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Unread 09-12-2012, 03:47 PM   #1
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Question Why do some people lie pathologically about themselves?

Over the years, I have met more than one person who lies – not about things inconsequential or typical (“Were you at the bar?” “No.” “Did you ever cheat on me?” “Of course not.”) Instead, they lie elaborately about their backgrounds. For example – one girl lied about growing up in Japan and having a Japanese fiancé (both false); another said she had grown up in Poland, that her father was a neurosurgeon, that her mother was Jewish, and that she lived in a mansion (all lies). Two other people I have known lied about having doctorates.

Of these people, one had a lot of the other trademarks of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (artificially glib, extremely arrogant, and lacking empathy, especially). But the others … I just can’t figure out why they lied. Once, I met a schizophrenic patient when I was in the psych ward. He told me he had attended an Ivy League school, and I believed him – why would he lie? But another patient pointed out me, “He might just be delusional.” One of the people mentioned above displays some signs of a psychotic disorder as well (or bipolar disorder even).

So – basically – why do you think people lie about things so elaborately – and for many years, as some of the aforementioned have? Do they truly believe their own lies? For example, I don’t think the girl who claimed she was from Poland really believed that lie, because she would adapt and vary it to fit certain situations and people. I would say that all the lying is pathological, and interestingly, many of the lies can be disproven with a quick Google search.

I am not asking anyone to diagnosis by proxy – and I am not trying to do that with the people I mentioned – but, in general, I am very curious to discover what might lead to this degree and depth of lying.

Thank you for your insight!!
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Unread 09-12-2012, 05:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: Why do some people lie pathologically about themselves?

Well, there have been situations where I'm tempted to do that. Just make up a new persona and see where it takes me though, I never do because you never know when you might run into someone again or if you're about to meet a new friend right? Though, I bet some people don't care or worry much about that.

Why was it tempting? For fun, acting, getting people's reactions. I do enjoy shock value and humor.

There is also a level of trust. Maybe some don't want to divulge any personal information or any information about themselves out of fear or even general dislike for humans.

And you mentioned ego, definitely. People may lie to make themselves appear better.

I know I've enhanced some stories or adopted something as "my own" to add drama and humor to something mundane. Maybe I'll have a funny thought and pretend it actually happened that way to get a laugh, never anything significant though.
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Unread 09-12-2012, 05:20 PM   #3
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Default Re: Why do some people lie pathologically about themselves?

Well, I think some people just feel their lives are not as glamorous as they should be, or for some reason are ashamed of their life. So they make up fantasy lives. Or others maybe have other types of illness that maybe cause this.

This schizophrenic, though, I don't think he was "lying." Lying is a deliberate act. That does sound delusional to me, and although delusions are not true, they are also not lies. He has no way of knowing that what he is saying is true, and even giving him the evidance that his beliefs are false will not change his mind. That's a big part of why he is schizophrenic.

Also with that type of psychosis people with bipolar can have those delusions too. I have had them in the past, and at the time they are 100% real to me and not a lie. It's just... my brain doesn't work the way it should at that time, and reality becomes totally differnt for me.
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