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Pathological Lying

Updated on February 4, 2010
Lying is bad...
Lying is bad...

Pathological Lying..?

Anyone, and yes, that means you and me can develop pathological lying syndrome.

Pathological Lying Syndrome (PLS) is, unfortunately, a very common personality disorder. It is though more common with kids than adults.

I'm a children and adolescent psychiatrist who's been studying personality disorders for quite some time now, and have been working with children and teenagers who have been diagnosed as pathological liars. Before I decided to write this hub, I wrote Pathological Lying in the Search bar of the site to check what I'd get. It seems most of you connect this syndrome with men. That is entirely wrong, since just as many women have this syndrome.

A Pathological Liar... will lie about anything to make his life more interesting. He'll lie about what he ate for dinner last night. He'll lie about what happened at work today. Hell, he'll even lie about what his mom's middle name is! The trick is not to let him fool you, although many of them can't help it. It's usually the environment they grew up in. They may have had to lie so they wouldn't be beaten or they lied because they were simply frightened. Most children will lie, but as we grow up we learn that only the truth shall set us free. When someone grows up in fear or a bad environment they lack self confidence and they may be shy, lack self confidence so they lie over small things or dramatize an event that may have happened to them to impress their peers.

Yes, a pathological liar usually has no self esteem whatsoever $6 or he has a huge ego and is a complete narcissist, and there for feels it's okay to lie about whatever happens to him. Those who have no self esteem feel they need to lie about who they are, often make up a new name, a new family, background and what their favorite food brand is. A pathological liar usually develops the syndrome around the age of 10, but kids become credible around that age. Before the age of 10, children usually cannot lie.

People have been wondering if pathological liars know they are even lying. Probably 80% of pathological liars know they lie. They just don't see how they're hurting other people and they don't see anything wrong with it. You might even say they lack a certain amount of moral conscience. They usually get very angry when caught lying, and are usually trapped in a web of total denial. Pathological Liars are also very often unable to feel sympathy for others and as they get caught lying; they usually lie more to get out of the lying.

You really have to be around a pathological liar a lot to see how his or her mind works. Pathological Liars will never admit to being a chronicle liar, although they will admit they do lie. But don't we all sometimes? The trick is to see when to stop lying and start being serious. Those boundaries are unknown to pathological liars. They will lie and lie and lie some more. Pathological liars are usually very stressed persons, and I can only imagine it's because it's got to be a bitch to remember all those stories they tell to different people, and probably trying to remember which story was told to whom. In the prefrontal cortex of the brain, pathological liars were shown to have 26% more white matter than people with other psychological disorders who didn't lie. White matter has often been associated with the ability to lie. Lower amounts of white matter are typical in the brain of people with autism, who generally cannot lie.

Pathological liars are dishonest people. A pathological liar will, in many cases, cheat on his or her wife ⁄ husband. Beware of those pathological liars, as they may hurt you much more than just with lying. If you know someone who's a pathological liar, get him or her into therapy now. Otherwise, the liar may ruin a lot of lives.

After having read some of the hubs around here, I’ve got to say, study up on pathological liars before you start head-bashing them.

Thank you for reading this J


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      Keep private 2 years ago

      What do you do if the liar is your child? You taught right and wrong and to tell truth. Other kids tell the truth? But you have one who hits and tips people and bold face tell you that what you just saw did not happen? What do you do? How do you handle it ?

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      Brokenhearted 3 years ago

