I lie a lot. To other people, and often enough to fool myself. I have moral standards that I'm not afraid to share with people, but they aren't things I actually follow--especially when it comes to honesty.
When I was fourteen, I had a sexual relationship with a college-aged man. It resulted in a lot of emotional pain and manipulation, and my family still knows nothing about the relationship. Those I choose to tell about this situation, close friends and romantic partners, I tell them I was "sexually assaulted", when I did give my consent, or I even tell them that I was raped by the man, though we did not have vaginal intercourse. Since then, when I have been very attracted to a man, I lie about my past. I have even lied about being a former smoker, though I'm disgusted by the thought of them.
My biggest lie has gone on for years. I have some very distinct scars on my body where a mole was removed when I was fifteen. I began telling my classmates that they were "pre-cancerous" cells that had to be removed, when I only had them removed to improve my looks. Later in college, I started telling people that I had actually had melanoma, when I've actually been perfectly healthy. I told them that I had gone through chemotherapy, and even that I had lost my hair. More recently, I felt the need to tell my peers that there was a chance that the "cancer" had come back, when it never even existed in the first place.
Most recently, I have begun to lie about panic attacks. I do have anxiety problems, but when I'm explaining my feelings, I tend to overexaggerate my symptoms.
Generally, I tend to lie about things to cover up embarrassment in my life, to make myself more interesting, to make excuses, or for undeserved sympathy.
What is wrong with me, and how should I begin taking steps to fix my problem?
"Am I a sociopath?". No! You have a disorder called Mythomania, which basically means that you lie and exaggerate excessively.
"how should I begin taking steps to fix my problem?". Therapy would help a great deal. You don't really have to live like this. I mean, lying is actually more difficult than telling the truth. You have to be able to remember in detail what you lied about, sometimes years ago.
Try telling the truth at least three times a day and see how it goes.
Just a suggestion.
Well I had a nice paragraph written for a reply, I hit tab accidentally and my browser was kind enough to "back" and erase it all. >/ Abridged version: I was about the same way, then I went through a situation that turned me introspective and let me see things like this and how to overcome them. A possible solution, one that works for most is: find something that you think you're really good at. A talent you have that just seems to come naturally, or just feels right. For me it was making music, on any instrument. Once you identify it, hone and strengthen it. Then, the final step is to take pride in it, and take pride in YOURSELF for it.
If you want to know why I think this will work for you, here's the reason, it is.. your reasons.
"Generally, I tend to lie about things to cover up embarrassment in my life, to make myself more interesting, to make excuses, or for undeserved sympathy." The general that can be derived from these specifics is that you simply CARE TOO MUCH about what people think of you. I thought the exact same way, and handled things almost exactly the same as you, and I found this out. But people would tell me that the reason I was so unliked was that I cared TOO MUCH about others' opinions, but no one would tell me how to FIX it. "Sure, ok, I'll just randomly stop caring with absolutely no idea how. ok. " lol.
So I am telling you what worked for me, who knows, it might work for you. Just don't let what other people think of you get you down. You are who you are, and you have a unique gift whether you know what it is yet or not, and therefore you don't need to care what they think. If they don't like you, it's their loss.
In closing, I hope this helps, despite my post-long day at work exhaustion and my ******-offery at the fact that my browser erased my first draft. lol. But it never hurts to see a psychologist, they can identify underlying factors or other things better than I could simply through text. I'm good, but not that good. Well anyway, good luck!