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Meet The Compulsive Liar Who Won’t Stop Lying

Meet The Compulsive Liar Who Won’t Stop Lying

Have you ever met someone who couldn’t stop lying? Maybe you’ve caught them telling small lies, or perhaps it’s something major, but they always seem to be making things up. If they tell enough lies, you might even begin to wonder if they have a serious condition.

Do you ever wonder what it’s like to live with a compulsive liar? Today in the hot seat, we’ve got Jessica, a pathological liar, to tell you all about why she’s constantly betraying others’ trust.

Inside the mind of a compulsive liar

Lifehack: Why do you lie all the time?

Jessica: The funny thing is, sometimes I don’t even know why. There are times when I tell lies because I’m trying to get people to sympathize with me, but sometimes I just make things up to see if I can get away with it. If I want to impress someone, I definitely make things up.

Lifehack: What have you learned from being a compulsive liar?

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Jessica: At first the lies were small, so nothing really bad happened. After a while, the lies grew, and I stopped realizing that I was making things up. I learned that people will believe almost anything if you say it with enough conviction.

At the same time, I learned that I have some issues. My therapist thinks my lying started because of low self-esteem, and we are working to disrupt the lie cycle. Right now, I wanted to tell you that I lie because of past trauma, which is true for some pathological liars, but it’s not the case for me. I’ve never experienced trauma.

Lifehack: Do your friends and family know that you’re a compulsive liar?

Jessica: Absolutely. At first, they tried to play along because they were being polite. As the lies got bigger and more absurd, they started calling me out. My brother actually stopped talking to me because my lies got so out of control.

Lifehack: What has compulsive lying cost you?

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Like I said, my brother doesn’t associate with me anymore. My lying even cost me my marriage. Plus, everyone knows that I have this problem, so my reputation is ruined.

Lifehack: What are some ways that you might lie in an average day?

Jessica: I’m always tempted to lie when I meet new people. It’s easier to deceive strangers who aren’t aware of my history. I definitely lie about my job. I work at a bookstore, but I’ll tell people that I’m a lawyer sometimes. I read a lot novels about law, so I just pull from that.

I also tend to exaggerate when I want to get out of things. Once I had a cold and I don’t want to go into work, so I told my boss I was hospitalized for a bad case of pneumonia.

Lifehack: What’s the worst thing that’s happened because of a lie you told?

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Jessica: My very worst lie is the one that cost me my marriage. My ex and I were arguing a lot. It wasn’t because of my lying–we were just having a rough time. I decided to tell him that I was pregnant even though I wasn’t. I went as far as to steal a sonogram picture from my friend to pass off as my own.

This news made my husband happy, and it temporarily alleviated our problems. Everyone in our families got excited about it.

That lie obviously has a shelf life. When it got to the point where I should have been showing, I decided that I’d have to “miscarry” in order to save face. I waited until he went to work, faked a trip to the hospital, and had to break the news to him. I was so upset about what I had done, but everyone thought I was just sad because I lost the baby.

Eventually he figured out that I made the whole thing up, and he filed for divorce.

Lifehack: Do you have any way to control your lying?

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Jessica: Sometimes I believe the stories I make up, or the lies happen before I even think about them. I’m working to get it under control, but I don’t know if I’ll ever stop.

Lifehack: How does it make you feel when you lie?

Jessica: It’s complicated. I feel excited when I manage to successfully deceive someone into thinking I’m better than I am. I also know that some lies that I tell are so over-the-top and so damaging, that I usually end up regretting them later.

Don’t believe everything you hear

Most of us fib on occasion, but some people take lying to a new level. Compulsive liars seem to derive some satisfaction from what they do, but they also tear lives apart and leave their own in shambles.

Featured photo credit: Photo by Louis Blythe on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Anna Chui

Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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