It’s like stepping into a psychological thriller.
Okay, maybe not so intense. But nonetheless psychologically challenging, and even dangerous at times.
A pathological liar is defined by the Psychiatric Times as someone who has a “long history (maybe lifelong history) of frequent and repeated lying for which no apparent psychological motive or external benefit can be discerned,” and being in a relationship with one can make you literally question your own sanity.
However, keep in mind that– as the definition suggests– pathological liars lie just to lie. This is not to be confused with gaslighting, which is often a tool of the narcissist, as this is a form of intentional deception.
If you’re in a relationship with someone who lies simply because lying has become a part of them– with no intention to harm or abuse you as a result in any way– you might be in a relationship with a pathological liar.
Being in a relationship with a pathological liar is confusing, tiring, and more frustrating than one can place into words. So, if you’re starting to question if you’re in a relationship with one, here are a few signs to help you out:
I’ve studied pathological liars, and anything they say, they believe, and that’s one of the reasons they’re so convincing, because they have no connection with the truth. It’s a dead issue. It’s like they’re color-blind to the truth. So anything that comes out of their mouths is their reality.
– Jane Velez-Mitchell
1. They do the opposite of what you’re told to look for in a liar
Let me guess, you read a few articles about how every liar does some basic behavior when they lie such as look to the left or give an awkward smile, and attempted to catch a liaer in the act?
Unfortunately, that doesn’t apply to the pathological liar. They’ve perfected the art of lying and are aware of those basic behaviors. As a result, they’ve long ago conditioned the habit to do the complete opposite when lying. They don’t shift their eyes around, look down, or to the left when they lie– they give you intense, unrelenting eye contact.
They also don’t avoid the conversation in general, trying to change the subject or attempting to flee — they retain a highly sociable disposition and appear completely unbothered. So, whether they’re lying or not, they appear exactly the same, which can make them incredibly difficult to deal with.
2. They’re fully confident about what they’re saying– even if you catch them lying
Pathological liars literally believe what they’re saying. They’ve created an alternative reality for themselves, often in an effort to protect themselves from early on in childhood, and live in that fantasy world unphased.
For that reason, even if you catch them lying, nothing changes. You know for a fact that they’ve lied because you’ve caught them red-handed, however, they seem completely unphased about that lie and appear to fully believe everything they’re saying.
So, if they appear fully confident particularly when you’ve caught them in the fact of lying, that’s a very good sign you’re in a relationship with a pathological liar.
The manipulation that a pathological liar can dish out, if any, is typically very subtle (unlike a narcissist). That’s mostly because the manipulation itself isn’t really intentional.
Sure, they might be attempting to convince you of their fantastical recount of an occasion, however, they really believe it so it’s less manipulation for the sake of control and more an effort to manipulate you into believing their account of things.
However, keep in mind that subtle manipulation is a somewhat normal behavior in most people, so you want to be on the lookout for this as a consistent and frequent behavior. If you’re spotting it frequently, that’s a sign you’re dealing with a pathological liar.