Pathological Liars: Who Are They & How To Deal With Pathological Liars

Last Update on October 12, 2021 : Published on October 12, 2021
Pathological Liars

Lying is a human trait that none of us can truly escape. We all lie at some point in our lives and more often than not we have a good reason for those lies.

Maybe you don’t want to hurt your partner’s feelings or maybe you don’t want your coworker to lose their job, so you tell a white lie to protect them.

However, some people tell lies so often that they begin to believe their lies as the truth. This kind of lying can be referred to as compulsive lying or pathological lying. Also known as mythomania, this kind of lying is a compulsive behavior that causes people to tell lies even without an apparent reason.

In this blog, let’s take a closer look at who is a pathological liar and how you can deal with a pathological liar.

Who Is A Pathological Liar?

A pathological liar is someone who shows signs of chronic or habitual lying. While we all might occasionally tell a white lie, pathological liars tell lies so often that lying has become a part of their lives. You might even say that to pathological liars, lying comes more naturally than telling the truth.

Pathological lying can also be a symptom of a much bigger problem such as antisocial personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or other personality disorders.

Here are some recognized traits of a pathological liar:

  • Their lies don’t have an objective or a benefit.
  • They are good storytellers and their lies can be dramatic, over-the-top, and detailed.
  • They tell lies to gain either admiration or sympathy from others.
  • They have a difficult time distinguishing between fact and fiction.

White Lie vs Compulsive Lie

The lies we tend to tell to protect our loved ones can be considered white lies, however, compulsive lies are habitual and often pointless.

White lies are occasional and harmless whereas pathological lies are frequent and often told for no clear reason. White lies are told to spare others from getting hurt or getting in trouble while pathological lies are told to make the liar look like a victim and gain sympathy.

For Example:

White lie: Saying you’ve got a headache or stomach-ache to get out of a situation

Pathological lie: Saying you’re related to someone famous when you’re not to impress others

How To Identify A Pathological Liar?

Not all lies and not all liars are pathological. Even pathological liars may tell lies that are not overly dramatic and lies that seem like “normal” lies. Identifying a pathological liar can be hard. Here are some signs that can help you identify a pathological liar:

Pathological liars –

  • Often talk about experiences where they look heroic, to gain admiration
  • Often talk about situations that make them look like a victim, to gain sympathy
  • Tend to tell stories that are too elaborate, vibrant, and detailed
  • Respond quickly to questions but the responses are typically vague and confusing
  • Have different versions of the same story and often forget previously mentioned details

How To Deal With A Pathological Liar?

It can be challenging and frustrating to confront a pathological liar as their lying are mostly pointless and senseless. Here are some ways you can confront and deal with a pathological liar:

1. Don’t Get Angry

It can be quite difficult to handle a pathological liar but the first thing you need to keep in mind is to not lose your temper with them. You need to be gentle but firm when confronting a pathological liar.

2. Expect Denial From Them

A pathological liar responds first with a lie. If you plan on confronting them, they are likely to respond with a lie. They might also appear distressed and shocked. Expect this reaction.

3. It’s Not You, It’s Them

It’s okay to take a lie personally but when talking to a pathological liar, remember, it’s not about you, it’s about them. Pathological liars may have a personality disorder, anxiety, or low self-esteem that’s causing them to lie. Do not make the conversation about you.

4. Be Kind & Supportive

If a pathological liar is engaging in a conversation with you with their lies, it’s okay to let them know that they don’t need to impress you. Let them know that you see their self-worth and value them. Be kind.

5. Don’t Encourage Them

If the person is a pathological liar and is lying to you, it’s better to not encourage them more. In the conversation, avoid engaging with them. However, you can try questioning them about their claims. You can also let them know that you don’t want to continue talking with them when they’re lying.

6. Therapy Can Help Them

Without any judgment, help them find professional help. Let them know that you’re saying this out of love and concern. Have information to support your suggestion. Remember, in some cases, pathological lying can be a symptom of an underlying disorder.

Writer’s Thoughts

When it comes to dealing with a pathological liar, it all comes down to understanding what their causes are first. Whatever their cause, empathize with them, be gentle yet firm in your approach, and be kind to them.

Their lying can be a symptom of a bigger problem so you need to encourage them to get the help they need and avoid passing judgment.

I hope this article helped you understand who are pathological liars, why they lie, and how to deal with pathological liars.

If you have any questions, you can write to us at or let us know in the comments below.

Take Care!

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

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