Dealing with a Compulsive Liar in a Relationship
You meet a person and fall in love, but one day you start noticing they are acting strange. You catch them lying a few times before it finally hits you that you can distinguish all signs of a compulsive liar in their behavior. You will try to push this thought away, try to put up with this at first, but we all know that this is not an option. So, how to tell if someone is a compulsive liar and how to deal with this type of people then?
What Is a Compulsive Liar?
Chronic liars lie for their own benefit or to flatter somebody for reaching their selfish goals, however, people who talk about unfamiliar topics, pretending to be brilliant at something do not fall into this category, they are not pathological liars.
These are ordinary liars, pretenders, and masters to splurge. Facing such a person is an unpleasant experience, and catch them in a lie is disgusting, yet easy. However, they will never confess it. All these liars are distinguished by a single sign: they are well aware that they are lying. With good acting skills, they can perform a whole play in front of you, but they always remember that they are not telling the truth.
These people live in their castles in the air for so long that they already consider them real. Have you ever met adult people who suddenly, under the guise of revelation, began to tell exciting life stories, moreover, incredible ones, so much so that they were hard to believe? Maybe you even believed then, you never know what kind of adventure they could have dealt with. Yes, facts do not correspond, and there are too many alarming details.
Dealing with a compulsive liar is hard because they cannot be made confess. If you try to expose them, they will geniously get out, coming up with even more improbable excuses, which, however, are difficult to verify. It will turn out that witnesses of the events have emigrated or are dead. Such people can put pressure on you emotionally and try to shift the blame, make you ashamed of the fact that you do not believe them.
Signs of a Compulsive Liar
If you are dating a compulsive liar, first of all, we express our heartfelt sympathy, and secondly, you should have noticed some of the signs presented below in their behavior. For those, who also want to be forearmed if they ever meet such a person and not to get into the trap of their lies, there are some facts about compulsive liars you may want to know.
1. They tell lies to seem better
Unfortunately, lying often begins with low self-esteem. A person comes up with interesting stories to appear more attractive. Sometimes they do not even wait for the question but try to attract attention and start composing stories. It happens that compulsive liars say that they are supposedly seriously ill (for example, having caught cold they "confess" that they have AIDS); they do that because of the thirst for attention and attempts to cause pity.
2. They develop their fictional story further day by day
The next one of the characteristics of a compulsive liar is their consistency and logic when one plot goes into another. Such a lie is caused not by a keen desire to hide something, finally, we all have at least once, being late for work, invent a story about a stuck elevator. On the contrary, a compulsive liar doesn't have obvious reasons for it. Children also have fictional stories with non-existent characters, this is a normal part of the development of their psyche, but they realize their secret world is imaginary.
3. They do not feel guilt or discomfort when they cheat
If a lie has become second nature, then it doesn't cause unpleasant sensations. According to some data, pathological liars do not get upset after the disclosure at all. However, they can perceive it with anger and aggression, but in any case, they do not suffer from a crisis of conscience, and sometimes they try to invent a new lie in return for the old one. Living with a compulsive liar, you will notice that they do not feel the slightest trace of remorse, they only regret being caught.
4. They have been diagnosed with a personality disorder or addiction
Compulsive lies can be associated with mental illness such as bipolar disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity syndrome. Attempts to hide alcoholism, gambling addiction or eating disorder can also lead to the fact that a lie will develop into a pathological one. It turns out that all these conditions increase the risk of compulsive lies. Of course, they require consultation with a specialist and a serious approach to treatment.
5. They are lying to justify themselves
Came up with a story about a three-hour traffic jam on the road, so as not to admit that they had overslept? Told you that they had got food poisoned, when in fact suffering from a hangover? Such a lie already gets compulsive, it is associated with a slight sense of shame known to every person for what they have done and, perhaps, with certain ethical and social conditions of our life. Indeed, pathological liars believe that colleagues will not suffer if they do not know the truth, and at the same time, their reputation will not suffer, right?
6. They overstate and embellish
Hyperbole is a simple literary symbol that makes jokes funnier, but if you exaggerate every little thing, it can be a sign of compulsive lies. The need to constantly embellish is a hidden desire to seem more interesting. Exaggerating the facts when simply talking to others is what liars live for. How to stop being a compulsive liar?
