The outcome of any action isn’t always as obvious, even if being honest normally carries a positive connotation while lying does not. Exactly where you fall on the spectrum between helpful and destructive depends on how much truth you choose to share and withhold at any one time, as well as how much of a lie you might tell. However, lying is more likely to land squarely on the darker end of that scale when it gets ingrained in behavior or when the distinction between truth and falsehood starts to become hazy.
This piece explains all you should know about compulsive lying.
Compulsive Liar Definition
A compulsive liar is someone who routinely fabricates stories without thinking about the consequences. Anytime, anywhere, regarding any subject, they will lie to anyone. The lies may be large or tiny, specific or ambiguous, planned or unplanned. It seems like lying is the only thing compulsive liars like to do.
Even if someone lies frequently, they may not always be a compulsive liar. Typical falsehoods have a specific goal, such as getting something, escaping difficulties, or impressing someone. The frequency, duration, and purpose of compulsive liars’ lies set them apart from people who simply lie occasionally.
A Compulsive Liar will Typically Lie About:
- Extensive and unnecessarily complicated lies
- Long-lasting deceptions and patterns of deception
- Lies that are exaggerated or unrelated to any specific objective
- Lies that aren’t caused by a different mental or physical health issue
These elements lend support to the definition of compulsive lying as “a persistent, pervasive, and frequently compulsive pattern of excessive lying behavior that results in clinically significant impairment of functioning in social, occupational, or other areas.”
Additional Signs of Compulsive Lying Include:
The person is severely distressed by it.
It puts others at risk.
It has persisted for more than six months.
Compulsive liars are sometimes referred to as:
- Constant liars
- Repeated liars
- Repeated liars
- Those who have mythomania
- Individuals who have pseudologia fantastica
Five Symptoms of a Compulsive Liar
A compulsive liar may be well hidden among other individuals due to the fact that they frequently conceal their lies successfully. The pattern of lies and contradictions can become clearer over time. The majority of the time, though, compulsive lies will be difficult to distinguish from the truth, making these claims. The liar could continue to tell lies despite being exposed to them.
#1. Excessive Specificity or Detail
A liar may, alternatively, provide tales with numerous fine points and details. The goal is to be so specific that the details are compelling that no one could possibly doubt the veracity of the account.
#2. Story Inconsistencies
Compulsive liars will not have perfect memories, so it will not be long before they make a mistake and mistake one lie for another. A compulsive liar can be recognized by hearing several answers to the same question.
#3. Making Plans but Failing to Follow Through or Repeatedly Canceling Them
A compulsive liar may choose not to make arrangements or may do so but then change their minds. This is necessary so they can remain open to new opportunities.
#4. Getting Furious and Defensive when Questioned
When caught in a falsehood, a liar will offer justifications. The liar may become furious or defensive to deflect attention away from their lies when the other person’s patience is wearing thin.
Compulsive Liar Disorder
People might be surprised by how random and unimportant compulsive falsehoods look. Some lies won’t have any effect at all on a relationship or circumstance. Any scenario, claim, or exaggeration that one might conjure up can be turned into a compulsive liar. There are countless specific lies, but they frequently have similarities.
These five traits are present in compulsive liar:
On average, compulsive liars tell ten lies every day, more than any other type of liar. The lies might all be different versions of the same lie or 10 different lies, depending on their frequency. The act of lying itself may not be as significant to the liar as the act of lying itself.
According to studies, compulsive liars will keep up their excessive lying for at least six months. They may maintain a falsehood over an extended period of time or switch easily from one lie to another. compulsive liars can frequently keep up a falsehood for years.
#3. Lack of Purpose
Compulsive falsehoods are perplexing because they have no intended function and achieve nothing. A liar might claim that their favorite cuisine is pizza when, in reality, it is lobster, or that their favorite color is blue when it is actually orange. The liar knows this lie won’t help them, but they nevertheless tell it.
While a non-compulsive liar typically tells a falsehood in an effort to lessen the immediate stress, compulsive liars are more likely to experience stress as a result of lying. The complexity of continual lying and the possibility of being discovered by friends or loved ones may cause stress.
#5. Self-Incriminating and Defeating
Compulsive falsehoods get individuals into difficulty, but standard lies can get them out of danger. Because of their compulsive lying, compulsive liars risk losing their reputation, relationships, and jobs, as well as their status in society.
