No one can claim to be honest 100 percent of the time or 100 percent honest when times call for a gentle response.
For instance, if a family member or a close friend asks how they look. You’ll want to be honest, so they don’t go out quite like they are. You’ll do so, though, in a very gentle way, “sugar-coating” the truth as much as possible to avoid hurting someone.
However, it can be challenging to recognize pathological liar signs – one prone to constantly lie with no emotion or concern for the effects their fibbing will have on the other person.
The person will often tell one lie to cover another, and these will generally be elaborate and dramatic to the point they are the hero of their own story.
But the pathological liar is good at what they do, so catching them is very difficult.
What is a pathological liar?
The terms “pseudologia fantastica” and “mythomania” reference a compulsive liar in psychiatric jargon.
The loose definition of a pathological liar is someone with a probable lifetime history of repetitive and continuous lying.
The person receives no apparent benefit, nor is there a discernible psychological motive. In simple terms, this person “lies to lie simply.”
Some people can date a person with a compulsive lying habit without knowing the person is dishonest. Others recognize the outlandish tales, growing exhausted with the constant lying and making up stories.
It can become frustrating and often causes great confusion making some mates question whether or not they’re losing their minds.
Difference between a pathological and compulsive liar
People might end up interchangeably using the terms pathological liar and compulsive liar. However, they are different. Here are some differences between a pathological liar and a compulsive liar.
A pathological liar lies to get their way without realizing it or with little awareness. Do pathological liars know they are lying? They might know they are lying but might not realize it.
A compulsive liar, however, is someone who lies because of habit.
Pathological lying is done with a goal in mind. It is usually to get their way. The goal of compulsive lying usually is to avoid confrontations with the truth.
Compulsive liars are not necessarily manipulative. They lie out of habit. However, pathological liars in relationships, on the other end, lie to manipulate and have things their way.
5. Nature of the lie
Telling a pathological lie is difficult. Since it is told to manipulate, the details are more thought out. Compulsive lies, on the other hand, are easier to detect. Since they are not as thought out and usually done due to habit, the stories might need to be revised.
10 signs indicating your partner is a pathological liar
Lying in a relationship can’t lead to a healthy bond or a successful outcome unless you have a patient partner willing to work through the whys and hows using ideal professional guidance to show you ways to maneuver through pathological liar relationships.
The first step is recognizing you’re with someone who constantly lies.
Do you think you are married to a pathological liar? It would help if you looked for clear signs of a pathological liar.
Are you familiar with the signs of a pathological liar? Let’s look at some.
1. They lie to get everyone’s attention
While it might seem that someone who constantly lies by making themself the “hero” has an overly inflated ego and a genuine need to be the center of attention, the opposite is likely true.
In many cases, these individuals suffer from a lack of self-esteem and lowered confidence. Problems arising in their background that had no solutions caused them to develop stories relating to those issues only with their positive outcome.
Some pathological liars search for sympathy, making themselves the victim with each challenge that comes their way. That can be a work project with a coworker, a disagreement with a neighbor, or even dealing with creditors or landlords.
The person is always the one put upon and taken advantage of, so those around them will feel sorry and provide advice.
3. Their body language changes when they lie
Most people are uneasy when they lie. You’ll notice when someone is lying, they can’t look you in the eye, or perhaps they can’t be still while talking.
With compulsive cheating and lying, the body language is steady and confident. These lies are just a part of their natural makeup, normal conversation for what is a compulsive liar.
4. They take advantage of white lies to get out of a situation
Are you asking yourself, “Is he a pathological liar?” Look out for this sign.
Some signs of a pathological liar are challenging for the average person to catch. In a lot of cases, their lies are “white lies.” For many of us, these are used to avoid causing someone undue hurt or to avoid a confrontation.
A compulsive liar will use these simply as a matter of conversation. Sometimes, a mate will catch their partner retelling a familiar story – only the partner is becoming quite the martyr in the enhanced version.
5. The stories they tell at parties don’t include you
If you follow your significant other in a social situation, the person will typically be retelling events from which you were both a party. Listen to your mate’s stories if you’re suspicious but looking for signs of a pathological liar or mythomania.
If these are unfamiliar, you might realize other people’s activities that your mate is recreating as a personal journey, whether the occasion is from the news headlines or a close friend’s account.
6. They avoid confrontation
When you recognize signs of a pathological liar and decide it’s time to address the issue, it likely will not go as you planned when confronting the compulsive liar.
Someone who habitually lies is not going to come clean with the truth.
These individuals lie merely to lie with no emotional attachment or motive. It’s part of who they are. Sometimes, you might find a response like, “do you believe I’m capable of such a thing?”
There’s no actual participation in the confrontation and no answer to your question. They sidestep.
