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Sociopathic Lying Tendencies - The Sociopath as a Pathological Liar

Updated on June 7, 2013

Liar, Liar

Sociopaths lie. They lie a lot. In fact, they can create total and complete fairy tales out of ordinary, mundane events and can live within those fairy tales, until eventually their own fabrications become their reality. There are generally two recognized categories of individuals who constantly lie: compulsive (habitual) and pathological. Habitual liars lie out of habit. They are afraid to face the truth. Maybe they avoided punishment as a child by lying, so lying has become as ingrained into their personality as any other characteristic. There is no real reason, and they normally do not lie to intentionally hurt anyone. They just can’t help but lie. You can stand next to a compulsive liar and look together at the bright, blue sky and they will tell you that it just turned green. They simply lie to lie.

Sociopaths are pathological liars. They lie to gain something. Worse yet, their lying is usually calculated and cunning and in the end someone will get hurt. Rest assured, though, they’ve taken every precaution to ensure it isn’t them. A sociopath doesn’t care who their lies will affect, as long as in the end the lie fits their purpose and they get what they want. Unlike compulsive liars, pathological liars can help themselves. They know the difference between right and wrong, and they consciously recognize that lying is wrong. Unfortunately, they don’t really care. In fact, they are so good at lying, many times they become their own lie. Think about it for a minute. How much more convincing can someone who truly believes what they are saying be? The power of suggestion is a powerful thing. If a sociopath can stage himself to believe his own lie and truly live in his own fantasy, how many more people can he convince it is the truth and wreak his havoc and devastation on?

Pathological lying is an invaluable tool for a sociopath. It is the ultimate weapon when trying to gain pity and sympathy from their unsuspecting victims. It may be an embellishment, it may be a slight twist in a story, or it may be a whole new reality. For you to know they lived through an extremely abusive childhood and that their mother abandoned them at a homeless shelter when they were 3 years old is most likely going to pull at your heartstrings more than knowing they lived an average life in an upper-middle class family. It makes the average, empathetic person more vulnerable to the sociopath’s current plight. For some reason, many people make excuses for people’s behavior if they are aware of exigent circumstances. Sociopaths know and have mastered this game and will use it against you and never think twice about the results. How they are so adept at using empathy against you when they’ve never experienced it is really quite a feat.

If you pay very close attention, many times you can catch a sociopath in a lie because they have a tendency to tell more than one person contradictions in or different versions of the same lie. However, the sociopath is also apt to make sure that individuals who have been told different stories do not have the chance to meet or be able to compare stories. They lie to keep acquaintances apart to minimize the risk of being exposed. Everything the sociopath does is multi-layered and tediously formulated. Even if they are exposed, they are sure to create a new lie to cover the old. They can do this almost as naturally as they breathe, which also makes them very convincing. It’s kind of like watching a young child steal a cookie from the cookie jar then deny ever taking it, even though they know you saw them do it. The sociopath employs the same techniques, seemingly incapable of exercising adult judgment. Always remember when dealing with the sociopath—they will do whatever it takes to win. Your feelings or your perceived relationship with them does not matter to them. You cannot change them, and if you think they will “treat you differently than everyone else”, you are only fooling yourself. They do not have the capability or the desire to care about you. Nobody is “special” to a sociopath unless you are serving an immediate, necessary purpose for them.

Sociopaths are highly likely to lie about and fake credentials in the business world. Don’t be surprised if you find out your sociopath boss never even went to college, let alone graduated from Harvard. Sociopaths are highly likely to lie about previous relationships to those that would be considered current relationships. Teen sociopaths are highly likely to lie about situational circumstances with their parents and/or siblings or other family members, if it will gain them sympathy. Sociopaths are highly likely to lie about physical or mental abuses if it will help them in a divorce/custody situation. Sociopaths are highly likely to lie about their recovery or reform to counselors if it will help them get out of prison. The list goes on and on, but the concept remains the same. A sociopath is a pathological liar and there isn’t anything you can do to stop them.

How to Stop Dating Sociopaths

What if You Become a Victim?

It is estimated that 1 out of every 25 people in the United States is a sociopath. The true numbers will never be known, because most blend in with society and go on about their lives just as everyone else does. Remember, though, that they are many times EXTREMELY charming individuals, so it is easy to get caught up in their game. If you find yourself in contact with a sociopath, the best thing you can do is completely stop all contact. Do not become immersed in their game. If you care about people, you cannot win. Don't believe you can change them. You cannot change someone who is fundamentally and physically incapable of feeling love and empathy. Do not believe you can love them enough or that you will be enough to make them want to change. They do not know how, nor do they care enough to try. The safest, best thing you can do is break off all contact. Do not go on a mission to make other people see their true character, you will end up looking crazy. Let them go and do not look back. There are many caring communities available to help you through your struggle. Check out to start. Tell your story and begin the healing process.


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    • profile image

      Tonie Roman 15 months ago

      Boy what a lot of words to say the person is really sin sick!

    • K. Burns Darling profile image

      Kristen Burns-Darling 3 years ago from Orange County, California

      Oh do I know this story well... My younger and only sister displays all of these characteristics and then some....we strongly suspect that she also has NPD. When you say that they will tell any lie and do anything to win whatever it is that they want, you're not kidding. For more years than I can count I have tried to "save" my sister, and salvage our relationship, she has answered every act of kindness or love with deceitful and venomous attacks, not only on myself, but also on my husband and children. Since my father's passing three years ago, the attacks have only worsened, and have led to an unnecessary two year court battle over my father's estate and has at long last convinced me that the only way to protect myself and my children was for us to leave our hometown and move 5 hours away. The only way to deal with this type of deviant behavior is to get and to stay as far away from it as possible. They CANNOT be saved, you can only save yourself. Great hub with useful information. Voted up, interesting, and useful.

