Now Reading
Compulsive Lying: Understanding The Traits, Causes And Ways To Help

Compulsive Lying: Understanding The Traits, Causes And Ways To Help

Updated on May 27, 2022

Reviewed by Dr. Nereida Gonzalez-Berrios, MD , Certified Psychiatrist

Compulsive Lying - Meaning, Traits, Types, Treatment, Therapy & More

Key Takeaways

  • Compulsive lying is frequently lie without a reason
  • It usually takes years to develop
  • Compulsive liars tend to be people with other mental health conditions
  • People who suffer from compulsive lying need support and professional help to break the habit

Compulsive lying does not come with the intention of hurting anyone. Rather, it is a person’s own comfort with lying that makes him do it.

He or she may actually even feel more uncomfortable telling the truth. 

That being said, compulsive lying is a sign of mental health conditions and disorders like a borderline personality disorder or bipolar disorder. 

For this and other reasons, it is wiser to watch out for signs of compulsive lying.

Read this article to find out the reasons, causes as well as coping methods for compulsive lying. 

Keep in mind that even if it is a person you care about, compulsive lying does not really benefit anyone if left unchecked. 

Compulsive Lying Infographics

Compulsive Lying - Meaning, Traits, Types, Treatment, Therapy & More
Compulsive Lying – Meaning, Traits, Types, Treatment, Therapy & More
Compulsive Lying - Meaning, Traits, Types, Treatment, Therapy & More
Compulsive Lying – Meaning, Traits, Types, Treatment, Therapy & More

Compulsive lying: Meaning 

Compulsive lying is the act of frequently lying out of habit. Compulsive liars develop their habit over years and are often associated with other mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder. It can be treated through adequate help.

We all occasionally lie, even small white lies, to get through a situation. For example, we have all lied about having a false situation to get out of something we don’t want to do.

We even lie to avoid certain other situations. These small white or innocent lies do not mean we are compulsive liars.

A compulsive liar lies because it is his habit to do so. He may not even have a reason to lie, however, this condition makes him still feel like he should. 

Compulsive lying is not fun for the people around that person as well. This is because even if he does not lie to particularly hurt them, the lies do affect them. 

No matter how simple or logical the truth is, he may still feel the need to lie. 

It is important to remember that while we may all want to place the blame on the liars, they often cannot even help themselves. 

There is professional help available for compulsive liars because it is often out of their control to lie. 

Some people call it pathological lying, habitual lying, mythomania, or pseudologia fantastica.

While there are some differences between pathological liars and compulsive liars, all the above conditions describe a state of excessive lying. 

Types of lies 

Before we fully get into compulsive lying and what it includes, let us look at the different types of lies.

This is necessary to know because it helps us see that we all indulge in lies now and then. 

Some lies are considered necessary while some others are not morally right. Of all these, only some are part of compulsive or pathological lying. They are as follows. 

  1. Lies that protect someone else 
  2. Lying to spare someone’s feelings 
  3. A lie that is used for self defense 
  4. Lying to protect a secret 
  5. Lies that help improve your self image 
  6. Improving self image through lies 
  7. Lying to manipulate others 
  8. Lies of omissions
  9. Compulsive lying, or lying out of habit 
  10. Pathological lying 

Now, let us look at compulsive lying and how it can be identified, who it affects, and how serious it is when identified. 

Traits of compulsive lying

There are certain traits to properly identify compulsive liars. If you observe these traits over a period of time, it may indicate compulsive lying. 

Firstly, the lies may sound believable. Often, liars get caught if they say something entirely drastic or unbelievable. 

These lies are doomed to fail, and hence, people may even lose faith in the person who tells them. 

A compulsive liar uses lies that are believable. For example, if he is running late, he may say he ran into traffic.

If he says a lie like he is really sick, people may catch on to the truth if he actually appears healthy. 

Next, he lies over a period of time. If you lie when you are in a bad situation, then it does not make you a compulsive liar. 

Whether or not it is moral, the lie actually has a reason behind it. Compulsive lies are for the habit, not for a reason. 

Compulsive liars also lie for their own benefit. Hence, their lies portray them in a more positive light than what is actually true.  

For example, a compulsive liar is more likely to say that he spent all his money on charity than a lie like he partied a lot. 

Compulsive liars are also often motivated internally. For example, if you are genuinely late to work due to traffic, but lie that you were sick because your boss will believe that more. 

Here, there is an external motivation to lie, because your job is at stake. 

An internal motivation to lie is more likely for compulsive liars. For example, lying about where you were last weekend. 

