What is Compulsive Lying Disorder?

Compulsive lying disorder,  also known as pseudologia fantastica or mythomania, is a condition that describes the behavior of a habitual liar.

​While compulsive lying disorder is actually not included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), except as a symptom of factitious disorder, many psychiatrists and psychologists consider it a distinct mental disorder.

In the past two decades countless hours of research and multiple papers have been written regarding this issue, though it remains one of the most under researched psychiatric conditions. Individuals with the disorder simply cannot stop themselves from misrepresenting the truth.

People with the disorder are not able to control their lies and experience no guilt regardless of how the lies may affect themselves and others. The lack of guilt is frequently the result of the fact that the individual becomes so caught up in the lie that they are telling, they begin to believe it themselves. If confronted with a lie they have told in the past or one that they are presently telling, they will be insistent that they are speaking the truth.

Over time, the individual will become so adept at lying that it will be very difficult for others to determine if they are, in fact, telling the truth. There are no exact figures regarding the number of people that suffer from this disorder, but has been found to be equally common in men and women and usually becomes very apparent in the late teens.

The defining characteristics of compulsive lying disorder are:

  • The stories told are not entirely improbable and often have some element of truth. They are not a manifestation of delusion or some broader type of psychosis: upon confrontation, the teller can admit them to be untrue, even if unwillingly.
  • The fabricative tendency is long lasting; it is not provoked by the immediate situation or social pressure as much as it is an innate trait of the personality.
  • A definitely internal, not an external, motive for the behavior can be discerned clinically: e.g., long-lasting extortion or habitual spousal battery might cause a person to lie repeatedly, without the lying being a pathological symptom.
  • The stories told tend toward presenting the liar favorably. For example, the person might be presented as being fantastically brave, knowing or being related to many famous people.

Dike, Charles C. (June 1, 2008). Pathological Lying: Symptom or Disease? 25 (7).

​Currently, there are several theories as to what causes an individual to develop compulsive lying disorder. There has been research completed that indicates it is the result of neurological imbalance, particularly in the frontal lobe. A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry reported that pathological liars have an increase in the amount of white matter in the brain predisposing them to the condition. The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences reported that brain scans had found that those with this disorder suffered from right hemithalamic dysfunction. There are also various psychiatric theories regarding the cause.

Many psychiatrists and psychologists believe that individuals with low self-esteem who are looking, whether knowingly or unknowingly, for attention, popularity, love, or to cover up a failure are prone to developing the disorder. Finally, there is speculation that it is a reaction to childhood trauma or neglect or failure of the parents to establish realistic limits and provide guidance. It is important to note that many experts believe that habitual lying is a symptom of a larger personality disorder including borderline personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder.

As a result of not being included in the DSM-IV, there is no actual diagnostic criteria for a compulsive liar. However, many psychiatrists and psychologists will diagnosis based on behavioral patterns as reported by loved ones and through observation of the individual. There is no magic cure for this disorder. Therapy can be beneficial to the sufferer if they will admit that there is an actual problem. If the person does not recognize that they suffer from this condition, therapy will be of no consequence.

There are treatment options for this disorder, but they can only be effective if the compulsive liar agrees to treatment. In most cases, friends and family will have to learn to adapt to the situation in order to maintain a relationship. As you are probably aware, compulsive lying disorder can have a tremendous effect on the sufferer as well as those that care about them.

If therapy is initiated it will likely be geared towards the addictive aspect of the disorder as well as helping the person understand their behavior and how it impacts others. Later, there will be measures taken to help the individual change their way of thinking. Some psychiatrists may prescribe antidepressants to treat underlying issues with depression and self-esteem. Also, the prescription of anti-anxiety medications may be used to decrease the feelings of anxiety that may unconsciously prompt the individual to lie.

Again, it must be noted that therapy will only help the individual if they admit they do have a problem.​ Maintaining a relationship of any kind with a person suffering from compulsive lying syndrome can be complicated. In fact, relationships are almost certain to end without the involvement of a trained third party, such as a therapist.

Loved ones can benefit from attending therapy and counseling with the sufferer and individually. This allows them to gain insight into the disorder, express their feelings openly, and bring up important issues such as trust without the sufferer feeling as if they are being attacked. There is no guarantee that a relationship will survive, but the chances are increased with the amount of energy that is out into treatment. ​

Compulsive lying disorder is a complicated condition that requires a great deal of effort and determination on the sufferer to change their behaviors. Ultimately, it is entirely up to the person with the disorder as to whether or not they are able to regain their ability to tell the truth consistently.




86 thoughts on “What is Compulsive Lying Disorder?

  1. I may have this conidtion but am not entirly convinced that I do but better be safe then sorry so would like to maybe get my self checked out to see if I do have this or not. maybe helping to talk about whats happened in my past could determin if I have this or not.

  2. I had a friend with this condition. He was the nicest guy ever. He#d do antything to help you out. But he lied. He lied about everything. We used to joke that he didn’t even exist because he lied about his very existence. I know that’s mean. But it ultimately cause all of his relationships to flounder. His lies were so transparent and omnipresent that people stopped caring for him. His relationships would last maybe one year before people got fed up and distanced themselves from him. I was one of those people. I hope he seeks help. He needs it. Again, he’s the nicestguy ever. I guess I’m just not strong enough to deal with such a person. Good luck my friend.

    • I just got out of a relationship with a man, who, I am now convinced. probably fabricated the core of his very existence. I mean from his marital status, to what he had for lunch to who he has lunch with. Unbelievable. I just had to block him out

      • OMG… I just went thru a similar situation!!! I just told my ex/friend to never call me again. His lies were just getting out of hand. He is a great person but OMG the lies!!! He’d lie just to hurt me & see if I still care… He’d lie about the smallest thing, when he didn’t have to. It was very frustrating!!!

        • good for you. it is best to not talk to these pathological liars, they will drive you crazy with their constant lies. most times they tend to be abusers who like to play mind games. these types are very insecure about themselves and so they lie to make the other person think they something that they are not. they’re false, imposters and not who they say they are. they enjoy playing mind games galore. these types cannot be trusted never. so if you ever meet one …run the other way fast and don’t look back. they will cause great havoc in your life with their lies. break off any ties with these liars and don’t talk to them. you’ll be happier you did this.

          • I feel you are being too hard on people who have a real illness. Would you say those things about someone with paranoia? My son is one of “those” whom you so cruely speak of and he has put our family through hell over the past 12yrs. He left home @ 16 and spread horrible lies about being abused unloved etc,he even told people he was adopted but was so cluless cause his brother worked at the same place… duh how can you not get caught? We did not speak for 12 yrs His sister kept in touch with him so I at least knew he was o.k. One day he called and acted like nothing ever happened. He is “better”now and we have a beautiful granddaughter. we love our son, always did, always will. He loves his g/f and adores his baby girl. They are not monsters. They are sick.I do agree they inflict severe pain on others but they suffer much more. I’m not saying it is easy but I like my life better with my son in it.

            • I am happy that it worked for you and your son. Most people are deeply injured by such a person who compulsively lies. The injured people deserve compassion and a fair chance to vent and to heal. They don’t need harsh scoldings. That is what is called re-victimization.

        • my ex had to wives, after 4 1/2 yrs I left him he cheated on me so many times with strippers, he gave me herpies, he lied about work he worked in center city phila and come home over Tacony bridge he worked in phila why did he go into n.j. to see strippers, he lied about sparkles I found in his bed my therapist said ITS THE GAS LITE EFFECT a old movie about a guy driving his wife crazy, it still hurts lied straight to my face all the time

        • I know what you mean Jessica – I am with one right now. It is awful I see he is doing it to “ruffle my feathers” or something to push my buttons to see how far he can go. I feel very eery around him. The sad part is that he can be very funny and charming and keeps me hanging in there bu I do not see it lasting long.

          • If my partner tells me its daylight,I will go outside just to check….I am dealing with a man who when we met,was the absolute love of my life and now,a year later,im dealing with a man who cheats over and over on me,lies about everything from where he’s been,who he has been with etc etc etc…when confronted his anger is immediate even when I have 100% proof that whatever the “lie of the moment” is,is infact completely untrue or half untrue….I stay because I love him (although what I considered to be unconditional love on my behalf,im not sure I can actually maintain)
            He is not only a compulsive liar , womanizer and ice user,he is now a petty theif without a job anymore and all bills are my responsibility…. He says I need help and that I need to look at myself…..logically I know what I should do and im finding myself spending all my time investigating his every movement,like a private investigator ,its exhausting but more often than not im right ….. Im just soo confused.as he xan be charming and says ge loves me all the time… but how do I know if that is true or if he is that good at manipulation that he convinces me to stay….and as the only income earner and he having lost pretty much everyone else,how can I know if ive just been played from the start……soo upset,confused ,angry,but still in love…..

