Dealing with Pathological Liars

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  1. Ivorwen profile image66
    Ivorwenposted 13 years ago

    I have recently found out some acquaintances of mine are pathological liars.  Both husband and wife.  I feel like confronting these people, but considering the 'horror' stories they have about how others have treated them wrongly, I do not want to get involved. 

    This is not the first time I have discovered that someone I have befriended is completely untrustworthy.  The problem is, I have never know how to deal with it once I have discovered the issue. 

    When you find your self in this type of situation, what do you do?  How would you handle it?  I am open to all suggestions.

    1. yenajeon profile image74
      yenajeonposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Honestly just cut them off. Ignore them, but don't confront them and turn the whole situation into a big drama.
      I am sure they are aware they are complete liars just not enough to be able to admit it aloud. They will also distort or create anything you say to them in order for it to 'fit' into their way of thinking.
      Trust me I have dealt with pathological liars before and there is just NO dealing with them.
      Cut it off cleanly and remain polite.

    2. Mikel G Roberts profile image65
      Mikel G Robertsposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Lie to them in a way you are sure they will know you are lying to them...but in a way they wont be able to confront you about it...

      If they have half a brain they will get the point...

      As the man said, do unto others as you would have them do unto you...A pathological liar evidently wants to be lied to.

      1. profile image0
        china manposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        A pathological liar does not know they are liar - they really believe it. I watched this process in action as the person first told me a very embarrassing event in which she was deeply at fault. I then had to listen an hour or so later as she told the story again, this time slightly changed to diminish her role in it, then again and so on until she was the victim of the person she had caused the trouble for - and who had caught her in the act.

        At first I was amused and interested in the whole process and then she spent several hours on the telephone telling everyone, including people the other side of the country, how she had been terribly mistreated by this other terrible woman. When I confronted her about it, she was very clear that I was mistaken about what she had said when she was distraught. In her eyes it was clear she believed totally the converted story. The ability to change reality around oneself should not be underestimated, within a few days many people around the situation clearly believed her. Me, everyone now knows that the reason we divorced after 30 years of marriage was that I never supported her and treated her badly.

        1. Mikel G Roberts profile image65
          Mikel G Robertsposted 13 years agoin reply to this

          That to me isn't the description of a pathological liar, that is the description of a person that is self-deluded and of low self esteem. A person that can not admit fault to them selves usually because of the low or non-existent self esteem.

          They feel like they are such a lowly creature, that they must never admit any fault because all they are , are faulty. There is an element of lying involved, but it is in an attempt to find some sort of self worth. Convincing themselves and others that they are without fault, because of the true inner belief that faults are all they have.

          A Pathological liar is someone that lies just for the sake and enjoyment of lying.


          after looking up the Wiki definition which was:
          Identifying a Pathological Liar
          Pathological liars, or "mythomaniacs," may be suffering from histrionic personality disorder or narcissistic personality disorder. The following comments basically reflect a pathological liar who has the characteristics of histrionic personality disorder.

          Some characteristics

          1. Exaggerates things that are ridiculous.

          2. One-upping. Whatever you do, this person can do it better. You will never top them in their own mind, because they have a concerted need to be better than everyone else. This also applies to being right. If you try to confront an individual like this, no matter how lovingly and well-intentioned you might be - this will probably not be effective. It's threatening their fantasy of themselves, so they would rather argue with you and bring out the sharp knives than admit that there's anything wrong with them.

          3. They "construct" a reality around themselves. They don't value the truth, especially if they don't see it as hurting anyone. If you call them on a lie and they are backed into a corner, they will act very defensively and say ugly things (most likely but depends on personality), but they may eventually start to act like, "Well, what's the difference? You're making a big deal out of nothing!" (again, to refocus the conversation to your wrongdoing instead of theirs).

          4. Because these people don't value honesty, a lot of times they will not value loyalty. So watch what you tell them. They will not only tell others, but they will embellish to make you look worse. Their loyalty is fleeting, and because they are insecure people, they will find solace in confiding to whomever is in their favor at the moment.

          5. They may be somewhat of a hypochondriac. This can come in especially useful when caught in a lie, for example, they can claim that they have been sick, or that there's some mysteriously "illness" that has them all stressed out. It's another excuse tool for their behavior.

          6. Obviously, they will contradict what they say. This will become very clear over time. They usually aren't smart enough to keep track of so many lies (who would be?).

