sally had a fast, strong neural pathway for lying, which had been strengthened over years of repeated stimulation. During our sessions, we applied almost the same scheme as in the treatment of tinnitus. We aimed to deliberately weaken the neural pathway for this habit while simultaneously stimulating alternative neural pathways (related to relationships) in the hope that they would become strong enough to compete with the old neural pathway.

In Sally's case, the second brain change rule resulted in the creation of a branched, strong neural pathway for lying. When Sally lied, she experienced intense emotional arousal, like a child on a roller coaster. In addition, her partner in response to a lie became more tender and responsive, which comforted her. At the heart of all these feelings was a neural pathway that also turned out to be associated with lying. (We'll talk more about neurons and dopamine, the pleasure neurotransmitter, below.)

Sally's brain is like a pianist's, except that instead of involving neurons in the neural pathways to the hand, the pathways for lies, excitement, love, and comfort have become branched and interconnected.

I wanted changes in Sally's brain to affect which neurons fire together and form strong connections. But it's like asking a pianist to become a lacrosse player.

Basically, Sally was going to be learn to suppress one group of neural pathways in order to create an entirely new group in its place .

What barriers can help?

So, Sally had to decide what barriers could help her get rid of the habit of lying to her partner.

I explained to Sally that there is no right or wrong answer. The first barrier would be something that would allow Sally to stop even for a second, when she once again has the urge to lie. I recommended that she start with very small, but really feasible steps, rather than with fundamental changes.

I had one more piece of advice. Many people measure themselves by bad habits or failures, so the ability to see a bad habit as something separate from yourself is an important first step that can act as a barrier. Sally managed to set a little barrier by simply acknowledging the fact that for her, the desire to lie is a way for her to deceive her physiology and feel confident in relationships with men.

Sally's lies and the resulting difficulties in communication should not have defined her nature. Other people have set similar barriers by telling themselves, "It's just my delusional thoughts" or "My body is just telling me it's craving dopamine."

When Sally thought about all this and identified her tendency to lie as a bad habit and an ineffective way to maintain a relationship with her lover, she managed to look at herself differently.

Mental flexibility allowed her to remember herself as a successful professional, a culturally developed personality and a sympathetic person. Sally was able to imagine positive, vivid pictures of the formation of healthy relationships. Through this shift in focus, she was literally able to change the stimulation of her brain.

Reflections like these helped Sally realize that her urge to lie was not really impulsive. In fact, it all started gradually, with a feeling of loneliness and expectation of meeting with a lover, a desire to feel special, deserving love and care from his side.

Recognition of thoughts preceding lies

However, almost immediately after meeting Sally, she had a strong fear of being abandoned, the thought that her partner would be disappointed in her if he found out about her true feelings. This fear inevitably led to lies, calculated to keep the partner's favor and interest.

Sally began to see these thoughts as part of her habit and was able to see them taking over the neural pathway of lying that she wanted to get rid of.

As Sally became better at recognizing the thoughts that precede a lie, she learned to shift her mind into over positive neural pathways . When Sally was alone and longing for companionship, she tried to imagine times when she was able to experience true union with her lover. If that didn't work, she called him and honestly admitted that she was bored or feeling depressed. Over time, Sally even decided to tell her friend about her bad habit, and they agreed that if Sally had a desire to lie again, she would tell her friend about it.

One day, Sally remembered a boy from high school who adored her and didn't have to pretend with her. All of these activities served as barriers to the old neural pathway and helped reinforce healthier pathways for building relationships.

These paths have weakened somewhat since Sally rarely used them, and resembled desert plants that are dormant, but come to life with a little water. When she started doing all of the above, Sally felt a surge of dopamine.

Of course, Sally was not always able to restrain herself when she had a strong desire to lie, especially at the very beginning of our sessions. Sometimes she still lied to her boyfriend that her grandmother died or that she was robbed while traveling. However, Sally persistently mastered the skills of maintaining a more honest relationship, due to which this neural pathway was strengthened and it became easier for her to control her thoughts.

It should be noted that Sally had a long way to go. It's not easy to break a deeply ingrained habit, especially with limited experience in healthy relationships. However, it is really possible if you have developed such a relationship with at least one person who can support you and your efforts. It is not surprising that Sally eventually broke up with her former lover. I was worried when just a few weeks later she found a new partner. At the very beginning of their relationship, one alarming event occurred.

Small success

When Sally moved into a new apartment, her new friend gave her a housewarming gift: a bottle of her favorite barbecue sauce, which she had to keep in the fridge.