            • He sounds like a compulsive liar/narcissist in one! You probably need to get out of the relationship before you go crazy, or help him to get some help

            • He doesnt sound like a compulsive liar to me. Compulsive lying is a real mental condition. Your guy sounds like a run of the mill low life crumb. He lies, cheats, and steals from yiu because you let him. He need only to tell you he loves you to confuse you? Even though you know for sure he lies, cheats, etc. etc. Sounds like its you that should consider talking to a professional. Maybe find out why your sense of self worth is nonexsistent. Find out what happened in ur life that has you allowing some douche dead beat treating you like you dont matter at all.

      • Seems to me that one is likely to have a grossly distorted image of a former lover, especially after you’ve broken up with him.

        Come on, did he really lie about what he had for lunch?

        Don’t you mean that you don’t trust him so much that you wonder that he might lie about that, too?

        So he lied to you about his marital status. a lot of people do that. we lie about our age too. Oscar Wilde said that women who tell the truth about their ages are utterly untrustworthy, that a woman who would tell the truth about that would tell anyone anything.

        Men often lie to make themselves seem more accomplished than they really are, oh, back in high school i rebuilt a 1963 Harley! or, I went to Yale!

        While women tend to lie to spare people’s feelings.

        On the other hand, in my experience, women lie a lot about sex, lie about their number of partners especially. One time a woman that I was having an affair with, said, “I can’t believe I’ve been faithful to Paul for two years now!”

        No lie.

        And how many guys have been told, “I’ve never cheated on my husband!” or boyfriend, when the woman has cheated on him with you?

    • I have a friend who is a carbon copy of this – in fact I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the same guy. Does his name rhyme with Mali Graw? Been friends with him for half a decade and am probably extremely disappointed in him once a month. He’s late for everything – not 15, not a half hour – usually a good full hour. Sometimes doesn’t show up to things. When he does show up – if he gets bored or something better comes along – he promptly lies and goes on his way. Never seems to be fazed by any of his lying – shows no emotion like hes doing anything wrong. Can be the nicest guy sometimes – would give you the shirt off his back. He just fails in so many departments of what being a good friend is. I’ve basically given up on him – but he keeps slithering back into my life – through contacting my GF and figuring out where I am. She’s too nice to say no – so he eventually tracks me down. I’ve confronted him many times – one time in a group situation at a cottage where he decided to leave unannounced to see a Blue Jay game. Would be helpful to know what is wrong with this guy….as I’m pretty sure we won’t be friends much longer.

    • I feel like you do/did Jed. I care so much, but being hurt just as much if not more by the lies. We’ve been through so much and made it through but this is proving to be to much. It just never stops, the lies. Its over everything. Things that don’t even matter either way. I try and explain this to him, “You don’t have to lie about this, whatever it is, it’s ok. I’m not going to be upset.” I try to make it a comfortable environment for him to feel safe to just tell the truth, but it never matters. Thinking that if he feels safe from ridicule, anger, or judgement it may help him stop lying about the little thing and it could have a trickle down effect that he will feel more comfortable to be truthful about the bigger lies. He’ll comfort me when he finds me cry alone later when I go off to deal w/my own feelings, (well thinking I’m alone) then in one breath swearing on his children and mother he’ll never do it again and never lie about whatever it was again in then do it again the very next day. How long do you have to stay being mistreated (emotionally), hurt, and your feelings completely ignored by them before you leave. It’s hard to leave because you love them you know they are genuinely good hearted but trust is not something you’ll ever be able to have with them. I feel like its causing me to have emotional problems afraid of what’s going to come up next he’s been lying about and how much worse is it going to be. Sadness to the point of depression, worry to the extent of anxiety attacks, and hurt feelings that are causing emotional detachment and push away anything that has to do with affection between each other.

      • Dear, I’m in the same situation.
        It hurts me too much, I got the same feeling like yours now.
        Today he lies & swear never lie again, but after two days he lies again. It’s been a year he stay tge same.
        I am lost, I can’t trust him anymore but I feel sorry with his condition.

    • yes – I just discovered a “friend” has this or seems to. I called her on it and she went into – “I never lied, I am a Child of the Most High Gd, Gd sees all…” I said yes, you are, and you lied.

      wow – it’s really heartbreaking – and she has no remorse.

  3. My partner talks constantly. When we are alone, he tells me the same stories over and over again. Things that happened when he was a child or jobs that he did (construction) with people I don’t know and will never know who are no longer in his life…and when I tell him that I heard the story, he continues to tell me. Then he branches off into other people related to that person, etc. I am polite and kind and have nicely talked to him about his condition and he acknowledges it and carries on.
    When “new” people are around (fresh ears) he gets over excited and talks even more and constant, hijacking every conversation, interrupting people, telling the same old stories, even though people say, “I KNOW….YOU TOLD ME”….and he DOES NOT STOP.
    I talk to him about how he is driving people away. I let him know that I am helping him and not judging him, because he is boring and always doing this. People are openly turned off, including his family.
    I am ready to hit the road. I am always trying to find the good in him, but this talking obsession has killed my love for him.
    It is getting worse because his need to heighten the drama causes him to brag, exaggerate and lie. AND it is obvious. He makes bold statements that people know are not true and everyone is uncomfortable.
    We just spent a few days with family and friends and before we got together I talked to him about listening, being polite and interested in what others had to say. To refrain from taking center stage and talking about himself and his entire life story…He said over and over again that he was going to try. He did okay for a while. He was sweating and fidgeting. As soon as the “new” people left and we were around my family, he talked until their ears bled. I nudged him and reminded him when we were alone that he was killing our weekend (and this is my adult children coming for a visit). They have heard these boring stories and know that they are being embellished.
    He brags all the time too. If talked about having a Porsche, he had a Lamborghini.
    Fewer and fewer people come to visit. No one calls him anymore. I am embarrassed to take him places with me and I am a public figure in the art world. When I do a presentation, I must ask him to NOT TALK….or not come. Lately he hasn’t been coming, because he is verbally inappropriate.
    I am really sad. My feelings for him are pretty much gone…and I tried very hard to work with him on this.
    Lately he has been getting disoriented with driving simple places…and he makes up a story when I ask him why he is getting lost (going to the store, he heads out of the driveway in the wrong direction) and he says that it’s because the GPS usually takes him that way….(IT NEVER DOES and we do not use it for going to local places)….
    He is getting worse. His father had a lifetime of dementia and was on lithium his entire life and his mother is also mentally unstable.
    I am thinking (after 8 years) that I must face it and move on….because the stress of trying to keep him balanced is not working….and he refuses to get help.
    🙁

    • Your story hit a deep chord within me because my situation is so similar. I have went through the same efforts (for eight years) of trying to help my husband and nothing ever really changes. I am curious if you are still trying and if it has improved or did you finally throw in the towel. I realize this post was written some time back and you may be long over this but was really wondering how the situation ended because it is so similar to my own….Shelia

      • It is very similar to my story as well. I don’t want to say anything bad about him but I’m just so frustrated, it seems hopeless

        • It never ever ends . After 28 years it’s cut a deep wound in ky heart that’s so unexplainable. Leave as soon. As possible. I feel like u have list a large chunk of my life over a very sick person

  4. I have been lying for as long as I can remember. I am diagnosed with mood disorders and ADHD and GAD. I am on medications for all but that does not help my lying. I just got caught in a big one today. I lie to everyone about everything. I don’t think there is a person in my life that I do not lie to every time I see them. I am so scared of the people I actually care about catching me. The person today I don’t care about. I made up having twins and being a mom and all the things that go along with that. I have always wanted to be a mother. I love kids and I took it really far with the lie. I pretended that my best friends kids were my kids and went with that. I knew in the back of my head that it was too big a lie to not eventually get caught but I did it anyway. I cannot remember the last time I had been caught. It is very rare. But now I am scared as hell the people I do care about will find out things I have lied about and I do not want that. I want to not get caught in any of the lies I have told thus far and I want to just be truthful from now on. I am going to practice telling many small truths and hope that helps. ;/

    • Your strategy will not work. You must come clean eventually or it will all collapse on it’s self. I found that rather than telling small truths, you need to start calling yourself out when you catch yourself telling small lies. Sometimes it happens and you realize just after, you just have to say, out loud, “that was a lie. I have a tendency to embellish stories that I’m trying to work on”. You say that you’re caught rarely, but really, everyone knows and no one calls you out.

