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Pathological lying as addiction

Pathological lying as addiction

A pathological liar doesn’t understand that telling untruth is not good. There are people, who constantly tell lies, and they need to behave this way. But we shouldn’t confuse pathological lying or pseudologia (from Greek pseudos – lie, and logos – word, science) with lying for the sake of profit, flattery or other mercenary motives. Pseudologia is a pathological inclination for making up and telling about imaginary events, incredible success and adventures from personal life of a liar in order to attract the attention and rise in the estimation of the public. For example, the man can tell about his promotion, buying an expensive car, about the flight to Cuba and so on. Pathological lying against own self (talking against own self) is a quite rare phenomenon.

There is a difference between pseudologia and usual telling lies. In first case the person warms himself little by little to the role and begins to believe in own lies. Although not all the psychologists agree with this opinion, but all of them reckon pseudologia in special mental disorder. Living next to a pathological liar or having a regular and compulsory communication with him is a real disaster for normal and honest people. Is it by any chance possible to change such behavior? Let us try to sort it out in sequence.

Signs of pseudologia

Addiction to constant lying is regarded as not separate behavioral pathology, but as an essential part of general mental disorder of an individual. A pathological liar doesn’t realize what harm he can do to himself and his surroundings by constant telling untruth about himself. To all that, besides lying, his behavior can reveal his actual nature in many aspects:

  • Talking different things about the same event in the course of time, adding new, often contradictory details to the story;
  • Inconsistency of narration, facts and events chronicle due to impulsivity of the character;
  • Exaggeration of either meaningful facts of life events, or lying over trifles;
  • Supreme confidence in own rightness;
  • Defence, aggression and resourcefulness in case of finding out the lies;
  • Ability to shift the blame on the person, who called the liar’s bluff;
  • Negation of own lies, or recognition in exclusive cases, when non-recognition threatens seriously with troubles in personal prosperity;
  • Adjusting to the individual, whom the liar would like to get a benefit from, lack of personal opinion;
  • Blasphemous lying: about the death of close people, serious illness of a child, a road accident etc.

The ordinary person responds the fantasies of a liar with offence and indignation. But the pathological liar doesn’t intend to hurt somebody’s feelings at all: he just wants to be talked about and discussed by the public. Often he believes in his own lies, but only in the positive ones (career progress, gains and so on).

Reasons of pathological lying

Pathological lying has roots stretching back into childhood. Of course, many children often let their imagination run away, and this is ok till it steps over the bounds and leads to misunderstanding with the parents and friends.

The children, inclined to lying, do it to attract attention. Such behavior is typical for the kids with well material support, who lack care and caress of their parents. It can be vice versa: the child has been constantly praised, even without any reason, and this formed the inflated self-concept and desire to be admired by everyone and be always in the highlight.

At the adult age pseudologia can be conditioned by will to hide own shortcomings. So, the man, who is talking of his breathtaking career development, appears to be an idler and sponger. The woman, who doesn’t attract the opposite sex, tells the stories of being smothered in compliments and gifts. Usually the lie hides complexes and fears, and by lying the individual tries to protect himself psychologically.

Pseudologia diagnosis and treatment

Actually it is almost impossible to change or cure a pathological liar, because pseudologia is not a true mental disorder, but rather a negative personal feature. The problem of lying lies much deeper, than it seems.

There is no special diagnosis of pathological lying in our country. It can be revealed by the psychologist, and only if the person confess to that himself.

There is a special method of encephaloscopy in the USA, which helps to reveal the inclination to constant telling lies. So, the pathological liars have decreased number of neurons (grey matter) and increased number of nerve fibers (white matter) in medial prefrontal cortex. Thus the structure of medial prefrontal cortex makes an effect on ability to lie.

There is neither treatment for telling untruth, nor medicines, which can help against it. Psychologists have different opinions concerning this case. Some of them think – it is possible to recover, if the person understands the malignity of such behavior and wants to change himself, but the others insist on the fact, that it is impossible to change the structure of one’s brain. Sessions of psychotherapy, where the liar is taught to reveal reasons of his lies and sort himself out, can do just a short-term effect. And then the liar will lapse into his old ways.

How should you behave and treat a pathological liar, if you by some reason have sometimes to communicate with him? Here are some instructions, which can help:

  • Don’t try to teach the liar. Arguments and lectures are useless in his case.
  • Stop to believe all his stories and prejudice every single phrase.
  • Drift apart emotionally from the liar and don’t wait for positive changes.
  • Don’t try to tear the mask off him – this will make his mental condition even worse.
  • Stop to communicate with this person and cut all the strings between you and him, if possible.
  • Remember that the pathological liar will never accept the reality as it is and will continue living with his delusions and lies.

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