What is Pathological Lying?

A pathological liar is an individual who lies compulsively without a reason to.

Why do they lie?

There have been many studies which have been carried out which suggests that pathological liars lie due to the direct result of either a head injury or trauma. However, ultimately the reason an individual lies is determined case by case.

What do they lie about?

Research suggests that the average person tells 1.65 lies every day. However, most of these are small, white lies. Whereas, pathological liars, on the other hand, lie consistently and habitually. Some lies which are often told by pathological liars include:

  • Lies which are told frequently and compulsively.
  • Lies that are told for no apparent reason or gain.
  • Continuous lies.
  • Lies told to make the teller appear heroic or the victim.
  • Not deterred by guilt or risk of getting found out.

Identifying pathological lying

The following are some signs that may help you identify a pathological liar:

  • They often talk about experiences and accomplishments in which they appear heroic.
  • They are also the victim in many of their stories, often looking for sympathy.
  • Their stories tend to be elaborate and very detailed.
  • They respond quickly to any questions asked but their responses are very vague and often do not answer the question.

How to deal with a pathological liar

Knowing a pathological liar can be deeply frustrating because their lies appear to be pointless. Here at New Leaf Recovery, we provide you with a few tips to handle a conversion with a pathological liar:

  • Do not lose your temper – no matter how frustrating it may be.
  • Expect denial if you ask them about their lying.
  • Be supportive.
  • Do not engage in their lies.
  • Suggest medical help to them.

As pathological lying is not a recognised condition, there are no formal treatments for it. However, pathological lying may be a sign of an underlying condition that a doctor can help with, such as a personality disorder. It can also lead to further lies including lies about addiction.