17 thoughts on “Pathological Liars: 5 Ways To Protect Yourself From Them

  • April 15, 2015 at 9:44 am

    “Because of this, it is important to understand how to protect yourself against a pathological. Individuals with certain disorders or diagnoses sometimes engage in pathological lying and antisocial behaviors such as conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, ADHD, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder (sociopathy), and many others.” I was stunned and dismayed when I saw that you included ADHD as an example of one in which there is pathological lying and as an antisocial behavior. Maybe it was intentional; maybe it was just the way the sentence was worded. Either way, researching ADHD is in order and a correction is imperative. Those with ADHD are already are already stigmatized and there are a lot of people who work very hard trying to change that perception.

    • April 15, 2015 at 10:48 pm

      Hi there,
      Thanks for your comment. I agree. The sentence structure could have been better and I took the opportunity to explain why ADHD was listed. ADHD is certainly a stigmatized disorder as is also borderline personality disorder. But it’s important to understand that ADHD, primarily the impulsivity, can lead to frequent lying behaviors. Many adults, who were diagnosed as children with ADHD, develop impulsive behaviors that include risk taking, substance abuse, and lying.I think there is a subculture of people who view ADHD as just simply a disorder for those who cannot pay attention for long periods of time, are hyperactive or energetic, and who struggles with acting before thinking. But that’s not all ADHD is. ADHD can also, again, include impulsive behaviors that are destructive.

    • April 18, 2015 at 7:46 am

      As a person who has suffered undiagnosed with ADHD all of my life until my mid 40s, I went to therapy for 20 years believing and feeling I lacked empathy and was some sort of a psychopath because I could not stop lying. I knew and felt the pain and confusion of those around me who had to deal with my disorder. I apologised frequently for my lack of control. Once I was on Ritalin, it all stopped. I no longer lied. But it was too late. My impulsive lying left me isolated, rejected, avoided and cost me my marriage. The subsequent pain I experienced was too awful to mention. To read this article offends me to the core. This author shows such a lack of understanding & empathy for those that are diagnosed not only with ADHD but with other mental health disorders. We are victims too. This article creates yet another boogy-man to fear. How better would this article have been to have been balanced and advocated for those that suffer with this affliction and to also have spoken of those who love them and too become victims. Psychologists are not super heroes rescuing victims who have the fate of being in some way associated with those with mental illness. Psychologists are empathetic & empower all on how mental illness leaves us all battling. This article is arrogant, sensationalist and lacks professional ethics. Regards, Mel psychotherapist & ADHD sufferer!

      • July 27, 2015 at 12:43 pm

        It’s interesting that your comment begins by agreeing and exemplifying everything Dr.Hill had stated regarding those with ADHD and the trait of telling untruths as a result of the impulsiveness that is inherent in the condition.

        So, it was very shocking after you had veritably agreed completely with her statement and explanation to find you suddenly lashing out at her in such a harsh tone, having obviously shifted to taking her statements personally, and having lost all objectivity.

        Personally, I found her article to be very informative and helpful. I had wondered in the past about individuals with ADHD and whether the condition itself may be a cause for some individuals to respond with things that aren’t true due to the impulsiveness inherent in the condition. Ironically, your response provided further confirmation that this is indeed the case.

        It’s very hard, however, to understand how someone explaining this to everyone else could warrant such a personal attack when you yourself have confirmed what she has explained is, in fact, true.

        One would think you would be thankful that someone understands the reasons why someone with ADHD is compelled to provide an answer quickly, although not necessary true, so we can better understand such individuals and allow for this aspect of their condition.

        It’s good to know that you were able to find relief from the condition through the use of medication, however, there was nothing at all in what she wrote that was not true, as you yourself have confirmed, and there was nothing in what she said at all that was personal in nature.