      Once you’ve managed to stop lying constantly, when an old lie is brought up, just be honest. “I was a compulsive liar for many years, I’ve managed to stop, but when I told you that, I was lying.” If people care about you, they will forgive you.

      • “Outing” myself, shaming myself, by stopping and confessing the lie does not work. I have tried that MANY times but it never helped me quit. It just humiliated me so badly that I was that much more careful not to get caught in the future. But getting caught? I must be a truly splendid liar, then, because I don’t GET caught. My lies are not fantastical or extreme exaggerations…mostly little lies that portray me in a better light or cause people to be impressed with me. I can trace the origins back to my childhood, and can even understand the reasons it all started, but I’m 67 now and I’ve done it all my life. I’ve always been able to look a person square in the eyes and lie to them. My problem? I HATE lying. It’s TOTALLY unnecessary. It brings no special reward with it. I am loved and accepted by my family and friends, who would love and accept me even if I told the truth, so why do I lie? I read somewhere that compulsive liars don’t feel guilt about their lies. Well THAT is not true, or I am an exception to the rule, because I DO feel guilt about it and am constantly asking myself “WHY DID I SAY THAT?” I really really REALLY hate lying, but I can’t stop.

  5. Hello. I am a compulsive liar. i try to tell the truth,but i lie so easily. and sometimes i dint even need to lie, but i just make up stories about stuff that happens with friends constantly just because. i was admitted to St.helena’s pysch hospital in januar/feburary of 2014. they said i have anxiety, i knew that i would panic and sometimes get such a panicked feeling that i couldnt thhink right. and i would feel like i had tonthrow up but i didnt know it was anxiety.i have never felt guilt for my lies except one time. there was a boy i dated. he sacrificed alot for me,even his friendships and relationship with his family. he became sucidial because i would mess his up brain so much. they sent him to a pysch hospital and when he came out he was completely different. he broke up with me. we had dated since middleschool a total of one year and 6 months. when he left me,i began to realize how much he had done for me and how i lied about every single thing. recently i was supposed to start my sophmore year in high school. but i had stolen my friends sistersphone. they caught me and my mom took me out of the school before the first day even started bc she knew i was going to get bullied there. my bestfriend is friend with that girl. she hasnt spoken to me since they took the phone back. i dont have any friends anymore. new school. and yet no matter how much i say i will stop lying, i simply cant.

  6. I have been married to someone for 33 years that has been a chronic, compulsive liar. He says inappropriate things to everyone. He is on a constant pursuit of sex.I feel as if I have wasted my life. He has this overwhelming fascination with the military, he was in, got kicked out after 9 months 13 days for not being adaptable to military life. He somehow still gets to go to the VA for treatment, vet refuses to tell mental health officials what is truly going on with him. He sits at any location or event that is vet related and brags he was in wars he never was.He is 53 and has had at least 60 jobs in his life. I don’t know what to do anymore. He has made comments about being able to kill people and not leave a trace, drug in black garbage bags that look like body bags, saws, a shovel(we live in an apartment) and because of never catching up, my child and I have no way to leave. What do I do? I am at the end of my rope. He steals also, lots. If he wants it, he takes it. Any ideas about whats going on with him?

    • Lisa,
      Just read your story regarding your husband in the military. I had a similar experience with myself. For the last last 14 years I’ve convinced my wife, kids, and friends that I had been in Viet Nam. I was never in Viet Nam, I spent 3 years in Germany. I also had everyone convinced that I had been a police officer (I was not) Just recently I came “clean” and told my wife that I had not been in Viet Nam nor was I a police officer. I have also told kids this. Now the weird thing is these two items are the only thing I’ve lied about. I really feel ashamed of myself. My wife has forgiven me but there is a trust issue that will take time to reestablish. How has things worked out for you? Hope there has been some peace between you and your husband. Thanks, Gary

      • Hy gary I had this problem and some times I fell completely lost in the world is very dificult to us, if you want to talk to me about may we can help us.. I have developed some tecnics to try keep this under control.

  7. I really need to get a grip on my compulsive lying . it makes me look like a complete idiot because months of ridiculous lies have been exposed.

  8. I have this lying disorder and I know it – I lie to everybody, Even the people I care for so much. I try to tell the truth but I can’t. I lie a lot, from little situations to huge things. I don’t lie about everything, but I lie about a lot of things, the only things I didn’t lie about are the reasons I think I have this damn thing (childhood, neglect from my parents). Everybody thinks I’m this nice sweet trustable girl, I’m not. (well, I don’t go telling all there secrets and stuff) but I do lie about myself. I told so many shit and today my “best friend” finally confronted me about it.. She told me she hated me, that she wished we never became friends.. But yeah. I need to seek some help, where do I go???

    • i read your post…I am glad you believe that you have a problem and with that attitude I believe you can recover Sia McKinley.
      Please do not give up, please do what you can to change, but most importantly don’t give up.
      It encouraged me to read what you wrote. It makes me believe that perhaps my old girlfriend can help herself also…but alas, I cannot imagine it because she has not come to the place that you have (self awareness).
      So your friend has actually helped you, and my wish for you is that you work at it just like you just did by writing your post and seeking answers.
      I have come to value the truth so much more now. I am determined to continue to work on lying also, that is to not embellish or twist or shade the truth. I am also learning that my best defense has been to learn to be less talkative. I was never actually garrulous, but I had my moments. So my first “breakthrough” was to become a “quiet” man. When I get excited or am around a lively talkative friendly crowd then I relapse into lying, exaggerations, embellishments…but at least I can recognize them more and more as they come out. I have even stopped, immediately afterwards and said out loud “…oh my god, that wash´t true, why did I just say that…” It is embarrassing as hell, but I am getting better…I know it.
      Good luck and thank you for being honest. LOOK, you took a good step, you “came-out,” you diid more than many would be able too.
      Your friend may not be recoverable, all of my old “friends” have washed their hands of me, but I am confident that what friends I do make in the future will be as a result of improvements I make in trying to be forth coming, straight-forward, better person, when it comes to dealing with others.
      It has not been easy, and I stumble more than i stride…but I hope.
      I have found Buddhist Meditation to help a lot…not so much the religious side, but the meditation part, which requires certain, internal, personal changes (ethically).
      My best wishes for you, Sia, don’t give up, be patient with yourself, seek out more answers just like you did here.

  9. I was with a compulsive liar for 4 years. It was only at “the end” that I was made aware of it. At that point all the craziness and insanity “made sense.”
    I cannot bear to go into the details even though the relationship ended 3 years ago…I am still “traumatized” (like PTS) and have a difficult time trusting others, especially women, in general.
    Easy enough to realize that my present “paranoia” is dysfunctional and based on the “trauma” I suffered at her hands. I have confidence that, with time, I will “recover,” fully.
    What troubles me now is that I see that she has not changed, in fact she has continued to the point that she was physically injured by her last “lover,” and I fear that some day she will not escape the inevitable. I have read that some of these (mythomaniacs or whatever they really are) end up in prison or hurt by others because of their actions (the lies).
    i stay in close contact with my old love´s grandparents. By the stories they tell it is easy to surmise that she is lying, again, to them. They are very old and at her mercy and I worry.
    She has chosen the path of criminality for a long and has associations with such people. I myself am no saint, and we were, ourselves, involved in much nefarious enterprises. I am confident that I deserved everything I suffered at her hands because I was involved in bad things involving others too. I regret my actions and behaviors of the past. Ending up with a person like her taught me a thing or two about myself and my own values, selfishness and irresponcible ways. My life has improved, but more importantly, the way I treat OTHERS has improved. I was the “perfect” match for a CL…I had all this coming…and I am lucky to be on my feet again. I lost everything because of her…material things and friendships with others even family members.
    I am working to be a better person as a result.
    I was a liar too, but did not really see it until all this happened.
    The problem is that she is still at it, obviously (from what I hear), but now she has a little 2 year old son. How will he fare?
    I still care for her, rather, I pity her. Her childhood was a nightmare. At age seven she was put with her grandparents, as her mother was finally imprisoned for her own crimes (she was a full time prostitute and involved in other much more serious crimes herself).
    I only got the “whole” story from the grandparents afterwards. Which was a “filling-in” of the blanks.
    It is all simply heartbreak…I have no answers, only this story of my own involvement with such a person as some of you have.
    Lucky for me all of this took (and is taking) place thousands of miles away…she is german citizen living in Berlin and I am back her in the states on the west coast.