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 3 years ago from Minnesota

      Excellent, informative and captivating article on the sociopath/pathological liar. I have experience with this professionally (in the mental health field) and personally. The best suggestion I can give anyone that is involved with a sociopath, (whether it's a friend, co-worker or dating relationship) is break ties as fast as you can. This relationship can be very damaging emotionally, physically, financially and spiritually. You have to cut ties all together and be very firm. They will sadly find other victims, but you can go on your way and find a peaceful way of life.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      I like the distinction you make between a compulsive liar and a habitual liar, that the former lies for more harmless reasons, while the sociopathic liar wants to inflict real harm. It's sad that sociopaths can't enter into normal society and integrate because they are designed to inflict harm to others. It's sad to know that some people are just that way and there is no way to help them. But on the practical side, what we can control, and what we can do, is to protect ourselves from them and protect our loved ones from them. Great hub.

    • profile image

      rochelle 4 years ago

      My 42 year old daughter fits this mold perfectly. She has destroyed me, and others, but doesn't care. It's taken a long time, many years, however I have now finally removed myself from any contact with her.

    • profile image

      James 5 years ago

      This is the same way my dad is. Everything to the T.

    • profile image

      buckwheats 5 years ago

      wow, very good. i was raised by a narcissistic sociopath it's brutal

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

      Great work. There are lots of sociopaths walking around out there. I must go read your article It's All About Me, because that is so sociopathic. Their behavior is interesting and can be so damaging.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Wow VT - we do have very similar interests! Your article is really entertaining and informative. I think it is funny how we have hit on a lot of similar points - but yet our articles are still different!

      I swear I didn't copy! lol I am going to have to read your other work too and I can't wait! This topic and personality in general is really interesting to me!

    • profile image

      mikeydcarroll67 5 years ago

      Is it bad that I see this in about every person I meet? I see almost all of these qualities in the strangers that I have come across on the streets.

    • Fertile Forest profile image

      Fertile Forest 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      A well written and informative article. Your advice to cease all contact works fine for a boss whom you've parted ways from but presents a challenge when the person has married in to the family. Cutting ties would involve loss of contact with loved ones. Any advice there?

    • Virtual Treasures profile image

      Virtual Treasures 5 years ago from Michigan

      Thank you! For a minute I thought I lost it! LOL! I looked everywhere for that hub! :-)

    • Virtual Treasures profile image

      Virtual Treasures 5 years ago from Michigan

      You have a beautiful heart and soul and it comes through so eloquently through your words!!!

    • donnaisabella profile image

      Donaisabella 5 years ago from Fort Myers

      Interesting articles. Disturbingly there are people I know and love who I have always suspected are like that. However, love on its own does demand that we change other people to make them what they could be. It is love which helps us to protect ourselves from the dangerous charm of these people while at the same time existing amicably with them. I have known many such people and I love them. They have gifts that can be cultivated for the good of others when we stop focusing on their madness. Love, I believe, love conquers all. It may not change other people but it changes and strengthens us. Thank you for sharing so wonderfully.

    • pmccray profile image

      pmccray 5 years ago from Utah

      Virtual Treasures: I'm such a silly goose, I had unpublished the hub to update recent events of one of the subjects...sorry. Here's the link.

    • Virtual Treasures profile image

      Virtual Treasures 5 years ago from Michigan

      Thank you ananceleste, JamesPoppell and Seeker7. I consider all of your comments quite an honor after reading your hubs. Thank you!!

    • Virtual Treasures profile image

      Virtual Treasures 5 years ago from Michigan

      pmmcray--It is much more common now. Especially in the United States. We are a very individualistic society and actually have a tendency to teach, encourage and admire some sociopathic behaviors. I am going to check out your hub now and I'm going to link it to this one. I went through all 98 of your hubs and couldn't find it. Could you post the link on here so I can copy it and add it to the article? Thanks!

    • pmccray profile image

      pmccray 5 years ago from Utah

      Nothing is more frightening than reality. It is just me or is this type of behavior more common now than in other eras? It could be the advent of our "technical" age that the sociopath feels the need to act out more.

      In my hub "The Entitled" this behavior is spotlighted. Manipulative liars with lack of conscience. Excellent hub, interesting subject matter. Thank you for sharing, voted up, marked interesting

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 5 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      What a wonderful and fascinating hub! I write about the paranormal and history a lot and there can be a lot of scary stuff in both these subjects - but nothing compares to the scariness of sociopaths etc.! Sociopaths are creepy and frightening. Even more so as I'm sure they must come across, to people who don't know them, as not only ordinary, but probably very charming! Scary stuff indeed. Voted up + awesome!!

    • JamesPoppell profile image

      JamesPoppell 5 years ago

      Another excellent hub on your Sociopath hub series. You have a great way of explaining the Sociopath so it is easy to understand. After reading this hub I feel I am in a better position to identify when someone is a pathological liar or a habitual liar. Sociopaths are some creepy characters. Thanks for sharing. Vote up. Interesting and useful.

    • ananceleste profile image

      Anan Celeste 5 years ago from California

      Magnificent work! Well written and informative. My experience with pathological liars is to say the least extensive. In my line of work this can be a crippling and sometimes devastating trait to work with. A person that gets lost in their own world, the probability to confront such a pattern can be some what a lifelong process. Most sociopaths, as you already established , have their own agenda. In their own minds is a matter of survival and control. Sometimes a simple lie evolves into an alternative reality, were the patient is the vortex were the lie begins and must flow through others to give it substance and continuity. It’s definitively a problem not only for those that are included in the lie, but also the farther this goes on the most likely will be to separate the truth from the lie. Voted up !