What is a Compulsive Liar?
A compulsive liar tells lies out of habit, often for no reason or personal gain at all. They lie uncontrollably about everything, large or small. Telling the truth is considered unnecessary and uncomfortable, while lying feels natural. Compulsive liars look to avoid confrontations, which are made easy by lying. The lies are an automatic response and rarely have any malicious or ulterior motive behind them. They tell shallow lies, exhibit telltale signs of lying like avoiding eye contact or sweating, and may even tell lies that damage their reputation. Compulsive liars are likely to admit to lying when confronted, but this might not stop them from continuing to lie.
What are the Signs of a Compulsive Liar?
Here are a few signs that can help you spot the compulsive need to lie in a person:
Like everyone, compulsive liars do not have a flawless memory. It means that they eventually lose track of every lie they’ve told, which leads to discrepancies in their stories. The longer they’ve been engaging in lies, the more the chances of them making a mistake. Hearing different versions of an answer to the same question is one of the ways of identifying a compulsive liar.
Becoming angry and defensive
If they feel that someone closes in on their lies and raises questions, liars tend to get angry and defensive. Even if no one is outright accusing them, they have an overblown reaction due to their fear of being caught. It also acts as a distraction and helps take the spotlight off their lies.
Quick yet vague answers.
Keeping information vague and unclear help the liars save the future stress of recalling them again. Their replies to even simple questions will be quick but without concrete answers. They might even tell intricate and detailed stories but won’t give a straight answer. This practice also helps them avoid possible conflicts between previous and current lies in real-time.
What is the Test of a Compulsive Liar?
Almost all tests for compulsive lying are self-administered, but here are a few ways you can test if someone is a compulsive liar:
- They have gotten into trouble for telling lies previously.
- They often tell unnecessary lies.
- They lie continually to cover up their original lies.
- They avoid the question, attempt to change the topic, or flee the scene when they get caught.
- You feel they have no control over their lies.
- They tell lies for no apparent gain.
- They worry a lot about the consequences of lying and fear getting caught.
- Their lies typically get them either attention or sympathy.
- Their lies only become more fanciful with time.
- They avoid any confrontation.
It is important to note that you can only help compulsive liars if they admit and accept their compulsion.
How to Deal if Your Partner is a Compulsive Liar?
Coping with a compulsive liar is difficult enough, but its arduousness is magnified when that person is your significant other. It can get very frustrating while also testing the limits of your relationship. Here are a few pointers to help you cope:
A compulsive liar’s knee-jerk reaction to confrontation about their habit is going to be denial. They may go overboard and lie further to avoid the conflict. They will deny the accusation and act angry while pretending to be shocked at the absurdity of your argument.
It is natural to lose yourself in anger as your partner’s habit erodes your trust in them and adversely affects your relationship, but it is paramount that you don’t let your rage get the better of you. As irritating as it may be, try to be considerate and supportive, but firm and assertive.
Don’t engage their lies.
If you notice the person is lying, do not engage them. Question what they’re saying, and it may persuade the person to drop the lie without further pursuit. If you don’t want a full-blown confrontation either, try to find subtle non-engaging ways to tell them that you know they’re lying. You can also let them know you have no interest in continuing the conversation after they start being dishonest.
Remember that it’s not personal.
It can be very challenging not to be offended at their lies, especially since they’re your significant other, but you should keep in mind that their habit has nothing to do with you. There may be an underlying cause like a personality disorder, low self-esteem, or some traumatic childhood event. If it helps, try to focus on the fact that there is no manipulative or malicious intention behind their lies.
Dealing with the Lies and Lying Ways of Your Partner
Express your concerns.
Sit down and try to communicate your concerns to your significant other. It is natural to feel betrayed and let down. Try to express your worries in a calm and collected manner, and let your feelings about their habit be known. Try to approach them from a place of love and offer help in whatever way possible. Your significant other will be more likely to accept and admit their problem if they don’t see it as an attack.
Suggest professional assistance.
Without judgment or embarrassment, suggest that they consider professional help and that this idea comes purely from love and concern for their well-being. Try to be informed about the condition they’re exhibiting. If you think their behaviour stems from an underlying disorder, expressing it can also help.
Treatment of a Compulsive Liar
Compulsive lying is not a disorder in itself, but it is a symptom of other personality disorders. Its treatment depends on whether there exists an underlying mental condition like Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, or some Substance Use Disorder. The therapist might use techniques like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. If underlying issues like anxiety or depression are involved, the therapist might prescribe medication. You should check these resources if you need professional help.
Dealing with compulsive lying disorder can be traumatic, not only for the patient but also for the surrounding people. Seeking help from a therapist is of the utmost importance. To explore treatment options, get in touch with experts from United We Care.