        Interestingly enough, the five points that she outlined as methods for how to deal with those who lie pathologically still hold true even with those with ADHD, for the sake of the individual who is affected by those who are compelled to lie for whatever reason. It is this individual who has to deal with the confusion, the misdirection, the uncertainty, the rumination, the anger, the hurt, etc. that the person lying causes within them.

        Obviously, if one suspects or is aware that someone has ADHD, they would tend to elect the option of asking the individual to “help me to understand…”, and allowing the ADHD afflicted individual with the opportunity to correct themselves, to both parties relief. This would only make sense, and was in fact my very first impulse upon not only reading the article and seeing ADHD mentioned, but also as I sympathetically began reading your confirmation of what Dr. Hill had explained, as well.

        So, quite contrary to your assertion, and hopefully to your relief, I see no cause or reason to believe Dr. Hills explanation of individuals with ADHD may find themselves lying due to the impulsiveness which is part of their condition to be the cause of any additional stigma to these individuals at all, but rather allows others to understand them, make allowances for them, and interact with them in ways that no longer cause the internal upsets that previously occurred when this understanding was lacking.

        I believe Dr. Hill has provided a great service to a great number of people through the publishing of this article, including those we interact with who are afflicted with ADHD, and she should be commended not only on writing such an insightful and helpful article, but also for her compassion and her ability to help those who need help in coping with others, including those we find are pathological liars, as well as providing a separate explanation of the reason those with ADHD may find themselves lying in her additional comment, which you, whether intending to or not, personally confirmed her correctness on.

        So, lighten up… the worlds not coming to an end; no one’s out to get you; and no one killed your cat this morning (I hope)… there was nothing in the article for anyone to get upset about, honestly. It was very helpful for those needing the information, and was not in any way disparaging or harmful to those who have ADHD at all. Of course, there is the matter of obsessiveness, and the matter of reading into things, but those are different matters which should be differentiated from the usefulness of the information which the article actually contained and provides to those who are in need of such information…

        Wishing you all the best…

      • July 27, 2015 at 1:04 pm

        Hi Gmeades,
        Thank you so much for your objective, appropriately subjective, encouraging, fair, and inspiring comment. 🙂 I am appreciative for all that you have said and for giving us all a more balanced view of the topic. As you stated, I in no way wanted to offend anyone but it is important that we understand that certain symptoms of certain diagnoses such as ADHD (which includes impulsivity in many cases of ADHD) can contribute to the symptom of pathological lying. A lot of people fail to understand that pathological lying is a symptom of something bigger. That “bigger” thing could be anything from ADHD, ODD, and conduct disorder to personality disorders.

        It’s sad to say that sometimes the discussion of mental health, emotional, or behavioral disorders can trigger a lot of feelings in those who struggle with a condition. When it’s personal, it’s personal and it’s sometimes difficult to be objective. I totally understand this.

        And….thank you for the doctor title! Loved it. Wish I could keep it.
        All the best!

      • July 27, 2015 at 12:56 pm

        Ah, just discovered MS is a Master of Science degree and not a doctoral degree… oh, well… certainly doesn’t detract from what I said at all…

        Cheers…! 😉

  • September 3, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    I have strived to be truthful & open & honest my whole life but these last few years have been hell. My brother Rico has been pathological liar since we were children. He had taken to telling the lie on Facebook etc that we were into incest as he also “insinuated” he was with his children. He is the type of liar who does not believe his lies because when I confronted him about what was said he told me “these people are sick. Why would I say something so foolish”. I am going on year 5 with this & I am fed up. It seems I know many pathological liars & have been followed with online abuse because of people I do not know. I used to play video games & watoh porn but because I found that combination to have lot’s of abusers & people with serious mental issues I gave up both. I used to be an exotic dancer therefore I shaved my pubic hair for hygienic reasons. Still do. I am not now nor have I ever been into sick sexual acts but have had my name run through the mud online by people who have told the lies that because I used to watoh porn, play video games & shave my pubic hair ( separate not at the same time) that I was abused or had done these things to my children. I had to go through big case with child protection agency but even after proving my innocence these people are still telling lies against me. These people are pathological liars to the point that when they got busted out for not doing incest ( including my brother) they came up with new lies that they could heal people by using their brains, taking illness from sick person to healthy person. Every person with mental issues have taken to believing them escalating this to worse level. I have done my research on this. It cannot be done. They told me they put diseases in me,took my spine replacing it with unhealthy spine & got me pregnant. I laughed because this is absurd. I went to the Doctor had test run al test came back negative. Blood test, X-ray, & pregnancy test. When I went in Forums to share this information none of the pathological liars wanted to hear it. How can I clear my name when dealing with communities of pathological liars that are computer literate & have access to areas I do not.

