There’s nothing more frustrating than knowing someone is habitually lying to you. When it’s a small child, it’s considered immaturity. But after a parent has tried to teach basic honesty and the child grows up and continues to lie, creating a fantasy world that you know isn’t real, the lying surpasses immaturity, becoming a serious problem. Both the liar and those close to him (or her) suffer if the lying persists.
Hold Your Tongue
Although you’re tempted to lash back, letting the liar know you don’t believe a word he says, it’s better to hold your tongue. Of course, you do want to let him know you don’t believe the lies, but try to keep your words soft and few, although it’s not easy. Calmly state (resisting the urge to use harsh words) what you know to be true.
State Only the Truth
Be sure you tell only the truth. If you’re known for being an honest person, then others can see the lie for what it is. Also, weigh your words carefully, as you don’t want to be accused of telling any untruths yourself.
Share Your Concerns with the Liar
In a gentle way, meet with the liar to share that you’re concerned about him. Tell him that you have proof of his lying and that you’re concerned for his welfare if he doesn’t change. If you know this approach probably won’t work, then maybe you’ll need to plan a confrontation where other friends and family members confront him in a surprise meeting, urging him to get professional help. Explain how it’s possible he may have a mental illness and need therapy. Be sure to convey that you really care about his welfare.
Seek Counseling Yourself
If your friend or loved one refuses to get professional help, or a confrontation doesn’t work, then you get help yourself, either professional counseling, or with a trusted friend, church elder, or minister with whom you can confide. Often when you associate with a liar, you can feel like you’re losing your mind, so to protect your own sanity, seek help.
A pathological liar is someone who exaggerates his stories to impress people. While a normal liar knows he’s lying, a pathological liar may actually come to believe his own lies. This is a serious mental disorder that needs to be corrected. On the other hand, some pathological liars know they’re lying, but continue to do so, as they get rewards in the form of sympathy, attention, etc.
How do you know if someone is a pathological liar? There are several red flags. For example, the liar….
- Changes his stories
- Acts defensively when questioned
- Lies about minor things
- Often actually believes his own lies
- Exaggerates to an extreme degree about everything
- Uses manipulation
- Never admits he’s wrong
If all Else Fails, Disassociate
If the liar persists in telling untruths, then you may have break off all ties with him until he realizes the seriousness of his problem. Don’t give up on him, but when the opportunities arise, continue to let him know you’re concerned about his mental health. Meanwhile, pray for him, as you go on with your own life.