A pathological liar is incredibly skilled at lying. They can keep up with their twisted stories and do it so smoothly that it will be almost impossible to notice.

This can be a habit or simply insecurities, but ultimately, lying makes them feel better. Although everyone can tell little lies here and there, pathological liars can ruin their own relationships and the relationships around them by the stories that they concoct.

Here are 5 signs to help you spot a pathological liar:

1. Incredibly smooth conversation skills

Pathological liars have developed an incredibly sooth set of communication skills so that they can sell their lies more successfully. They will appear to be confident and genuine in what they are saying, fooling even the most sceptical of people.

They can talk so smoothly that you will just automatically believe what they say, even if there is no truth in it whatsoever. It can be eerie how well they can lie straight to your face, and finding out about these lies can be a little scary.

2. They love attention

Pathological liars really love attention and they will go to extreme lengths to get it. This can come in the form of ridiculous lies such as family issues, personal issues and illnesses to try and garner sympathy and attention from those around them.

This bid for attention boosts their self-esteem and makes them feel good about themselves. But it can be much more detrimental to those around them than they realise. Constantly giving attention and sympathy to someone who has no real life need for it can take attention from other areas of life, and this can have serious consequences.

3. They don’t fear consequences

Pathological liars have the main goal of lying and getting away with it, creating an alternate reality for themselves that they feel more confident in. They don’t play the situation forward to the consequences that may come out of their lies. They simply want to get away with it in the here and now.

So, when the lies start to unravel, they can become defensive and cruel to those around them in an attempt to keep the lies covered. This can filter into other areas of their lives, as they don’t have the habit of forward thinking to back them up in dangerous situations.

4. Loves to have the last word

Proving a point is one of the best ways to keep a lie under wraps, and this usually comes in as having the last word in an argument. Those who have the last word generally feel as though they have won an argument. So if the pathological liar has won an argument, then you will generally believe their propaganda.

Arguing with a pathological liar can be all out war, ecause they are determined to win and won’t let you get a word in edgewise.

5. They can be subtly manipulative

It is natural to manipulate small situations to end in your favour, but a pathological liar takes this to a whole new level. They’re a professional at getting people to do exactly what they want to do, when they want them to do it, and it can be a little frightening.

They know exactly how to distract you and convince you of their way of thinking, and they are almost always successful. Approach with caution if they are paying you a little too much attention because they may just see you as a means to an end.

What are the causes of pathological lying?

There has been extensive research into the causes of pathological lying, and there is no one answer as to why people feel the need to lie so compulsively. Although there have been personality disorders and behavioural disorders that have been associated with the need to lie, there is no simple cause of the issue.

We can’t answer the question of pathological liars with one simple answer. There are so many contributing factors that can cause someone to lie so often and become so convincing.

Most commonly, pathological liars are lying to try to hide behaviours or addictions that they are not ready to give up, such as alcoholism or drugs. So they lie in order to hide these behaviours and keep up these addictions.

In other cases, they have had a difficult upbringing and lying has become second nature for them in order to get by.

More seriously, however, pathological lying can be a symptom of a much greater problem. Pathological liars have been known to have personality disorders such as Narcissism or Borderline Personality Disorder. These disorders require professional medical help and can be dangerous if not properly addressed and treated.

Although these are extreme situations, you should always take caution when approaching a pathological liar. If it is someone you feel close to, then you should encourage them to seek help for this to find the underlying cause.


  1. http://www.psychiatrictimes.com
  2. https://www.semanticscholar.org

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This Post Has 13 Comments


    Wow this is a very interesting topic you have here. After reading this i wondered if i might be a little tiny bit of a pathological liar. Well its cause when asked a question by someone i know either i would be vague with my answer or unconsciously lie.

    Whenever my parents ask me questions i lie first then after seeing them trust the answer i give gives me a feeling of superiority or something. Then i let the cat out of the bag and tell them the truth acting like it was a joke. Though if its with friends and siblings I dont tell the truth unless very necessary.

    Well the times i tell the truth is when the situation is serious or if im just in the mood to tell the truth

    Welp thats the end of the story. hey is the way im acting like a pathological liar? Im really curious to know. OwO

  2. Z

    Nice read. May I add that they tend to seem unusually honest, open, trusting and comfortable with their self-disclosure within a very short time of actually knowing you. The impression can make one respond similarly to them – only, they fabricate interesting personal info and you are not. Which is also why they might give you the impression of a great person to have the chance to get to know. Both this keeps them in power over you and aids in their manipulation.

    1. Claudette Hefner

      I think I work with someone like this. How do you get your boss to see what is going on

    2. Ben Duped

      To ‘Z’, Very well written added characteristics! Seems that their Manipulation begins the second they open their mouths & they quickly ‘Read the Crowd’ (or assess several ppl simultaneously) by taking in facial expressions, body language & receptiveness to their dialogue (i.e.- Bullshit). Then once they get a ‘Foot in the Door’, they continue to fuel their B.S. story with whatever keeps them in the Spotlight. They tend to focus on those most gullible & receptive, then add minor details that may or may not be True, but are more similar to ‘Feelers’ or ‘Tell-Tale’ signals in order to engage the listener(s) & draw them in further. Seems as though they are ‘Confidence Artists’ (Con-men or women) who thrive on the adrenaline rush achieved by spinning any given scenario into some elaborate Lie in which they control the dialogue & thereby the whole group. Their ‘Ultimate Goal’ seems less about the topic, its relevance or the real truths about it… & more about the Victory of getting you + others to be convinced that they’re view is the correct one & that they now have gained ‘Control’. As though nothing matters as long as they Win… & the Power is theirs.

