Before I get into the signs of dating a pathological liar, I want to give you some background on my own personal experiences with lying.
I was never a pathological liar but I definitely used to be a compulsive liar.
Early in my childhood, lying became a habit that soon became a way of life. I had well-intended parents who taught me not to lie but in my little mind, there was no other choice. As I grew up, so did my self-deception, insecurities, and ability to paint an entirely different picture than, unbeknownst to me, most people could see right through. The lying continued well into my teens and early twenties. I didn’t have the awareness that I do now, but I knew the difference between right and wrong. The extent to which we will justify the wrong of lying in the name of emotional survival is incredible. I had to lie.
Without lying, everyone would be in on the joke that I embarrassingly tried to be the only one in on…
The fact that I was a joke.
There are a million reasons why I felt like I had no choice but to lie at such a young age. And there are a million more reasons why I continued to lie as a teenager and young adult.
A lot of them had to do with the atmosphere I grew up in. A lot of it had to do with witnessing the adults lie and being around certain family members who were so insecure themselves, they got satisfaction from being the “Gotcha!” police. They would shame me to others behind my back in the name of expressing concern – instead of having a genuine concern to ask me if I was okay.
Ultimately, no one made me lie. I chose to.
If you’re lying, you’re lonely.
The root of the weed that lying is, will always be the liar’s belief that they are not enough. And there is no lonelier place to be than the space of feeling like you have no worth.
If I didn’t feel like my truth was so pathetic, I would never have felt the need to compulsively lie.
Anyone who lies habitually is on a self-made life raft that deflates very quickly until another lie is told.
Having one identity is tough enough but when you lie, you have to keep up with multiple ones. These identities are birthed by your shame, anger, fear of rejection, fear of judgment, insecurities, and pain. The funny thing is, I lied to keep people around when all it did was turn off the right people, trigger my abandonment issues, and in turn, attract toxic people who exploited the very insecurities that required me to lie on the compulsive level that I was.
How I stopped being a compulsive liar is another post for another time. I basically started to become more worried about the effects of my lies than people just knowing the truth. I got so sick of myself, my oversharing, the drama I had created, and my own bullsh*t, that the truth started to become less scary. I realized that although people may be hurt, disgusted, happy, sad, etc., from hearing my truth… At least they’d respect me for being honest. I then started to attract better people and better relationships in my life.
By taking this step to improve myself, I had simultaneously improved the relationship with myself. Over time, I started to build respect for myself.
Self-respect and pathologically (or compulsive) lying cannot coexist.
When it comes to dating or any kind of relationship, the level to which you deceive yourself will always mirror the toleration you have for others deceiving you.
If you engage in self-deception, you will be that much more susceptible to excuse others when they lie to you.
You will hold onto the little crumbs of truth in their lies because deep down, you don’t believe that you are good enough for the whole truth. And so, you work harder to understand them instead of folding and getting the f*ck out of Dodge.
We all lie from time to time. According to a study at the University of Massachusetts, sixty percent of people cannot even have a 10-minute conversation without lying at least one time.
There’s a big difference between dating someone who has occasionally lied and someone who is a compulsive liar or even worse, a pathological liar.
When lying gets out of control, it is referred to as compulsive. It can also be pathological. Although the definitions are fluid, I do think that there are differences. Either way, a relationship with a pathological liar or a compulsive liar will be the worst relationship of your life. The relationship that you have with them will be just as bad as the one they have with themselves. You can never “rescue” a liar. You can only get away. It is impossible to have a genuine connection, relationship, or any kind of intimacy with these people.
A Compulsive Liar vs. A Pathological Liar
A compulsive liar will habitually exaggerate and embellish in an effort to be seen, heard, and inflate their fragile ego. A pathological liar will lie for many of the same reasons, but when you realize that they’re lying and call them out on it… they will continue to lie and not feel bad about it. Upon being called out, a pathological liar will reveal more unbelievable details within their obnoxious stories. Even when they are presented with irrefutable evidence and all of the proverbial receipts, they’ll keep it going. And it will make you feel crazy. This is how pathological lying works.
A compulsive liar lies to feel more important. A pathological liar lies as a form of manipulation to get their way while robbing you of your ability to trust. They are manipulative, clever, sheisty, crafty, and most of the time, have their own selfish agenda and a self-serving goal in mind when they lie. Everyone is a ladder to them. They are empathetically bankrupt and have no concern for the feelings and emotional well-being of others – even their romantic partners, family, and friends. They don’t care about anything other than their own needs and agenda.
