Lie Upon Lie: How to Identify and Help a Compulsive Liar

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Kathrine Kreger of Drug Addiction Retreat.

Compulsive Lying in TeenagersBending the truth a bit is something that just about everyone has done at one time or another. For compulsive liars, however, it is a way of life. These people routinely tell everyone they encounter falsehoods, and sometimes they do so not out of a desire to manipulate others or otherwise gain something from them but simply because it is what feels most natural.

How it all starts?
While compulsive liars develop this habit for different reasons, two stand out as the most common. One is that they grew up in a state of fear, and as a way of evading punishment, they began to lie. Once they grew accustomed to doing this, it leaked into all aspects of their lives. Another reason is low self-esteem, as some people feel badly about who they are, so they try to create a more grandiose identity for themselves. Their regular lies are a way of presenting themselves in a more attractive manner.

Spotting the Behavior
It’s not always easy to spot a compulsive liar, as you may not always realize that you are being lied to, and unless you catch the person in the act, the behavior could continue for a long time unchecked. If you begin to suspect it, you might want to try talking with people who knew this person as a child, since compulsive lying usually starts there. You might also consider other personality traits, for instance, those with narcissism or bipolar disorder tend to lie more frequently. Anxiety is often tied in with compulsive lying, so you need to be careful about confronting such individuals. Even if faced with compelling evidence, they might not admit any wrongdoing.

Helping Them
So what should you do if it becomes apparent that a loved one is a compulsive liar? Think of this behavior like an addiction. It has become so habitual that the individual is unable to stop doing it or even to see it as something that should be stopped. Acceptance of an actual problem is essential, however, before treatment can proceed. You can try to convince the person to consult with a medical professional or present your own opinion. You can also wait to see if the person figures out the problem on his own. However, acceptance comes about, it is the first step to recovery.

A rehabilitation center may be a necessary step in the treatment plan, since spending time away from the temptations of society and in intensive therapy can be a great help. However, individual therapy session may also suffice, along with medication and other treatment programs. The plan will vary for each individual; the important thing is getting treatment.

About the Author:
This article was written on behalf of DrugAddictionRetreat.com by Kathrine Kreger, and for those who are looking for more information on how to help those with addictions, please visit their website today.
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