  10. My mother has been identified with three different personality disorders: Intermittent explosive disorder, Compulsive lying disorder, and Dissociative Identity Disorder.
    Her intermittent explosive disorder pairs with her dissociative identity disorder and creates a personality that is split between a child-like angry personality or a ‘somewhat’ happy/sweet personality. The compulsive lying disorder makes all of this even harder to deal with.

    Growing up with a mother that has a mental disorder and not knowing it until you’re old enough to figure it out is beyond rough. I spent years asking myself questions such as:
    Why? What is wrong with my mother? Why is she so angry? What is she angry about? And why can’t she tell me the truth about it?
    And in the short, few times when she was happy. Why does the happiness radiating from her feel like there’s something unresolved beneath it?
    For years while I was growing up I spent almost my entire existence wondering what was wrong with my mother and why couldn’t she ever just tell the truth. She lies about everything, I never understood her random outbursts of rage directed at my siblings and I over nothing. For a long time I thought it was me. I thought I was the cause of her unhappiness, I thought her angry tyrants were actually my fault. Her outbursts knew no limitation of moral values. In her eyes (when she was angry at least), I was an ungrateful bitch, a lazy piece of shit, inconsiderate, a cunt, and a whore. I heard all of these things from my mother before I was in the seventh grade (middle school).
    When you’re a kid in middle school you look to your parents for guidance and motivation. I only had my mom to look up to so I actually started to believe I was all of these things. My self esteem plummeted and I began to hate myself in the way my mother had shown hate towards me.
    I never understood that she had a mental disorder and she doesn’t either. For a long time in my life I began to believe that parents were supposed to treat you like you were a terrible child. I literally believed that parents were supposed to insult you and that’s just the way life was.
    It was not until I grew older and I decided for myself that I did not want other people to feel the way my mom made me feel through her blindsiding episodes fueled of past resentment and hate.
    I made a decision for myself to chose to treat people different from what my mom had treated me my whole life. I had to re-learn everything I had been taught from seeing my mom’s reactions to things and realize for myself that she was wrong.
    A parent is supposed to show a child right from wrong, I had to figure out for myself that her actions were wrong and despite what I had been shown from my parental figure, I had to do what I felt was right within myself.
    I believe there is an even greater mental disorder behind this.
    It was hard to grow up not have to ability to talk to my mother about anything. It breaks my heart that I can never have the relationship with my mother the way a mother and daughter should. I can’t talk to her about anything I’m experiencing in life without her cutting me off and lying to me about entire events in her life that never actually happened. Anything I have to share with her about she approaches with a ‘been there done that’ already went through what I’m going through kind of attitude instead of just making an attempt to understand me.
    Her disorder only got worse over the years, she became irrationally angry and now she lies about the reasons why she is angry in an effort to cover up what she is truly hurt about. I think she’s scared of letting herself experience her built up pain. So scared she would rather just push it away and release it wrongfully instead of going through it and then being freed from it. Her mindset is not open enough to gain this understanding and is probably what led to her disorders. If I try to explain any of this to her she’ll just lie to me and pretend like there is nothing wrong. Every child wants to see their mother truly happy and that’s all I’ve ever wanted for her. But she’s so closed, she shuts everything out so nothing can hurt her but nothing can make her happy either. If I try to talk to her to help her relieve her pain she’s so scared of letting herself experience her pain she just pushes it away and lies about it. My mother tells me she has no pain and she’s happy. But I know better, I know she isn’t. She comes home angry about something but I don’t even know what she’s truly angry about. Instead of expressing what she’s truly angry about she releases it on to other things that aren’t actually the issue. Sometimes I see a lot of childish actions arise in her anger, actions that remind me of five year old children. I watched her run away from her emotions and problems and release them in unhealthy ways my whole life. I’ve shed countless tears for my mother because my love for her is so great. But as her child I cannot keep watching her make the same mistakes, continue her misery, and run away from her emotional problems.
    My heart goes out to those dealing with parents that have mental disorders. I’ve lived with the stress and heartbreak of watching and falling victim to the disorders my mother has.

    • Alexus I am heartbroken reading your post. No child should have to be told those horrible things you were told and I’m hoping you found a way to know that they are not true. You sound like a wonderful person and you have faced terrible odds but you have chosen to take a different path. I hope you can find peace and I hope you have friends who tell you the truth, and how wonderful you are and I pray that you believe them. I had a beautiful person entire my life recently and he either has a compulsive lying or some kind of delusional disorder. I know this because he fits the descriptions and he has sabotaged ALL of his relationships in the past and my heart breaks for him. I tried to help him and he has fled…cause he too can’t face the truth. I cry about it everyday and I don’t know how to help him. He told me that everyone eventually abandons him and now I can see why. I am trying to not abandon him but now that he knows I know the truth about him, HE has left ME. I know you can’t force someone to get help so I have grave concerns for his future. Already he can’t hold down a job. He can’t keep friends for very long and even his family know nothing about him he is so secretive. I don’t know how I became his mother… I saw something very special and lovable. I saw beyond his lies/delusions whatever it is he has and I wanted so much for him to be happy. Like my own son is happy. When I tried to get him to get help, he ran. He won’t talk to me now. I try to let it go but it gets me awake at night. I see him struggling through his life… failing time and time again. I just can’t stop caring. I wish I could. I don’t know what to do.

  11. My ex-husband has this disorder and what has been explain here is exactly what he was doing. He goes on face book and tells a lot of lies from having a vet to dating a model to working with engineers as some kind of director. Its really sad, but in our marriage I just couldn’t take it anymore. He would lie for no reason. Recently he told his sister he had some other expensive car and when she check him he said he was just dreaming of having it very sad very sad. He is to arrogant to every face up to the truth or that he is lying.

  12. I’ve been a liar for as long as I can remember. Ever since I was a kid, sometimes I would get caught, mainly by my parents. As I got older the lies became more subtle and believable, I guess you could say that I perfected my craft. Like others have mentioned before me, the lies weren’t always to cover something up, I just lied about the way I was sometimes and wanted to be someone else that I wasn’t. I had grown up in a semi-christian home and when I decided to become a Christian myself, I got a heavy dose of guilt for all of the lies I had told. I was 15 at the time. Becoming a Christian was good for me, because it made me confront my lies. I never told anyone about them I just started forcing myself to tell the truth and to learn to shut up whenever I felt like lying. This worked for a few years, then I started lying again. I started back up recently, even though I had slipped up over the years here and there, but I would catch myself and try to do some self correction. The lies were meaningless and they were to people that I would never see again, or to people that I was just getting to know. I’ve been in a relationship for the past 3 years and we’re engaged now. I’m terrified that he’ll find out the truth about me. He’s never caught me in a lie, but there have been times when I did feel extreme guilt about certain lies that I would admit everything to him. He’s extremely understanding and very patient and still trusts me, I know that it’s because he’s never caught me, but I’m afraid for that day to come. I want to change again, but its harder for me this second time around to stop lying, I know I don’t need to, but I do it anyway. I’m currently seeing a counselor, because of some anxiety and depression issues that I’ve been having. I’ve been lying to him, not about everything, for the most part its all true. But I have thrown in lies about my progress. He thinks I’m getting better, but I’m not. I really wanted to kill myself tonight, or at the very least hurt myself severely. I kept having to suppress the urge to go outside and walk in front of a car (I live next to a very busy street). I’m so disgusted with myself, I can’t stop and I don’t know what to do.

    • Dear lea, when I read your post I saw a reflection of myself…

      This is a disease and we need to confront this seriously…is very dificult I know, I try to keep this under control but looks like something instantly…you know sole one and after 3 minutes chatting I lie… with no reason or justification.

      I am also christian and I all the time

  13. I know I have this but I don’t see the need to change that it gets you out of so many things and can be so helpful and no one can tell that your lying when you really need to. You can help people that you love to get out of things as well. It hasn’t caused me any problems so far.

  14. This is very interesting to me, especially the comments. I don’t have this problem. I almost always tell the truth, even if it hurts. I don’t exaggerate my accomplishments either. I tend to down play everything. I have worked with people who lied a lot and people would laugh at them behind their backs; but I felt compassion for them. I always think What would make someone lie about who they are? I just don’t get it. I find people interesting no matter who they are or what they’ve done or not done. I guess my 2 cents would be: ” just be yourself” people will like you, people will value you. All people? Of course not; but most people like genuine people warts and all. Be your self.

    • I don’t lie because I’m trying to be someone else. In one way I am very honest and don’t really care what people think of me. My lies have got worse since I started hating my job and new manager, I make up things to not go. I want to stop!