          I guess my definition of it is flawed...

          So what is a person that lies just for the enjoyment of lying called?

          1. Michael Willis profile image68
            Michael Willisposted 13 years agoin reply to this

            Very well said! 1-6 all sound about right.
            Those for the fun of it? Hmmm, twisted?

          2. profile image0
            Iðunnposted 13 years agoin reply to this

            Wiki has a good definition.

    3. profile image0
      Deborah Sextonposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      If they are liars you can slowly break away. If they are slanderers you maybe should completely break away now. This type of person can damage your reputation,

  2. Dame Scribe profile image59
    Dame Scribeposted 13 years ago

    Time always reveals peoples  true nature and I'd say, give yourself a pat on the back for giving the benefit of the doubt smile rather than being guilty of passing judgements first. wink shrug your shoulders and carry on with your own life. smile lots of other people to meet yet.

    1. Ivorwen profile image66
      Ivorwenposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Your right.  There are many other people.  I am just getting paranoid!  smile

  3. easybusinesslinks profile image59
    easybusinesslinksposted 13 years ago

    Just burn them at the stake and cast them out into the fires of hell...or just do a mr whippy turd and make them eat it!!

    1. Ivorwen profile image66
      Ivorwenposted 13 years agoin reply to this


  4. Ohma profile image60
    Ohmaposted 13 years ago

    I simply do not spend time with people once I find something like this out. Life is to short and my time to valuable to waste it on people like this.

    1. Ivorwen profile image66
      Ivorwenposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      This has been my usual rout.  Problem is our kids really enjoy each other.  I hate to make them suffer.

      1. tantrum profile image60
        tantrumposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        If your children are friends with theirs, You'll have to see them, even if it's uncomfortable for you.
        Just don't pay attention to their lies. Say yes to everything, and when you get back home ,forget about it.

        1. Mikel G Roberts profile image65
          Mikel G Robertsposted 13 years agoin reply to this

          Leaving your kids around them might influence your kids??? or not?

          (kids learn from their environment)

          1. tantrum profile image60
            tantrumposted 13 years agoin reply to this

            The kids are not guilty of their parents mistakes. If the kids are OK, I don't see why they have to stop seeing each other.
            PL are not dangerous, if you know how to handle them. They're only a nuisance.

  5. profile image0
    china manposted 13 years ago

    That couple wouldn't be Bush and Blair and the lies to do with Iraq - would it ?

    Just trying to liven up a slow thread for you  big_smile

    1. Ivorwen profile image66
      Ivorwenposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Political figures?  Nah.  I already know not to trust politicians.  big_smile

  6. profile image0
    girly_girl09posted 13 years ago

    If possible, just stay away from them; break it off. Think of yourself and your needs. You'll be so much better off without their toxic presence in your life! Who knows what they might say about you if you confront them? Chances are, it will be similar or worse than the other horror stories you've heard them tell.

    One of my family friends knew a couple like this. They were absolutely insane. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about it.

  7. darkside profile image69
    darksideposted 13 years ago

    If it were me, I'd remove myself from their lives.

    Nothing you can do or say will change them.

    Just because we vote for pathological liars doesn't mean we need to be friends with them. big_smile

  8. mod2vint profile image61
    mod2vintposted 13 years ago

    Let the kids play and distance yourself from the parents if your not comfortable. Just have your kids fill you in on the days events so you can help them weed through the crap.

  9. Cagsil profile image73
    Cagsilposted 13 years ago

    Well, considering all pathological liars themselves don't realize that they are lying in the first place. However, even with that said, I wouldn't want their misinformation to cloud the minds of those around me, so I wouldn't find myself spending anytime with them.

    Eventually, cutting off ties completely, simply because of the negative aspects they bring to my life. I like up-beat, positive people. I'm negative enough in certain areas of life and that's already too much. lol lol lol

    I don't need outside help. smile

  10. livewithrichard profile image74
    livewithrichardposted 13 years ago

    I would call them on their lies especially if I had proof they were lying.  Then I would let them know that lying is not how you treat a friend and if they continue to lie then there is no friendship.

    I've known plenty of liars and many do it not even realizing how they may be damaging a relationship. It's the ones that do it to purposely manipulate someone else that I would cut ties with.  You know, who needs enemies...

