Pathological lying is a mental disorder because it tends to take over sane judgment and progresses into make-believe. A pathological liar has a habituation of lying and he steadily lies for no personal benefit. The lies are see-through and meaningless.
Pathological lying or orpseudologia fantastica is a behavior of habitual or uncontrollable lying.
The tendency is chronic and is not incited by an immediate situation or social pressure as much as it is an inborn trait. The stories told present the liar in a positive way. He will project himself brave or being related to famous people or may claim he earns more than he actually does.
Occasionally, the individual may sincerely believe that the fabricated events have taken place, irrespective of the fact that these events are fantasies.
What Causes Pathological Lying?
Not much has been written about pathological lying; nonetheless, one study revealed an incidence of 1 in 1,000 repeat juvenile offenders. The age of commencement is usually 16 years when the level of intelligence is average or above average. In the clinical study, 30 % of the subjects had a disordered home atmosphere, where a parent or a family member had a mental disorder.
Its occurrence was found by the study to be equivalent in men and women. 40 % of the cases showed a central nervous system anomaly, such as epilepsy, abnormal EEG findings, head trauma, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or infection in the central nervous system.
By and large, the following have been described as important etiological factors for the condition:
- A dysfunctional family situation.
- Physical or sexual abuse in childhood.
- Impulse control disorders such as compulsive shop lifting or kleptomania.
- Personality disorders such as narcissistic, sociopathic or histrionic.
- History of substance abuse or substance abuse in the family.
- Borderline mental retardation or learning disabilities.
How To Deal With A Pathological Liar?
Once the diagnosis has been made, you need to put all your faculties together to deal with the condition successfully. Handling a pathological liar needs loads of patience and love.
- You need to adequately prepare yourself mentally to accept the person and help him overcome the problem.
- Maintain a diary of events. Keep a notebook of all the incidents; they will help you understand the person better and help him come to terms with the problem too.
- Be very patient. The pathological liar has a problem that is not easy to help; just be patient with him. Also, talk to someone else who knows him. You will feel a lot better having someone else to talk to that you know is also going through something similar. You can syndicate forces and work out how to manage the problem in a practical manner.
- Let him know in a gentle way when he is lying.
- Therapy and counseling will help immensely. Schedule weekly sessions with a therapist; he will provide you as well as the individual having the problem with useful solutions.