Traits of a Compulsive Liar

Spotting a Compulsive Liar

The traits of a compulsive liar can be quite subtle, but they're there if you know what to look for. Recognizing these traits can help you identify someone who is consistently lying to you, and perhaps even help you convince that person to seek counseling. Just remember, you can't compel anyone to seek help unless he really wants it. However, you can use the knowledge to protect yourself as needed. Read on to learn some of the most common traits associated with someone who compulsively lies.

Frequent Lying

Compulsive liars will lie about important matters, but they are just as likely to fib about inconsequential matters. Many people lie occasionally, but a compulsive liar lies numerous times each day.

Self-Esteem Issues

Many compulsive liars begin telling lies to avoid reality or certain perceptions they have about themselves. Their poor self-esteem may convince them that other people will not value them for who they truly are, so they make up what they feel are more interesting stories and attempt to pass them on as the truth. They might also make up lies to cover up behavior they don't want anyone to know about.

Attention Seeking Behavior

This trait of a compulsive liar can be closely related to other self-esteem issues. The person lying often spins tales designed to elicit sympathy for herself or captivate another person's attention. In doing so, she artificially, albeit temporarily, boosts her own feelings of self-worth.

Changing Stories

Once the lying begins, the person telling those lies may lose track of what has been said. This can lead to an abrupt change of story when he's confronted about conflicting statements he has made.

More Traits of a Compulsive Liar

In the course of weaving untruths, a compulsive liar may tell different people different versions of the same story that don't match up when compared. Her actions may also be quite different from her words such as claiming to be an expert on a topic but unwilling to have a discussion about it with another expert.

Body Language Tip Offs

A truly compulsive liar may be so adept at telling lies that it's difficult to spot. However, body language such as not being able to look you in the eye while responding to your questions can be a tip off. Other defensive body postures such as crossing her arms or turning away from you while speaking might also be tip offs that this person is lying. Some people actually become nervous and sweat more due to the stress associated with lying.

Inability to Confront the Truth

A truly compulsive liar finds it practically impossible to confront the truth. Either this person is unable to admit lying even when proof of that lie is presented, or she can no longer remember what the original truth was because she has lost track of it.

Being able to identify someone has a compulsive lying habit won't necessarily lead that person to seek help, but you can use the information to protect yourself.

Now learn more about Compulsive Lying in Children.

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Traits of a Compulsive Liar