  11. profile image0
    sneakorocksolidposted 13 years ago

    Sounds like they need some good friends! Just keep changing channels until you get past the bad

  12. profile image0
    B.C. BOUTIQUEposted 13 years ago

    personally, I would stay away from them..just cut the ties..
    people like that lead others into trouble just to fuel their own fire.

  13. profile image0
    Home Girlposted 13 years ago

    Sometimes people lie because they want to pretend that they are something they are not but want to be desperately: richer, smarter, more important, more educated, better in any way etc. And it becomes a habit, a way of life, especially if somebody naive likes their lies and believes in it. It adds some fuel to their fire and they get used to it. Usually (well, in my experience I should say) a man who desperately tries to win a woman starts lying to show himself from a better side. By the way, I was born and lived a good chunk of my life in a society where all was built on one big fat lie. The whole society.can you imagine that? So,people get used to it. Though in your case, you can just ignore people like that. It's too shallow and pathetic and just shows their weakness. And you always can let them know why you avoid them and that you see through their lies and do not believe them. Period. And kids play with all kinds of weirdos. The most important thing for them to see the difference and stay away from unhealthy habits.

  14. Misha profile image62
    Mishaposted 13 years ago

    I would gradually minimize any interaction with them, down to the point of total break up smile

  15. rebekahELLE profile image87
    rebekahELLEposted 13 years ago

    confronting them won't help. it's part of their character.
    the friendship will never be the same, I would also gradually break away.

    maybe have the kids over occasionally.

  16. donotfear profile image85
    donotfearposted 13 years ago

    Gosh, isn't it disappointing to find out somebody you know, and maybe really like, is a freakin liar? It's a shame. so many levels to this. Lying by omission, half-truths, and blatant out-right false lies. And like the majority here, distancing yourself from them is probably best, with the exception of the children. I always like catching em in their own lie. Gotta be sneaky to do it, but you can be confrontational in a "subliminal" way. Interesting to see how they sputter and stammer around trying to work around the falsehood when they've been found out. And you  can just act 'oh, so surprised!'

  17. mega1 profile image68
    mega1posted 13 years ago

    you are getting the right advice from several people - just that you don't have time to play their games with them. The worst of it is that you have been disillusioned and I heard a teacher say once "the worst thing you can do to another is to suddenly take away their illusions"  the thing is so much of life IS illusions- so I have found that finding the humor of it by imagining these people as the characters in a sit-com helps me distance myself, then the disillusionment doesn't hurt so bad.

    1. donotfear profile image85
      donotfearposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I agree with you here. The "illusionist" liar can be very hurtful, especially if it's someone you care for. Using 'half-truths' and lying by omission can create "illusions". so when the real truth comes out....boom....your bubble is burst and you're stuck with the realization it was all based on 'half-truths' and illusions. How many have been decieved by this very method? It's done in selfishness.

      I think this type is different than the mentally ill pathalogical liar described above. There's several levels to it.  I think it goes back to insecurity from their life. Whatever the reason, it's best to move on when dealing with one like this.

    2. Ivorwen profile image66
      Ivorwenposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Having the 'illusion' taken away has been one of the hardest things.  To find out that someone is about the exact opposite of what you had though....

  18. Lynne1110 profile image61
    Lynne1110posted 13 years ago

    Ivorwen, I am sorry that you are having to deal with this. The advise that has been given is great so far but doesn't always work. There are situations where you can not remove yourself from the person altogether. Your children enjoy each other and as long as they do you, I'm sure, want to be supportive of that relationship. I was married to a path liar and now work with one. They do live in their own world and you can not call them out on their lies. They either believe what they say or will tell you that you misunderstood. They will turn it around on you! You know the saying keep your friends close and your enemies closer. This is one of those circumstances. Just KNOWING that you can not trust what they are telling you and always remembering that is key. I do not know the ages of your children but if old enough they too can learn from the situation. My children learn through my drama so to speak. Good luck to you!

  19. Michael Willis profile image68
    Michael Willisposted 13 years ago

    I have known a couple of individuals that are pathological liars. Definitely need to find a way to distant yourself from them. But be careful or you will become their target of the drama they create. I have noticed that people that are like this always have enormous amounts of drama around them.
    You will hear of all types of betrayals and how people lie about them, when what it is in reality they are turning their own behavior onto someone else. When they are telling you horrible stories about someone, you will be the accused in the story to someone else.They proclaim how they hate liars over and over again.
    I finally put distance between these people and was glad I did. Confronting someone like this does not help, it only gives them ammo to use when you are not around for their self-fulfilling drama.

