Pathological Liars: Is It All in the Genes?

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A pathological liar is described as a person who has a habit of excessively lying. This means that they have been known to exhibit a pattern of constant dishonesty, almost becoming impossible to stop. In other words, pathological lying involves an irrational need to make up facts, events, or stories.

As you may very well understand by now, pathological or compulsive lying can be considered to be a severe disorder. Owing to the complexity of the condition, it becomes challenging to deal with. In the case of the lies being told, it can become so addictive the liar won’t even realise that they are lying in the first place.

Therefore, this article will explore the entire concept of pathological lying and solutions regarding how to treat and deal with it.

What is a Pathological Liar?

As has already been mentioned before, a pathological liar is a person who tends to exaggerate the truth and constantly tell lies. Individuals who have been known to suffer from this disorder can’t seem to help themselves, thereby saying things that sometimes don’t even make sense. Consequently, their lies have been known to damage relationships, pushing away their close and loved ones. Furthermore, it’s even more disturbing to know that pathological liars tend to be very controlling and manipulative. Their main objective is to have their way at the end of the day.

What Mental Illness is Associated With Pathological Lying?

A common mistake that the majority of people seem to make is believing that pathological lying is a disorder on its own. In reality, pathological lying is a symptom of an underlying or hidden mental health condition, especially personality disorders. As such, pathological lying can be identified by habitual or frequent lying that would often be done without any personal gains being attached to it. Moreover, individuals who have borderline personality disorders also tend to exhibit symptoms of pathological lying. This is done in an attempt to control or manipulate others.

Causes of Pathological Lying

It would come as no surprise to say that compulsive or pathological lying would be considered an extreme form of compulsive behaviour. Individuals suffering from this illness often tend to lie just for fun. They might even do it to make themselves appear more important, attract attention, improve their self-esteem, or even get out of trouble.

What’s more shocking is that the liar may lie about their finances, achievements, and relationships. All of this would be done without any apparent or obvious gain attached.

The saddest part is that pathological liars don’t realise that they are lying; they believe all their stories to be true. Since they tend to become habituated to the act of lying, you will always find them under stress or in a state of anxiety. This is because they are continually placing themselves in precarious situations.

With so many lies being told and the narrative changing so many hands, the liar would undoubtedly be trapping themselves in their deception.

This kind of obsession or compulsion to always lie usually tends to stem from an attempt to deal with difficult situations like anxiety or shame. This could also result from growing up in unstable or unsafe environments where the liars may not always feel like themselves.

Pathological lying can often make it difficult to decipher the real reasons or causes behind it. It eventually tends to become a means of difficulty or avoidance. Sometimes, people might think they need to be more flawed or better. In those situations, they usually resort to habitual lying to receive the respect they think they deserve.

Is Pathological Lying a Genetic Disorder?

Since pathological lying is regarded as an extreme form of compulsive behaviour, experts have noted that it might have a vital genetic component. This condition is often characterised by a chronic tendency to spin outrageous lies even though the lies are not of apparent benefit.

Hence, if you are wondering if pathological lying is genetic, it is very likely that it is. On the other hand, it is also important to note that not all compulsive liars have it genetically inherited.

There would be other factors that could contribute to this condition as well.

This is apparent from the numerous instances where you have been lied to. Unfortunately, pathological liars are more common than we believe. However, it’s also equally important to look for typical characteristics if we would like to catch someone in a lie.

How to Cope With a Pathological Liar

If you have a close friend or a loved one whom you might think is suffering from pathological lying, you would be expected to feel a range of emotions. You may also feel like you are constantly walking on eggshells, wondering what you should believe. So, while it might be tough to deal with a pathological liar, there are specific coping mechanisms that you can adopt and master.

Understand the Reason Behind the Lies Being Told

One of the first things you should try to do is put yourself in the other person’s shoes. This means trying to better understand why the person seems to be lying in the first place. In many cases, compulsive lying is a symptom of an underlying mental health disorder, such as anxiety or borderline personality disorder. If this is the case, treatment would be highly recommended to address and treat the underlying issue.

Set Boundaries

It is also essential that you stand up for yourself and set firm boundaries with the pathological liar. You can do this by telling them you will not tolerate their lies. You should also make good on the promises or boundaries that you are laying down. In that case, you may even limit your contact with the liar or, in extreme cases, even end the relationship.

Build Up Your Confidence

You should also work on building up your self-esteem and confidence. Although this may be difficult initially, it can be cultivated over time.

Final Thoughts

The most important thing to remember is that someone else has the problem. So rather than walking on eggshells and second-guessing yourself at every moment, the best solution is to face the problem head-on.

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