In Syndromes & Disorders

Who is the Habitual Liar?

Habitual Liar

Lies, fibs, not telling the absolute truth and little white lies are basically the same thing. At some point, almost everyone has told some form of lie. If a person does not tell answer a question with full and complete honesty, their answer may be considered as a lie by omission. This means that even though you did not tell a lie outright, you were still somewhat untruthful. What Is a Habitual Liar?

A habitual liar is someone who makes a habit out of not telling the truth. The majority of the time, there is no intent to harm or mislead anyone. The problem is that for a habitual liar, the act of telling the lie is almost second nature. Sometimes referred to as pathological, individuals who are labeled habitual liars often lie so much that they have difficulty telling the difference between the truth and a lie.

Different Types of Liars

In most mental health circles, there are five different types of liars. They are:

  • Careless liars – Careless liars rarely hide the fact they are telling lies and don’t try to cover up their indiscretions. They have few friends because most people refuse to be constantly and blatantly lied to. They rarely intend to do harm, but they do little to prevent it if it does happen.
  • Compulsive liars – Most compulsive liars do so because of the situations they were put in when they were growing up. Lying is natural to them and they do so because it makes them feel normal. Compulsive liars are also known as habitual or pathological liars. Compulsive liars are not devious or mean in any way. They lie because it has become so much a part of who they are, that to tell the truth is extremely hard.
  • Occasional liars – An occasional liar is someone who rarely lies. They constantly try to tell the truth at all times. People respect their honesty and will often rely on them to tell the truth.
  • Sociopaths are devious and manipulative. They will say whatever they have to in order to get their own way, including telling outright lies. A sociopathic liar has one goal in mind. They will do whatever is necessary to make sure the goal is achieved. They have little or no consideration for anyone else if they happen to stand in the way of them getting what they want.
  • White liars – Individuals who tell white lies often do so because they believe a small lie will somehow benefit the situation. A white lie is small and rarely ends up making a huge difference in any situation. The fact is a white lie is still a lie, even if it is told with the best possible intentions. In situations where they can get away with only telling a small portion of the truth and have it taken as total fact, a person who tells white lies will do so on every occasion.

Habitual Liar Symptoms

There are several signs and symptoms that will give away a habitual liar. They include:

  • Different variations of the same story – A habitual liar may tell the same story five times and with five different variations. Each story is different in one or more aspects making it difficult for family members to identify which version, if any, is the real one.
  • Nervousness – Many liars know that telling the truth is wrong, but they just cannot control the urge to do so. The more they lie, the more they worry about getting caught.
  • Defensive and overbearing – Individuals who lie often, will become defensive and overbearing if they believe their sincerity is being doubted. They may act indignant as if they are truly being wronged. They take little to no blame for their actions and will often act insulted if they are confronted.
  • Repeats themselves often – Individuals who get caught up in telling lies, will often repeat themselves several times in order to better remember what stories they are telling to certain individuals. The problem is that even though they repeat themselves over and over the variations of the stories begin to becoming intertwined causing even more confusion.

Habitual Liar Treatment

Any habitual liar definition explains that the act of lying is a “habit”. It is not an illness, disease or physical condition.It occurs because of specific mental and thinking processes in the brain. It cannot be treated by medications or medical form of treatment. When it comes to a habitual liar meaning what they say, no medical interaction will be able to force them to stop lying.

Any treatment plan that is to be considered for habitual liar must, first and foremost, include some form of psychological therapy. When treating a person who has any bad habit, the key to correcting the problem is breaking that habit. There are several different treatment options a person has available to them to help them correct the patterns that they embraced in the past and build new, more productive patterns.

Role playing is beneficial when treating habitual liars. It lets them see what it’s like to be lied to regularly. Psychologists may also recommend exercises that help a person get to the root of their problems. Once the issue that triggers the need to lie is addressed, repetitive lies will begin to slow down and eventually stop with the negative behavior.

It is also important to discover what emotional needs are not being met. In some cases, a person’s need to be loved or desired is so strong, they will say whatever they have to in order to gain the attention of the object of their desire. They may create a fictitious life or lie about their age to gain another person’s love and affection. Addressing these issues is extremely important, especially if the person wants to be in a committed relationship where they are loved and respected for exactly who they are.

What Does A Habitual Liar Gain?

Habitual liars can gain basically what ever they want if they are able to keep up with the multitude of lies they have created for themselves. As long as they can keep the lies going, they will continue to maintain the illusion they have created. Depending on what they are trying to achieve, they can gain money, property, love and affection as well as job promotions. What they gain will depend on what their end goals are and how hard they continually try to maintain the illusion they have created for themselves and others. The main problem with a person who habitually lies is that as long as they are getting what they want, the lies will continue indefinitely.

What Can They Lose?

When a habitual liar begins to lose the things they have worked so hard to achieve, they begin to rethink their situation. Individuals who have built their entire lives on lies and half truths can lose everything they value in a very short period of time. They stand to lose:

  • Important relationships: family, friends, co-workers
  • Employment
  • Trust
  • Respect of others
  • Self-respect
  • Integrity
  • No accountability

Once people begin to understand the extent of a person’s lies, many bridges will be burnt that cannot be rebuilt. When an individual is caught over and over again in repeated, outright lies, It will be extremely difficult for them to ever gain anyone else’s trust. Once a person is labeled as a habitual, compulsive or pathological liar, the label can remain in place for several years, limiting employment opportunities as well as preventing others from getting too close for fear of being lied to or taken advantage of.

Once a habitual liar begins to realize the repercussions of their actions, they may actively begin to seek treatment. Normally, just like any other compulsion or addiction, if they do not agree that their is a problem, any treatment that is offered will not do any good. For the treatment to be effective, they must be willing to change and accept responsibility for their actions.

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