QUESTION:

Dear Doctor,

I am romantically involved with a man who seems to choose lying over telling the truth for no apparent reason. I would like a more in-depth approach to the term “pathological liar” and would really like to know what, if anything, can be done to treat this disastrous disorder.

We are on the verge of breaking up due to his latest series of lies. But I would feel like a rotten individual if I am actually turning my back on a man who needs real help. He has cried hard and told me he simply cannot stop doing this and he does not understand. He wanted to break up with me to avoid hurting me any more with this absurd behavior. Please help. I need more info.

Thank you.

ANSWER:

While anxiety problems and attention deficit disorder can trigger lying, the term “pathological liar” implies a character disorder. This means the person considers lying to be a reasonable approach to life, not just an anxiety reducing behavior or acting without thinking. Currently, there is no medication or other effective treatment for lying. If the individual genuinely wants to stop this behavior, I highly recommend getting Zig Ziglar’s “How to Stay Motivated” tape series and see what happens. If the individual then disagrees with the importance of telling the truth, it’s unlikely that the behavior will change.

 

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