No answer you give can actually impact your career, however, you still lie, just because you internally feel the need to. 

Who does it affect

Compulsive liars do not have the same psychopathology that pathological liars have. Their characteristics, the way they lie as well as motives behind the lie are different. 

While pathological liars are often people with antisocial or narcissistic personality disorder, compulsive liars are a different group of people. 

Usually, people with bipolar or borderline personality disorder have a compulsive lying tendency. This means that they indulge in frequent lies with no logical reason. 

Often, they may even feel that lying is not a bad thing at all. 

People without these conditions can also be compulsive liars. Often, kids from abused families may become compulsive liars later.

When they were children, their lies may have saved them from abuse. 

Even though at that point it may not be compulsive lying, it may develop into that later.

Their childhood lies, which were a response to external threats, may continue later even without such threats. 

Ordinarily, even people who have high-pressure jobs or a lot at stake, develop lying skills to survive. It is not too difficult for these survival skills to spill over into other areas of life. 

This person may start lying to his friends and family members as well. 

Lastly, there may be some compulsive liars whose cause we cannot identify. It may take several conversations and digging deep in their mind to figure out why they lie.

In essence, however, it may look like they lie to project a nicer image of themselves. 

How serious is it 

Now that we have seen what compulsive lying is and who it affects, let us try to understand how serious it is. 

This is because, in some way, we all lie. However, at what point does it become a serious condition? 

Pathological liars are actually in a worse condition than compulsive liars. Pathological liars may often even lie for intentionally bad purposes. 

They lie in high-stakes situations as well and feel internally compelled to do so. 

On the other hand, compulsive liars lie out of habit. They actually exist in society a lot more cooperatively than pathological liars.

The lies of compulsive liars are even lower stakes compared to others. 

When treating it in therapy as well, coming to conclusions of compulsive lying is easier. The traits and motives, which are usually a habit, are easier to recognize.

Since it is essentially a habit that needs to be corrected, the path to do so is simpler, too. 

Compulsive Vs Pathological Liars 

Compulsive lying and pathological lying are used interchangeably so often, that people assume they mean the same thing.

In reality, they are highly similar, but there is a difference between the two terms. 

As of now, neither of the two is classified as a mental health disorder in the official manual.

However, both have been listed as symptoms of other mental health disorders. 

Pathological lying is often a symptom of Munchausen’s syndrome, antisocial personality disorder, sociopathy, and narcissistic personality disorder. 

All these are serious conditions that require medications and careful monitoring. 

Compulsive lying is a symptom of eating disorders, bipolar disorder, and borderline personality disorder. 

While these are also serious conditions, the risk they pose to people around them is lesser than the previous list. 

Compulsive lying is dangerous and must be taken care of. However, it is more manageable than pathological lying, as the latter usually tend to also seriously harm others. 

Motives behind the lies

Another difference between pathological and compulsive liars is the motive behind the lies. Pathological liars love to gain attention and sympathy. 

People with narcissistic personality disorder, for example, are physically only capable of thinking of themselves. 

Hence their lies are also concerned with how it would get them more attention. Staying in the spotlight of any situation is extremely important to them, hence they constantly lie to get there.

Their lies are a way through which they express their illness. Compulsive liars, on the other hand, have a different motive.

They lie to have a favorable outcome, avoid certain situations, take the easy way out, or just feel in control of the situation. Their lies often help them escape the truth. 

These differences in motives help us identify compulsive liars vs pathological liars.

However, even after identifying them, there are differences in how to treat them. Pathological liars are usually on a stricter treatment plan with a professional. 

Lastly, if we are trying to understand the mind of the liar, a pathological liar lies because he seeks an advantage in the situation or is manipulative.

A compulsive liar is powerless against his need to lie, simply out of habit. 

Compulsive Liar 

Now let us understand a compulsive liar even further.

First, it is important to remember that while compulsive lying is morally wrong, often, it can be managed. Whether or not we are successful depends on a lot of factors. 

Compulsive liars require external interventions along with internal motivations to solve their issues.

External interventions include social support that does not hesitate to call them out. 

Stressful conditions 

Compulsive liars are not born overnight. This means that there are often childhood or early life influences behind compulsive lying. 

In these cases, the liar may have started lying for a reason and then progressed into developing a habit. 

Other times, work or being part of stressful social situations initiates a lying habit. This does not mean that lying is justified. 

It merely shows some contextual reasons a person can become a compulsive liar. 