      My husband is a pathological liar...I married him believing my strong faith would keep us together and telling myself his "lying" was just another sin, so how could I be judgmental. In the end, he left me, but I know it's what's best. I'm so broken hearted that our marriage lasted less than 10 months. I would love to see him get help, but his own family acknowledges he has a problem, but they never confront him. They told me I was the only person he ever had in his life that was strong enough to confront him. Then when he cried foul to them after I had confronted him, they stood by his side and told me I was just treating him like garbage. I believe he is a good person, and I have so much love in my heart for him. It deeply saddens me to know he will probably never get help and be set free. I doubted his feeling for me from the beginning because I just never felt a strong connection from him. It seemed he was always too busy doing things for himself to even make anytime for me. He told me less than 24hours after separating that he needed to find a different type of woman, that he didn't want a divorce, that he hasn't loved me for a long time, and that he didn't know if the situation at hand would have lead to a divorce. I'm really not sure he even knows what his own truth is. It's been frustrating without a doubt, I have taken the blame for a lot of his lies. He told me I was too intimidating to tell the truth, I took it to heart. Later I realized he lies to everyone and about things that don't matter, even what he had for lunch, so I knew it wasn't me. Sometime he would get up in my face and say, go ahead, call me a liar one more time. I didn't want to provoke his anger anymore that I already had, but in my head I was thinking, what?, you ARE a liar. I hate that I actually believed he might be capable of love, I know I loved him for the right reasons and always tried to see the best in him. But now, waiting till I was 33 to get married, I have a broken vow. I wish he could get help, but I understood it was unlikely at some point. The first step in recovery is admitting there is a problem, and he was never willing to do that. He would even try to tell me I was crazy when I would accidentally uncover his lies and confront him. I'm so sad, and frustrated that my family put forth money just 10 months ago. I'm going to try my best not to let bitterness grow in my heart and pray that this man would find in within him to get help! For his family, his children and any other woman who comes into his life in the future. I could go on for pages talking about his lies, sadly for him, the past continues to repeat! He has good women, they catch on to his lies, and they flee. He ends up turning them upside down and tells everyone how miserable they were. I know in my heart it's him that is miserable. And I will just be the next victim of his pathological lies. He will claim to be the victim when I gave it my all!

      Thanks for letting me vent! I just hope for help for people that struggle with this issue. I don't think it's necessary to lie when you find true happiness in life, and I think it's impossible to have true happiness when your life is a lie!

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      tralala 4 years ago

      I met a girl who was a compulsive and pathological liar when we were about 13, and we were best friends for 3 or 4 years. Of course, I didn't know she was a liar at first. She was (and still is) very good at getting sympathy from others. When I finally realized she lied to me and everyone else about anything at all, I figured she was insecure and thought that if I stood by her and let her know I'd be her friend and she didn't need to make up things to impress me, she'd stop. Of course, that was wrong. When I broke off our friendship, she told others for years that I "turned the whole school against her"-- impossible, since I was NOT a popular kid! Anyway, as the years went by, she would get in the newspaper or even on TV (she was always seeking attention) and she changes her name from time to time. I google her now and then, and she's still up to her old tricks, although as far as I can tell, she limits her "fame" to Civil War re-enactments; but she just uses fake stories in her portrayals! This is especially sad, since we are now 55 years old! Oh, but several years ago, she stole her sister-in-law's identity (I met the s-i-l and read the police reports) and 'became' 6 years younger than she actually is...

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      Mel 4 years ago

      I think my sister is a pathological liar... She lies all the time about such small (and large) things--I never know why. It's like every story has to be 100 times more dramatic, every account of a conversation is where someone is attacking her, etc. It sounds like I am being dramatic but you have no idea. My parents now are now more cautious to "call 911" with every additional lie. Unfortuneatley she has seen help with a psychologist but she lies to them about how horrible everyone/everything is, they dont even know her (so now how can they help her).

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      Mylindaminka 4 years ago

      Сделать помаду в бассейн Конечно, некоторые, особо стойкие потенциальные посетители бассейна, идут в больницу по месту жительства и тратят несколько дней на то, чтобы посетить нужных врачей, выдерживают огромные очереди, состоящие из больных людей, способных заразить неприятными вирусными инфекциями.... Другие решают купить помаду в бассейн, не заботясь о том, что могут стать причиной заражения других посетителей общественного бассейна, в котором плавают и дети.

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      River 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this! I think my cousin may be a pathological liar....

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      delawarean 5 years ago

      I'm a pathological liar. I'm 31 years old and have been lying since I was about 6. My lies, however, are so believable that people rarely find out I'm lying, which makes it all the easier to keep doing it. I go to painstaking lengths to hide my lies also. I mostly lie to get attention and to feel better about myself. The only one who knows about some of my lies is my husband and he wants me to get professional help. When I was a kid my parents took me for counselling at least 3 or 4 times and I've been on anti-depressants a couple of times and let me tell you, none of these things has worked. I've learned to live with this. I've reached a point where I know who I can lie to and who I can't and I just roll with it and hope nobody finds out the truth.

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      Missneenxo 5 years ago

      I've been with my ex for 10 months, I broke up with him 2 days ago because I realized he's a pathological liar. Where he said he worked he didn't because my friend called there to speak to him and they told her they never heard of him. He would tell me we are going out to dinner with his mom and plans always changed. He told me he got me a necklace, I never saw the necklace. He told me he set up a payment for our cell, no payment ever went through. One week his real dad died, a month later his step dad died and then his uncle.