How to Handle a Compulsive Liar: 8 Steps
If you can’t avoid compulsive liars, there are strategies you can use to deal with them, such as developing your case, always keeping the source in mind, getting ready for denial, setting Achievable goals, working together toward a common objective, consulting a mental health professional, and, if all else fails, severing ties.
Eight approaches to handling a compulsive liar are listed below:
#1. When Possible, Avoid
You can lose all of your energy and become more stressed around compulsive liars. If you can avoid them or maintain a respectful distance from them, do so. Otherwise, you could end up in a union that you feel is pointless and unfulfilling.
#2. Creating a Case
Spend time accumulating details regarding the person’s lies before you even think about speaking to them. Note the words they used, the audience they addressed, and your responses to these lies. They might be forced to acknowledge their problem if they had this specific information.
#3. Think About the Source
Although true compulsive lying may not be associated with a medical or mental health issue, other illnesses may be. Considering the source might help direct your process because any of these circumstances may make someone more likely to lie.
Think about whether the person has one of the following ailments:
- Disorder of the antisocial personality (ASPDP)
- Personality disorder with narcissism (NPD)
- Hyperactivity/attention deficit disorder (ADHD)
- Bipolar illness
#4. Be Ready for Rejection
A conversation about lying with a compulsive liar may result in any number of emotions, including anger, aggression, surprise, confusion, shock, and denial. Remain calm and avoid confronting someone who is agitated or annoyed.
#5. Establish a Team
Become a team with the aim of reducing falsehoods rather than forging an adversarial relationship. Inform them of your willingness to contribute to the cause and of their ability to contact you with any needs. This strategy makes sure that the enemy is the lie, not the one telling it.
#6. Make Sensible Objectives
Obviously, you want your loved one to stop lying right away and never do it again, but it might not be possible to do that. All parties experience disappointment and discouragement when unattainable goals are set.
Set beneficial, attainable goals as an alternative. Once those objectives have been met, you can establish new, slightly more stringent objectives to gradually reshape the lied behaviors.
#7. Seek Professional Advice
Compulsive problems are by definition outside the scope of typical behavior. No matter how hard you try, many situations could be too complicated or difficult for you and your family to handle.
The concerns can be addressed and treated promptly and successfully by experts like therapists and mental health prescribers. They might concentrate on a root cause or related problem that encourages lying, or they might go after the lies straight on.
#8. When to Break Ties
You might not be able to deal with a compulsive liar no matter how hard you try or how much time you put into it. They might just exhaust your resources over time and stir up resentment, melancholy, and perplexity. Setting and maintaining these limits might be difficult, but they are necessary.
Why do People Develop a Habit of Lying?
This compulsive behavior typically begins in childhood, frequently as a means of overcoming distressing feelings of worry or humiliation. Additionally, there may be additional factors. Often, the underlying cause is initially obscure.
Even when frequent lying causes new challenges, it eventually turns into an effort to avoid problems. Sometimes people have a deep-seated belief that they are imperfect and unworthy. To gain the respect and approval of those they esteem, they believe they must lie.
Others do it in order to create a psychological wall separating themselves from others. People who feel stifled or in some other way under control frequently exhibit this.
Whatever the cause, chronic lying has the potential to develop into an addiction. a pattern. Many habitual liars also lie to themselves because it feels more natural and comfortable than telling the truth.
Unfortunately, compulsive lying can go untreated for a lifetime.
How to Handle Lying in a Relationship
While lying once seemed to make life easier, you’ve undoubtedly since realized that it can negatively affect your work, as well as the relationships you have with family, friends, and coworkers. on strangers even! It can harm your relationships, tarnish your reputation, and ruin your career.
Deep closeness calls for confidence. Trust is necessary for friendship. Trust is necessary for productive working partnerships.
Additionally significant, your habit can be keeping you from acquiring what you require from your connections. Many habitual liars suppress resentment, are chronic people-pleasers and lack the confidence to assert their needs and wants. There is very little likelihood of improvement because their lovers, friends, and coworkers are unaware of their discontentment.
Additionally, there is considerable evidence to support the idea that this illness causes emotional pain even when the liar “gets away with it.” Empathy and interpersonal connections may become more difficult as a result.
Additionally, there’s the ongoing worry about telling a lie. You may feel false, guilty, worthless, and powerless to change as a result of the strain of trying to remember your lies and control the snowball effect of covering up lies with more lies.
