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How to Stop Lying

Posted on December 15, 2023

How to Stop Lying

Compulsive lying – also known as pathological lying – is actually classified as a mental health disorder where someone simply lies out of habit.

In many instances, people lie in order to manipulate someone or a situation to their advantage. However,  sometimes people lie without anything to gain from it.

When you are lying out of sheer habit, and not because of an ulterior motive or desire to hide the truth, it is likely that you are suffering from compulsive lying disorder.

While lying and the spreading of misinformation for a compulsive liar may seem easy and habitual because they are so used to it, it can have a huge range of social ramifications on a person or people’s lives.

It can affect relationships, friendships, social dynamics and can cause a great deal of mental and emotional issues, particularly when it happens between two spouses.

For advice on how to help someone to stop lying compulsively, call us today on 0800 088 66 86

Why do some people lie?

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We are all fallible and are capable of lying, especially if it may save someone from hearing painful truths, or it may keep us out of uncomfortable social situations.

However, some people lie to an extreme extent where it becomes incredibly problematic and can essentially dominate their personality and behaviour.

Compulsive lying is also a symptom of Antisocial Personality Disorder (sociopathy) [1] and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NDP). [2]

Narcissistic Personality Disorder – or narcissism – is classified as a mental health disorder where someone suffers from an unhealthy and unrealistic sense of self worth.

While this may cause someone to think they are better than others, it can also make them prone to insecurities, and this may cause them to lie in order to maintain an image of perfection.

In addition to compulsive liars who find themselves lying without anything to gain from it, some people can find it difficult to accept the truth.

Because the truth can be difficult to handle sometimes – as it can cause anxiety and trepidation depending on people’s circumstances – people may find it difficult to accept or share the truth.

Pathological liars may also have unsolved guilt or shame, and they may lie as a form of coping mechanism.

By manipulating their perception of reality to fit their narrative, they may find comfort from the guilt and shame that they are repressing.

Is omission the same as lying?

The omission of information is another form of lying. While someone may not consider it to be a form of lying, it is essentially hiding information in order to misrepresent the truth or whole picture of something.

Depriving someone of information in order to stop them from forming a clear and more accurate assessment of a situation is a form of lying.

Whatever your problem with lying may be, give our team a call on 0800 088 66 86

How compulsive and non-compulsive lying affects our relationship with others

Two women talking one-to-one at a table

There are a range of ways in which compulsive and even non-compulsive lying can affect our relationships with other people and our environments:

  • Justifying dishonesty: Lying compulsively and habitually will eventually make you justify dishonesty. Since it is becoming habitual and second nature, it is essentially how you live, as we are what we do. This will make it only easier for you to lie to those around you, your friends, family members, and acquaintances.
  • The truth will come back to hurt you: Additionally, if the truth may come out, as it often does, this will have adverse impacts on how people perceive you in the workplace, in your social life. Lying to friends, family members, and loved ones will impact your relationship with them, especially if they find out that you have been dishonest with them.

Don’t wait until compulsive lying overwhelms your life – get help today by calling us on 0800 088 66 86

Signs that you have a problem with lying

A male patient talking to a female therapist

  • You find yourself justifying your lies: It is clear that you have a problem if you keep justifying to yourself why you are lying. This means that you are ego-centric and that you believe that you can distort reality for others by doing what fits your agenda.
  • Despite not having an ulterior motive, you decide to lie: This shows that lying is something which may not even be conscious, in some cases, but second nature.
  • You suffer social issues due to your lies: If your lies have got you into trouble and you have lost friends or ruined relationships over your compulsive lying, it is clear that you have a problem and that it not only affects your life, but others as well.
  • You cannot be trusted with information by others: If people share less with you because they can no longer trust you with information, it is because you have a problem with lying or sharing information in a dishonest manner.