      All lies and when I asked him why plans always changed he got mad at me and said they were his moms plans and he didn't have any control over them.

      Then he said he bought me a ring and said he wanted to marry me but I don't think there was a ring at all. Everytime I questioned his lies he would get mad and say I can't believe you don't believe me and get so defensive.

      After confronting him about where he works I said please tell me where you really work and he said the same lie. He really thinks in his head he works there. I just couldn't believe it!

      This is going to be a lot to get over. I feel our whole relationship was a lie. At one point he said he had a black spot on his lung, he was going to Italy, and bought me this luggage set I wanted. All lies. It's like I don't know if any of our relationship was the truth ??? It's horrible

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      bfb 5 years ago

      Irrelevantor, let him believe his lies. :-)

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      The Nobody 5 years ago

      Is there any other way to change/fix someone with this disorder besides theory? or is that the best option?

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      Irrelevantor 5 years ago

      Pathological, you don't have an IQ higher than 99% of the population.

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      Jon 5 years ago

      My little brother lies constantly over things that don't matter at all whether its if he knows where the remote is or if the sunglasses he is wearing are really mine. On one occasion he went out wearing my sunglasses and I'm 100% sure they were mine. I said in a normal tone oh, those are mine. When he lies saying they were his I told him he could keep them if he admitted they were not his and he still wouldn't budge! He is also very smart but still plays dumb a lot and we all no he is lying about completely unimportant things and he never admits to his lie. He yells and shouts if you call him out on his lies and makes a scene that only ends with him choking up from yelling with tears forming. I thought it was a stage when he was a kid, and he still is as am I for a little bit longer, I am 15 and he is turning 12. I wasn't sure what was up but I'm pretty sure I have a handle on what I'm dealing with now. That was a very helpful and summarizing way of explaining pathological lying at the top of the page. I still worry for my little brother and how he will turn out as he grows up, he is smart and means well but the constant compulsive lying was too much but I feel better now that I can I guess diagnose his problem and this page has been very helpful for my gaining of some enlightenment on my brother's case and some explanation. I think I'm going to ask my parents if he can see a therapist that has some experience with cases like him. Wish me....I should say wish my little brother luck.

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      xPrettyNikki 5 years ago

      Ugh, My ex boyfriend is a Pathological Liar, He lied to me for 6 months about EVERYTHING and then when I found out he was lieing and shit, He promised me it would never happen again & blah blah blah, And of course I believed him, I was about to go out with him 2 days ago -I didn't really realize he was sick in the head- And so yesterday, We get into a fight, and he sends me pictures of him and his new gf kissing and shit, Ive been vomiting ever since (No Joke) he ruined my life, and Im only 13! I feel like I cant trust anyone, Except his step brother who was the one that told me the truth about him. His own family thinks its just a thing hes going thru & they make fun of him, But I swear he needs help! He lied about his Parents, School, Friends, Who he talks to, He lied about his whole life. WORST MISTAKE OF MY LIFE. Sorta like Iman's story. :/ But his dad did abandon him (If thats even true) and lied to his mom, So maybe he wants to be like his dad? Maybe he thinks its cool? Idk, But everyone thinks what he has is a joke and in my perspective, They're never gonna get him the help he needs.

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      geminik070 5 years ago

      My mother is a pathological liar and it drives me up the wall. There is not one moment when she opens her mouth that she is not telling a lie. She lies about everything, even the smallest things...She could be talking to a friend on the phone and I'll be nearby and she's telling the person she had a tuna sandwich for dinner when she actually had a steak! Why would you need to lie about what you ate for dinner? That's just one example. This woman can never ever be trusted. If I have to ask her about something important I never know if the story I'm getting is factual or if she's twisted or modified it..which is almost always the case. It's really mind boggling.. I am aware that this a mental condition but it is really difficult to deal with...

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      Iman 5 years ago

      I was in love with I thought the most wonderful man and been waiting for him for two years before eventually married to him. Soon I reliased that I married to a narcissist , I have never seen anyone who would lie so much in my life, he would make stories up to blame me in anything and everything. He put me down n critised me in front of my friends, he flirted like crazy to my friends like I am nothing but called my friends whores. He demanded a total obedience from me and told me who I could or couldn't be friend with. I thought I was going crazy, I could not breath. The marriage only last 4 months, what a nightmare! :(

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      Pathological 5 years ago

      I'm pretty fascinated with lying. However, saddens me what Pathological Lying is defined as, and that it is associated with dissorders. I think compulsive lying should be more widely defined, and I believe compulsive lying is more-so a disorder.

