Liar, Liar Pants On Fire! Do you lie? Come on, we all do right? Or do we? What’s the difference between a pathological liar, a compulsive liar, and somebody who just tells a little white lie because they don’t want to hurt anyone's feelings?
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Tony also mentioned his appearances this week on two podcasts, The Betrayed, The Addicted and The Expert with hosts Ashlyn and Coby, and Virtual Couch former guest Brannon Patrick where we discuss narcissism in detail and the challenges people face in relationships with narcissistic individuals and The Millennial Member Podcast hosted by Emily Ensign where we discuss the topic of pornography, what helps with recovery, and what doesn’t
Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here
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Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.
Tony's new best-selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle.
Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.
You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting And visit and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.

----- TRANSCRIPT -----

Liar Lair pants on fire-2020-11-24
[00:00:00] Coming up on today's episode of The Virtual Couch, Liar, liar, Pants on Fire, the first of all, where does that come from? We're going to talk about that today. Do you lie? Come on. We all do. Right? Or do we or how much do we lie? What's the difference between a pathological liar, a compulsive liar, and somebody who just tells a little lie because they don't want to hurt anybody's feelings? That and so much more about lying and that part. I'm telling you the truth about coming up on today's episode of The Virtual Couch.

[00:00:43] Come on.

[00:00:50] Hey, everybody, welcome to Episode two hundred and thirty four of the virtual couch. I am your host Tony over me. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, certified mindful, have a coach, writer, speaker, husband, father of four, ultramarathon runner and creator of the Path Back and online pornography recovery program that is helping people reclaim their lives from the harmful effects of pornography. If you or anybody that you know is trying to put pornography behind them once and for all and trust me, it can be done in a strength based, hold the shame, become the person you always wanted to be kind of way, then head over to And there you will find a short e-book that describes five myths that people fall prey to when trying to overcome or put pornography in their rearview mirror in the Blinder's once and for all. Again, that's path back recovery. Dotcom and I am doing a weekly Q&A call that is associated with the path back. And so if you are interested in that, you are also welcome to shoot me an email and contact that path back recovery dotcom and find out a little bit more. You can come check out the Q&A calls. The forum is up and running. There are Q&A calls that are archived there in the forum. So I would highly encourage that. Great, great results, reviews and a thriving community of people that are supporting each other.

[00:02:00] And again, a no shame put pornography behind them kind of way. So that's And I would encourage you to go to TonyOverbay. com sign up to find out more about my upcoming magnetic marriage program, getting a lot of interest in that. That is going to be launching soon, very, very soon. And you're going to start to hear a lot more about that. I've started to talk about it on some other podcasts as well, and that's been a lot of fun. There are four pillars of a connected conversation that I am starting to talk about a lot. And they are the key. They are so key to having productive conversations in marriage and in life. So I would highly encourage you to sign up to find out more. And I would love for you to go follow me on Instagram, @virtualcouch. There are some people that are helping me out there. And so a lot of the quotes from podcast episodes from myself and from some of my guests are finding their way there. And those are things that you can share. And hopefully they are things that will be motivational or help in a lot of different ways. And so that is on the virtual couch page on Instagram. So @virtualcouch. So let's get to today's episode. This has been one that I did many, many years ago, many, many years to two and a half years ago.

[00:03:13] And one of the earlier episodes on the virtual couch, I talked about lying. And it is something that I've wanted to get to and and readdress because lying is something that we deal with on a daily basis. And if you've been listening to the virtual couch for a while, you will know that I deal a lot with people that are in relationships with people that have personality disorders, or people that may have narcissistic tendencies or borderline tendencies or histrionic tendencies or antisocial personality disorder. And I'm working with a lot of the people that are in those relationships. And so they deal a lot with that term that a lot of people feel like is being overused. But in my world, it is something that is so important to know. That term is gaslighting, which is a form of psychological manipulation where a person or a group of people covertly sows the seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group, making them question their own memory and their perception, their judgment. And I'll tell you what gave rise to this episode. Again, I've had something planned or in the just been thinking about this one for a while was I was on Psychology Today yesterday, I think it was. And there was an article by a PhD Christian Hart, and it's entitled The Only Way to Really Detect When Somebody is Lying. And I thought it was really fascinating.