  • September 3, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    What I do not understand is where are the people who are not pathological liars. How have they not caught them in as many lies as I have or remembered them? Like the “getting me pregnant with his mind” lie was told 8 months in row. Why did they not say after the first few months, “if your brain is powerful enough to heal why is she not pregnant”? If you can take from sick person to healthy person why is she not smelly, why can she walk for very far or still workout week after week.” Where are the reasonable people who say I have met her, I am excellent Judge of character I do not get that, the many Parents who have left their children with me say ” my children feel more safe with her than anybody”. How can I prove this?

  • January 14, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Please extend your article to include what one should do when dealing with a pathological liar who is committing parental alienation against the non-lying party to the children. Much of your advice is good, but will not work in such a situation. Thank you for your consideration.

    • January 15, 2017 at 1:46 am

      It might help if you could explain what “committing parental alienation against the non-lying party to the children” actually means. It really is very unclear at the moment just what the situation you’re seeking additional information on really is.

      For instance –
      1. Are you talking about your partner poisoning your children’s minds against you…?
      2. Are you talking about your partner giving you the “cold shoulder” and preferring to interact with the children…?
      3. Are these very young children, or children in their teens or early 20’s…?
      4. Are you all living together as a family, or are you separated or divorced and there are visiting rights involved…?

      These were just a few of the possibilities that went through my mind as I read your post, and each of them would require a bit of a different response, and possibly not be something that could be “expanded on” in a simple response in the comment section, but may require a separate article of it’s own once it’s understood, as what you’re referring to sounds like it’s involving what’s referred to as “triangulation” and not dealing with a pathological liar directly; or it may be something that would be better served by personal counseling.

      In any case, it would certainly help anyone in knowing how best to respond if you might be able to clarify what the situation you find yourself in is a bit more clearly.

      Wishing only the best for you… 😉

  • February 19, 2017 at 10:53 am

    In my experience, pathological liars are created by environmental factors. I have 3 siblings, two of which definitely fit the label of ‘pathological liar.’ The interesting thing to note here is that my mother always sided with these siblings against the other two of us in any disagreement and this included absolute acceptance of ANY lie told against the others no matter how improbable or far fetched. The odd thing is that she acts as if she is dumbfounded as to why they lie so much (a point which she acknowledges in general but NEVER in any specific instance.) When trying to brooch the subject with her, no matter how logically or calmly she sits in absolute silence, doesn’t answer and then will eventually go to bed for two or three days and reappear saying how down you have made her feel and that she considered suicide, all whilst to all seeming appearances unaware of her behaviour.

    As things stand at the moment I haven’t spoken to my brother for 5 years since the last big lie which caused me a lot of hardship. As is always the case, he tries to approach me occasionally and strike up a conversation as if NOTHING WHATSOEVER has happened whilst over the same period my mother has tried to apply massive psychological pressure on me (I have destroyed her life, I owe my brother a big apology, I’m being childish, I have borderline personality disorder/narcissism (I don’t, although my brother made sure to ‘kindly’ send my mother a large stack of books on the subject after the final lie), I need to see a shrink for my behaviour.)

