The pathological lie: 8 tips for compulsive liars
The lie it is a more common behavior than we can think. On many occasions, people resort to lying to achieve a fictitious psychological cover, avoid a problem or get out of a situation. The lie always has negative consequences, and it is more, in some occasions it can get to become a real problem.
When the lie becomes a behavior that dominates the person, this is the case of compulsive liars, we find a psychological disorder, which is characterized by a kind of addiction to lies. The people who lie in a compulsive way enter a wheel of lies that brings them important problems and from which it is difficult to leave.
The danger of lying regularly
1. When lying becomes a habitual behavior, which can not be avoided, it can bring serious consequences and become a psychological disorder known as mythomania or compulsive liars.
2. In these cases, the lie becomes an addictive behavior, which generates apparent benefits that make it difficult to get out of the lie circle.
The behavior of lying
The lie is a behavior that is part of the repertoire of people. There are many occasions in which people choose to lie. The lie appears spontaneously and even helpless, we lie to avoid any reproach or negative consequence, such as when we are late for an appointment or forget to deliver a job. These seemingly innocent lies hide a great danger.
The lie provides a spontaneous benefit and in this way the behavior is reinforced, thus entering the circle of the lie. Getting into the habit of lying is relatively simple, but getting out is complicated.
The pathological lie
Although it may seem that lying brings immediate benefits, every lie has negative consequences. By lying we avoid facing reality, we hide from it. It is not good to enter the circle of lies, when the behavior of lying becomes a habit, it becomes generalized and becomes a pathological behavior with serious consequences for the liar.
How does lying become pathological?
The lie becomes pathological when it is reinforced. Little by little, the lie is used to get out of trouble, to avoid reproaches and to mask reality, the lie provides a fictitious coverage.
Little by little, the lies begin to generalize, at first it has been useful to avoid problems or conflicts and by using it the person discovers that he can invent a reality that provides him with a support to his self-esteem. Lying involves inventing a reality and hiding some problems, the invented reality is more interesting, more striking. In this way, the lies become a compulsive behavior that helps to hide the problems, which allow presenting a more striking image.
Compulsive liars, the meaning of compulsive lies
Compulsive liars are those who have begun to generalize the lie, they find it easier to lie than to tell the truth. In this way, they can create their own reality and avoid showing that reality that hurts for them. They thus become addicted to lies, constantly looking for that false reinforcement that supposes for their self-esteem. But this reinforcement is not such, since not facing reality only introduces us more deeply into the problem. And it is increasingly difficult to escape from it, because to stop lying means to assume that reality from which one flees.
What are the apparent benefits of lying?
The lie provides a priori apparent benefits, these benefits occur immediately and contingent to the behavior and therefore reinforce. But the only thing that is achieved is to flee from the problem and, in this way, increase it. Among the apparent benefits of lying, we can point out the following:
1. Escapes from a problem or conflict, avoids a negative consequence.
2. Reproaches or recriminations are avoided and, on the contrary, understanding and support is achieved.
3. Through the lie it is possible to hide one's own defects, that which embarrasses the person.
4. With the lies, it is possible to offer a more striking image, an idealized, perfect and restructured image.
5. With the lie, an apparent and fictitious protection of self-esteem is achieved.
Consequences of compulsive lies
When lying becomes an addiction, from which it is difficult to leave, there are many negative consequences that entails. The lie is to run away from the problem, not face it and increase it. Negative consequences of compulsive lies:
- Lying supposes covering up the problem, but not confronting it. Therefore the problem is not solved and continues to exist, probably increasing.
- An addiction is generated and the liar begins to lie for no reason.
- Self-esteem, although apparently protected by the lies of an ideal self, suffers, and little by little it is undermined.Lying does not mean an increase in self-esteem but to hide what we do not like.
- Possible social isolation, work and family problems. Lies are little by little discovered by others, and that logically leads to social problems.
Symptoms of addiction to lies
When should we be alerted to the presence of this addiction? Some symptoms that should alert us.
- Difficulty telling the truth, even in situations in which the lie does not make sense, that is, it does not serve to obtain any benefit.
- Repeated lies about one's own person or about one's life.
- Lies used to draw attention, get sympathy, feel interesting, superior, etc.
- Sometimes, they come to believe their own lies.
- They have a hard time living in reality, they change jobs, relationships, friends, etc ... constantly.
Tips to prevent pathological lying
Compulsive lies can become a serious disorder with important consequences for the well-being and life of the person. It is important to prevent and treat this addiction to lies.
1. Analyze the origin of the lies. It is a personal task that must be done by someone who suffers from addiction, to look for the pattern that originates them: if it is a low self-esteem, if it is a need for approval, etc.
2. Keep a diary of lies where you write when you lie, why do you do it, who are you lying to, how are you feeling, etc. In this way you will obtain a complete X-ray of your behavior and you will be able to verify to what extent they affect you.
3. Try to control your momentum, ask for help if necessary, it is better to say that you do not want to talk about something when you start lying.
4. Before lying think if you really need it, if it really makes you happy, if it's really going to change your life.
5. Avoid people who encourage addiction.
6. Cultivate other aspects of your life.
7. Develop your self-esteem.
8. Start telling the truth slowly.
Celia Rodríguez Ruiz. Clinical health psychologist. Specialist in Child and Adolescent Pedagogy and Psychology. Director of Educa and Learn.
Author of the collection Stimulate Reading and Writing Processes