      Pathological lying, I think, is a little bit more strategical. Not like a sociopath, where lying is completely to manipulate people and events in their favor; selfish acts, but to control any situation for any reason, selfish or not. I get manipulation from pathological. Pathos can be defined as the use of emotions or persuasion, and logic is just to make sense, so pathological liar sounds more fitting for someone who intends to manipulate.

      I have a history of doing this, and while reading this "hub" I identified with quite a bit of what was said, but on the same coin, I'm not an angry, or stressed person. I also don't lose control of it. Sounds like the typical "I don't have a problem" denial, but for me it's a game. People can justify anything they do, its a beautiful thing about being human, in my opinion. Not to say lying hasn't gotten me in trouble, but I've always been fond of the saying "ignorance is bliss."

      I'm not a believer of religions, but I do believe in happiness, and I try not to steal that from people. If a loved one has passed, would you rather be told they hated you when they died, or know they loved you in their last moments? Regardless of the reality, most people would rather be told the latter, and most people would lie for that reason.

      I can justify why I lie sometimes, but like the article said, sometimes its just out of insecurity. Maybe someone is trying to hide, and they should be comforted in that instence. Another thing this article mentioned was about liars typically being angry people due to trying to remember all the strings of lies tied to who and what. I would be willing to bet these people have some of the best memories. I know I do. I'm typically modest, but I hope this gives insight to what possibilities there are that you might be dealing with. I've got an IQ higher than 99% of the population. That isn't meant to impress anyone, but I hope that strikes some good ideas. Regardless of what disputes there are about IQ, if you know someone who has a problem with lying, but all you've known them to be is a good person, I would hope this post would help give insight or help understand. There can be good intensions with lying.

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      concernedmom79 5 years ago

      my husband's ex-wife is a pathological liar. She not only has lied to us but lied about us. She also lies to our children (which 2 of them are biologically hers which we have sole custody of). She'll tell them things, such as, she's going to send them certain things and ever does it. She'll say she's coming to visit and never show. Now my son is starting to show these traits. We don't lie to the kids and are always strait forward because we feared this. Even tho she's not really been involved for the past 7 1/2 years and out more than in, could it be possible that he picked this up from her? I want to help get him out of this before it is too late, but I fear it may already be. This woman has even lied saying my husband has locked me in a bedroom and has laid his hands on me and that has never happened. She told me that she knows he's done this stuff and that I can deny it but if i want out she'll help. I was floored. I was so dumb founded that I was laughing. I was like "wow I didn't know this stuff happened to me. I must have been sleeping". Haha. I know that's not a laughing matter, but seriously this woman has issues. My biggest issue isn't her tho it's making sure my son doesn't fall into her schemes and follow her footsteps since she is blood to him. If anyone has any advice I'd appreciate it.

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      his mom 5 years ago

      Just found out my son has been lying to my husband and I about a lot of stuff. I need to get him the help he needs as what I just found out, by accident is mind blowing. I am confused as to who he should see a psychologist or a psychiatrist. He is 19 and I want to get him help immediately as I am now concerned about his mental stability. Please advise

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      Gail 5 years ago

      I'm fed up for 22 years I have put up whith my partners lies He just can't help his self put his mum is the some I just don't want my kids to turn out like him

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      Richard Tansey 5 years ago

      I had a girl frind. that i was told her brother had aid's This was going on 18,years then told he died.Then i saw her mother a hospital, that was where i saw her brother,visiting, he looked at me and said,you look as if youv deen a gost.She had a stepfather that did thing's to her,then she had anoxier an bolimia. Is that the profile of a person in trouble to herselve and other's

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      ugh 5 years ago

      My son is only 5 but tells more "stories" than I've ever heard of. He's made up a fake family where he's the dad, and he believes it to be true. He's accused everyone of doing things against him when in reality no one has. It's getting too much to handle. He has adhd and odd. Would you say he is a pathelogical liar or is there something else I should have him checked for?

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      Worried mother 5 years ago

      I have an 11 year old that is showing all the signs of a pathological liar and it's causing me so much stress. I don't know how to deal with it and it's affecting my whole life. Hid constant drama at school is interfering with my job and I'm on the verge of losing it as I'm constantly getting calls from his school during meetings and spend most of my working time sitting next to my boss who can hear my conversations.