    With the intensity and insistence around this, there’s a strange sense of unreality and it is easy to begin doubting yourself. Fortunately when I mentioned it to my older sister recently (the ‘bad’ one, the one who hardly ever made contact, the one who didn’t lie) it was a revelation. She experienced exactly the same and admitted this was why she wasn’t around much. She had sought counseling several times over the years for the emotional damage this has done.

    Interested to hear anecdotes from anyone else who can identify a similar evolution of pathological behaviour becoming manifest after being ‘rewarded’ by a parent or caregiver.

    • February 20, 2017 at 9:39 pm

      Hi Nomen,
      I will offer some of my theories and the research studied in my field. Research on pathological lying is, you probably won’t be surprised, very limited. Why? Because it is a topic that is quite frankly way too compliated and driven by political opinion. For the most part, pathological lying has become a “symptom” of sociopathy, narcissism, or another personality disorder. It is not really seen as a single problem but rather a manifestation of a bigger problem. The little bit of research conducted on pathological lying suggests that these individuals are influenced by 2 things:
      1. environment (peers, family members, or other things in a child’s environment that have influence on one’s perspective of life)
      2. genetic/biology (heredity)

      Sadly, when these 2 things collide, pathological lying can become a problem. For example, an individual who has “learned” to lie or has been enabled to lie, may become more and more of a liar with age if that individual had a parent or extended family member who lied just as much if not more. An individual who has a parent or extended family member who engaged in chronic lying and is being enabled by a parent or caretaker, can also become a pathological liar. Both of these things often interact to create “chaos.”

      You may be wondering: “Is there hope?” Research suggests that hope is slim. Medication management doesn’t help pathological lying because it isn’t a disorder in and of itself. It is a “symptom.” It is a “symptom” that cannot be treated with medication. Even more, therapy can be complicated by the chronic liar’s lies in such a way that therapy doesn’t even work. The person has to believe that they have a problem in order to engage in and benefit from treatment. An individual who is lying and isn’t really suffering because of it, may not think treatment is necessary. Pathological liars only pursue treatment if something important is being jeopardized such as: their relationship, a marriage, employment, etc.

      Take care

  • March 5, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    Definitely agree with your description and explanations. Agree with lack of treatment options. Best definitive plan is to keep a safe distance, and move on. No arguments with the liar as he will only bring you down. Best is to work on your own self improvement, and leave the pathological liar alone. Work on yourself

  • August 9, 2018 at 4:32 am

    Hello. I happened on this blog by accident. I am tired of dealing with a “family” liar for decades. I got ced inconsistency in her story, and when she boo-hooed her way to living with us, we took her in. There starts the lies and decption. She would say she didn’t do something, and there was evidence she did, step on dog poop and drag it in house, stealing stuff, saying things that were lies, seemingly passive aggressive actions then lying that was not done, etc. I am tired of dealing with her. When confronted, she would blatantly like and deny it like she believes her side is true. When we repeatedly tell her to not do something simple, like please don’t leave lights on, she does and says she doesn’t. She’s like the hotel Transylvania gremlin who ate the cake and said, I didn’t do that! Her extended family members are tired of her and getting into arguments with her. She has no immediate family members it I would have sent her there. I can’t stand her. How do I avoid being duped and have my things stolen and lied about? She must have some sort of mental illness as well, thinking all her jokes are funny but they don’t make sense whatsoever. Conversation would be one topic and she would say a disconnect sentence and laugh at what she says. No one wants her in a nursing home, but she’s getting to be a liability. She is about 75 yr old and I’m tired of being the sandwich generation with my own problems to deal with and no one lending a hand. Thank God I am not any blood relationships with her. But I want to know how to deal with her before I die before her.


    • August 15, 2018 at 12:25 pm

      Please have this poor lady assessed for dementia. She sounds like she isnt in control of herself.

  • December 29, 2019 at 3:27 am

    Thanks for this info. I don’t care why they are that way, I just needed to know how to deal, now.


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