Pinkee here~ Although this may be somewhat of an unusual topic, unfortunately it is not as uncommon as you might think. I myself have gotten entangled with two guys in the past who were pathological liars, and have spoken with others who have as well. How could this have happened to someone as intelligent and aware as I, you might be asking yourself?
Compulsive liars are very good at what they do. They have been practicing at it for a long time. Furthermore, they tend to be charismatic, well-liked people. Until they get found out, that is. Before we get into what to do if you find yourself in a relationship with a compulsive liar, let’s get a little background.
What are the signs that your partner may be a compulsive liar? Look for the “little things”. Does (s)he lie to others? For instance, my ex-boyfriend, fairly early on in the dating relationship, told his sister on the phone (while I was there) that he couldn’t get her a phone number that she needed because he was lying in bed in the dark and didn’t want to get up. NOT TRUE I was horrified that he would say this to her, rather than simply explain that he didn’t feel like it right then and would call her back tomorrow. In fact, after confronting him with poor results, I talked to a friend of mine about it later, and she told me that I was probably over-reacting. Foolishly, wanting to believe that this was a great guy I was getting into relationship with, I believed him and my friend.. I ignored my gut and went with the status quo, when if I’d paid attention to the red flags at the beginning I could have saved myself a lot of heartache.
How does a compulsive liar become this way? As children, it is normal to lie. In fact, at a very young age, there is a developmental stage in which children are literally unable to distinguish between fact and fantasy. This type of behavior is not cause for alarm. A little later on, say at age nine or ten, comes the second phase of lying in children. This type of behavior, not as innocent as the first, is usually peer-driven, and does not usually turn into a chronic problem. However, if the parents or other caregivers do not give a strong, clear message that IT IS NOT OKAY TO LIE, then it may.
Why do some children (and later adults) continue this behavior? Aside from what is stated above, the child may notice that (s)he gets a little temporary self-esteem boost from the lies. This is often a child that doesn’t have an optimal home life or therefore high self-esteem. Another factor is that the child will be able to get “goodies”, or things they want through lying.. Finally, especially in the adult years, lying has become such a way of life that the person does it almost without thinking. Even about things that have absolutely no consequences in anyone’s life, like whether they went to McDonald’s or Burger King on the way home. Another component of compulsive lying is denial. When the person is really “good” at it, it can get to the point that they actually believe their own lies. That is really dangerous.
Now that you have a better understanding of how to spot compulsive lying, and how and why it happens, “tune in” next week to hear about what you can do if you suddenly discover the ugly truth that you are dating, or worse yet married to, a compulsive liar.