      My partner is also getting fed up because we have had to get locks put on our bedroom doors as lying has led to stealing which has led to lying again. Even when caught out he shows no remorse or guilt for his actions just pure denial even when we have proof.

      A year of this and I'm more grey than I have ever been. I feel lost and don't know where to turn.

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      chrissie 5 years ago

      I noticed on another site, that a common factor in children who lied, was that their mothers rejected them, either for drink, drugs or some other selfish reason. Could there be any better way to destroy a child's self image than to be rejected by their mother? Children who are robbed of their foundational security, become entirely defenceless and fear surely produces a panic response and grabbing at lies may be their only form of defence. I will be using this knowledge to explain to my granddaughter who's reputation and life is being ruined by lying, in hopes that it may bring something hidden in her, out into the open.

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      documentor 6 years ago

      great topic for you, write what you know!

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      Ophiurida 6 years ago

      Thank you, NewYorker, for posting this. It has certainly cleared up a lot of things for me. Just a couple days ago, I had a big blowup with a pathological liar, following the event where I'd caught her in a lie. To be honest, I've always known her to be a liar; I just never imagined it would be this bad. During our text conversation on Skype, I tried to get her to admit it, but she just wouldn't. Instead, she acted as though I had committed a cardinal sin by calling her a liar. We ended up deleting each other from everything and called it quits. A day later, she sent me an email saying she would send me a bottle of perfume she had bought for me before the fight. It's hard to explain, somehow. I wonder if it would be all right to post a brief transcript of what had transpired here? I know it would be a mistake to even think about talking to her again (this has happened twice before), but just this once, I'd like nothing more than to get her to admit the lie.

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      abby 6 years ago

      Hi Newyorker and Christine Louis de Canonville,

      thank you so much for your sharing. I completely agree with you. I've been dealing with a PL ex-bf for six months without knowing until shortly after we broke up.

      Now i felt relieved that he didn't hate me or didn't mean to rage me when we fought. it's just natural because he was defending his lies.

      though i'm sure they know that are lying, because they consciously apply more lies to cover up the holes in the grand lie.

      i'm trying to get him some help, but i really don't know where to start. any advice? p.s. we're not talking at all.

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      elly 6 years ago

      Complement him on the things that he does right and discipline him or even ignore him when he lies. Tell him that when he lies, he will be ignored and that you will not tolerate this kind of behavior. PL is mostly behavior and it keeps getting worse because family gives in. Yes, it can be tiring and that is just what he wants; for you to give up. Do not trwo in the towel. Good luck

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      Shari 6 years ago

      This was a very helpful article. I am at a loss as to what to do. My son has been diagnosed with ADHD and OCD. He is 6. I am now starting to notice that he is lying alot too....and constantly changing his story. I'm not sure what to do anymore.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      I have a family member who I believe is a pathalogical liar and a narcassist. I recently stopped allowing her to watch my child because of her lies. She believes she is a profit and sees visions. At one point she said the end of the world was coming and if we didn't believe her we were all going to die, but my child would be safe because she would protect him. She also tells everyone that I have to call her when my son gets upset to calm him down and also to sing him to sleep. That is so not the case. I am concerned because I am the only one that feels like she is dangerous. I am worried that one day she may act on one of her visions at possibly hurt someone. Should I be worried?

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      .josh. 6 years ago

      This is a really interesting hub, NewYorker, and very well written. Can't say I've had experience with a pathological liar (or at least not to my knowledge), but it sounds like it's a little more common than I would have expected.

      Really well done. Voted up, interesting and awesome.

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      Stella 6 years ago

      What do you do if your teen is a pathological liar? I've bbeen trying to help her for 5 years, all the lies-big and small. They are hurtful. I totally agree with you all that path. liars don't feel the pain of their victim. I feel like I've been dragged into a potential abusive situation - I want to hit my daughter all the time. She lies, she apologise and she does it again. I am so tired of confronting her, after i read all this hub and everyone's comments I think I realized that I am being manipulated by her. I am still responsible for her though, I cannot give up. What should I do??

      She's only 14!

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      Kathryn 6 years ago

      After reading your hub i seem to be able to link most of the symptoms of a pathological liar to one of my friend. But isit possible that they're having minor PLS? Because its hard for me to ascertain if shes lying all the time.