Compulsive liars are uncomfortable with the truth and will lie for what seems like no reason or end goal. Pathological liars have a selfish agenda. Both feel incredibly small and operate on their own level of insecure delusion.
You will never be able to tell when these people being honest and when they are bullsh*tting you. Unlike a compulsive liar, there are far less tell-tale signs with a pathological liar.
Pathological liars are much more fearless. They lie about things you would never imagine someone could ever or would ever lie about.
Here are 10 signs that you’re in a relationship with a pathological liar…
1. No matter what a pathological liar claims, they are all about themselves.
It doesn’t matter how much they try to come across as empathetic and selfless. A pathological liar tells very theatrical stories and can be very grandiose. They love feeling like the big man/woman on campus and they get off to triangulating, creating drama, and inciting jealousy. The more people they can get to fight over them and fight for their attention, the better. They are highly narcissistic and have sociopathic tendencies, if not full-blown sociopathy. To you, it will seem like they pedestal everyone but you.
2. They are highly competitive and have an intense fear of failure.
They may not seem outwardly competitive but internally, they have to win at all costs. Your success is NOT theirs. When you win or accomplish anything, they congratulate you but passively downplay it. Because they are so insecure, everything is a competition and they can never be genuinely happy for other people.
For them, winning is a matter of emotional life and death. They have to lie because they don’t believe in themselves enough to get real, be honest, and actually have the courage to become what they fabricate.
With a pathological liar, failure is to be avoided at all costs because it affirms the failure that deep down, they feel like they are. And when they do fail (which is more often than you think), they never learn from it. They just point fingers.
3. Very low self-esteem.
These people are cocky, not confident. There is a huge difference. And remember, cocky people do everything to appear to be the toughest, most secure, and the most desirable but they are the weakest, most insecure, inflated, and fragile. They hate who they are.
4. They are attention seekers.
They constantly need an ego boost and will flirt with anyone or anything that gives them a morsel of attention, validation, or response. They’ll even brag about the dog choosing their leg to hump.
5. A pathological liar will lie in ways that you would never expect.
They have no problem throwing others (even their own friends, co-workers, and family members) seriously under the bus to keep their lies going.
6. They use just enough of the truth to hook you into believing them.
A pathological liar will provide explanations that are sprinkled with just enough of the truth to mind f*ck you into ignoring your intuition and staying with them.
7. If they ever do admit to their lies, the pathological liar is usually still lying and creating new lies during their confession.
Although most pathological liars do believe their own lies, some do come clean. Don’t buy into it.
If there is ever a “coming clean” moment, it’s generally to gain sympathy and always a tactical admission, never empathetic.
Recently, a pathological liar told me (after admitting to some seriously disturbing lies), that she was now totally incapable of telling a lie – ever again.
Not only is that unreasonable, but it’s yet another indicator of pure delusion. I would have so much more respect for someone who admitted to lying and expressed that they know they will naturally still struggle (because this has been a life-long habit) but they need compassion and support from loved ones to stay on track.
8. The relationships with their friends and family are unstable.
With a pathological liar, there is always some sort of drama, jealousy, misunderstanding, and falling out going on in their lives. These people also like to think that they have a ton of jealous “haters.”
9. They lie about the smallest things and also, they will lie about things that are so big and defamatory, you’d never believe they’d have the guts to actually lie on that level.
If someone is going to lie about the most minuscule and dumb thing that serves no purpose, they are most likely going to lie about other things that are bigger.
Keep your antennas up and know when to fold.
If they’re going to lie about big things that could potentially damage the reputation of others, believe me when I say, they’re lying about the small stuff too.
10. You feel crazy, guilty, uncool, “too harsh,” pathetic, and like you need to “get a life” when you’re around them.
Pathological liars are masters at…
- Distorting your reality (gaslighting).
- Ruining your ability to trust and then, labeling you as having “trust issues.”
- Deflection. They make you feel pathetic and crazy for trying to get verification on their ever-changing stories.
Bottom line: you deserve more and you know it.
Give one fraction of the love to yourself that you are giving anyone who tries to control your emotional weather via lies and you will no longer miss them. You’ll feel sorry for them.
Little by little, you’ll start missing YOU – the you who honored and valued his/her intuition instead of the person who allowed a pathological liar to piss on it while you kept telling yourself it was raining.
Written by: Natasha Adamo