  3. Dr Blabby

    My husband’s Grandson will be 17 in October 2017. He has lied right to my face even with the evidence in front of him. My husband ( also a pathological/narcissist liar) defends his Grandson’s behavior saying his parents are too strict and have forced him to lie. How do you handle something like that? I busted the Grandson and he denied everything. I was so angry but then my husband started making excuses for him – only making me more furious. A week later the Grandson came over – totally ignored me – pretended like I wasn’t there – just like the article said. He had been busted and I suddenly became the enemy. Such a toxic/dysfunctional family and I am so disheartened to know that these kids are not being taught to have honor. I filed for divorce today. I can’t keep selling myself out – ignoring their lack of integrity – when that is not how I was raised. It is very sad. A typical pathological liar is created by age 17. Very sad

  4. Annmarie

    I have a 15 year old son I think falls into this. He has been lieing to everyone even his friend it’s small thing also that he lies about and most of it is to get attention I hacked his Facebook and he was lieing to everyone we had to put are dog to sleep and he goes and tells his friend he had to shoot his dog. Another lie is that we kicked him out and he is living on his own and we don’t feed him. He has also called DCF on me and tried to get me in trouble because he decided he wanted to live with someone else who had more money and he thought he was just going to be able to stay with this lady. Not he is also into drugs and stealing today is his first court date for him being into trouble. But I’m running out of options on what to do he is really good at getting people to believe him and almost has. And we have a 9 year old daughter who is in the middle of all this and I’m actually scared that someone will eventually believe him and I will loose my daughter so I don’t know what to do I have done everything by the books but I have still gotten no help with my son and his behaviors.

  5. Just Trying to Deal

    Currently going through this with my husbands daughter. She is fourteen years old and has an apparent online-boyfriend that she has been chronically lying to about her father. And the kid threatened him! So, we have informed her mother of what she has been doing and saying to people. She has already been in trouble for it three different times in the past month. Today we found the messages and my husband has screenshots of them. He’s seriously at a loss with her because she craves attention. It’s horrible. She has lied to people saying that I give her food poisoning all the time, that we never buy food, that we neglect her. Then, she goes around saying she’s “Cinderella” cleaning the house from top to bottom and ‘get’s nothing out of it’. The last time I checked she barely even did dishes and was always on her computer or phone(that she had). She says she gets into fights all the time with people around her. (bs. They have cops in the school.) This has literally made me sick to my stomach because there have been other CPS cases around here that almost involve the same thing and their kids have been taken away. I have two boys under two. I fear that CPS will be called one day and all will be taken away because she says that her father is abusive to her. — The main question is, how do you deal with it and get it to stop because, I feel like she is far to gone. She’s been this way since I have been around her and her mother says even before then. They had CPS called on them several times because of her.

  6. James Collier

    I would like to know more about this. Please e-mail me more aboutpathological liars.

  7. Katj

    Our adopted son is a pathological liar. We uncover lies over and over and have done for years. He always swears that he is telling the truth even when presented with evidence. Nowadays we just watch with interest and despair as he lies about almost everything . Sometimes we subtly challenge him without actually presenting any proof just to see if we can persuade him to be honest with us. He doesn’t rise to the challenge!
    I find it very hurtful and while I can keep control in front of him so that he can’t see how much he is upsetting me it makes me resentful. He has hurt a number of people over the years due to telling lies often causing serious trouble in the process. As I look back to the times I believed him I feel shocked by my gullibility. Nowadays I listen but remind myself that what is being said is almost certainly a lie. I am constantly on my guard attempting not to be taken in because if I do inadvertently believe him I can end up saying something which may affect someone else. His lies usually involve someone else who has upset him in some way. It is a very sad situation and creates unhappiness within our family. He is manipulative and I can see all that he gets out this ( as mentioned in the article). This is one of the best articles I have read and explains so much about his character .

  8. Josef

    My friend of 5 years is a pathological liar. It’s very hard for us to have a normal conversation without him throwing in a lie somewhere. I’m still friends with him, however, because unlike most other liars I’ve met he usuallly tells me by the end of the conversation if what he’s said is a lie. All in all he’s a very interesting person; it’s a shame he doesn’t tell the truth enough.
    (My apologies if my English is bad.)

  9. Minnie

    My daughter is, I believe a pathalogical liar and she was adopted as a baby. The article about Katj is so like my daughter who is grown up now and has a child of her own but she still lies and puts me in the wrong. My husband died 10 years ago and since them she can say what she likes to people and puts me in the wrong.
    I would love to clear the air and get her to see see needs medical help. I dont know what to do? Should I back away completely and get on with my life away from her or should I try to get a meeting with her and her husband ?

  10. Sandi

    These liars are easy to spot. All you have to do is follow what Ms. Forsythe lists and stay away. If the person is bad enough it’s time to move together elser. Unfortunately for some reason I attract these people. I finally had enough! There’s this one guy that kept following me around at my friends wedding. He was so RUDE butting into a lot conversations and telling people they were wrong. I finally asked him why he was following me? Anyway, he started talking about my looks. I looked at the 14 of us standing there and told him I had a little list that he might want to remember 1. All you have done since you’ve been here is fun mouth about sh*t you either made up or you just like lying. 2. I’m shocked that the things you say and do hasn’t put you in hospital after getting your was beat. Lies will catch up to you and it may not be pleasant. 3. Forget about having a quality girlfriend because nobody would put up with you for long!

  11. Da nd a

    I feel my life probably is most likely in danger with my partner who I feel is path liar nd sociopath , I confronted him tonight I have before but this time I’m going to expose his lies he laughed mockingly until I said what I was going to say and to whom .. then he stared at me .. cold shivers .. I wanted to take it back but knew no use .. he Walked away .. I felt cold rush of fear I’ve never felt before .. he is my husband .. 3 hours ago we were laughing

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