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Can a Pathological Liar Love Someone?

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Can a Pathological Liar Love Someone

Although pathological liars may be able to love someone, it is often difficult for them to maintain an honest and healthy relationship

While lying now and then is normal, a pathological liar goes far beyond that. Pathological liars lie for no apparent reason, as lying becomes ingrained in them and telling lies may come more naturally to them than telling the truth.

Although pathological liars may be able to love someone, it is often difficult for them to maintain an honest and healthy relationship. This can result in toxic relationships that cause stress and hurt to their partners.

Is pathological lying a mental disorder?

Pathological lying may be a standalone problem or sign of an underlying mental disorder, although studies regarding the link between pathological lying and mental disorders are inconclusive. Some believe that it may be linked to antisocial personality disorder, which is characterized by a general disrespect for the rights of others and may involve lying to achieve status or influence others. Pathological lying may also be a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder or other personality disorders.

In 1891, German physician Anton Delbrueck invented the word pseudologia fantastica to characterize people who construct elaborate stories made up of delusions and lies. These people would tell imaginative tales that were obviously untrue to listeners but perceived to be plausible by themselves. 

People with pseudologia fantastica present their fantasies as real and tell eloquent and engaging stories to impress others. They will elaborate to satisfy their listeners if their stories are ever questioned, finding new lies to replace the old. They often begin to believe their own lies.

Although pathological lying, or pseudologia fantastica, is not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, it is frequently related to factitious disorder (also known as Munchausen syndrome), in which a person acts as though they have a physical or psychological illness when they don’t. Pathological lying, like factitious disorder, is characterized by an individual’s proclivity to lie. However, the two conditions differ in that reasons of the liar in factitious disorder are external, whereas motivations of pathological liars are internal.

What is the difference between white lies and pathological lies?

White lies are often told to avoid hurting someone’s feelings or get out of uncomfortable situations. These lies are usually innocuous and sometimes even necessary. For example, complimenting your host’s cooking even if you don’t like it is harmless and even a sign of social intelligence.

However, pathological liars often lack empathy and their lies are more calculated, often causing harm to their victims. Pathological liars are frequently motivated by selfish desires and lie to manipulate others. 

Some pathological liars have difficulty holding down long-term careers, and tend to wander throughout life changing jobs and relationships as their lies eventually catch up with them.

What causes pathological liars to lie deliberately?

Studies have shown that pathological liars have more white matter in their prefrontal cortex, which is the front part of the brain. 

White matter is linked to faster connections, linguistic fluency, and thought processing, which could explain why someone with more white matter would be prone to lying.

How to identify signs of pathological lying

It can be difficult to spot pathological lying. After all, the people who do it are so accustomed to telling random lies that they themselves may not even be aware of their actions. They may even have a great personality on the outside. 

Some traits of a pathological liar may include the following:

  • Lies even about insignificant details
  • Tendency to contradict themselves
  • Appear to have little to no regret regarding how their lies affect others
  • May become defensive or angry if confronted, even if there is proof




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How do you deal with a pathological liar?

Being in a relationship with a pathological liar can be exasperating. You may find it difficult to trust them, especially if you notice a pattern to their lies and deceit. If you believe you’re dealing with a compulsive liar, the following tips can help you cope with the situation:

  • Call them out: When you catch the liar in a lie, let them know that you know they are lying. However, keep in mind that this could make them resentful. Stay calm and try to help them understand why they’re lying and encourage them to seek help outside of your relationship.
  • Don’t debate: Although dealing with a compulsive liar can be extremely painful, debating with someone who lives in a dream world is not going to change them. Starting a fight with someone who may not even be aware of what they’re doing won’t help anyone,
  • Walk away: You may need to end the relationship if a pathological liar continues to deceive even after you have expressed your concerns. Lies are devastating to a relationship, and they need to understand that if they want to keep people they care about in their lives.
  • Seek professional help: Professional help may be required to help pathological liars realize and effectively deal with deep-seated issues. Depending on whether pathological lying is a symptom of an underlying mental disorder, treatment may include psychotherapy, medication, or both. If you’re in a romantic relationship, couples’ counseling may help you work through your relationship problems.

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Medically Reviewed on 1/12/2022

References

Image Source: iStock Images

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16186198/

https://prcp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.prcp.20190046

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