Attempting further dialog will only bring further frustration and confusion as the tables turn with the liar questioning your loyalty and motives.
7. They need professional help
Some pathological liars might find the truth in their own words. That isn’t necessarily the way it is for all compulsive liars.
If you find your mate unabashedly defending what they say to the ground, despite irrefutable evidence to the contrary, the person must genuinely believe these ideas to be actual.
If you recognize signs of a pathological liar, it’s wise to seek mental health guidance from a professional.
Generally, the expert can help with coping skills with what is typically a case of compulsive lying. However, in some cases, there can be an underlying personality disorder that needs addressing.
8. All they do is lie
If a pathological liar finds that their story is not working the way they need it or someone is catching on to the “tale,” they will quickly develop another lie to cover for the original lie.
The thing with the stories is there is always a grain of truth to make those listening question the genuine version of the facts.
Generally, when they get caught fibbing, you’ll find they will “come clean” with “the truth,” but elaborate to the point that you feel sorry for the reasons they felt compelled to embellish their versions of the facts.
Then they typically make unreasonable declarations like never lying again, for which everyone knows a pathological liar is incapable.
Once you see the signs of a pathological liar, it’s virtually impossible to develop a sense of trust or faith in the things they say to you. The person always needs to be the focus, creating drama in their path.
It often leads to conflict and turmoil among friends, family, coworkers, and anyone in their lives, making the notion that everyone else is at fault.
They direct their stories to show these things to be facts, causing hurt and disappointment in loved ones. Even if the lies are proven false, the innate need to defend becomes off-putting to those around them.
People are habitual liars because they are insecure. But then, aren’t most of us? The difference with a liar is something causes a complete lack of belief in their abilities.
Rather than at least try naturally, be courageous and allow for failure, they pretend they have already succeeded at the task.
And if mistakes or failures come close to them, they’re quick to go into victim mode, so there is a person at fault that prevented their achievement. In essence, they don’t give themselves a chance.
Watch this video to learn more about insecurities:
5 ways to deal with a pathological liar in a relationship
When it comes to dealing with a pathological liar, you may find it tough to navigate it. Pathological lying, especially in relationships, can be challenging to cope with. If you ask yourself, “How to deal with a pathological liar in a relationship?” Here are some tips that can help.
1. Do not let your temper take over
It is very natural to feel angry when you know someone is lying to you, to manipulate you. However, it is necessary to not let the temper take over. Be firm but kind and polite when confronting a pathological liar.
It is almost indispensable to pathological lying. When you finally confront a pathological liar about lying, you will find them denying it. You should know your course of action if they deny lying when confronted.
3. Do not let them make it about you
Since pathological liars are usually people with NPD or APD, they might end up trying to blame you for lying when confronted. They might say you did not leave them a choice but to lie. However, do not let them get in your head.
4. Be supportive
Pathological lying is usually done to manipulate. However, if you support them, they might not feel the need to lie to get their way. Of course, you only have to do this to a certain extent and create a boundary where you think it is starting to affect your peace.
As mentioned, pathological liars are also people dealing with NPD or APD. People with these personality disorders might become pathological liars because of them. Seeking medical help for them can help control their lying as well.
Some commonly asked questions:
A pathological liar can make you feel frustrated and at times makes you question the truth. Certain pertinent questions can help you get more clarity when dealing with a pathological liar.
Is pathological lying a mental disorder?
Pathological lying, in itself, is not considered a mental disorder. However, it usually results from personality disorders such as narcissism or antisocial personality disorder. These disorders can cause a person to become manipulative to the extent of lying to get their way.
A pathological liar lies to manipulate and being able to get their way.
Can a pathological liar change?
Yes. A pathological liar can change when the underlying issues of their personality are addressed. For instance, if they lie because they have a narcissistic personality, seeking help and managing it can help them change and not lie.
Similarly, if the underlying cause of lying is abuse or any other trauma in their life, working on it and dealing with those emotions can help them change and not lie.
Can a pathological liar love someone? You might ask if a pathological liar can change because you are unsure if they love you or can love anyone at all. The truth is, they can. However, they may need help to control their manipulative tendencies by working on the underlying causes of lying.
A relationship with a pathological liar requires insurmountable strength and unconditional love to want to learn to cope with lies and deception on a routine basis.
Likely, if the person cannot fess up to the fact they lie, they won’t agree to see a mental health professional develop these coping skills.
The bottom line at some point will be to develop the sympathy they so desperately want and feel sorry for them. Then choose you.
Honor and love those whose intuition is much more valuable than you, which allows a consistent facade to lead you to question that attribute. From there, move on healthfully. You can also consider relationship counseling if you need professional help.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships Read more and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.
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