[00:04:26] He says that most attempts to detect liars fail because people look for entirely wrong cues. And he talked about there's a lot out there. And I actually downloaded a book at one point, an audio book by a former CIA operative who talked about reading body language. And it was pretty interesting. And I would bring that those things into my practice. And I felt like there was some data that could be gathered from the book. But there were also times where people and I really feel like this is one of those acceptance and commitment therapy moments where people may may react the way that they do based on their own situations, their own nature, nurture the way that they were raised or the way they grew up. So while some people, one, you might be a queue for a life with some person that with another, that it just wasn't that easy. And that's what Christian Hart talked about in his article. He said, How can you tell when somebody's lying? If you Google the question, you'll find that there are mountains of books and endless supplies of YouTube videos and thousands of blogs and articles ready to prove the answers. And he said, sadly, a quick perusal of the sources reveal that they're loaded with claims that have little or no basis in reality. So they typically suggest that the direction of a person's gaze or avoiding eye contact or fidgeting or these things called micro expressions or the change of a pitch of someone's.

[00:05:41] Voice and many other cues will tell whether a person is being honest or trying to deceive you, and he said that the authors of most of these pieces offer to help try to help you become an expert lie detector, but sometimes for a bit of a modest fee. And he said there's one important fact that these sources seem to ignore is that there simply are no behavioral cues that can reliably indicate when somebody is lying. Researchers like himself, he's a he's a Ph.D., a researcher has searched high and low for these cues for decades. And the best that anybody has come up with is a small number of behavioral cues that are extremely unreliable. So the simple truth is ignored by many purveyors of lie detection tips. He says that there just aren't any solid cues to deception, such as, unfortunately, not a nose that grows longer when somebody is lying. And he does say that when provided with extensive training in detecting deceit, people typically do improve and they become more effective lie detectors. But the problem is that most people start out performing only slightly better than chance. And I found that data to back it up that for the most part, the ability for somebody to determine whether or not somebody is lying, even when they are trained, can can be upwards of 60 percent instead of a random 50 percent chance.

[00:06:50] So he said that is that they're not really that much better than random guessing. So why can't we easily detect liars? And it turns out that people are just really good at concealing their lies. And I feel like this goes into that work that I've done when trying to assess whether or not personality disorders like narcissism, for example, are nature or nurture, are they are they born or are they bred? And I think the answer lies somewhere in between. But a lot of the data we have now says that most kids will know all kids let me do an all or nothing statement. All kids are selfish. That's what kids are. They don't know any better. They are designed to have their needs met when they're babies. They cry until their needs are met. And then as they move through childhood into adulthood, if they have the right attachment figures in their lives or they have the support, then they move from selfish to some version of self-confident. But then people who don't have that structure set up young and they maybe have that that genetic predisposition, then you take that combination and you have people that have personality disorders and people with personality disorders don't feel like they're doing anything that goes against their sense of self. They can't step outside of their own ego, which means that that lying just becomes reflexive.

[00:08:01] And that's the work that I do when I work with people that don't have personality disorders, let's say, in couples therapy, and they are given information or data, they learn how to be empathetic and vulnerable, and then they learn these new tools and skills and go on to live happily ever after. But then there is a certain subset in my office that things just don't quite play out that way. And typically it's somebody that has grown up not knowing how to own their own part of the negative parts of a conversation or relationship. And that's what results in this this just impulsive in that moment, this impulsive lying. And then over time that can turn into compulsive lying, compulsive being, more premeditated, impulsive being in the moment. And so those two things that have become someone's norm, their default settings, their factory settings, then they just have become very, very adept and good at lying. And then they often find themselves in situations where they are around people who have not necessarily lied as much growing up. And so they are more trusting. And you put a more trusting person with someone who has been just lying reflexively for most of their life. And that is a pretty potent combo. And it makes it very difficult for the nice person to detect the person who is more of this compulsive or impulsive or pathological liar.