However, things don’t have to be this way. It might be challenging to sort through the interior knot of trauma, denial, and habitual behavior on your own. You can, however, seek assistance to address your compulsive lying and reorient your life. Furthermore, the earlier you begin, the better.
Compulsive Liar Text
The first, brave step toward recovery is acknowledging that you have a problem. The second is to look for expert help for compulsive lying.
#1. They’re Making an Effort to Change the Topic
A liar will attempt to shift the topic of your conversation and center it on something entirely else. Your suggestion that they are lying can even cause them to act hurt. A liar could accuse the other person of lying while concentrating on this external distraction, which is known as external distraction. They might even use every trick in the book to avoid responding to the question that first put them in the hot seat.
#2. They Thank You After They Quickly Respond
Many people use flattery as a kind of manipulation in both their personal and professional lives. A liar may use it to seize control of the conversation and steer it in a different direction. And it frequently succeeds because we all enjoy hearing positive remarks about ourselves. The deceiver/manipulator knows us well enough to take advantage of our insecurities when it’s convenient.
#3. They are not Specific
Those who aren’t frightened, to tell the truth, will be able to recall the easily recollected details that support their claims. On the other hand, a liar will attempt to maintain ambiguity by withholding information. They don’t want to divulge specifics that could be used to establish a lie. They are certain that by telling only half the truth, rather than the whole truth, they haven’t necessarily lied.
#4. They Assert That They are Truthful and “Never Lie.”
Liars will exaggerate their honesty in an effort to appear credible. It’s quite frequent to utilize phrases like “to be honest,” “trust me,” and “to tell you the truth.” If someone is telling the truth, they won’t need to keep saying how sincere they are. They are definitely trying to conceal the truth from you by using that tactic, where they overstate their sincerity.
#5. They Write Intricate, Minutely Detailed Stories
Someone who is creative enough to concoct such elaborate and vivid tales might be a compulsive liar. In general, their tales are quite compelling, if occasionally convoluted and theatrical. They may even trust their own made-up stories because of the minute details that provide credibility to them. Due to the fact that they don’t even completely understand that they are lying but instead believe they are saying the truth, dealing with them becomes quite difficult.
#6. They Switch Back and Forth Between Past and Present Tense
Someone who is making up a story from scratch is prone to using awkward language. You may have noticed that they flip-flop between the past and present tenses. This happens because their mind is preoccupied with concocting a false narrative that it loses track of how to construct a proper statement. If you suddenly detect such a change, you should assume that the person is lying unless they do it frequently.
#7. They Attempt to Suddenly End the Conversation
Someone you are messaging can receive a question that puts them in the spotlight. They might give you a brief, evasive response before rushing to get on. Your query won’t be answered, and they’ll leave the conversation, leaving you to worry whether they’re trying to cover something up. The best course of action in this situation is to meet the other person, speak with them directly, and gauge their response.
#8. They Avoid Using the First-Person Singular
Sometimes liars are unable to accept responsibility for their own conduct. They will therefore avoid using first-person pronouns in their statements and instead make more broad ones. For instance, your employer may be attempting to escape responsibility if they frequently use the pronouns “we” and “us.” They use this to make you feel guilty for something that was out of your control.
#9. They Communicate With Empathy
Although employing empathic language is fine, it should be taken seriously when someone uses it unexpectedly. If that person is lying, they will choose to get overly emotional with you rather than thoroughly responding to your query. This is so that they can take advantage of your current feelings by pretending to have their own in an effort to influence you. This emotional contagiousness seeks to cloud your judgment and draw your focus away from your original inquiry
Compulsive Liar FAQs
What makes someone a compulsive liar?
According to conventional wisdom, compulsive lying frequently starts in childhood as a result of being exposed to situations where lying was expected and commonplace. Many of them find it simple to stay away from confrontations with the truth, so they continue to lie. Mental illness may or may not be present in compulsive liars.
Is compulsive lying a mental illness?
Although some people lie more often than others, this is not usually an indication of a mental health issue. The latter is lying with malice. It can be a symptom of a deeper mental health issue, like a personality disorder.
What mental illness causes lying?
Antisocial, narcissistic, and histrionic personality disorders, among others, all exhibit symptoms ofcompulsive lying. Frequent lying may also be a symptom of other disorders, such as borderline personality disorder, but the lies themselves are not harmful.