To All The Lies I’ve Told Before

pathological liars feature image

In this concrete jungle where cat burglars, one-trick ponies, and those crying crocodile tears prowl, a subspecies parades around the street conjuring up and vocalizing incredulous stories and mysterious statements which never lead to fruition.

Lying is when we make a false statement to deceive others. Lies occupy a good percentage of the nooks and crannies of our lives and they take various forms – white lies, a lie of fabrication, lies of deception, bald-faced lies, and even plagiarism. At some level, we understand the ulterior motive which could be for personal gain, to avoid intrusion of privacy, to be polite or tactful, to mislead someone, etc. In this herd of liars hide the pathological liars; who lie for no apparent psychological motive or benefit.

Pathological liars have a history of frequent and repeated lying for absolutely no reason. They don’t do it for any gain; they just happen to do it because it’s their way of life. These individuals often lack the understanding that people can discern that the lies he/she speaks are in fact lies. The fear of the consequences of their actions seems to be absent in such individuals; putting their professional and personal lives in jeopardy.


Several studies have investigated this condition but no conclusive evidence regarding the roots of the disease has been uncovered. There are several hypothesized conditions and theories; along with conditions that may be associated with pathological lying.

Personality disorders  

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a condition where the person has great difficulty in regulating their emotions and are often insecure and lacking stability. Narcissistic Personality Disorders (NPD), on the other hand, is characterized by delusions of grandeur and almost crippling need for importance. The patients of these disorders might manipulate their reality to suit their delusions and are prone to pathological lying.

Behavioural disorders

Conduct disorder, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and often all these conditions may overlap and display pathological lying. 

Personality traits  

Narcissism or self-centered behaviour and thought patterns, selfishness, abusive attitude, obsessive, controlling and compulsive behaviors, impulsivity, aggressiveness, jealous behavior, low self-esteem, and anger are some features that are associated with pathological lying.


The inner workings of a person’s mind happen to be an intricate circuit of reactions that remain a mystery. A pathological liar’s mind proves to be a more convoluted maze than others.

The lies are compulsive, often start small, and slowly start to snowball in size and effect. They tend to become more and more elaborate and dramatic, akin to a spider weaving its web.

Frequent liars are said to have a higher IQ than the average person owing to the fact that they’ve to keep up with their trails of lies. Pathological liars have a flair for studying the person’s psyche and zeroing in on their weaknesses. They may do so to make sure they evade the other person’s defenses to convince them.

Such individuals might not display the tells that normal people exhibit when they lie – like avoid eye contact, shift frequently, touch their noses, or look guilty. They get good bypassing these actions and may put on a mask of a smile and humour.

Something we’d notice with normal people lying is their palpable relief when the topic changes. The stress and anxiety of keeping up with all the lies told catches on. Pathological liars may not even express this emotion. This probably is due to their indifference to the fact that they may be exposed. However, some liars may burst in anger on being accused of lying.


What’s important to remember is that pathological lying is a psychiatric disease, though not recognized widely in the community. It isn’t quite their intention to hurt or harm anyone; it’s a compulsive act, usually with no hint of malice. Research continues to unravel the secrets of the minds of such individuals  

Till more is known, pick up your knives and sharpen your instincts. 

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