[00:09:16] Hey, this is not an ad. I had to actually go back and find this part of the podcast because I really thought this was a place where if you are identifying with what I just talked about, I did just want to make you aware that I have started a group for women who have been through relationships with narcissistic men or men who have struggled with narcissistic tendencies, or if they're in a relationship like that right now and are really struggling with their sense of self or just how to make sense of conversations or when they do feel like they've been guest lit, that sort of thing. If you are interested in that, drop me an email at contact that and I can give you more information about that. All right. Let's get back to the show.

[00:09:55] So he said how to really detect liars. He says, don't abandon all hope. Yet there are some fairly effective ways to really detect liars. And I really like this is where I like where he comes from it from a different angle. He said the trick is to abstain from useless attempts to read body language or facial cues. We have to look for something else, something more dependable. We have to search for real evidence. And the trick is it turns out, he says, it's to listen and pay attention. Lying is nothing more than communicating false information. Listen to the information. Does it make sense? Does it align with the other information that we already have? And if not, it might be time to move on to the next stage of lie detection, which he says is probing. If somebody's story sounds a little off, you can ask questions, test the story.

[00:10:33] Does it stand up to scrutiny? Are the answers evasive? Does the story begin to shift as if it was constructed on a foundation of quicksand? These are more valid clues. Or cues that the story might be a lie, and then he goes on to say, The last step is to verify if the story involves claims about who, what, where and when, then they can often be corroborated. If true, and if a lover says they were at a family event, family members should really be able to readily verify the alibi. And if an employee claims to have been hospitalized, they should be able to easily support documentation. And the last key is to ask the person to come clean. Surprisingly, what many liars are politely and sympathetically asked to tell the truth. They will comply and offer their confession. And and he goes on to talk about one study that examined how people actually caught liars in their day to day lives. And it turned out that only about two percent of the people said that their verbal or nonverbal cues help them root out the liars. Instead, they most frequently reported methods that where they were tracking down information from third parties, an alibi that doesn't come through, physical evidence, receipts, phone records, credit card bills and soliciting confessions. So he ends his article by saying, How do you really detect liars? Stop searching for useless cues such as body language and start paying attention to what is being said like a detective.

[00:11:42] Investigate the claims to see if they actually align with the evidence in this world. Now, the reason I feel like I'm kind of rushing through that is my four pillars of a connected conversation that I've been talking about in previous episodes and when I've been being interviewed by other people, that this does depend a little bit on your context in where are you having these conversations and what is the goal? If you are desire, if you're desiring to have a connected conversation with someone, then there is a framework. There's a way to do this effectively. In my four pillars of a connected conversation, I do say that you need to start by assuming good intentions, that even if someone is lying in front of you, that that is not something that they woke up and thought, I know how I can hurt my spouse, is that I will tell a lie. But most likely that lying comes from some deep unmet need or some behavioral pattern that has been occurring over the years or their own deep insecurities. But the challenge can be that concept of what's calling them out on it, that that doesn't work here. Here comes the world of psychological reactance of telling someone that, hey, I know you're lying. I've got all this data that backs it up that that is typically not going to be met with someone, just someone who is who has had a pattern of lying maybe throughout their lives, that that is not going to be the aha moment where they say, oh, my gosh, you're right.

[00:13:00] I've been lying this whole time about everything and now I will come clean. So in the four pillars of a connected conversation, I talk about assuming good intentions. Pillar one and pillar number two is you actually can't put out that message of just flat out saying you're lying. So that leads to pillar number three, which is questions before comments. And I like that. I think combining my my four pillars of a connected conversation with Christian Hart's article where that leads to, hey, tell me more tell me more about where you were and now who were you with again? What was that like? You know, what did they say? What did you guys do? Did you hang out for a while and then where'd you go next? And so a lot of times that is going to be, you know, you're not putting someone backing them into a corner and you're not saying, well, I don't believe you, because when you just flat out say, I don't believe you in come's that psychological reactance. The person's back into a corner and now they're almost you can watch them go into fight or flight mode. They can. And I feel like that's where you see those impulsive lies, those lies that just come out of thin air because the person feels backed into a corner or trapped. But often and I feel like one of the best ways to test this theory is with teenagers, if you happen to have them.