Compulsive liars are also often suffering from other mental health conditions that they have little control over.

These include bipolar disorder, eating disorders, or even borderline personality disorder. 

For example, a person who is in a manic state of his bipolar disorder. This means he feels very impulsive and reckless. 

He may lie frequently and seemingly without reason because his disorder makes him feel like he should. 

Similarly, a compulsive liar may have an eating disorder. People around him may constantly ask them if they have eaten or what is wrong with them. 

Even if this comes from a place of concern, it makes the person suffering feel attacked. 

They may lie to get out of common, everyday situations. Eventually, they lie so much that it becomes a normal part of their daily conversation. 

Pathological or compulsive lying can also become very addictive. 

Internal motives 

Compulsive liars also lie for their own benefit. For example, a person who is desperately seeking a new relationship. 

He or she may have failed numerous times and now just want to make the best impression possible.

Compulsive liars lie to make themselves look better. Their lies all eventually lead to a favorable outcome for themselves. That is why they even lie in small stake situations. 

It is also possible that compulsive liars are dealing with a negative self-image themselves.

We all have some insecurities, but for compulsive liars, these insecurities largely impact their lives. 

They may believe that the only way to get over their insecurities is by lying about them.

Compulsive liars try hard to create an entirely new image of themselves, one where their insecurities do not exist. 

Lastly, it is also important to note that compulsive liars are not problem-free. Their web of lies may actually create a new set of problems for them. 

However, their issue is that they still cannot stop lying, as it has become a habit. 

Compulsive Lying Disorder 

Compulsive lying is also often referred to as pathological lying in common language.

Hence, when people say compulsive lying disorder, it could most likely mean a pathological lying disorder. 

There is a lot of debate and confusion over compulsive lying. It is also not always clear whether it is a whole disorder on its own or if it’s a symptom of other disorders. 

For example, compulsive lying is a symptom of Munchausen’s syndrome.

This is a disorder where people pretend to be sick. Sometimes, if they are not sick, they even intentionally try to get sick.

Compulsive lying is a very known and perhaps the most obvious symptom of this disorder. 

On the other hand, pathological lying is considered to be a disorder on its own as well. People who have no apparent reason to lie engage in elaborate webs of lies. 

A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry shows that there are neurological signs of pathological lying.

A part of our brain called the prefrontal cortex shows changes when we lie. 

However, in the case of pathological liars, the changes are significant. The white matter, which is in the prefrontal cortex, increases by 22-26% compared to other individuals who only occasionally lie. 

When we think of disorders, we also understand that they have an influence on our lives.

When we do something occasionally, like a small white lie to avoid hurting someone, it does not impact our larger life. 

Similarly, if we indulge in a big lie, but only once, it also does not necessarily impact all areas of our life.

Compulsive lying disorder, however, can change a person’s entire social life. 

Pathological or compulsive lying is not classified as a disorder in the DSM V, a universally approved Diagnostic Statistical Manual for mental disorders. 

However, more and more studies are showing that it affects a person’s functioning, work, and social relations. Usually, these markers are enough to classify a condition as a mental health disorder. 

The reason that pathological or compulsive lying has not been included is that the confusion of it being a mere symptom of other disorders still persists. 

How To Stop Compulsive Lying 

It is not a question that compulsive lying is immoral, bad, and very frequently causes problems for self and others. 

If you suffer from compulsive lying yourself, the following are ways that you can try to control it. 

Remember that these are various tips you or the person suffering from compulsive lying can use. In cases where it is out of control, much more professional help may be required. 

1. Control lying to yourself 

Compulsive lying is a social problem. However, at its root, it is also a problem of not being true to yourself. Of all the types of lies we indulge in, lying to ourselves is one of the worst ones. 

When you catch yourself in a lie, especially to yourself, you can stop and rectify your errors. When you start taking an honest approach with yourself, projecting that outside as well will get easier. 

2. Identify your support system 

When you are on the path to breaking your lying habits, a lot of external support is required. They can be your friends or family members, your therapist, psychiatrist, or even your counselor. 

Essentially, these people are not scared to tell you the truth. Hence, they can also create an environment where you feel comfortable saying the truth. 

Additionally, they are people in your close surroundings, who do know you well. 

If your support includes professional help, that is even better. This is because professionals understand the context behind your lying.

They even know that it is an addiction, which they are trained to deal with. 

3. Be more considerate 

When you lie, you may be thinking mainly of yourself. This means that others, and their lives, are not your focus or priority.