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      Anne 6 years ago

      Tis true we all lie, some are just too embarrassed to admit they lied, not just because of the lying in itself, but because they are too embarrassed to mention it.

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      sara 7 years ago

      These people are dangerous. If you know one just ask yourself, is it your battle to fight? No! Let them get cure for themselves. They will drag you along with them. Make sure that you become dependent of them.

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      guest 0099 7 years ago

      pathological liars could not distinguish fantasy and reality because they believe that their lies are truths. I also noticed that they don't care about the feelings of their victims and if they get caught, they will make it appear that it is your fault and they are more concerned on how to patch up their stories rather than to feel remorse about the pain they have caused to their victims. i agree that they don't have conscience. to be in a relationship with these people is suicide. you will get hurt but they just dont care. In asian countries, parents do not usually entertain the thought that their kids need psyciatrist or psychologist.

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      jeri741 7 years ago from Lancaster, Ky

      My husband of 21 yrs was a pathological liar. He not only lied everyday to me but also our children. When I would try to get him help he would become angry and make life miserable for me and eventually the whole family. I always knew when he was lieing and eventually quit calling him on his lies, because it did no good and the fighting was not worth it to me. I have been alone now for 5 years and am finally starting to date. I was so afraid that every man would be like him. But am recovering from a very bad situation. But I'm still glad I'm single and free of the mess that lieing created.

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      Sparkster Publishing 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Christine is so right, there are six month periods of time that my covert narc partner now has no memory of. She was so ashamed of herself and what she'd done that she somehow entered this self-hypnotic state in order to 'delete' these memories. I witnessed the period of this happening, it was as though it took her several months of depression and sleep to successfully do so and she now believes that her lies are the truth.

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      Christine Louis de Canonville 7 years ago

      Thank you New Yorker. Yes, as you say, I am well versed on this subject of what makes a pathological liar. As well as being a psychotherapist for over 20 years, I am also the survivor of narcissistic abuse. Anybody familiar with the subject of narcissistic injury will also be aware that pathological lying is the GLUE that binds the damaging and destructive narcissistic behavior together. I am sure Sparkster will attest to this statement, having been on the receiving end of a covert narcissist.

      I also agree with you when you say that the pathological liar must be handled with care. The reason for this is that pathological liars (a narcissistic trait) are very shame-bound. As a result of their shame-bound consciousness, they believe that they are seriously flawed and therefore not loved or wanted by the world, and naturally, this fills them with fear and dread. The shame proneness is so painful and debilitating that the narcissistic personality develops many coping strategies to lessen the pain, and one of these strategies is to develop a False Self by becoming a pathological liar. The lies help the narcissist to enter into a self-induced hypnotic state where they can even believe their own lies, lies that portray them as being superior and special. This self induced illusion allows them to achieve some form of self-image fulfillment. So, as you can imagine, this person bounces along between an over- and under-inflated presentation of himself. However, one slip can cause them to loose their fragile hold on their false image, and once again they feel the full pain of their shame. All I can say to you is, woe betide you if you are the cause of that fall from grace that the illusion gives them, because when this happens, you can be guaranteed to feel the full wrath of their rage.

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      Sparkster Publishing 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Pathological liars can be very dangerous and damaging emotionally and mentally and being in a relationship with a covert narcissist I've suffered this first-hand. Check out my hubs if you're looking for more information on narcissists.

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      NewYorker 7 years ago from New York, NY

      Christine, you seem to be very educated about this. Do you know a pathological liar, or have you been involved with one? I've been treating kids with this disorder, and it's as fascinating as it is sad how far they go.

      If you know someone, remember there is a cure. This is not a permanent state of mind. Everything that can get sick can be cured! :)

      But you are right, it's very easy to spot them.

      A pathological liar would always tend to exaggerate about things. He/she would always talk about many things in a much broader perspective. Their daily life often includes such far-fetched sentences about many things. It could be a simple issue that may not even hold too much importance for you.

      These kinds of liars would be noticed easily because they tend to change their stories frequently. It may so happen that a pathological liar may not really be able to keep a record of stories that are fabricated as per his/her imagination and this may be noticed very easily in any normal situation.

      These liars often lie in situations whenever they find it easy to do so. A simple situation is often used to their advantage by such liars.

      They often go on the defensive whenever anyone cross-examines the person. This happens even if you ask an innocent question in relation to the given situation. A pathological liar would tend to feel threatened when questioned. This could explain their reaction to any questions asked.