  15. I have just discovered my partner is a compulsive liar. The most frightening part have been the lies he has told another female before and during dating me. He has faked his name, date of birth, job, family, even to the point of setting up fake email accounts and sending fake emails.
    He has admitted he has an issue and going to attend counselling and has “stopped lying” completely.
    Can he ever be helped? Should I try and stay or just run now? It worries me he will die alone but then I worry will I the 1 to die alone after spending years unhappy trying to fix him.

  16. I am a compulsive liar, narcissistic, avoidant and delusional. I was married to the most amazing person in the world, who is the mother of my two beautiful children. Because of my lies, I have lost my family. I lied about who I am, what I am, where I came from, essentially I lied about my entire existence. I created a false world upon which the security of my family rested, and when it all came crashing down two years ago, their lives were forever damaged. It is only through my wife’s resolve and the support of her family and friends, that our children remain in a stable environment, loved. I am now left with this overwhelming guilt, depressed, sometimes suicidal and afraid of the future. I am trying so hard to move forward with my life, for my children, but each day, even after all the mess that I created, I still lie. I’m 46 years old, and I doubt that I can ever stop lying about everything. I work with a psychotherapist, but I lie to her. It just seems like I am unable to tell the truth, or I just don’t even know what the truth is anymore.

    • I guess try to tell the therapist exactly what you wrote here… don’t give up, there is always hope! The fact that you feel guilty proves that you’re not a bad person, you just have a problem. Good luck!

  17. I was in a year and a half relationship, with a over exaggerator and compulsive liar, I believe it was down to neglect from her family, what she would do is make up short or long stories about stuff that didn’t matter like (what she bought in a shop), to stuff that did matter like ( what she had done with her life or stories that was unrealistic about her family, who are generally good people), she would lie about who her family i.e sister was like, or friends she would say were tight ‘close’ and a week later would b the worst person in the world, she loved to lie and she dwell, and get a cheap thrill from doing it, she lie about anything, and when you would confront her and call her a liar, she would literally ignore that, like she has no shame or respect, and just carry on or change the subject, why would she never stand her ground with that simple questions? She loved making story’s or over exaggerating on something we both did, and she would do it in front of me and expect me to think her account of what happens, happens… We had a baby and split, and I’m concerned for the kid, is he safe? Ask any questions please x

    *edited by moderator

  18. I feel like my friend has this… ever since I have known her, some traumatic event has occurred in her life (according to her) every few years. Even though they are horrible things that I wouldn’t wish to be real for anyone, ever since realising the first one (a story that someone had died) was a complete lie, I am unsure whether or not to believe the other ones. (I mean, perhaps she really believed it, or was deceived by someone else? I don’t know.) Obviously, as a friend, I wanted to support her and believe her… but so many people around me were skeptical of her stories, and now I am too.
    Also, more recently, she has often avoided contacting me – I feel like she’s trying to distance herself from the lies she has told.
    I don’t know what to do – I’ve given up contacting her, but at the same time I just really want to confront her about it and try and get some explanation as to how a person could tell their friend that someone had died, and live with that lie for years? It eats at me all the time.
    Any advice would be appreciated!

  19. I dont know what I have, I check out or go blank, then find out or partly remember that I said something untrue, it seems disconnected from my awareness until later and sometimes dont remember saying it all. I feel allot of guilt, but guilt makes worse. Anxiety may be the trigger, but?
    I cant control whats going on?

    • Many psychiatrists and psychologists believe that individuals with low self-esteem who are looking, whether knowingly or unknowingly, for attention, popularity, love, or to cover up a failure are prone to developing the disorder. Finally, there is speculation that it is a reaction to childhood trauma or neglect or failure of the parents to establish realistic limits and provide guidance. It is important to note that many experts believe that habitual lying is a symptom of a larger personality disorder including borderline personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder.

      As a result of not being included in the DSM-IV, there is no actual diagnostic criteria for a compulsive liar. However, many psychiatrists and psychologists will diagnosis based on behavioral patterns as reported by loved ones and through observation of the individual. There is no magic cure for this disorder. Therapy can be beneficial to the sufferer if they will admit that there is an actual problem. If the person does not recognize that they suffer from this condition, therapy will be of no consequence.

  20. This is sad i am in a relationship with a compulsive liar its been 5 years and he lies in my face through text etc, he’s always searched for attention online, from women from so called friends and actual friends its like a void in his heart i can’t feel every year i find out and he gets all sad and remorseful tells me he feels like crap for what he’s done but continues to do it. Its crazy cause on one end he says he wants to get help and he’s aware he has this issue but at the same time he doesn’t see that it’s a big deal….he says I’m the only semblance of happiness he has…..he’s always deathly afraid of losing me yet i believe the idea of losing his friends or losing his ability to have his cake and eat it to is far more scarier….. i don’t understand him i hurt so much he says he gonna go to therapy but u know with a compulsive liar they can make numerous promises and break them…..

  21. I have a problem with lying and I’m getting to the point that I hate myself. I don’t think my lying has ever hurt anyone but it’s still worrying me. I’m far too good at it and can now do it without thinking about it to much. I’m consciously trying to stop but it’s not working. I’ve read stuff about it being part of something bigger. I’m not a bad person and I do feel guilty and do have empathy. I’m just wondering if anyone recommends therapy….

    • It’s exactly how I feel. I’ve been going to therapy because I had panic attacks and a really bad break-up, but when I started going there I didn’t realise that the lying might have caused the break up and I was lying to my therapist as well… not as much as to the others, but there were enough little lies for her to not figure out that I have a problem with lying.
      So, now I’m over the break up, but my guilt still haunts me all the time because I’m a liar and I’m afraid to admit it to my therapist now, since it’s been months…

  22. Good day! I have a concern about this disorder. I have a friend of mine whom I think have this kind of disorder. She’s always lying all the time and now my friends and I, don’t know how to deal with her anymore. we can’t tell now whether she’s lying or not. What can we do with her?

  23. I think my ex girlfriend suffer from Compulsive lying disorder. She lied about her dad, she said that her dad is a millionaire and she is on a fix marriage. I believe in her for almost 3 years, and when I realized that maybe it was all lies, I confronted her but she denied it. Until I asked her mom and BOOOM! We broke up. I don’t know why the hell she did that to me. I want to help her guys, and I don’t know what to do. T.T I love her so much, but I think I cannot trust her again.

  24. I want to stop lying but I fail every time. I just need to make people think I’m more that I am, that I do things that I don’t, I exaggurate with every story to make it more interesting. It doesn’t usually hurt people, but there’s been cases when it did. And each time I tell a lie (I do it without thinking), I’m like “why did I just say that? why did I lie again?”. I can’t afford therapy, but I would really like to get better. I don’t lie to people I’ve known my whole life so much, but when I meet someone new, I can’t help myself. Recently I cut 3 people out of my life because they found out the truth (two of them were my ex partners and one was their mutual friend), luckaly, they weren’t people that meant too much to me at that point, but I really need to stop this before I lose the people I actually need in my life. I’m only 21, I think I can do it, but any advice on how to do it, would help.

    • To be clear, I did go to therapy, but not for this reason. The reason was that I was going through a bad break up and had panic attacks. But, like most people who lie, I lied to her as well. Now I’m moving to a different country and I won’t be able to have therapy for a while. Any suggestions how to do this without it?

    • I am in a relationship with someone that has this disorder. At first i let it go, because i really love them. There such a good, humble person. But now its gotten to the point that I dont believe anything communicated by them. No matter what I say, this person will lie, to one up me. Im sad to say that im going to have to let him go because of it. Telling the truth always is my policy, i wouldn’t have it any other way. This is really hardened my heart. Yet i dont see any other option.