[00:14:08] But if they're telling you a story that now. No, I was my friends. Oh, where were you at? What were you guys up to? We were doing this, you know. Well, who was with you? What was that like? Tell me more. And it may sound like I'm saying, hey, try to catch him, but, you know, approach it with sincere curiosity and a desire to know more, to tell me more about that. And oftentimes that is what is going to have someone feel like they are in a better position or a safe place to possibly even open up and say, you know what, I really wasn't there. Or you know, I'm not telling the truth, but if you just lay into somebody and say, I don't believe you, you're almost handing them the an opportunity to not tell the truth. You're handing them an opportunity to fire back and get angry. So that's where I feel like the beauty of asking more questions and not by saying, hey, I noticed your eyes shifted to the right. I don't believe you. And that's what I love about this article. Now, while we're talking about lying, impulsive, lying, compulsive lying, I thought it might be interesting to just intersperse some of these that I found a pretty amazing website that just had a lot of facts about lies and deception. And there are some things that I think were pretty fascinating, honest, healthy living.

[00:15:23] According to a study done by the University of Notre Dame, telling the truth can improve your health. The study found that telling fewer lies per week improve both mental health and physical health. Participants who told fewer are no lies reported fewer complaints such as feeling tense and having headaches compared with the control group, which was allowed to continue lying. So telling the Truth is not only good for your soul, but it is also good for your body, it's good for your mental health. Sixty percent of people lie at least once in a 10 minute conversation, according to a study published by the Journal of Basic and Applied Social Psychology, according to the research. People do this because they want to be likable and they want to be viewed as competent. And this means that even during a brief conversation, somebody is probably telling a lie or two, hey, are you ready for a pretty cheesy Segway? Here's something I'm not lying about. That is how you can be helped by the folks at If you go to better health outcomes, virtual couch, you get 10 percent of your first month's fees of counseling. And this is what the real licensed professional counselors, licensed professional therapists that are in your area and you can approach them anytime day or night, go through couch, and you can do a quick intake form. You could be talking to somebody as soon as 24 to 48 hours.

[00:16:34] They have a sliding scale of payment if you're in if you're going through some financial challenges. But you really need help because a lot of times that's when you need help the most, when you can't afford it. So the folks have better help dotcom or aware of that. And again, go to better help dotcom slash virtual couch. You could do what now over a million people have done have been connected with licensed professional counselors, licensed marriage and family therapists. And these are people that are highly trained and able to help you with any of the problems, anxiety, depression, OCD and with a variety of therapeutic modalities. My favorite acceptance and commitment therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy. And you can be communicating with them soon and you can do it in a way that's comfortable for you not having to sit in an uncomfortable waiting room or venture outside of the house. If that is not something that you want to be doing right now, you can communicate through Zoom or you can text or even email your therapist. And there is an article on better health outcome that talks about text therapy. I've even done it a time or two with with the client and it has been pretty fascinating as long as you can type pretty well, that you can be pretty effective in moving the ball forward and helping someone with their mental health challenges.

[00:17:41] So do what over a million other people have done. It is time to get on top of your mental health at the New Year's. Coming up, don't you talk about a New Year's resolution, resolve to work on your mental health and put yourself in the best position you can be to be a better husband, a better father, a better parent, and just make the most of this life. We only have one time where we're we're on this earth anyway. So don't you owe it to yourself to get that mental health together? And you can do so by going to Don't hesitate. Go go there today. OK, a couple of more fun facts. That one says lies find a way our brains adapt to lying and this can actually cause us to lie more as time goes on. According to it's called the slippery slope of dishonesty published in Nature Neuroscience lies can grow over time. What they call self-serving dishonesty increases the more we do it. And as such, these lies can grow larger and larger. Lying is like a plant. The more you feed it, the larger it grows. I wanted this one I thought was pretty, pretty fascinating. Rare condition referred to as pseudo fantastica is a type of pathological lying. According to the unusual and rare psychological disorders. A handbook for clinical practice and research pseudologic fantastica is when people lie, telling eloquent and interesting stories sometimes bordering on the fantastic that are told to impress others.