Sally and I talked about this "gift" that reflected his tastes, not hers. The following week, she thanked her new friend for the gift, but remarked that she didn't like the barbecue sauce.

We rejoiced at this small success, because in reality it was a breakthrough. Almost for the first time, Sally took the risk of being honest at the very beginning of the development of a relationship. Much to her surprise, the new boyfriend didn't mind that his friend had different tastes in terms of spices. Sally told her friend, with whom they became very close, who confirmed the idea that healthy relationships involve tolerance for differences in tastes and opinions.

Strong friendships, combined with a regular refusal to lie, literally rewired Sally's brain for honest relationships.

What is the main idea here?

Your brain can change, and most importantly, it can change the way you relate to other people. You can teach your new brain how to find calmness, acceptance, resonance and energy, in other words, to strengthen all four neural pathways associated with building relationships that stimulate development. This will be discussed in the next part, dedicated to the C.A.R.E program.

Amy Banks

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Pathological liars: what makes them lie?


Man among menKnow thyselfPractices how to


Would you swear to always tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? Hardly, like 99.99% of the people in the world. Anyone who claims that he has never lied is clearly disingenuous. However, most can honestly say that they are at least trying not to cheat.

But there is a special category of people for whom lying is a way of life. It is easier for pathological and compulsive liars to make up three boxes than to tell the truth. Why do they do it and how to crack them?

Pseudology fantasy

Pathological lie, mythomania or Pseudologia Fantastica, causes a lot of controversy among psychologists and psychiatrists. Some believe that this is only a symptom of a more complex disorder (for example, borderline personality disorder, sociopathy or narcissism), others are convinced that this is a deviation in itself.

It has been suggested that this is a special form of addiction: a person cheats under the influence of a psychological impulse, like an alcoholic, a smoker or a gambler, in response to specific triggers. However, the fact remains that some people lie all the time.

Their deceit can be called chronic, since it is observed throughout life, or habitual in the sense that it becomes second nature

People of this type always act under the influence of internal motivation, and not external factors. In other words, they lie not so much to avoid the unpleasant consequences of the truth, but for the sake of "sport interest".

Pathological liars are not so easy to recognize, especially on a superficial acquaintance or at the beginning of a relationship. They may seem interesting, intelligent, sociable, charming. Their true face is revealed only with time, and then communication becomes strained. Lying endlessly can destroy friendships, loves, work relationships, and even families.

Pathological and compulsive lying: what is the difference?

Two types of lies have their own characteristics. How do you know who you are dealing with?

Pathological liars:

  • Lie with a specific purpose,

  • invent fantastic stories that can endlessly complement with new details,

  • Believe everything that was sewe,

  • are suspected when they are suspected in deceit,

  • lie to strengthen their authority,

  • do not blush or feel embarrassed.

Compulsive liars:

  • seriously believe that they are obliged to lie: either because they do not know how to do otherwise, or if it is inconvenient to tell the truth,

  • often lie for no clear reason and without any benefit,

  • make up fables on the go, not really thinking about the plausibility,

  • prefer "holy" lies, which they think others would like to hear,

  • tend to feel someone else's distrust,

  • when they are caught, they admit that they are lying, but continue to fool others.

These differences are very conditional, because deceivers easily change masks.


What caused this behavior?

There is no clear scientific explanation for the tendency to communicate deliberately false information. This behavior is due to many genetic and environmental factors, but this set is unique for everyone. Here are the most common reasons.

1. Personality disorders

As mentioned above, lying at every turn can be a symptom of a mental disorder.

2. Features of the brain

A number of studies point to structural abnormalities in the brains of pathological liars. One such study revealed increased white matter volume in three regions of the prefrontal cortex.

The authors of another work believe that a stable tendency to lie is formed as the restraining emotional reaction of the amygdala weakens. Earlier studies found that 40% of pathological liars had damage to the central nervous system caused by epilepsy, head trauma, or dangerous infections.

3. The costs of education

In childhood, we all learn what is good and what is bad. At an early age, a person may lie out of fear of punishment or for profit, and later this becomes an unconditional attitude.

4. Chemical addiction

Drug addicts and alcoholics often use cunning to hide their problem and at the same time extort money: addictions “turn off” conscience.

5. Other psychological problems

A person who lies frequently may suffer from depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Such behavior may be associated with fear, guilt or shame, unwillingness to admit their condition. It is important to understand that not every person with such a diagnosis is a pathological deceiver!


Signs of pathological and compulsive lying

If you suspect that you are regularly fooled, pay attention to the characteristic signs of lying.

