I have dealt with this with a family member and, later on, realized that their child grew up to do the same from age 8 (she is 18 now and has perfected the art of lying.)
I don't think it is a genetic trait necessarily - if we look at the context of our immediate surroundings, i.e. parents, siblings, we basically follow or "self-teach" behaviors by observation...example, child sees/hears mom lying to dad to avoid some sort of consequence, once, twice, twenty times, the child will pick up on that act and think it's the norm. "Monkey sees, monkey does" sort of theory.
I truly believe it's related to environmental characteristics, we learn to lie to avoid unpleasant situations. I don't believe we are born liars. Later on, we grow and come to our own realizations of what is wrong or right, based on (hopefully) morals and principles (hopefully) taught by our parents.
I agree with CanP but I also believe there may be other psychological problems that may be in ones genes that can cause/or manifest itself like this. Environment plays a MAJOR part though. I had a Boyfriend that I believe was a pathological liar. I also see subtle messages of being deceptive that people are taught throughout life (everyone). But being PATHOLOGICAL is different. Can you give more input?
Hi..it seems that compulsive and pathological liars are not the same.
The compulsive liar does so out of habit, defensiveness, anxiety..etc, usually doesn't manipulate and isn't necessarily self-centred.
A pathological liar is usually in conjunction with a personality disorder such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder. There's probably no regard for the consequences of the lies (people's feelings), and there's a goal to be sought through the lies and manipulation. In other words...it's done with a purpose and well in mind...no guilt about it or enough of it to change their behaviour.
I think the personality disorder can be inherited, and the lies just become part of it through learning they can work.
I agree that people learn the habit and different reasons for the degrees of lies. They would be more socially and enpathetically connected...knowing it's wrong, but don't want to hurt others' feelings.
I agree that we can learn to lie from our environment...if it's rewarded, then the habit of lying will be more difficult to change. There's always a pay-off if it continues.
It's all a matter of perspective!
thanks for the replies, and sorry to get back to you a few days after.
I ask b/c my boyfriend's father was/is(?) a pathological liar, or compulsive, not really sure which. I just know that he lived multiple lives, disapeared for days at a time, was institutionalized for a bit, even had a fake death certificate made up for his now-ex wife.. just a life of lies. They were divorced before my boyfriend was a teenager, i think he was about 10... so I don't know how much of a part of his life he was then. I was also told that his father had a problem with depression.
I tend to get a bit paranoid from time to time, and although my trust issues are better than they were 2 years ago, they resurface every once in a while. My boyfriend's never given me reason to think he's lying.. but if he's good at it, how would I really know right?!?!
That's why I wondered if maybe it was something that could be inherited.. although I really think that I was just curious for no good reason! Thanks again for all the input
Im in hell ive suffered from depression for years, but my lack of trust in other people led me to start lying from a very early age. To make matters worse i have just lost my girlfriend who i love very much because of this.
I feel it all stems from insecurity and i know i shouldnt do it but i do the problem is that the lying leads to more depression and the feeling i have of loss toy my partner just makes everything worse.
I am a good caring person why the hell is this destroying my life why cant i get away from it.