[00:19:04] These stories may seem to be just on the verge of believability and often involve the patient assuming important and heroic roles. It's hard. It's a hard condition to diagnose and like the book title suggests, it is quite rare. There's one that says human lie detector is a quote. People suck at telling when someone else is lying. Studies show that people can tell when lying is about as accurately as they can call a coin toss about 52 percent of the time. And that kind of goes along with this concept of shifty eyes. The commonly held belief that people fidget or look away when they lie isn't true. So we've even been lied to about lying. Now, the blame game researchers have tried to figure out why we are so bad at catching liars. And one theory believes that there's not one obvious cue for us to look for. Again, as I mentioned earlier, that no one's nose grows like Pinocchio. So we have to rely on a lot of complex and varying signs that change from person to person. And we're viewing it through our own lens. So we actually have inaccurate information on how to detect lies, like looking for shifty eyes or another theory states that we have too many resources, just like food. And we're generally pretty safe because of these two things. We lack the motivation to spot liars. So evidence shows that when safety and food are scarce, our ability to detect lies increases.

[00:20:22] So if you have to take a lie detector test, bring your donuts, because they will make the people giving you the test less able to spot your Phibbs. Primates can both lie and tell when they're being lied to. Jane Goodall and other researchers noticed that chimpanzees can tell when they were being lied to, allowing them to find food that's been hidden from them by other lying chimpanzees. He's in capuchin monkeys also know when to ignore false alarm calls when lying capuchins are just trying to lure them away from their food. And this one's pretty fascinating. There's a disorder called aphasia. And so aphasic, aphasic people who have had the left cerebral hemisphere of their brain damaged are better at detecting lies than people without the damage. And that's because people, aphasic people, cannot put a complex sentence structure together. So then they have to rely on the non-verbal cues. And so they are slightly better, slightly better spotting lies than that coin flip that we were talking about before. One more fool me once. Shame on you. People who have had high emotional intelligence are more likely to fall for emotional lies. A study published by the Legal and Criminal Psychology tested people with high emotional intelligence and found the ability to perceive and express emotion lowered their ability to detect when they were being lied to. He actually let me throw out a couple more of these fun facts. I'm going to get to one more article. Age matters.

[00:21:38] And surprisingly, we lie the most when we're teenagers between the ages of 13 to 17, the age that we live the least when we are ages six through eight years old and we find kids lying as early as two years old. But here's the one I wanted to get to. Honesty and attention deficit. Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD struggle with executive functioning and therefore can have trouble with lying. So Silver Linings Abound is a card carrying member of the the ADHD and inattentive type, formerly known as ADD. That is some good news that that impulsive nature of the ADD or ADHD brain makes a little more difficult to to lie, if anything, we impulsively kind of blurt out the truth.

[00:22:22] So what about white lies? White lies can be good, according to Barbara Greenberg, a clinical psychologist in Fairfield County, Connecticut. She says that individuals of all ages who have empathy understand that sometimes telling little white lies can protect other people from getting hurt unnecessarily. Most people, she says, that I've come across tell me these little white lies because they understand that one hundred percent honesty all the time may not be beneficial. White a white lie, she explained spare's people from unnecessary hurt. This is the traditional. Do I look fat in these jeans? What did you think about dinner? How was my talk? People who tell them should people who tell them should be praised for their kindness and the good outcome that usually comes from not saying potentially hurtful comments. But white lies, she says, may harm you emotionally. At the same time, Dr Brewer emphasizes the importance of paying attention to the way that we respond to somebody. The fact that she says that not telling the truth can take its toll on your it's not always about the person who the white lies being told to. So it could affect you. Actually, for example, she says that somebody who always tells others that all is good when it comes to an ailing parent in an effort to avoid discussions about how serious their health issues can be, can eventually face far stressful experiences when that parent eventually passes away.

