Do you know what pathological lying is? Do you have a friend who keeps on bragging about things that you know aren’t true? Or someone who takes credit for triumphs that are not his in the first place? Or how about someone who just can’t help but lie about something–without even batting an eyelash– when the two of you already knows what the truth is?
Understanding pathological lying and its signs will help you identify if someone is indeed suffering from this kind of disorder. Pathological lying is an addiction to lying, and this is often associated with mental illness. Below are signs that someone is a pathological liar.
Signs of pathological lying
Pathological lying is also known as chronic, habitual, and compulsive lying. While it is not a psychological disorder per se, it is linked to psychological illnesses such as antisocial behavior. Here are the signs of pathological lying:
1. They have a personality disorder or mental illness. Compulsive liars may have personality or mental disorders, such as borderline personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder. So if you know that someone has been diagnosed with such disorders, you should also be aware that they might be habitually lying to you and other people.
2. They want attention. Many habitual liars seek attention. They want to be on center stage so they make up all kinds of stories that capture the interest, admiration, and attention of other people. All this attention gives them some sort of high, leading them to lie even more.
3. Their stories are outrageous. Compulsive liars tell the most outrageous stories. At first, it may seem incredible and highly interesting, but sooner or later, you’ll see the hollowness behind the fiction. Chronic, compulsive liars intensely exaggerate their stories to keep people around them interested.
4. They are always the victim. If you know someone who is always melodramatic and always playing the victim, then chances are, they’re lying to get some sympathy. Compulsive liars, in their attempt to seek attention, would lie about the many bad things that happen in their lives (whether they are true or not), in order to satisfy their craving for attention.
5. They have poor self-esteem. A pathological liar is insecure. This is why they lie in the first place. They think that they can make themselves feel better if they have more friends, or if people admire them, even if they have to constantly lie about it.
If you suspect that someone close to you, such as a family member or close friend, meets the signs of pathological lying, talk to them and suggest professional help.