However, if you want to change your habits, you may have to start thinking of others. 

When a person lies frequently, the way a compulsive liar does, it affects the lives of those around him. It could be the people you work with or live with. 

Even if you do not see how your lies may cause them stress or hurt. 

Hence, if you feel like shutting them out and living in your series of lies, you can start thinking about them more. 

If you want to lie about your weekend and they call you out, remind yourself that they are justified in doing so. 

Also note that if you feel confessing the truth or sharing how you truly feel will hurt them more, ask yourself different questions.

Because in reality, they already are managing the lies you tell them. Hence, finally hearing the truth may not actually be a bigger worry.

If you are seeking therapy, you can discuss how you want to start truthfully communicating with others. 

If the people around are not emotionally sensitive, you may even discuss how to put across your points in ways that they can understand. 

Lastly, when you become more considerate of others, you can even start letting them help you. 

These could be people you have mentally discarded. However, if you care for them, they get an opportunity to care for you in return. 

4. Don’t be scared of criticism 

Chances are that breaking out of your lying habits will be difficult.

Your friends, colleagues, and family may not support you initially, as they may be tired of your lies. This does not mean that the battle is lost. 

It may take you time to reestablish your communication with them. Just like you have a habit of lying, they have a habit of listening to your lies. 

Hence, their comments may feel like they are criticizing your decision. 

In reality, they also need support to understand you. If you perceive their care and confusion as criticism, you may stop yourself from doing the right thing. 

Hence, instead of being scared, you can be prepared for some negative as well as positive comments. 

Why Do People Compulsively Lie 

While we all lie, it is also not easy to understand why some people have to compulsively lie.

For those of us who are not compulsive liars, it is a puzzle to figure out why some others compulsively lie. 

Firstly, let us look at the serious mental health conditions that entail pathological lying.

Narcissistic personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, or any form of sociopathic behavior indicate a lack of empathy. 

These people have an empathy deficiency that makes it difficult for them to care about others and social values like honesty.

For them, lying is a normal method through which they get through the day. 

Next, their conscience is much different than ours. When we expect to be hurt by lying, they do not think about it at all. Ling is not a bad thing in their mind. 

Some people who have serious mental illnesses may not even see the difference between a truth and a lie.  

Next, people who are good at manipulating the truth, like people who gaslight others, can also become compulsive liars. 

For them, truth is only something they need to twist, so they can eventually get their way. 

Sometimes, we think lying makes a person inherently bad. However, there are also people who struggle with impulse control. Their immediate reaction to most situations is to find the fastest way out. 

Hence, when a person has an impulsive personality or is going through a manic phase of their bipolar disorder, lying is their quick fix.

They lie to satisfy their impulsive needs, without really thinking through the situation. Lastly, some people lie because it helps them keep control of the situation.

When you consider insecurities, mental health conditions, impulsive behavior, and lack of empathy, you understand their internal motivations. 

In some cases, in addition to these internal motivations, there is also a social and internal need to control a situation. 

They want to make sure that with their lies, they can paint a positive picture of themselves. 

Compulsive Lying In Teenagers

Parents often struggle with lying teens who seem to not care about values like honesty.

The older children get and the more they are exposed to the world, they develop the skills to lie. 

Most, if not all, adults can state that they have lied at least sometimes in their teens. 

There are many reasons for this as well. When we start to grow up, we develop a new vision of the world. 

Teenagers particularly start developing ideas and interests that are different from their parents. 

Usually, teens lie to get out of homework, attend social events, engage in underage drinking or partying, and meet their friends after curfew. 

These are usually also the primary rules that parents state well before a child enters a teenage. 

However, some teens get into more lies than normal. They lie more frequently and about a number of things. 

Normal little white lies, called fibs, are common. However, some indulge in a lot more lies, not fibs, and the difference is important. 

Signs of compulsive lying in teenagers 

Following are some signs of compulsive lying in teenagers. 

  1. Their tone of voice changes 
  2. They stall for some time before giving answers 
  3. Stuttering more than usual. 
  4. Using too many words. 
  5. Puttings extra distance, hiding behind some furniture while talking 
  6. Avoid making eye contact 
  7. Not answering questions directly

Cause of teenage lying

Teens do not turn into compulsive liars without a reason. They are naturally going through a period of change, however, that does not mean they need to lie all the time. 

If they show signs of compulsive lying, there is usually a deeper cause underneath it. 

They could be developing one of the mental health conditions mentioned in this article. This includes both personality disorders as well as eating disorders. 