[00:23:35] For example, the person always conveyed that all as well. That response ends up emotionally may feel more emotionally broken, finding it more challenging to accept the help they need from others and emotional help that they could have received all along had they not, in essence, fibbed about everything being great. White lies can also initiate mistrust between individuals and the kind of white lies that are told to avoid one's own personal accountability can at times compromise one's integrity, Dr. Brewer adds. So they may convey kindness. But then, at what cost? So sometimes telling white lies often depends on the situation, Dr Brewer says. For example, consider a woman who has not seen her mother for several months. The daughters gain noticeable weight. Yet the mother responds by excitedly declaring that she looks great. Dr. Brewer says. I emphasize during psychotherapy sessions with my patients that context helps to find meaning. So when we look at the context of a mother saying you look great when she clearly sees that her daughter is gain weight, it can be acceptable because it reflects the intention of the white lie, which is kindness, protection and unconditional love. Otherwise, white lies, especially when told to avoid personal accountability, can start a cycle of mistrust between people ultimately compromising integrity, she adds. So therefore, it's important to ask ourselves when it is and isn't appropriate to deliver the hard, honest truth and when it's best to step back and offer a more delicate response.

[00:24:54] More often than not, it's about finding a balance between the two. And this is where I go to that point. Everybody has their own individual sets of values. And one of the biggest examples I give is that value of honesty. And if I have a couple in my office and if we were doing a values exercise, it can be really tricky. If one of if let's say the husband says that honesty is not one of my core values, that I can sound horrific. But I always mention that if the husband grew up in a home where there was brutal honesty and it really broke people down, if Mom was told that I absolutely didn't like dinner tonight or you don't look good in those jeans or, you know, I can't believe you just said that. That's the that's ridiculous. If people grew up in a home like that, that they may have more of a value of kindness or value of compassion and. They may be kind of telling some of these white lies might be something that is more of a value based activity, but if somebody grew up where there was an absolute disregard for honesty whatsoever, which I hear a lot of that when people grew up in homes where there was perhaps a personality disorder involved, a little narcissism or borderline personality disorder, and somebody grew up in their parent or parents were never taking accountability for things that they said never owned their own part of conversations.

[00:26:06] Or I gave a podcast on accountability a few weeks ago. And in that episode, I gave an example where if a mom shows up to pick up a kid and shows up two hours late and the kid's been waiting outside of the high school, and if the kid comes into the car and is upset and irate because they're human and they say, I can't believe you're late, I can't believe it took you so long to pick me up, if the mom immediately says you will not talk to me that way, you know, I can't believe you talked to me that way. Get in the car and you're grounded then that that mom is actually modeling, not taking ownership or accountability for their actions. So you can you can see that people's own core values around things like honesty, compassion, integrity, authenticity, that those things will come from their childhood experiences. And they'll either come from seeing a wonderful childhood experience modeled or they may be completely the opposite. They call those sometimes transformational figures where somebody does the opposite of the way that they were raised or the way that they saw things growing up.

[00:27:04] And finally, let me spend a little bit of time on that concept of pathological liar, a compulsive liar. And even before I do that, I started the episode by talking about that phrase, liar, liar, pants on fire. And I kind of chuckled. And then I did a quick Google and I thought I would find out where that originates. And as many things do, I think about the story of Ring Around the Roses, how it ties back to the bubonic plague. But liar, liar, pants on fire harkens back to the Salem witch trials, as far as I can tell. And so a liar would be burned at the stake as a witch or if a witch was brought in. If they are found to be a liar, then that would lead to the liar, liar, pants on fire.

[00:27:41] So once again, there is history that has ruined nice, fun childhood idiom or expression. All right. Let's go to talking about the compulsive liar or the pathological liar. So I'm going to go back to this is the episode I did online. It was actually episode three. So almost two hundred are over 200 episodes ago, which is kind of mind blowing. So lying is this. According to Dr Robert Feldman, he says lying is part and parcel of everyday life. He is a professor of psychological and brain sciences and deputy chancellor at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. And he says, in a sense, lies are the lubricants that move social interaction forward, says Dr. Feldman, who wrote The Liar in Your Life. So he goes on to talk about compulsive versus pathological liars. He said compulsive liars tell stories that they think want to be heard while pathological liars continue to lie, even when they know that, you know, they're lying. So compulsive versus pathological out of control, lying is known as compulsive or pathological lying. So in that scenario, that out of control scenario, the definitions can be fluid. But then again, compulsive liars have a need to embellish and exaggerate it, says Paul Ekman, who is a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of California in San Francisco, and he is the author of Telling Lies, among other books. And he goes on to say that they tell stories that they think want to be heard. When you ask a compulsive liar for an opinion on an important issue, they're likely to say something like, you know, you've made a really wise choice in asking my opinion.