  25. The mother of my child has been lying to me now I see for 6 years. We met a long time ago and rekindled our relationship after 10 years, 6 years ago. When we met all seemed great then I found out she had a terrible drug addiction. She ended up in several rehabs with me sticking through it with her all the time I don’t think she ever told me the truth about anything. Even the simplest things. Like did you eat that food, no I didn’t, and she did. Why lie! Well we had a beautiful daughter together 3 years ago. She then relapsed, cheated on me with her drug dealer back in June. We are not together and I luckily have my daughter but trying to Co-parent is very difficult. She is constantly still lying about everything. I can’t trust her alone with our daughter. And now I am buying a house for me and my daughter and she is constantly badgering me to get back with her while she is still lying! I don’t know what it is about her that I can’t just say f’ off get away from me……….. I can’t take the deceit anymore. She is on all types of meds but she still lies every day, even today Christmas eve. 🙁 I am completely lost and I don’t even know anymore what a normal relationship is like. She has been diagnosed with borderline personality, a recovering adict, a pathological lier, a cheater and overall very lazy. But she deserves someone doesn’t she? I jus can’t take care of 2 kids! Well I read this article to understand more and it helped. I hope knowone else out there is in my situation…

    • Unfortunately you are not alone in your situation. My partner lied to the whole family, making them gather for the cultural bride price proceedings but no turning up. Upon enquiring with his brother, they were not even aware of the intention. He lied about himself incessantly and he was always the hero including his school achievements with no certificates to shoe!!! He talks non stop when in any company. Any conversation without him at the centre is not worth listening. The worst part is living with him for 22 years has driven all I love away. He fabricates lies about me to anyone worth saying something positive about me. I have to apologise always to those who are brave enough to tell me. When I ask him what he has just said he denies! He now has this obsession where I have affairs all the time. He verbally attacks anyone in my contact list. He badmouth people from my workplace, college, church : Anyone who crosses my path. This is affecting children at school and in relationship. There is no stability and trust as he says one thing and shows something else in body language and actions. He attacks the very foundations of my family values. I want to help him but I don’t know how?

      • To add on to the analogy above, I omitted that to those who don’t know him, my partner is the nicest guy ever. If he likes you he can do anything for you. He can easily switch from one good person to the ultimate lier who perceives everyone to be so stupid. His lies can be so obvious but he won’t take notice of the people”s reactions. He lied about me so much that he drove me to psychosis and he won’t even acknowledge that! My family has given up on me and blame me for allowing him to keep lying to me and everyone about me!

  26. One of my friends suffers from this she lied to me about her ex boyfriend hitting her and raping her I comforted her today and yes she told me she lied to me in some but I don’t believe here because she probably doesn’t know the truth either because she believes her own lies and I’m supporting her in everything 💜

  27. I have lost interest in his stupid lying ass! I didn’t ever think I could hate someone so much! I rather die than stay with someone who lies about EVERYTHING. Especially and most recently about how much his check was. No, I did not ask you how much your check was before deductions you idiot!

  28. I have a lying problem. I have exaggerated my whole life. From an early age. I have two wonderful kids, good thing my ex is a great mom. I am scared they will see their dad for who he is, a liar and will grow up to be like me and lie about the littlest things. I met the most amazing woman 2.5 years ago. My dream woman smart, sexy, and incredible. Our relationship was incredible for the first year. Then my lies starts to unravel. I reached out to other women to find acceptance and attention. Because I thought I was not good enough for her, and made myself out to be more then i was. I put her health at risk. She has stuck with me because she sees something in me I cant find in myself. I love her with everything I have, but her trust in me is gone, one more lie and she will go. I want and need help. I cant see her not in my life. My kids, her and people who know me deserve better. I need and want help, it is so tough because it is easier to lie then be truthful. The guilt and shame for what I have done is sometimes overwhelming. It eats at me and I have no way of making all the past pain I caused for others go away. I know this is the toughest battle ever. Be impeccable with your word. I need to remind myself of this everyday. I need the trust of the ones I love because I have hurt them for lifetimes. If I can do this you all can too.

  29. My mum said she loves me, but she doesn’t want to be my friend anymore because of all the lying.

    I’ve been reading these comments, and I never thought of myself as a compulsive liar. I have to say, though, all of this fits me far to perfectly for me to simply sit here and say “No, I’m not.” That would be another lie.

    Reading through the suggestions on how to stop myself from lying, I see that therapy plays a big role. I don’t see why I shouldn’t. I’m 15, I have a long life ahead of me and I feel like I can save myself from a life of regret and dark self-pity by taking hold of my tongue and using it like someone with honor rather than a weak version of Wormtongue*.

    Time for a confession, I also have some narcissistic tendencies. Now I’m not a full 9 pointer, but 5 pointer. This, if you look at corporations, can turn into success in a corporate setting. I’m not saying I’m proud to be a narcissist, as we can be mean spirited sometimes, and downright hurtful to others (not a particularly nice image to have to walk in), but if I continue to lie, then I wont succeed in corporate setting. Another thing, Narcissists, though sometimes incapable of sustaining a good relationship, can sometimes actually be a somewhat natural socialite. I cant be a socialite, no matter how hard I try, if I’m a compulsive liar.

    While Narcissism is a trait some people are born with, most of the time Compulsive lying is a trait gained from one or more factors. For me, Lying was something that became a habit when I was little. I’d lie to get out of trouble. Then, I’d lie for freebies from people in the schoolyard. Then, it became a sort of regular part of my personality. Now, it’s something I need to evolve past. I can’t blame my mum for this, either (my dad is out of the picture – if there’s someone I can blame other than myself it’s him), so it’s my own personal fault that I’ve dug myself into a pit this deep.

    At this point, my strategies to get myself out of this circle of lying, then trying to keep those lies and then getting caught would be simply outing myself as soon as I lie. I’ve seen some people on here say it’s too “embarrassing” for them. I say this, if you out yourself they’ll trust you more than if you continue to lie. My second step is keeping my mouth shut when I feel like speaking up to make myself feel “special” or “intelligent”. Plot twist: I don’t look either intelligent nor special, in fact I look like a liar.

    That’s all I’ve got to say, provide any feedback you’d like. Any criticisms, any suggestions, please, do.

    *Wormtongue is a character from the Lord of the Rings, he is basically a compulsive liar, and a really good one that turns everyone against each other. When I say a weak Wormtongue, I mean a very bad liar.

    • Hey. I have been in your position. 10 years ago I could have written this verbatim as my own story. The fact that you can recognise your behaviour shows incredible self awareness. Believe it or not narcissism actually stems from crippling self doubt. As you say you are 15 and still have your life ahead of you. Now is the time to act. Think about what you want to do as an adult and how you wan to impact this world. And work towards that. It will help to pacify the insecurities that drive the lies. And if you ever need to chat hit me up. I can honestly say I have been where you are.

  30. These pages have changed my life! I married my wife in 1967 and although I had previously recognised her readiness to lie to me I had absolutely no idea that such a readiness to tell lies had complicated psychological terminologies. From these pages I have discovered heart-rending truths – my wife has been suffering from psychological problems for more than half a century!
    Yes, her lies destroyed our marriage a very long time ago – my own principle has always been that with truth all things are known but a single lie will put ALL things into doubt.
    Many respondents on these pages have declared that their partners have told lies “even about small things etc”. This has been the way it has been for me. Except that only now, nearly fifty years later, lies about my wife’s total fidelity have been revealled to be lies. Only now have I discovered that my daughter, born in 1969, and now with the aid of DNA analysis, is not actually ‘my’ daughter after all! So much for lying only about ‘small things’.
    I attended ‘my’ daughter’s birth and met her even before she had been physically separated from her mother, so there is a powerful animal instinct involved – an instinct to love and protect and this can never be changed. But am I permitted to feel rather cheated to have spent almost half a century loving and caring for another man’s secretly conceived child? Even now that I know the documented truth my wife, as a compulsive liar, will go to her grave denying this fact.

  31. Further to what I have said previously I have come to recognise that there seems to be two different forms of compulsive lying. There are people who tell lies about matters that have NOT happened and there are others (as in my own experience) who have compulsively lied about things that HAVE happened.
    Telling lies about things that have not happened seem to be told for gaining personal kudos and undeserved admiration whereas telling lies about things that have happened seem to be told to avoid the condemnation that the liar would need to face.
    Lies about things that have not happened – undeserved admiration – may be just lies at a schoolboy level and easily laughed away. Unfortunately, lies about things that have actually happened could have (as in my own experience) lifelong consequences.
    Therapy? My wife would be immune to any therapy simply by the principle of “admit nothing – deny everything”. The internet (not even imagined in the days we became man and wife) has given me access to electoral rolls by date, council lists of property ratepayers by date, even Google maps for tracing the locations of those properties etc.etc. along with the wonders of DNA analysis have given me extensive documentation of scientific ‘proofs’ yet, to this day, my wife sticks to “admit nothing – deny everything”. A professional therapist, if having to depend upon questions and answers, would not have the slightest hope.
    A positivity which has evolved (for me) is that rather than having the idea that my wife was just evil from the start, she has been suffering from psychological imballance, which I can now, as a benefit from these pages, allow myself to feel sympathetic about. But almost fifty years of misery still hurts.

  32. I had massive issues with compulsive lying all through my childhood and up until I was at university. I made a real effort to change my behaviour and made some real progress. However I am now 26 and have recently noticed in the last 2 years without even realising it was happening, the behaviour has begun to creep back. And with disastrous effects.