Another reason that teens may start compulsive lying is their self-esteem. It is usually around the teenage years that self-esteem either becomes strong or takes a huge hit. 

If someone is struggling with it, they may indulge in frequent lies to cope. 

Compulsive Lying In Relationships  

Relationships are based on love, respect, and trust. This means that for a relationship to be successful all three need to be involved. 

If someone is not being truthful, it impacts the whole relationship dynamic. 

Here are some signs that you can note if you believe your partner is a compulsive liar. 

  1. They occasionally gaslight you 
  2. You feel their stories do not add up 
  3. Their stories usually portray them in a positive light 
  4. You catch them in too many small lies
  5. There is past trauma or childhood stories that indicate a need to lie 

Therapy For Compulsive Lying 

One of the best treatment options for compulsive lying is to seek therapy for it. 

Since compulsive lying is much like an addiction to lying, therapists are trained to tackle it the way they would any other addictive disorder. 

Therapy also helps because it gives the professional a chance to uncover all the childhood traumas and other underlying issues. 

A therapist may not just deal with the lying, but also the causes that lead to compulsive lying. 

Different types of therapeutic interventions can be used to help compulsive liars. They are as follows. 

1. Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is an intervention used to help people re-work their negative beliefs which affect their behavior. 

Compulsive liars that suffer from such self-destructive beliefs need help to deal with them in a healthy manner.  

CBT helps a therapist and the client, in this case, the compulsive liar, identify the exact beliefs which make them feel compelled to lie. 

Through the therapeutic treatment, that person then changes his internal dialogue, which helps him reduce his lies. 

For example, a person who believes that he can maintain a good image only through lying can work on this negative thought process.

When he builds up internal confidence in his real personality, his lies may also reduce. 

2. Aversion Therapy

Similarly, aversion therapy helps a person associate the act of lying with something that disgusts them.

Thus, every time they lie, they think of the disgusting things associated with lying and get put off. 

3. Therapy and medication for other disorders 

If a person is indulging in compulsive lying due to the presence of other disorders, seeking therapy for those disorders also helps reduce lying.

For example, if a person has a borderline personality disorder and suffers from compulsive lying. 

In these cases, managing the other disorders means managing symptoms like compulsive lying.

The therapist works with the person to reduce his lies, work on his social and empathy skills and maintain better social relations. 

Sometimes, antipsychotic medications are introduced to keep the symptoms in check.

For disorders like bipolar disorder, the manic phase of the illness can be quite difficult to maintain without medication. 

Hence, compulsive lying is treated through the treatment of classified mental health disorders. 

4. Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy, which is similar to Cognitive behavior therapy, helps patients with a borderline personality disorder. 

A therapist challenges the patient’s core beliefs which are misguided and work towards a healthier sense of self. 

Therapists use tests and interviews to find out the root cause of compulsive lying. 

They help a person understand not just the web of lies they create but also how it impacts others. Through therapeutic techniques and medications, they treat the symptoms. 

While there are no direct tests to identify compulsive lying, therapists use personality inventories and interview techniques to help their clients.

Compulsive Lying Treatment 

Other than therapy, there are some ways to treat compulsive lying. This includes having difficult conversations with yourself and others. Following are some ways you can note. 

1. Identify your triggers

While compulsive lying is habitual, there could be some situations, which particularly bring it out in you. It could be your work environment, or feeling put on the spot with your partner. 

You can ask yourself who is around you when you lie, what are your lies about, how do you feel about lying, and is there any reason at all that you lied. 

While these triggers do not always occur, they can help you eliminate certain lies from your life. 

Triggers are often so subtle that we fail to see them. We not only have to pay close attention to why we lie, but we also have to actively stop ourselves from lying. 

2. Identify the types of lies

After you identify the triggers, you may realize that you engage in certain lies more than others. 

Perhaps you compulsively lie to make yourself look better. You may note that every time you talk about your accomplishments, you tend to exaggerate. 

This means that there is a reason behind your lies. When you start to realize the types of lies you need to tell, you can learn to find other ways to fulfill your need. 

Often, for compulsive liars trying to break the habit, this method means confronting underlying issues.

3. Set boundaries 

Learning to quit lying is like quitting a bad habit you have had for a very long time. For example, if you are a compulsive liar, lying is part of your nature. 

This means that to quit lying, you have to go against your natural instinct. 

Setting a good boundary for yourself definitely helps in these situations. You can start with how many times a day you lie, or who you lie to. 

It depends on how you want to tackle each situation that is affected by your lies. 