[00:29:10] Many people ask my opinions. And I've actually been asked by the governor of California to comment on this. He said often they're pretty good liars and you often even believe what they say, at least for a little while. And he says that pathological liars may even be bolder. They continue to lie when they know that, you know, they're lying. So the two types of lying are pretty similar. But he said actually you could be a compulsive, pathological liar. Neither compulsive nor pathological lying has been studied extensively, say both doctors, Feldman and Ekman. They said that I don't think we really know enough about the ideology or the causes of these to know if they should be considered a mental disorder. So, for example, experts don't know for sure what drives that troublesome lying. They know impulsivity and the need to impress could be linked to a to the habit of lying. But they've debated whether or not these types of lyings are symptoms or a disease. Liars brains actually may differ structurally from the average brain. In a study of the British Journal of Psychiatry. Scientists did brain scans on pathological liars as well as others, and found that the liars had more white matter in their brains prefrontal cortex. So they concluded that the increase in white matter may somehow provide these super liars with the cognitive capacity to lie. And so, while everyday lies tend to be goal directed, you don't want to hurt. You don't want to hurt the feelings of your spouse after she made a meal.

[00:30:27] Or maybe she's wearing some new outfit. Pathological lies often seem purposeless, so sometimes the lies are even self incriminating, making them that much more difficult to figure out. So compared to pathological liars, compulsive liars can get along pretty well in life, Ekman says compulsive liars usually get away with it because they tell the lies that we want to believe and fortunately, neither type of a liar is common. According to Feldman and Ekman, Egmont estimates that fewer than five percent of people lie compulsively or pathologically. So can a compulsive or pathological liar change? So in experience, he says, most liars who are compulsive or pathological don't want to change enough to enter treatment. Usually they only do so when directed by a court order or after they've gotten into trouble, he says. Or they do so after their lies have resulted in dire consequences such as bankruptcy, divorce or the loss of a career. And then little research exists on treatment options for liars. Counseling or therapy might help with the focus on how to reduce impulsivity. And I have found that when I have found people in this article is spot on people that have come in because they are about to lose something big. But then then they are more willing to take a look at a lie. But what is really fascinating to me is by that time, most people have such a an impulsive relationship with lying that it is just something that just comes out of nowhere.

[00:31:45] It is just done without even thinking. And so then I elicit or enter the trans theoretical model of change, but then episodes on that in the past. And in essence, that means that you go from these stages of change. One is that you're not even aware that that there needs to be change. And I believe the next step is then this awareness. So then you are aware, OK, wow, I do a fair amount of lying. And then the step after that is now that you have that awareness, you move from not being aware to having awareness, then that is time to start listening to change.

[00:32:15] And I tell people that sometimes you will be aware you'll then it's almost like the next step is you catch yourself lying in that moment, but you continue with the lie. And I often say that. All right, you know, the goal there is as soon as you realize you lied to, then go back and make good on it or admit where you did not tell the truth. And you're basically at that point, with that awareness starting to walk backwards, this regression kind of a concept of where it went from, I wasn't aware then. It's like man I should probably be aware to now I'm aware I'm literally lying in this very moment to I'm aware. I just lied. So I better do something about it and tell somebody. And then almost at that point, you've I feel like you've reversed the tide and now you can go back to that, even calling yourself out in the very moment. You know, I didn't really say that or I was that's not where I was. I was somewhere else. And so but the big part of that is it takes complete it takes a determination and a commitment by the person who is lying. And that's why I like these articles say, and as I mentioned in my practice, that people aren't normally there until they are somewhat forced to be there.