Think you might have a problem with lying? Talk it over with our recovery experts on 0800 088 66 86

How to stay honest & stop lying

Two men in 1-1 therapy

Having developed the habit of lying to people frequently is not something that is set in stone. There are many different ways in which you can minimise the frequency with which you lie and become a more honest person:

  • Seek counselling: You may be unknowingly suffering from a mental health disorder where compulsive lying is a common symptom. Common disorders associated with compulsive lying are Antisocial Personality Disorder (sociopathy) and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (narcissism). Undergoing an assessment with a licensed counsellor can help shed light on how these habits of lying have formed. Otherwise, therapy and counselling is a highly effective [3] way to understand your own cognitive and behavioural patterns, and it can help you establish new ones.
  • Stop justifying lies: Everyone lies, to an extent. However, many people are generally truthful. It is important to understand just because everyone is capable of lying, that it does not make it okay.
  • Consider how lying affects your friends, families, and acquaintances: Consider how this lie will benefit you, or whether it will benefit anyone at all, and whether that is worth undermining your friends and family members’ well-being.
  • Understand why you lie: Lying can come from many different things, such as having a disorder such as Antisocial Personality Disorder or Narcissistic Personality Disorder. You may be suffering from anxiety or trauma which leads you to bend the truth in a way which is comforting.
  • Learn self-acceptance: Accept that you have a problem with compulsive lying, and that you are trying to overcome this. If you learn to judge yourself less and not worry about external validation, you will also learn to become more honest with yourself and others.
  • Realise that long-withstanding lies can cause mental and emotional stress: Lies, especially those you have been maintaining for a long time, can cause great mental and emotional strain. Hiding the truth from someone can lead to forms of depression and these can create the fear of the truth finally surfacing.
  • Consider how it affects you and other people’s perception of you: The more you lie and are caught in your lie, the less people will trust or respect you. They will be far less likely to share any sensitive information with you, and you may develop a reputation of being untrustworthy.
  • Don’t overshare: Try building a habit of being more concise or vague with the information that you share. This will help teach you to speak less and listen more.
  • Set boundaries: If lying has stemmed from the fear of letting people know the truth about you, you can set some boundaries during discussions or topics you are uncomfortable with.
  • Journaling: Journaling is a safe and non-judgmental space for you to share your thoughts and concerns of something in a stream-of-consciousness manner. Here, you can externalise your true feelings and thoughts without being judged. When done with complete honesty and openness, journaling can relieve anxiety and stress, [4] and also help you become more effective at sharing your true thoughts.

Get the support you need to beat a compulsive lying habit by calling us on 0800 088 66 86

How to confront someone who is a compulsive liar

If you know a friend, family member or loved one who may be suffering from compulsive lying disorder, it can be frustrating and a tricky subject to navigate.

Here are some of the ways in which you can confront someone who shows the habits of a compulsive liar:

  • Remain patient: It can be frustrating dealing with someone who constantly lies, remember to remain patient and try to understand why they are lying rather than becoming emotional over their lies.
  • Keep notes: Keeping notes will allow you to fact-check and compare information at different times. You don’t need to let the person know that you are taking notes, but it can be a helpful tool to understand whether someone is a compulsive liar and whether they have something to gain from lying.
  • Allow them the opportunity to correct themselves: Instead of directly accusing them of lying, keep asking them for details about a statement which you believe to be a lie. Here, they may reveal additional information which is actually true and forfeit by admitting that some of the details were not entirely true.
  • Highlights the consequences of their behaviour: If their lies are affecting you or someone else, try not to resort to calling them names or using adjectives to describe them. Instead, describe how it makes you feel. Here, you are communicating the significance of how their lies affect you without personally insulting them.
  • Expect them to become defensive: If they become defensive, it can be a sign that they are lying to you. Expect this, and be prepared to navigate the discussion with care and rationality.
  • Suggest counselling: This can be tricky, especially if the person is reluctant to admit that they are a compulsive liar. However, if the behaviour persists, you should highlight the benefits of counselling for mental and emotional health overall, not just for those who exhibit tendencies of compulsive liars.

Help your loved one break free from the impact of compulsive lying by giving us a call on 0800 088 66 86






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