When you first set boundaries, it may be difficult to stick to them. Hence, you will also have to keep track of what you do. 

If you go over your boundary, you try harder to stick to it next time. You can even write everything down. 

Sometimes, the lies you say have a reason. If you engage in lies of omission, you can set a boundary there, too.

For example, instead of just canceling a plan by lying, you can cancel a plan and give the real reason. 

4. Take an account of the situation 

Often we resort to lies because we do not know how else to deal with things. Lying may seem like the good and only way out. 

Hence, one way to treat compulsive lying is to take an actual account of the situation. 

You can ask yourself, ‘What will happen if I do tell the truth?’ or “What is the worst that can happen in this situation?” These questions need to have direct answers. 

For example, if you have a date where you feel compelled to lie about where you studied. 

When you really take account of the situation, you may realize that it actually does not matter where you studied, or if it does, you can still tell them the truth. 

5. Take it slow 

As we have seen, compulsive lying is a habit that develops over the years. It cannot be treated overnight, just like you cannot stop smoking overnight.

This also means that eventually, by taking it slow, you can really reduce your lying. 

One of the best ways to break a habit is by taking it day by day. Some days, you may find yourself lying a lot more.

This can feel like there is no hope for you, but in fact, tomorrow may just be a better day. 

By taking it slow, you also give yourself the chance to really confront your issues.

If you decide to stop lying immediately, you may never treat the thing that made you start lying in the first place. 

6. Start with some truths 

Compulsive liars engage in frequent lies with multiple people. Another way to treat this is by revealing partial truths. 

If you challenge yourself to tell the whole truth about all situations, it may prove to be impossible. 

However, you can start small. You do not have to go all in. For example, if you want to lie about which university you attended, you can stop yourself from doing that. 

You can instead just reveal the program you did or the state you were in.

This also gives the other person the chance to see what you are comfortable sharing and what will take some more time. 

In the long run, it may just be better to keep them waiting instead of lying to them entirely. 

7. Evaluate your goals 

Lies often have goals. Even if it is a one-time lie, it is said because the person has a certain big or small goal in his mind.

Compulsive liars tend to forget that sometimes. Hence, they often lie without purpose or reason. 

When you evaluate your goals, you may realize that there really is no need to lie in most situations. 

For example, if you are lying to get out of a conversation, you can still achieve that goal without lying. You can just express that you do not want to talk. 

Often, when you think of goals, you may even notice that you do not have the clearest perspective on things. 

For example, if you lie to protect your image, you may see that the truth is also not the worst thing for you, or it will eventually catch up. 

8. Accept uncomfortable situations 

Lying is considered to be the quick fix out of some situations. When things get uncomfortable, we lie to get out of those situations.

Our lies make us feel we can control the situation on our own terms. 

Hence, if you are trying to break the habit of lying, you may first need to get comfortable with accepting these situations.

You will also have to accept there will be situations where you won’t have a positive influence. 

Honesty is learning to deal with your flaws as well. 

Continuing the example of university, you may have to accept the fact that you may not be proud of where you studied, but it is the truth. This acceptance then leads to honesty. 

9. Don’t justify your lies

Compulsive lying feels natural to those who have been doing it for years. 

Eventually, if everyone around you tries to point out your lies and confronts you about them, you must not justify your lies. 

Justifying, validating or clarifying your need to lie only makes you further believe it is okay to lie.

In reality, the people calling you out for your lies understand that it is not morally good for you. 

When you stop justifying your lies, you also start to see what is wrong with them. It makes you question the morality of your situation.

This is a good step, as when you understand lying is wrong, you feel more motivated to reduce it. 

10. Ask yourself if it is necessary or compulsive

Lastly, when you feel the urge to lie, ask yourself whether it really is necessary to lie. For example, some lies are required and follow their own social cues. 

In these situations, your lie is not out of habit, rather it is out of necessity. 

For example, if the chef asks you if you liked the meal. If you are eating it in front of them, even if you didn’t like it, the common social courtesy is to say you did.

This is not compulsive lying and hence does not need to be treated. However, if you are lying out of habit, then you need to question it.

These questions make you stop and consider what you are doing, which is a good first step to treat compulsive lying. 


Compulsive lying means lying often and for no apparent or logical reason.

Compulsive liars are not necessarily bad people, however, they do need to seek help. While little white lies are normal, compulsive lying can negatively impact your life. 

Article Sources

Scroll To Top
We use cookies in order to give you the best possible experience on our website. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies.
Privacy Policy