10 Common Symptoms of Compulsive Lying You Should Know

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Compulsive lying is a confusing and complex behaviour that, at times, can be devastating concerning gender and business relationships. While extrapolations for a minuscule inconvenience or profit, which many people give in a one-time incidence, compulsive lying is a continuous and calculated behaviour.

Awareness of signs and signals of compulsive lying is essential for identifying this trend and seeking professional assistance. In this article, let me share with you ten signs of compulsive lying that you should know. Let’s start!

10 Common Symptoms of Compulsive Lying

Let’s explore 10 common symptoms of compulsive lying disorder:

1. Frequent and Habitual Lying

One of the best ways to identify whether someone is a compulsive liar is the number of times they tell a lie. In other words, while most people may deceive occasionally and perhaps not even intentionally, compulsive liars invent and bend the truth consistently. 

It becomes a pattern of behaviour in their activities, and often, the behaviour becomes hardwired in them. They can also fib about significant events or issues, minor matters or anything in between — it is then difficult to know when they are speaking the truth.

2. Elaborate and Convincing Lies

People who are addicted to lying are anyway known to be good at weaving tales, and the stories they tell are usually intertwined, detailed and most often believable. The inaccuracies that they produce are well-fleshed and, therefore, very hard to pinpoint. 

This ability to weave complex structures in what they are saying will make their lies sound more natural and can be easily believed by the listener despite the existing contradictions in their stories. Moreover, the more sophisticated lies become, the more complicated the network they interweave becomes, easily achievable for the liar to sustain and even more so for the truth-seeker to debunk.

3. Inconsistency in Stories

This means while they may have mastered the art of telling lies, they are known to have issues with corroborating them. The narratives they provide can vary depending on the time or the interlocutor, or perhaps they have inconsistent narratives. 

These aspects of the phenomenon can cause suspicion and mistrust in friends, families and colleagues. When challenged on such concerns, the compulsive liar may either deny or develop more stories aimed at concealing other malice.

4. Lack of Clear Motivation

A hallmark of compulsive lying is the absence of clear motivation for the lies. Unlike typical lying, which usually has a specific purpose (e.g., to avoid punishment or gain a benefit), compulsive lies often seem unnecessary and pointless. This lack of apparent reason for lying can baffle others. It may contribute to the breakdown of trust and communication in relationships.

5. Belief in Their Own Lies

Another common manifestation of compulsive lying is if the liar will eventually believe his creation. This type of lying is referred to as pathological lying or pseudologia fantastica, and in this condition, the liar’s fantasy and reality are interrelated. That is why many of them, resorting to telling fake news, might believe in what they are saying, which only complicates the process of their disclosure. They will have a great deal of confusion in personal and career-related aspects due to this self-deception.

6. Difficulty Admitting the Truth

Most people who have a malicious nature and like to lie find it very hard to confess the truth regarding a situation or issue. They can still attempt to justify their lies or spin more lies to incorporate the initial lies averted from the truth. 

This can create even more problems and make it difficult to resolve conflicts when those involved continue to deny responsibility for their actions. This is because the liar delays coming clean, and the impact tends to worsen the harm done to relations and trust.

7. Manipulative Behaviour

People with this disorder display manipulative behaviour always whenever they are involved in the act of lying. Having provided detailed accounts as to how and why people lie, it is possible to suggest that liars may use their fabrications to ’spin’ people in order to get what they want or gain control over a situation. 

These manipulations may range from faking innocence or helplessness with the intention of eliciting sympathy to walking around with fabricated accomplishments with the aim of instilling envious feelings in the targeted subject. In the long run, this veiled control can lead to distrust and the formation of a toxic inter and intrapersonal relationship.

8. Low Self-Esteem

Other things being equal, I would like to suggest that low self-esteem is often at the root of this vice. Most people who compulsively lie suffer from a lack of confidence and experience low self-esteem. 

People may say these things because they want to overemphasise their achievements, be accepted in a specific group or social circle, or do not want to address perceived failures. However, the negative effects of these lies tend to be exacerbated in most cases and have a detrimental impact on their self-esteem as the truth is uncovered.

9. Impulsivity

Compulsive lying also tends to be associated with impulsivity. Others may lie without even considering the implications involved simply because of the need to lie. It may result in a cycle of careless and hasty compulsive lying, which may be challenging to change. An example is that of the compulsive liar who may not think of the consequences that would be brought about by the particular behaviour in question, but simply think of what they are going to gain in the short-run by lying.

10. Strained Relationships

A major effect of compulsive lying is the pressure that results from the consequent deterioration of the relationship. Trust is a critical element that every relationship shares, and when someone tells lies constantly, it will erode the trust altogether.

Everyone, including friends, relatives and colleagues, may be left feeling betrayed, and this can cause rivalry and alienation. Gradually, the liar may discover himself surrounded by none who wish to associate with him because of the tedious, tyring, and unrelenting lies.

How to Approach the Situation

When you think a friend or a family member is a compulsive liar, handling the situation very well is good because you are dealing with a loved one. Blaming and aggression will continue to provoke aggression and more cover-ups. 

Rather, attempt to foster an atmosphere of trust and cooperation, including speaking with the colleague. Remind the individual to go for a psychological analysis since the act of lying compulsively is usually an indication that something is wrong psychologically.

Seeking Professional Help

Lying is something that cannot be easily overcome if it is done compulsively without the help of a professional. Psychotherapists and counsellors who have specialised in behavioural disorders can assist the patient in realising the causes of the particular behaviour and how to set appropriate behaviour modification strategies to stop lying.

CBT may be useful in addressing compulsive lying since most patients benefit from identifying and adjusting poor patterns of thinking and behaviour.


Compulsive lying is complex and damaging behaviour that wreaks havoc on relationships and personal well-being. Recognising the symptoms of compulsive lying is the first step. It involves addressing the issue. Seek professional help.

Understanding the characteristics and underlying causes of compulsive lying helps support those affected. Working towards rebuilding trust and honesty in relationships is essential. If you or someone you know struggles with compulsive lying, don’t hesitate. Seek professional help to navigate this challenging behaviour.

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