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How to spot a pathological liar

Introduction

Pathological liars create a false sense of reality for themselves. This makes them hard to identify, especially since they more often than not believe in the lies they are telling. This can lead to very dangerous situations, more so if one is involved in any kind of relationship with such a person. Pathological liars often lie with the objective of achieving a certain goal or aim and are often capable of doing so through their use of lies. It is necessary to identify pathological liars as quickly as is possible and if required, to convince them to seek treatment for their condition.

Identification

So how does one go about identifying a pathological liar? Pathological lying often manifests in those who are inherently insecure. They lie in order to increase their self-esteem by attempting to appear intelligent or admirable in the eyes of others. Frequently, pathological liars have the need to prove superiority over others and in order to do so, they will often create stories or experiences that they believe will enhance their image. They could also attempt to gain sympathy through sad or tragic tales about past events they have apparently experienced.

When looking to identify a pathological liar, seek out contradictions in their tales and stories; occasionally, a liar will forget the exact details of their fantasy and may relate a different version of the same story on a different occasion. They may also confuse details such as characters, location etc. Pathological liars will normally act defensively if they are “outed” - it is unlikely that they will be willing to admit lying.

It must also be said that identifying a pathological liar is likely to be more difficult than identifying a “regular” liar; pathological liars will not display the usual body language that is normally visible in those who are lying - for example, lack of eye contact, fidgetiness etc. This is due to the fact that a pathological liar may in fact truly believe his or her own tales.

Actions to be taken

When dealing with a pathological liar, proper diagnoses is absolutely necessary - lying pathologically is a psychological disorder in most cases. However, the person must initially be willing to admit (or be convinced) that he or she does in fact have a problem. This may be quite difficult, since (as already indicated) pathological liars may react defensively to confrontation. Put simply, it may take some work on the part of those close to the person to finally cause the realisation to occur. Ultimately, the person concerned will have to take a test in order to confirm the pathology. Upon confirmation, professional treatment or consultation should be sought.

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