[00:33:16] And even then, I feel like they try to hold on to the skill of lying to get themselves out of the trouble that they've gotten in by being caught in the lie. So at some point, that's why I think it's important to bring that to someone's awareness. So he said, can you first this is spotting with, living with or working with a whopper of a liar. Can you tell on first meeting that somebody might be a troubled liar? It's difficult, but Ekman has found this rule of thumb would be helpful if in the first half hour of meeting someone, I want to invite them over dinner. I watch out and I love this concept because this is that when I'm working with people that are struggling with relationships, with people, with things such as narcissism, there is a concept of love bombing. And there's this concept of, oh, my gosh, this is the most incredible person I've ever met. So what I believe these researchers are saying is that the reason it feels so incredible, like we've had this immediate connection and I want to take this person home with me right now after 30 minutes, is because they are somewhat most likely lying about things that just make themselves feel like they just are right there on the same page with you about everything.

[00:34:21] And that is this concept of love bombing. So. So he says that if a new friend or acquaintance shows his colors as a compulsive or pathological liar, the mentally healthy thing to do is walk away. But that can be so hard because this person, the things that they're saying just sounds so intriguing. And it does sound like we're on such a same page because what people ultimately value in friendships and relationships is truthfulness. So while those closely tied to a pathological liar may stay optimistic that the liar will change, Eckmann tells them, you need to also be a realist. Do you really want to spend your life at work or at home wondering if you're being duped? And he says pathological liars are so good, Feldman agrees. So you won't know when you're being lied to. And don't expect remorse either. He says pathological liars will look at every situation entirely from their own perspective because they don't have regard for another's feelings about what might happen as a result of their lies. Oftentimes, those lies are simply to get themselves out of a situation.

[00:35:15] So I hope I did not make this sound like it is dire, a dire position when you recognize that you may be in a relationship with someone who is a pathological or compulsive liar, if anything, like within all things, awareness is the key. Now, you are aware doesn't mean that you even have to go running out of the home right now, but just begin to be more aware, begin to take note, and you can slowly start to take action. You can start to. Stand up for yourselves a bit more. Be aware of what that gaslighting principle is, and if you know that you're not crazy, if you know that you are right about a situation, that's OK to say I respectfully disagree and then step out of the situation. You know, let me kind of end by sharing. There's five things I often talk about when people are trying to figure out their relationships, when they've been with the narcissistic individual. And the first one of those is to raise your emotional baseline, which means self care, do things that will make you feel like you are a good and a good position to take on life, to make good decisions. The second one is I always say get your PhD and gaslighting, understand what it is, because once you have that understanding and awareness, then you can root it out, you can recognize it, and you can not fall prey to gaslighting.

[00:36:23] You can know that. No, I'm right about this. Even if even if he's telling me that I'm crazy and I never said that and he never said that. And and the third thing is to learn how to disengage from unproductive conversations. I think that one is key when you know, OK, I'm being Haslet, then just kindly excuse yourself from the conversation. And that is what number four is, is the rule is setting boundaries. And a lot of times people have confusion over boundaries. But that boundary is saying when the conversation is going in this direction or when I feel like I am being gaslight, then I am going to set a boundary of I'm going to exit that conversation. And then the fifth part, this is the one that has to do with when I'm honestly working with people who are in relationships with people with personality disorders. And that is to realize that there is nothing that I will say or do that will cause that aha moment, that epiphany where they will go, oh my gosh, you're right.

[00:37:11] I didn't realize I've been lying my entire life. And that sounds a bit it doesn't sound as strength faced as I normally like, but it is actually quite empowering when one realizes that they are trying to walk on eggshells, tiptoe, do say or be the right person so that they can deliver a message to their partner that will not be used against them. And that's not a healthy way to be in a relationship. All right. Hey, I appreciate you taking the time. I hope that you have a wonderful rest of your week. If you have hung with me this far, then and if you're interested, I have begun a group for women who are in relationships with people that may be struggling with narcissistic tendencies or narcissistic personality disorder, whether they're in that relationship or whether they're trying to put some distance after the breakup or a divorce. And there's still that hold of the trauma bond. If that's the case, then please reach out to me at, or you can go through the website and I will give you more information on that group.

[00:38:07] Ok, have an amazing day. And taking this out, as per usual, is the wonderful the talented Aurora Florence with her song. It's wonderful.

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