    I was seeing a psychologist a while ago and it seemed to help but I can’t afford to do that anymore. It’s exhausting you know. To have this thing that you compulsively do and to have to keep yourself in check all the time. How do you fix the root cause?

    I’ve recently quit drugs which have been an issue for a while and I’m trying to come to terms with the emotional issues which the drugs were masking. I’m also writing a true and honest manifesto as a way for me to get all this swirling dialogue out of my head and separate fact from fiction. I’m sure some of you can relate that when you lie to others for so long about something you begin to believe it’s true. It becomes part of your identity with catastrophic effects to your self-worth.

    Anyway it seems that I am not alone in my struggle and though we are often own harshest critics, my message to all of you who are trying to get better is this:
    I have mad respect for you. It’s not easy and I understand your plight. Most of us are not bad people. Never give up!

    Peace

  33. From everything I have read here, there is no help or hope for the liar. Either we accept the liar as they are or we eject them from our lives.

    • Dear Jay Schmidt – With half a century of pain I am qualified to declare that you are right. BUT – in my twenties I had never even heard of ‘compulsive lying’ – it was just a nasty term applied to people with no scientific explanation. If only I hadn’t been so willing to forgive! But even though I have been Dad to some other guy’s daughter (she is soon to reach her fiftieth birthday) I can not eject ‘my’ daughter’s mother because she is in commercial association with ‘my’ daughter and they are very close because of that. Now ‘my’ daughter, who I have raised and supported emotionally through her life – I could never desert her – has developed some strange ideas about me and I wonder if either she has accepted lies told by her mother or is it possible that her mother’s affliction is hereditary? I can only hope that someone with better experience can confirm or not about this. Whatever, I am morally denied the right of ‘ejection’.

  34. All my life I’ve had to deal with liars. My father was a compulsive liar who struggled with the truth and made everyone feel it was them that was crazy not him also his womanising and affairs throughout my parents 25 year marriage was traumatic to say the least so now I’ve discovered my son is the same as his grandfather. He has only been married a year and has wrecked that relationship with seeing other women a neighbour of theirs. His wife kicked him out and he’s been back with us for 6 months and now his web of lies has all come out like he was adopted as a baby his real mum was a drug addict and we took him in as a baby complete lies. My husband beat him up as a child again not true. We sold his car and pocked the money he doesn’t even drive. He went to some fancy university he never wanted to further his education even though we tried and he’s barely worked a year in the 10 years he’s left school. I blame myself daily i don’t know what I could have done differently and I can barely talk to him cause he turns it round to us that’s crazy not him. He is emotionless and dosent seem to care that his lies have caused so much damage and because of his deception we don’t get to see our grand daughter. I want to walk away because i can’t deal with it anymore and having him under the same roof is soul destroying.

  35. I have an 8 year old grandson who ive been like a mother to him. my daughter died 3 years ago from a prescription drug overdose. so iv’e really tried to be the closest thing to a mother he’d ever have. we would keep him at our house for weeks at a time and he would confide in me about a lot of what was going on in his life.we would buy him clothes and toys a tv for his room an exbox a dvd player always tell him how much we love him .he had started acting out a lot at school and lying at home. so his dad took him to his therapist and talked to him just to see if he could get an idea why he was doing these things and much to everyones surprise he told the therapist a bunch of lies about things he said my husband said. needless to say we were crushed. the therapist wanted my son in law to turn us in to cps . when I talked to my grandson after talking to his dad and told him you know if you tell lies to them people they will never let us see you again and he just said I know real calmly.we can’t figure out if he is a compulsive lier or what but we can’t believe this is happening. I don’t know if they will be able to diagnois what his problem is.

  36. I am in a 6-month-old relationship now with a man whom I am now 100% sure has a compulsive lying disorder. Most of his lies are trying to portray that he is rich and successful. He is narcissistic and has various relationships with women to maybe reassure himself that he is wanted and needed. I have caught him and he had no choice but to admit the lies. Although he never really explained why he had to lie in many things. The predictable thing to do was to break up with him, which I did for a week, but then realised that I truly care for him and want to help him.
    He has so many other good qualities that made me fall for him in the first place. I think he is a good man. Or maybe that’s what I want to believe.
    My reading up on the net about this subject matter is to find answers to these questions:

    1) Is this a lifetime pattern? He is now 38 yrs old and is divorced. I suspect his marriage broke up because of the same issue. I have seriously considered marrying him and I still do if he can be cured. But is he hopeless?

    2) What can I do to help him as his partner? How should I deal with him? I am trying to pretend that I still do not know all the other lies he has told me. Lies like he owns a Mercedes Benz car, a vacation house in Italy and has lots of investments everywhere. I don’t want to confront him because I don’t want to embarrass him and make him feel more insecure, which is probably the main reason why he lies a lot in the first place. It does not matter to me that he doesn’t own all these material wealth.

    3) It is said that a man who can lie about one thing can lie about everything. After discovering all his lies, though I have already forgiven him, I tend to always doubt now whatever he tells me. I am so paranoid and insecure. Definitely not a good foundation for a relationship. He told me that he will never lie again. And I firmly told him that if I find out any deceit again, I will leave him.

    4) To tell you honestly, this is now the third time I am in a relationship with a compulsive liar. Why do I attract such men? The first two relationships broke off because I dropped them when I discovered all the deceit. I realise now that I was unforgiving. Now for a change, I want to help this man. Am I wasting my time? I don’t think he will admit that there is something wrong with him. He only admitted the lies because they were blatantly undeniable.

    What can I do? My instinct tells me I am doomed to get hurt. But a voice inside tells me maybe this man needs help. He wants to feel truly loved and accepted so he will not be insecure anymore and there is no need to lie.

  37. Hi, today I have realised that I have this condition after suffering from it for a long time, I have lied to the love of my life (I have lost her btw) family and friends I have caused a lot of pain. I lied about the littlest things and also told big lies I knew something was wrong with me and it was out of character i’m so glad that I have realised that I have this condition, it’s horrible to watch people who you care about suffer because of you and your lies but I know life is full of lessons and you need to be strong. Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed mental health problems are just like physical health but misunderstood. I will seek advice and help I want to stop I want to be an honest person.

  38. My husband lies about the smallest things, and then goes into extreme denial mode. For example, I will see lunch meat bag opened in the refrigerator, which would cause the meat to go bad. I will then simply say to him, “Hey hun, you have to seal the lunch meat bag up or the lunch meat will go bad”.
    He will then begin to deny he did it, over and over when we are the only two people in the house, and I know it was NOT me, and its his doing. He will continue to dey it, and many times no matter how petty, he will keep talking about it for sometimes hours. Its ridiculous! When he has too much to drink he will follow me around the house upstairs, downstairs outside wherever I go all while denying something so small! It becomes so abusive of a situation that I have escaped into my car and drove around be perfect and any small error on his part, is enough to make him lie and deny it, and his brow beating is to make me say or brain wash me into thinking that he did NOT do it after all! Which, I will never do! I have never seen anyone with so in the middle of the night! (Just for peace of mind). It as though he has to much low self esteem, most people would have just have said Ok, I forgot, or oops I’am bad! Is this the same thing as a compulsive liar? It is only when you say he has made a mistake does he have this behavior?

  39. First off I must apologize for my name on this, clearly that is a lie. I remember when started to lie, it was in grade one, the kids where talking about how cool and tough their dad’s where, and everyone said things to make dad’s better then the other. Since that day things have snowballed soon much and I hate the person I have become, I have a son and. I just want him to grow up not to be like me,he looks up to me soo much , every time I say a lie I don’t feel really any guilt at that moment, but more sacred of getting caught so my mind is always on over drive trying to stay ahead of my lies. But when I am alone sometimes I feel soo guilty and discussed with myself, cause a lot of my lies where just to make myself look better ( I know I have low self esteem) cause I seem to screw up of fail at everything I have done in life, and lies give me a brief sense of success for the time, but then a terrible sense of guilt and am ashamed of myself. My lies have truly hurt some people and a lot of my loved ones, they have seriously changed the coarse of some people’s lives and there is no taking it back. I would like to tell the truth about my lies to these people but I think the shame would be way worse than guilt, and I know it would truly hurt people if they found out the truth, and I feel I would just cause more harm to my love ones. I recently came to terms aswell that I am a alcoholic, and as soon as I drink I just can’t help myself and almost everything I say is a lie. I am on the road to recovery, but I have had a hard time as a most recently lost a cousin of my mine that was like my rock, he was one of the most amazing people I have had the privilege of having in my life, he committed suicide from a reaction to anti anxiety medication . I also suffer from bad depression but am afraid I guess to get help, especially after what happened to him. Also from growing up a had a lot of bad stuff happen to me. Some of it was bad choices on my half and some just some real bad luck I guess. Maybe it’s karma for all my lies and the terrible things I have done in my passed that I never got caught for. I just want to live a normal peaceful life, help people and make a difference for the better in the world, but it’s like my lies and choices in life come back to haunt me. I would like to see a Psychiatrist but can’t afford it. I just don’t want my child to grow up knowing his father is a Pathological liar ,Never express my feelings before and I guess this is the first step,Anyway has a similar story or advice that they can get to me I would greatly appreciate it thank you