Understand that telling the truth is easier and more beneficial for you and turn to a specialist to find the original reasons for such behavior.
7. Their lies are not social
If they praise grandma's pie, which they don’t like, or tell a friend that they have a very cool new hair color (although the previous one seemed better), this is a so-called social lie, part of the usual interaction of people with each other, a product of tolerance and ethical norms. There is nothing wrong with that, and such moments only help maintain good relations. The most unpleasant thing to which such a lie can lead: every time they visit a grandmother the same unloved pie will be waiting for them.
8. They appropriate other people's stories
Compulsive liars often expose precisely because something in their stories seems familiar to others, and then it turns out that it was a retelling of a news release or storyline of a book. In such cases, when the story is repeated many times, a person often begins to believe that this happened to them, and even a lie detector can show that they are telling the truth.
Compulsive Liar vs Pathological Liar
If there is a slight discrepancy, why are both terms "compulsive" and "pathological liar" being used simultaneously? Compulsive liars are just a type of pathological. The difference between a pathological and a compulsive liar is not big, in fact, they stand for identifying people with the same psychological problems, but the second one is just more general.
Who is a pathological liar? A pathological liar feels a chronic, uncontrollable, obsessive need to lie. Even if the lie is obvious, even if it serves no purpose and is threatened with consequences. And when there are external motives, they are secondary to internal ones.
Compulsive liar vs pathological liar difference is that compulsive is only one type of liars, there are three others of them: a sociopathic liar (shows anti-social behavior, lies because of anger or jealousy), a narcissistic liar (lies to deserve admiration), a psychopathic liar (the master of pretentiousness, but, like sociopaths, may be prone to cynical manipulation and aggressiveness).
How to Build a Relationship with a Compulsive Liar?
There are small tips on how to deal with a compulsive liar. Hopefully, these steps will help you deal with a partner who is lying.
- Make sure the person really lies. How to confront a compulsive liar? It is very unpleasant to blame a person for what they did not actually commit. Therefore, learn to pay attention to how a person behaves when they do not lie. Compare this behavior with the present moment. A liar can behave quite differently: be restless, look away, be anxious. Perhaps it is time to talk to them about the situation, explain that you love them and want to know how to help a compulsive liar.
- Check the facts. Put on Sherlock Holmes' hat and engage in investigative activities. Think over and write down all the facts related to the lie. You must have accurate and verified information to make a conversation with a deceiver constructive. At this stage, you are almost sure that they lied to you.
- Determine the procedure. If you know exactly you are dealing with lies, it's time to consider your plan of action. Only you know the context of the situation and the seriousness of the lie, so it’s up to you to decide how you will conduct with it. Did it happen for the first time or for them it is the usual order of things? What are the consequences? All factors must be considered.
- Call them to talk. For some of us, this step may be difficult. This is especially true of those who deliberately avoid conflicts. To overcome this hesitation, remind yourself once more that you want to help.
- Remember you are not them. Dealing with a chronic liar is not always easy. But do not use their weapon against them. Try to be above personal reproaches and insults. Strictly adhere to your own principles and keep yourself together.
- Inner thoughts. You may need time to finally recover after being deceived by a person you trusted. Remember that not all people are like that. Take for granted that most people are honest with each other. Review your attitude towards the person who set you up or betrayed. Forgive them. Do this at least for the sake of your inner peace.
Can a Compulsive Liar Change?
The easiest and most effective way to teach a compulsive liar is to distance oneself. It is more difficult for people who have relatives with such a disorder. However, it is pointless to resist psychopaths or sociopaths. They do not care about your feelings that they hurt, they are also not touched by your dedication in dealing with them. Moving away, you take away all the power that they had over you. This is the case when quitting does not mean losing at all.
When dealing with pathological liars, it is important to remember that such people enjoy their lies and cannot change on their own. This is their usual way to feel good. Neither a parent, nor a brother, nor a child can convince them to stop lying. Evidence of lying only cause anger and hostility but never pacify the flight of fancy.
Unfortunately, this psychological problem will not disappear and will not decrease over time by itself. The only - and rather weak - hope for a positive dynamic lies is to work with psychiatric specialists.