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Personality Traits of Pathological and Compulsive Liars

Identifying Characteristics of Pathological and Compulsive Liars

Understanding the characteristics associated with habitual liars is essential for determining how to respond to their behavior. Below are some key traits to look out for.

Personality Traits of Pathological Liars

Let's start by examining the traits commonly seen in pathological liars.

Abusive and Quick to Anger

Pathological liars frequently resort to physical and emotional abuse, especially when confronted about their lies. They are prone to aggression and can become easily irate when their motives are questioned.

Skilled Storytellers

These individuals have a knack for creating elaborate, convincing narratives that can be difficult to identify as falsehoods. Their confidence in their lies can make it seem as though they are recounting a genuine experience.

Manipulative and Deceitful

Pathological liars often use lies to control people or situations to suit their own purposes.

Lacks Empathy

They typically show little regard for others, which allows them to manipulate and deceive without guilt. Their lies can cause long-term harm to others, but this doesn't deter them.


Pathological liars may harbor envy towards those who receive more attention, are perceived as smarter, or possess something they desire. If you're someone they're envious of, be wary!

Self-obsessed and Egocentric

Pathological liars tend to focus solely on their own needs and desires, which often fuels their dishonesty. They lie to obtain what they want, with little thought for others.


Should you challenge the inconsistencies in their stories, they will likely become defensive. They may concoct additional lies to back up their original ones, and will insist they are right and you are mistaken.

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Personality Traits of Compulsive Liars


Compulsive liars often use sensational stories to gain sympathy or attention, which enhances their self-image. They likely exaggerate scenarios to make themselves appear more impressive than reality would suggest.

Low Self-Worth

While they may appear thick-skinned, these individuals often suffer from low self-esteem. They may lie about their accomplishments to boost their confidence.

Loves Gossip

Compulsive liars struggle to keep secrets and revel in spreading gossip. However, they won't enjoy it when they become the subject of the gossip, leading them to lie even more. They also tend to distort the truth before sharing it.

Inconsistent Storytellers

Their constant lying can lead to confusion, as they alter their narratives depending on the audience. Their actions often contradict their words, and their body language may reveal their deceit.

Emotionally Abusive

Mental health professionals identify habitual lying, common in compulsive liars, as a form of emotional abuse. These individuals lie out of habit, often without conscious thought.

Dealing with Habitual Liars

Understanding the psychological reasons behind the behavior of chronic liars can aid you in dealing with them. Ask yourself – are they lying due to a mental health issue or is the habit ingrained? What's their background – could this be the root of their dishonesty?

Your assessment can guide your future interactions with this person. If you are close to them, you might suggest they seek professional help. However, be prepared for potential lies about their motives or actions. Ultimately, it's their responsibility to acknowledge their issue and take steps to address it.

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