      A pathological liar must be handled carefully if you wish to help the person change this habit. These liars would need to be reminded gently about their behavior by pointing out their little bits of lies. Do not blame them for the lies, as many times, they are not even aware about what is being said by them. You need to use professional help to tackle extreme cases.

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      Christine Louis de Canonville 7 years ago

      I really enjoyed your hub, and you are so right when you say pathological liars are narcissistic. The good news is, that if you know what you are looking for, you can recognise the pathological liar through certain characteristics. Firstly, they have a tendency to exaggerate things to the point of it becoming ridiculous. Also, they are obsessed with one-upmanship, and have a concerted need to be better than everyone else. They always need to be “right”, and will always argue the point rather than admit that they are wrong. Being wrong only serves to threaten their fantasy of themselves. No matter what, they have the capacity to "construct" their own reality around themselves. They have little or no value of the truth, especially if they don't see it as hurting anyone. To challenge them on a lie only sends them into defensive and ugly behaviour where you are likely to meet their excessive rage (then later acting as if nothing has happened). Because they do not value honesty, often they will not value loyalty either. Because they are very insecure in themselves they will find comfort in confiding in you. Naturally, you may confide in them in return. As they do not value loyalty, they will not honour the confidentiality that you may think you have with them. To them “knowledge is power”. So, if what you have told them serves their purpose in gaining something for themselves, not only will they tell others, but will embellish the story in order to make you look worse, (this is done with the sole purpose of making them look better). They are somewhat hypochondriac, and this can come in especially useful when caught in a lie, for example, they can claim that they have been sick, or all stressed out. It's another excuse tool for their behavior. They are also a mass of contractions, saying something one day, and retracting it the next, (this is because they cannot keep up with their own lies), and they act very defensively when you question them about the discrepancy. They will go to great lengths to get sympathy, they will lie about what others have supposedly done on them, and they will even believe the lies that are coming out of their mouth. They are extremely manipulative, and will lie to get themselves out of trouble, or to get what they want. They have no scruples what-so-ever, because they do not have a conscience. They have a really low sense of self-worth, and are continuously trying to make themselves feel better about themselves. Just mind yourself when in their company, and see them through the eyes of compassion for the frightened children they really are.

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      susanlang 7 years ago

      Great hub! I know some of those people. Check it out. URL:

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      NewYorker 8 years ago from New York, NY


      Thank you, and thanks for reading my hub.

      Pathological lying is, unfortunately, a very very very common disorder amongst us all. Just one simple lie you get away with can lead up to pathological lying.

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      sophs 8 years ago

      Great hub, thanks for the information. After reading this I think my ex boyfriend may be a 'Pathological liar', this sounds exactly like him!

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      NateSean 8 years ago from Salem, MA

      It's ironic isn't it. Your profession kind of hinges on people changing and if they don't, well, I suppose you still have a job but I bet it doesn't feel as satisfying knowing that.

      I guess it's just about the fine line between trying to help someone and trying to play god. Maybe I was playing god and I didn't know it.

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      NewYorker 8 years ago from New York, NY

      I had a similar thing, my high school sweetheart was a pathological liar, and I, of course, fell into the trap of manipulation and all that. She lied about everything, and when I uncovered her lies, she promised she'd stop and all that (I was head over heels inlove, so I bought it all). And I, like you, thought I had the amazing ability to change people. Today, she's still a liar. People don't change.

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      NateSean 8 years ago from Salem, MA

      My first boyfriend was a pathological liar. Of course I probably fell into the trap a lot of people do when they assume they can change someone and I'm sad to say I was stupid enough to fall for a couple of his major whoppers.

      The biggest was long after we had broken up and we were classmates at Job Corps (vocational school). As always he wound up getting into little fights with the other members of our dorm and when I tried to find out what was wrong, he told me his mother died. And of course, knowing his inability to tell reality from fantasy among other things, I fell for it hook, line, sinker, rod, copy of the Angling Times.

      The next time I was in my hometown I ran into none other than his mother. I wanted to ask who her doctor was because apparently he had the power to raise the dead. Fortunately, although this should have happened sooner, I put a stop to his being able to manipulate me.

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      NewYorker 8 years ago from New York, NY

      Yes, it's pretty scary. Although I do feel for people who have this disorder. They can't do that much about it. People try not lying, but eventually they fall down the same road and hurt too many people.

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      prettydarkhorse 8 years ago from US

      nice advice, thanks! its an scary disease,