Save Your Relationship

Dealing With a Habitual Liar

I don't know of anyone who hasn't told a "little white lie." But most of us don't make a habit of lying about very much.

We may expand the truth a bit when it comes to telling about the fish we caught, or how much we weigh, but being a habitual liar isn't a way of life for us.

Sometimes we lie in order to prevent someone from being hurt by someone else's insensitivity ("Mary didn't mean to say that") or maybe about why we were late for an appointment ("the traffic was really bad").

Then there's the life-saving lie that a man might make, "No honey, that dress doesn't make you look fat."

We all know people who tell unnecessary lies, the ones that don't really mean anything to anyone but them. Who knows why they do this? What if they keep lying? Maybe a psychologist could give us a technical answer, but what drives a person to be a habitual liar.

According to Psychologists, liars fall into two broad categories:

* Pathological Liar - this is someone who incessantly lies to get their way or to create a false impression. They do this without any regard for the person they are lying to. This is often a coping mechanism associated with some other mental disorder. Their lies are usually goal oriented.

* Compulsive, Chronic or Habitual Liar - this is someone who lies out of habit. They respond to questions with lies, even though the truth could serve them better. It's all about how they feel and lying is comfortable for them. Habitual liars are not usually manipulative but they are lying out of habit.

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But what about the person who falls outside these parameters described by shrinks? I'm talking about the person who is a little bit of both the pathological and habitual liars. The person who is lying to conceal activities outside the realm of behavior acceptable in a relationship?

This person on one hand professes to love you, but they are sneaking around behind your back seeing other people. Or they lie to cover the fact that they are engaging in activities that are either illegal, unethical or immoral.

This type of "habitual-pathological" liar is very harmful to a relationship because they know what they are doing is wrong, but their personal gratification or personal activities are more important to them than you are, or so it seems.

How do you deal with a person who tries to keep up a relationship by lying about their other activities? Well, you first have to be aware of their lying and then you have to decide if they can change in order to remain in the relationship.

Professional interrogators have a phrase for to describe the technique for uncovering lying. It is called "Truth Telling Style." What this means in essence, is to determine how a person tells the truth and then apply this knowledge to everything they say.

Truth telling style (TTS) is determined by asking them questions to which you already know the answers. Evaluate how they respond; their body language, gestures, their tone of voice. If they respond truthfully, what you are observing is their TTS. If they lie, then you know their lying style.

The trick is to keep asking questions you know the answers to, until they answer truthfully so that you can see how they handle both lies and truths.

You then have a benchmark with which to measure their responses to any questions you may ask.

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Experts say that habitual liars think they will never be caught. If confronted they usually respond with another lie. They lie with great conviction, as if convinced what they say is the truth.

Body language is very important in disclosing when they are lying.

Traits of a Habitual Liar

* They avoid direct eye contact, or cannot hold eye contact for long. Shifty eyes are a common characteristic of a habitual liar.

* They cannot be still while lying. They twist and turn,  play with things and fidget. They try to place physical  barriers between you and them like a table.

* They offer unnecessary or long-winded explanations when asked a direct question. They babble details that aren't called for by the question.

* When they run out of lies, they quickly change the subject, often bouncing from one to another.

Once you have determined you are dealing with a habitual liar, you should not be prone to believe much that they utter. Take every thing they say "with a grain of salt."

Confronting the habitual liar is an exercise in futility as they will only spew more lies. Accept what they say as being overstated or a blatant untruth and proceed from there.

If you discover that your partner is lying to you to cover activities you don't approve of, then whether you maintain that relationship is up to you.

Chances are that this person won't change (remember the saying about leopards and their spots), maintain a stubborn attitude in relationships and you may never be able to trust them.

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