1. The stories of liars are absolutely incredible

If you notice yourself shaking your head often, refusing to believe the fables, it seems that you have come across just such a person. Someone tells how they dined with Tom Cruise or set a world record for eating sausages? You are not mistaken.

2. There is a desire to get attention

If someone lies to gain interest and goes out of his way to prove his own importance, you are a pathological liar. They practice two ways to attract attention: Instead of admitting their mistake or honestly saying that they are in trouble, such people are talking nonsense, just to look sinless.

  • Make yourself a victim. To enlist the sympathy and support of others, they complain about imaginary misfortunes. Illnesses, death of loved ones, someone's cruelty and other catastrophes in which they allegedly suffered.

  • 3. Liars have low self-esteem

    By itself, it does not indicate a pathological or compulsive lie, but in combination with other signs, it completes the portrait of a shameless deceiver. Usually low self-esteem is found in compulsive liars: it hides anxiety and insecurity.

    4. They should have the last word

    Arguing with a pathological liar is like banging your head against a wall. He will give the most ridiculous arguments until you get tired of arguing, just to get out of the fight as a winner. Compulsive liars are easier: they are embarrassed when they are exposed and do not insist on their own.

    5. They are extremely resourceful

    They manage to invent plausible versions for all occasions with lightning speed, create suitable lies literally out of thin air and present them in a convincing form.

    6. They know how to turn everything upside down

    If liars feel that they are close to failure, they immediately back up and change the meaning of what was said. But it is useless to catch them at their word: they will object and say that you misheard or misunderstood.

    7. Their life is chaotic and full of tragedies

    They get out as best they can, trying to seem honest, but sooner or later people realize that something is wrong here. Relationships crumble, another job is lost, friends turn away, but the pathological liar is still rushing about in search of simpletons who can be hung noodles on their ears.

    8. They don't know how to keep secrets and love to gossip. Nothing is sacred to them.


    How to behave with them

    It would seem that there is nowhere clearer - to stop communicating and delete from life. But it's not always easy, and it's not always necessary. Not all deceivers are notorious crooks.

    If you are convinced that you have encountered a narcissist or a sociopath, then there is no question: stay away from him, and do not let your conscience torment you. But if someone close to you has serious psychological problems or addiction, you probably shouldn’t say goodbye to them. What to do?

    1. To believe… if necessary

    It is more expensive to look for a lie in every word. Yes, a person often lies, but still able to be honest. He may be exaggerating, but he's basically telling the truth. At the very least, try to figure out when to trust him and when not.

    Do you remember slippery topics, during the discussion of which you often caught your interlocutor in a lie? Or periods of exacerbation, when the propensity to lie became too obvious?

    A healthy skepticism doesn't hurt, but if you're not completely sure that everything you've said is a complete lie, why not assume that you're being told the truth? Of course, this does not apply to important issues: here you need to check everything.

    At least a modicum of trust is needed: when a person knows that he will be accused of deceit anyway, why on earth should he be honest? Those who are trusted are more likely to reveal the truth, especially if the lie is associated with guilt or shame.

    2. Understand why they lie

    We feel bitter when we are deceived, and this is a natural emotional reaction. Critical thinking can help you deal with it. Think: why does a person lie? What drives them? What is the reason?

    If you can figure out the motives, a drop of sympathy will surely appear. Your emotions may not subside immediately, but sooner or later you will calm down and be able to take a sober look at the situation.

    3. Accept it as a fact: lies will be repeated more than once

    Pathological or compulsive liars do not always control their speech. Therefore, it is wiser to admit that they are like that and you have to live with it somehow. This does not mean forcing yourself to believe tall tales or accepting their behavior as the norm. The main thing is to realize that not every lie is said with malicious intent.

    They can't help but lie. At least not now, given certain circumstances. Of course, no one forbids fighting this, but you yourself will not change anything. Try to look at it philosophically and not take it to heart.

    4. Convince them to ask for help

    If the interlocutor has a tendency to lie relatively recently, you can guess what the matter is (depression, addiction in the initial stage, childhood psychotrauma) and the person is dear to you, try to persuade him to see a psychotherapist.

    People who constantly lie are not easy. And yet, do not rush to write them down as scoundrels or malicious manipulators. There are many causes for pathological or compulsive lying, and although this habit harms both those who are lied to and those who lie, it is treatable.

    Daniel Levitin "Guide to Lies"

    This book will help you recognize lies and process any information critically. From it you will learn how to critically evaluate news, advertising, reports; it is easy to be persuasive by telling stories that subtly deviate from the facts - and how to recognize such stories; work with graphs and recognize data manipulation using visual means; determine who is behind the expertise, words, website, information.

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