We all know or have encountered that one person who seemed to live in a fictional world of their own where everything they said felt phony or exaggerated to us. We have all had an experience with a person who always seems mysterious and nothing they say ever comes to fusion. Unaware at the time, we have all, at some point in life, dealt with a sociopath, narcissist, or even a pathological liar.
Pathological lying disorder, also known as mythomania or pseudologia fantastica, is a term coined by psychiatrists to refer to the habit of compulsive lying. Simply put a pathological liar is a person who lies with the intention of manipulating or cheating in order to achieve his goal, without being concerned about its consequences on others. It is more of a symptom of an underlying psychological disorder than being a disorder in itself. This disorder has negatively affected many people, professionals, who are often unaware of the psychiatric instability or personality disorder of the liar.
The very fact that a lie could be found out does not affect the pathological liar. They have an inability to consider the consequences of their deeds or even fear being found out. It is as if the pathological liar believes that they are smarter than everyone else and will never get caught. The very fact that the pathological liars’ work-life, home-life, or reputation could be in jeopardy as a result of the lies, does not phase the liar. Guilt, shame, or regret does not affect the liar. Consequences also do not seem to affect the liar.
Signs of a Pathological Liar
Other than resorting to lies every now and then, there are a certain things which pathological liars tend to do voluntarily or involuntarily. If one starts making a note of these things while the person is around, they will be able to identify a pathological liar effortlessly. Some signs and symptoms of a pathological liar include:
- Going to any extent to get his work done, a pathological liar does not hesitate to exaggerate things in order to feign grandness.
- These kinds of people absolutely love to be the centre of attention in a group, and this is exactly why they come up with exaggerations that can help them stay in the limelight.
- While a person who is not used to lying may find it difficult to maintain eye contact when they do resort to lying, a pathological liar will pull it off with immense ease as their tendency to lie starts at a juvenile age, and worsens with time. After a point of time, they find it very difficult to speak the truth.
- These people find it very difficult to keep a track of his lies. You will often notice that the person’s stories change every once in a while. A closer look at these stories and you would realize that the second story in itself is a proof of the first story being a lie.
- If you try to crosscheck their stories with your questions, they will promptly take a defensive stance and try to change the topic or become violent.
- Pathological liars are extremely manipulative and insensitive people, owing to which they don’t even think twice before coming up with a lie which may put others in deep trouble. They seldom care for relationships. In fact, when in a relationship it is quite easy to identify a pathological liar as it is virtually impossible for them to be loyal to a person.
Basically, pathological liars tend to believe that they are always right, while others are always wrong. It is this belief of a pathological liar that makes it difficult for the person to trust anybody.
Business Development Executive
IRIANS – The Neuroscience Institute