Am I a Pathological or Compulsive Liar?

Ask A Therapist OnlineAm I a Pathological or Compulsive Liar?
Kate asked 6 years ago

How would I know if I were a compulsive liar? I think I may be, but I never lie about anything really important. It ties in with a possible histrionic personality disorder I may have. Could you help? At what point does a few white lies become compulsive lying? What is compulsive lying?

1 Answers
Insight Psychological Staff answered 6 years ago

Many people tell “white lies” from time-to-time. White lies are lies that don’t really hurt anyone, but that a person chooses to tell to reach a desired outcome.

Here’s a link to an article that discusses some of the research on the prevalence of dishonesty in our everyday lives.

The key to determining if lying has become compulsive lying is whether you are making a conscious decision to lie, or if it is something you do automatically and it’s seemingly uncontrollable. You might tell a lie to reach some specific end, or it may seem as though the lie is for no reason at all. Sometimes people who compulsively lie do so with internal motives, such as looking good to others and/or masking low self-esteem). Whatever the reason (or lack thereof), if you’re compulsively lying, the lies seem to just come out automatically.

Here’s another link to an article that provides some further details on compulsive lying.

Any kind of lying can break down trust between you and those around you, which can be detrimental in various areas of life (namely, in your relationships). Lies may also cause internal distress and impact your overall mental health. If lying negatively impacts your life, it is important to address it.

The good news is that the first steps to overcoming challenges (and improving your external and internal world) are recognizing behavior(s) that cause problems and seeking help if you need it. You can contact your local therapist for help or you can contact Insight Psychological to book an appointment (in-person in Alberta, Canada and online counselling are available).