What does it mean to be a pathological liar?
Pathological lying is often a warning sign of antisocial personality disorder (commonly known as a psychopath). A pathological liar is usually considered manipulative, selfish and cunning. They lie incessantly to get their way and do so with little awareness or guilt. It could be that they lie to avoid something traumatic that happened in their lives, such as abuse. The condition may often be genetic in origin. They use lies to protect themselves when a situation goes bad. Below are a few common features of a pathological liar
- Pathological liars lie as a response to any stimuli. These people are excellent liars because they lie constantly and make up stories so unnecessarily and often that it becomes extremely difficult to distinguish the truth from false statements. They are nearly impossible to catch in the act.
- Their lie is usually goal oriented (i.e., focused, one tells lies to get their way).
- Pathological liars have little regard or respect for the rights and feelings of others.
- They often have no conscience or guilt.
- Pathological liars base their lives around deceit and may deeply hurt their victims.
- Studies show that pathological liars have more white matter in the prefrontal area of their brains. In general, white matter is linked to faster connections, greater verbal fluidity, and faster thought processing. People with more white matter also have problems with empathy and little activity in the areas of the brain related to emotion.
- They often lie as a coping mechanism developed in early childhood and it is often associated with some other type of mental health disorder, which may include abuse, antisocial personality disorder (APD) and narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).
Common traits of pathological liar include
- Pathological liars are driven by definite, typically identifiable motives, such as bolstering their ego or self-esteem, seeking sympathy, justifying feelings of guilt or living out a fantasy.
- All pathological liars have a purpose, such as to bolster their own personality or to tell something interesting and an ego motive is always present. They all lie about something they wish to possess or be.
- Pathological liars know how to be confident while lying and use their pathological lying trait as a defense mechanism (e.g. they fix their gaze upon you rather than looking away).
- Their stories are fantastically outlandish.
- They are always the hero or the victim.
- They really believe it.
- They don’t need a reason to lie.
- Their stories may change.
- They don’t like to be doubted.
Common signs and symptoms include
- They lie to gain something and exaggerate things.
- They keep on changing their stories.
- They live in a false sense of reality.
- If confronted, they act defensive and never admit that they are liars and they hold no value for truth.
The success of the treatment depends upon whether the person agrees that they are a pathological liar. The treatment options may include
- Repeated counseling
- Antipsychotic medications
- Family support goes a long way in overcoming this habit too, along with the treatment.
The treatment options may sometimes be used in combination, depending on the underlying psychiatric condition.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top What Does It Mean to Be a Pathological Liar Related Articles
Abuse, Trauma, and Mental HealthSuffering abuse and trauma can put one at higher risk of developing PTSD, anxiety, and depression. Signs and symptoms of abuse or trauma include appetite or mood changes, alcohol and/or drug abuse, difficulty sleeping, and anger. Treatment may incorporate a combination of medication and talk therapy.
Antisocial Personality DisorderAntisocial personality disorder (ASPD) has many symptoms, signs, and causes. Therapy is one treatment option for antisocial personality disorder. It is closely related to other personality disorders (PD), such as borderline personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)Borderline personality disorder is a serious mental illness characterized by pervasive instability in moods, interpersonal relationships, self-image, and behavior. This instability often disrupts family and work life, long-term planning, and the individual's sense of self-identity. Originally thought to be at the "borderline" of psychosis, people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) suffer from a disorder of emotion regulation.
Mental HealthMental health is an optimal way of thinking, relating to others, and feeling. All of the diagnosable mental disorders fall under the umbrella of mental illness. Depression, anxiety, and substance-abuse disorders are common types of mental illness. Symptoms and signs of mental illness include irritability, moodiness, insomnia, headaches, and sadness. Treatment may involve psychotherapy and medication.
Narcissistic Personality DisorderNarcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a dramatic personality disorder that is characterized by a distorted self-image, preoccupation with success and power, and an abnormal love of self, which mask insecurity and a fragile self-esteem. Other symptoms include constantly seeking attention and admiration, setting unrealistic goals, exaggerating talents, self-centeredness, arrogant behavior, and an inability to recognize others' feelings. Though there is no known treatment for NPD, psychotherapy may be of some help.
PsychotherapyPsychoteraphy is often the first form of treatment recommended for depression. Psychotherapy helps depression by helping people understand the behaviors, emotions and ideas that contribute to their depression, regain a sense of control and pleasure in life, and learn coping techniques as well as problem solving skills.
Schizotypal Personality DisorderSchizotypal personality disorder is characterized by odd behaviors, feelings, perceptions, and ways of relating to others that interfere with one's ability to function. Medication and psychotherapy can help the sufferer to manage their symptoms.
What Are the Four Main Types of Psychotherapy?There are various approaches to psychotherapy. Which type of therapy will work best may vary from person to person. Therapists often use more than one type of psychotherapy approach in helping their clients. The four most common types of psychotherapy are psychoanalysis, behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy and humanistic therapy.