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Question
Posted by: debbie | 2011/07/27

compulsive lying

hi doc. i have a friend - we''ve been friends aswell as housemates- for almost 8 months - who lies about absolutely everything. she lies about absolutely everything - how much her boyfriend earns, her qualifications and about small silly things. It is really frustrating because i do not believe anything she says anymore. I do not even think she realises that she is lying - she just lies.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Some people are like that, and may be called pathological liars. They lie both when it could advantage them, and even when there is no possible advantage, even when they are bound to be found out. I think they are fantasists, never satisfied with themselves or their life as it is, and therefore always inventing and inhabiting more marvellous lives. They may be unsure of the truth about themselves, too.
Maybe one could try gently mentioning that so much of what she says turns out to be inaccurate, that you are no longer prepared to automatically believe her, and to ask whether she is aware of how many whoppers she tells.
I remember a patient who had all the nurses in tears with his tale of how his wife had died unexpectedly in bed with him while on honeymoon of a cancer he didn't know she had. When I pointed out that this had definitely not happened, he admitted it was "an exaggeration". WHen I pointed out he never even had a wife, he said that was an exaggeration, too.

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Our users say:
Posted by: debbie | 2011/07/27

Another thing i wanted to add is that i am starting to get a little scared - we live together and i do not think a healthy stable will lie like this. Ive never met anyone who lies so much about EVERYTHING. It is no use talking to her about it - she will just deny everything and make up more lies. What must i do? Thank you

Reply to debbie
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/07/27

Some people are like that, and may be called pathological liars. They lie both when it could advantage them, and even when there is no possible advantage, even when they are bound to be found out. I think they are fantasists, never satisfied with themselves or their life as it is, and therefore always inventing and inhabiting more marvellous lives. They may be unsure of the truth about themselves, too.
Maybe one could try gently mentioning that so much of what she says turns out to be inaccurate, that you are no longer prepared to automatically believe her, and to ask whether she is aware of how many whoppers she tells.
I remember a patient who had all the nurses in tears with his tale of how his wife had died unexpectedly in bed with him while on honeymoon of a cancer he didn't know she had. When I pointed out that this had definitely not happened, he admitted it was "an exaggeration". WHen I pointed out he never even had a wife, he said that was an exaggeration, too.

Reply to cybershrink

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