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Sociopathic Tendencies - The Sociopath as a Pathological Liar

Updated on December 16, 2019
Virtual Treasures profile image

Kacie was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, and has worked to "get back to normal" since. She wants to share years of research and experience.

How to Stop Dating Sociopaths

Liar, Liar

Sociopaths lie. They lie a lot. In fact, sociopaths are adept at creating fairy tales and living within those fairy tales as their lies and reality merge. There are generally two recognized categories of individuals who constantly lie: compulsive (habitual) liars and pathological liars. Habitual liars lie out of habit. They are afraid to face the truth. For example, perhaps they repeatedly avoided punishment as a child by lying. As a result, lying simply becomes a personality trait. Habitual liars normally do not lie to intentionally hurt anyone. They just cannot help but lie. You can stand next to a compulsive liar and gaze at the bright, blue sky and they will tell you that it just turned green.

Sociopaths are pathological liars. Pathological liars lie to gain something. Their lying is usually quite calculated and manipulative and the end result is typically pain. A sociopath doesn’t care who their lies affect as long as it fits what the sociopath hopes to achieve. Unlike compulsive liars, pathological liars can help themselves. They know the difference between right and wrong, and they are well aware that lying is wrong. Unfortunately, they simply don't care. In fact, sociopaths are so good at lying they can become their own lie. Think about that. If a sociopath can stage his own lie and live his own fantasy, gaining trust is a breeze. Trust then becomes the foundation of carefully orchestrated manipulation schemes.

Pathological lying is an invaluable tool for a sociopath. It is the ultimate weapon to gain pity and sympathy from their unsuspecting victims. It may be only a slight embellishment or simple twist in a story, but it may be the creation of a whole new reality. Sociopaths have mastered this ability and will use it against the most vulnerable people and never think twice about the damage they cause.

It is easy to catch a sociopath in a lie. Pay attention to contradicting versions of the same story. Contradictions may be slight, but they exist. The bigger problem becomes that the sociopath as a master manipulator takes great care to ensure people whom they ensnare are never able to share stories. They will do anything to minimize the risk of being exposed. Everything the sociopath does is multi-layered and tediously formulated.

Even when they are exposed, the sociopath is sure to have a back-up plan that consists of a carefully constructed new lie to cover the old. It comes almost as natural as breathing, which also makes them very convincing. It’s kind of like watching a child take a cookie from the cookie jar and deny taking it, even when they know you watched them do it and they have the crumbs on their face.

Always remember when dealing with the sociopath—they will do whatever it takes to win. Your feelings or perception of your relationship does not matter to them. You cannot change them, and if you think for some reason you are special, you are only fooling yourself. They do not have the capability to care about you. Nobody is “special” to a sociopath unless you are serving an immediate, necessary purpose for them.

Sociopaths are likely to create 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. They are also likely to lie about previous relationships to their current victims. 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. They will lie about physical or mental abuse if it helps them in a divorce or custody situation. They will certainly lie about recovery or reform to counselors if it will help them get out of prison. The list goes on and on, but the end-game for the sociopath remains the same. A sociopath is a pathological liar and there isn’t anything you can do to stop them.

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. It is important to remember that they can be EXTREMELY charming, so it is easy to get caught up in their charisma. If you unwittingly have found yourself involved with a sociopath, the best thing you can do is stop all contact. Do not become further immersed in their game. If you care about people, you cannot win. Don't believe you can change them--you cannot. It is impossible to change someone who is fundamentally emotionally and physically incapable of feeling love and empathy. Do not believe you can love them enough to make them change. They do not know how, nor do they care enough to try. The safest thing you can do is break off all contact. 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.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Tonja Petrella


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    • profile image

      Dear Johnny 

      2 years ago

      When I was going to high school in a small northern Michigan town, in my junior year (11th grade), I managed to anger a girl that was one grade level lower than I. She had borrowed a pen from a young girl in the 7th grade and then would not give it back. When an argument between the two broke out the teacher had sided with the older girl. I spoke up and told the teacher that I had seen her borrow the pen from the younger girl. The girl I told on was extremely embarrass and then turned to me and swore she would get me back!!

      To get me back she has convinced most everyone in my home town that I raped her when we were in high school. Through the years I have been confronted by people I know, saying that they met her in one particular small town bar. She tells anyone who say they know me this lie and tells them I am a drug addict, drug dealer and about any derogatory phrase she can append to my name............. And some how she has convinced the local population to keep this a secret from my remaining family, which in their eyes gives her story credibility and of course a reason to praise her for sparing my family. She has turned many of my old friends against me. Through the years this story has gotten around at least one other town that I've lived in and now 41 years later this lie is creeping into the small town that I now live in. I have gone to a clinical sociologist recently however he is completely unfamiliar with any situations like this. One of my high school teachers seemed to see this happening and years ago tried to help me out of this, he new a lot about this subject and told me many things that were likely to happen if I did not take care of this situation, so far most all of his predictions have come true. There is much more to the story. Have you ever heard of any similar stores? Do know of any group or entity that helps people out of situations like this?

    • profile image

      Tonie Roman 

      3 years ago

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

    • K. Burns Darling profile image

      Kristen Burns-Darling 

      5 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 

      5 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 

      5 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


      7 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


      7 years ago

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

    • profile image


      7 years ago

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

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 

      7 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 

      7 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


      7 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 

      7 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 imageAUTHOR

      Tonja Petrella 

      8 years ago from Michigan

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

    • Virtual Treasures profile imageAUTHOR

      Tonja Petrella 

      8 years ago from Michigan

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

    • donnaisabella profile image

      Isabella Mukanda 

      8 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


      8 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 imageAUTHOR

      Tonja Petrella 

      8 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 imageAUTHOR

      Tonja Petrella 

      8 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


      8 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 

      8 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


      8 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 

      8 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 !


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