    1. profile image0
      Iðunnposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Yep, that's what happens.

  20. profile image0
    cosetteposted 13 years ago

    i couldn't have said it better myself. confronting them never works. i have tried that. best just to back away slowly.

  21. mega1 profile image68
    mega1posted 13 years ago

    So what is a person that lies just for the enjoyment of lying called?  an arse?

    1. Mikel G Roberts profile image65
      Mikel G Robertsposted 13 years agoin reply to this


  22. Daniel Carter profile image65
    Daniel Carterposted 13 years ago

    There were two pathological liars in my life at different times. The overwhelming message to me was to step away from the liar, and keep walking. There is nothing good that comes from dealing with these people. Confrontation doesn't work, they deny. They don't have a conscience strong enough to cause them to feel anything but justification for what they do. It's a very twisted, sick, psychological game they play. My personal experience is that it's mostly about the preservation of their egos. They continually prey on others to keep feeding it, regardless of how twisted and sick it may be.

    They are vampires of a sort, protecting and feeding their sick egos.

  23. Mikel G Roberts profile image65
    Mikel G Robertsposted 13 years ago

    I will say this, text and forums such as this might be good tools to be able to identify a P.L. because they won't be able to say they didn't say that...there it is in black and white...

    1. tantrum profile image60
      tantrumposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I've seen a couple of hubbers contradicting themselves about their personal lives. So I think they're PL

  24. Mikel G Roberts profile image65
    Mikel G Robertsposted 13 years ago

    Proving my point Tantrum....TYVM

  25. Mikel G Roberts profile image65
    Mikel G Robertsposted 13 years ago

    What about explaining to people that they are P.L.'s wouldn't that help others that are also dealing with this person?

    1. Daniel Carter profile image65
      Daniel Carterposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      When people are that toxic, I think it's *completely* fair to warn others. That's not gossip, that's called being a good neighbor. You would warn your neighbor about any other type of thief, or dangerous person. Whether or not they would listen, though, needs to be assessed carefully. Some people will insist by learning from sad experience, not by a warning.

      As for kids being friends in Ivorwen's case, it's only a matter of time before some big drama explodes and it all goes to hell in a hand basket anyway. You can wait and be careful, but in this case, I don't think there's any way to avoid it. It's just gasoline waiting for a match. The kids playing together is NOT the problem, it's their parents who will fabricate the problem.

      1. profile image0
        Iðunnposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        I don't recommend this in the internet environment.  It's consistently twisted to be seen as 'being mean' and you'll end up being the target of both the victimizer and usually also the victim themselves.  You're dealing with people who excel at manipulation and have no conscience, sociopaths.  If you get involved, you're going to come off as the bad guy.  Trust me on this one.

        You can't help the victims.  You just have to let them find out for themselves.

        1. Daniel Carter profile image65
          Daniel Carterposted 13 years agoin reply to this

          I hadn't considered the internet environment, and I agree with you. Good insights. Thanks.

  26. profile image0
    Iðunnposted 13 years ago

    Cut yourself off totally from them if possible. 

    These people don't get better.  The compulsive lying is simply a symptom of a larger mental illness, usually antisocial personality disorder, and narcissism.  Part of the illness is that they don't see themselves as mentally ill and almost never seek help for their real illness and even the few that do seek treatment rarely improve. 

    The only way to 'win' in the one-sided game that they play with other people, whom they see as objects, is not to play at all.  Nothing good can come out of dealing with people who are that ill.

    I had to quit message boards totally to escape from one of these nutjobs who consistently stalks me (and others).  When I read boards and watch other plain old people trying to deal with similar type nutjobs it actually makes me nauseous. I'm always tempted to reach out and help, but I try to fight that impulse because I've found that it's usually impossible to protect anyone from their own blindnesses.  Until the soon to be victims have been put through the grinder themselves, they won't get it.

  27. Ivorwen profile image66
    Ivorwenposted 13 years ago

    Thank you all so much.  Cutting off the relationship does seem to be the only wise choice.  I am still undecided as to the children, but I know my part.

    Thank you, to all of you who have had experience, for letting me know that confronting the people is not worth while.  I was afraid of the backlash that might come, and you have all made it clear that it will come. My heart wants to help them, but I now realise, from what you all have said, that they do not want this type of help.  hmm


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