What are some psychological reasons behind compulsive lying?


Quick Answer

One of the primary reasons for compulsive lying is low self esteem, or lack of self confidence, according to Psychology Today. Other reasons for compulsive lying include narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and anti-social personality disorder.

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Full Answer

In an article for Psychology Today, Chris Jozefowicz interviewed Dr. Robert Reich, a psychiatrist and expert in psychopathology, on the topic of compulsive lying. Dr. Reich says that compulsive lying has no official diagnosis, but is rather a symptom of other psychological problems. Narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and antisocial personality disordered people often compulsively lie as a symptom of their pathology. Although pathological lying is sometimes associated with a personality disorder, not all liars can be considered mentally ill.

Some people lie simply because they have low self esteem, explains Psychology Today. Their lives may be unexciting, or they may fear judgement or criticism. Pathological liars are usually unhappy with their own lives, and they lie as a form of wish fulfillment. If a person is envious of someone else, he may fabricate stories to make himself seem more similar to his idol.

Because liars are so unhappy with their real lives, they may feel a deep sense of shame when confronted with proof that they have been lying, notes Psychology Today. The exposure of their lies would mean that they would be forced to confront reality. When exposing a liar, it is important to recognize that pathological liars often suffer from an extremely poor self-image.

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