  40. Dear ‘John Doe’
    You have far less problems than you are imposing upon yourself! It seems that one of the necessary qualifications for being a ‘compulsive’ liar is that such people have absolutely no personal sense of guilt and, clearly, you have a deep-felt sense of guilt! Just look at the many many sad stories being told on these pages, stories from people who have or still are feeling the crippling effects of utter frustration that people they themselves love have such relentless and totally guilt-free ability to avoid telling the truth – and, clearly, you are not one of those people! This is proven on a number of levels. Firstly by the fact that your anonymous pseudonym has been admitted to be a ‘lie’ (which, oddly, was actually a ‘truthful’ admission) and, secondly, by taking such care to write your statements here you have declared your self-condemnation – undeserved self-condemnation. A fully qualified ‘compulsive liar’ is unable to respond to a sense of ‘reason’, unable to even recognise that a problem applies to themselves. So it is, my friend, you are only suffering from being a perfectly ordinary human being with, perhaps, a slightly over-developed sense of self preservation which is suffered by oh so many other human beings in this imperfect world.
    You suggested your need for psychological help. Why? By your own sense of ‘reason’ and your truthful admissions you clearly already know and accept all that a psychologist could hope to tell you about yourself! A cure? It seems that a cure already exists in your own soul and, anyway, there can be no ‘cure’ for your self-imposed but very healthy sense of guilt.

  41. Hey guys, I know how negative people here are about compulsive lying, and it really hurts to read through some of these messages. I want to give you some perspective from a compulsive liar.

    It’s not something I can control. It slips out before I can even process what I’m about to say. If I can catch it in time, I immediately backtrack and attempt to tell the truth, but it doesn’t always work like that.

    Also, the tidbit about not feeling guilt because we convince ourselves that it’s the truth, I have something on that too. It honestly took me a long while to get to that point to where I’d begin to lie to myself, saying that whatever I just told someone was the truth, and I’d go with it. The pathetic thing about my case is that I mostly lie about only minor things. Things that no one could ever prove differently unless they really tried. I admit that I’m scenario 1 where it’s low self-esteem and attention. I have a huge problem with wanting attention, but I don’t always want it directly, I just want to know that I have it. I’m bad at explaining, sorry. Anyways, back to the subject at hand. A LOT of people feel guilt for the lies they tell. It’s when that guilt becomes so overpowering that they begin to tell themselves that they did no wrong.

    In all honesty, when I saw people here saying that we’re crazy and that people should just ditch us, I felt a bit mad. But then I had to realize that some people lie about major things all the time because of their illness. But, in my case at least, we aren’t JUST hurting you, it hurts me too to know that this thing is something I will likely never be able to control. It hurts that I can’t be normal and just be honest. It one of the most terrible feelings I’ve experienced.

    But PLEASE understand that most of us CANNOT control it. In our heads we might be saying “You know this isn’t true” or “Why did you lie over something so little?” but our mouths may rattle on and on about it because sometimes we just can’t stop. It’s not something I can just turn off one day. Why would I ever choose this? It’s not my choice.

    It’s not that we don’t care or that it doesn’t matter. In my case at least, it’s that we just can’t for the love of life help it. It’s very easy to claim that we lie just to push your buttons and work your last nerve. Believe me, sometimes when I encounter someone who has a serious lying problem, there is that thought of “Why did they even lie about that? It doesn’t even matter.” or “This is starting to become ridiculous” because hardly anyone enjoys being lied to. But then I turn around and think about my situation.

    From what I’ve known, we’re not sadistic psychopaths who enjoy your emotional pain. It’s not some kind of game. It’s one of the realist things I’ve known (unless we get caught up in our fantasy and even then, still).

    Okay, I think that’s all I have to say.

    If you have any questions and want answers first hand, please feel free to ask! It’s not assuring knowing that I’m also a compulsive liar, but at least I can go over what I’m saying before I post a comment! Ask away!

  42. I’ve been with a liar for over 25 years. The first time I met him he lied about his age. He lied and forgot his wallet at home to avoid paying for first date . I should have run away then. But He WAS charming, constantly telling me how beautiful I was and knew how to make me feel loved. I married him and it all began. He’d hid money and tell me he had none. I paid all the bills for 4 years. We had 2 boys then divorced when he cashed a $5k check from my bank. Got back together years later I helped get him a license to be a contractor. Again he would lie lie and kept getting caught. He would buy a truck, trailer and construction equipment and hid them in a storage unit. Again I was paying bills until he couldn’t pay for storage anymore and told me about it.
    After 7 more years of hiding things from me and lying I had it and threw him out.
    Now just got back from visiting his family and they told me that he was a con artist and liar.I wished they would have told me 28 years ago. Now he wants nothing to do with me and his 2 grown boys. He has a new girlfriend . He said he’s happy with her because she doesn’t ask about his past or how much money he has. He is in his own fantasy world. I feel sorry for her.
    He started sleeping with me and I again was lied to. I told her about it but low and behold she is still with the pathetic liar.
    I guess what hurts the most that I feel I have for been a victim all these years of lies and will never know if he ever loved me. That he only used me because I financially took care of him and I have 2 boys with him. He couldn’t care anything about. I will heal but it feels good to talk about it.

    *Edited by moderator

  43. I was in love with a guy who was a compulsive liar. He would lie about everything. He had a low self esteem and i think thats what made his condition worse .
    For the frst 3 weeks we were in lovehis parents told me that he is a liar but I didnt actually know or ask more about it. i think somehow it was a warning. When we were dating he would lie about everything to anyone from his friends,family and to people he dont even know just to get that attention.

    Sometimes he would lie and I would have to cover his lies when hes was kinda caught. All his friends and colleagues knew that we were married even though were were not. He told people that he paid my parents R108 000 for lobola. Told people that heactually bought me a car that hehas never bought. Told people that he bought a house for us somewhere.

    He would even tell people that he bought a R3 000 000 plot for himself. He would avoid friends when he doesnt have money and tell them hes out of town. The reasonfor thatwas he has already given people an image of what he is not. So when hes broke he wouldnt want to see himself around people because they would see that he was broke.

    He would tell people that he is waiting for a car that is actually not even at the factory. I would approach him and tell him that hes lying sometimes and he would become offended and would want to beat me up. He would take pictures of some people’s houses and expensive cars and post them on facebook and tell them its his.

    My God !He would lie even about something small. He would buy every friend or anyone expensive alcohol and when he does not have money hides himself and tell the very same people that hes out on business. He loved to be seen with people with money. He would introduce me even not face to fave with people who are very wealthy and tell me that they are relating.

    Im glad Im out of his life .But he still lies even now to people he lives around. I realised late what his mom and dad actually told me about him. His dad hated his lies to such an extent that they were not even talking for almost a year.I think he needs help. I have asked to his cousin but his cousin would just laugh about it when i tell her that his brother is a compulsive liar and he needs psychological help.

  44. I think I might have this problem I got dignonosed with depression a couple of months ago and now about to lose my home for the second time through depression not looking for a job and has totally interested in everything any way last year I lost a job and told everyone I was still working but I wasent paying my rent and lost my home, and ended up back at my mother’s house 6 months later I managed to find some wear to live but again lied about having a job to get the property and manage to scrap the money together for a couple of months rent but now im facing eviction again through lies iv even lied to people around me about why I’m facing eviction again and told them completely different storey another loss of lies and now are feeling suicidal cause i feel like a faliur to my child. I’m not a bad person and don’t cheet or hurt people but I just don’t know how to get out of this cycle of telling lies. Iv lost a few friends with the lieing but it’s not like I make a big fabrication up about my life, it’s just the lieing to people about my house twice I have done this and I don’t know why I’m doing it again and facing evication again we are sup to learn from our misrakes but Iv not and reading this tonight had really helped me realise I have a problem. I don’t want to lose my home again I feel like a bad mum to my child for putting him through this again but I carnt stop lying so I need to get help but I don’t know how. Iv been thinking about killing my self cause i don’t know what to do about the lies and the guilt about losing another home has made me feel guily towards my child.

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