pathological liars

Hi, I found this link whilst researching what leads people to lie, sometimes when its obvious they are lying. My partner (ex!) is trying to seek help for this problem as he has lost me and his job because he cant help but lie about the most bizarre things and every organisation I have talked to think I’m joking.

I contacted MIND (british mental health charity) and begged them for any info of where I could get him help and they were really rude to me.

I have since found out that lying, to this extent, can be a symptom of a physical problem, brain tumours for example. But I think in a lot of people its just caused by a total refusal to grow up and take responsibility.

Has anyone else known anyone who is like this?
If so what did you do?

First of all, welcome.
Second, IANAPsychiatrist, but I can share some of the things I know about searching for medical information as a layperson.

  1. Using the correct terms is important, as you have found. For this disorder, one of the correct terms was mentioned in Cecil’s article: pseudologia fantastica. Another, more modern, term is factitious disorder. Here’s a definition, does it sound applicable?
  1. You can also try to look for journal articles on the subject. Journal articles are the primary literature that scientists use to communicate with each other. They can be dense and difficult, but the average layperson can at least use them as the starting point for a discussion with a medical professional. The US National Institutes of Health maintains a publicly-accessible database called PubMed. Most of the articles are not available online, but usually a summary or abstract is. If you want the whole article, you usually have to take the reference information from PubMed and bring it to a library to retrieve the journal. I think the average person can read through an article if they have a good medical dictionary close to hand.

  2. Speaking of which, I like the On-Line Medical Dictionary from the Dept. of Medical Oncology, at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (not far from you!). The nice feature is that all the definitions are cross-linked. It can be frustrating to use a regular medical dictionary, where every definition is full of terms that you don’t understand and then have to look up - it gets circular. This one prevents that.

  3. A British general practitioner’s guide to Pseudologia Fantastica is available online

  4. Google will provide resources on pseudologia fantastica, of course.

  5. In the US, the main reference of psychological conditions is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), published by the American Psychiatric Association. A link to aummaries can be found here. The entry on Factitious Disorders is here.

Hope this helps.

I’ve personally known several pathological liars in my 55 years on this planet. All but one were retarded; I think the exception was just desperate for attention. I also know several via the Internet, all of them cases of adherents of wacko theories that resort to outright dishonesty (*e.g.,*actual forgery of old documents) as a last-ditch weapon when their illogic (e.g., we don’t have Shakespeare’s report cards, therefore he couldn’t read) and/or naïvité (e.g., Elizabethan England was torn between supporters and opponents of Jeffersonian democracy) lie defeated.

Thanks. I’m not really sure anymore that the person in question has any mental problem. I think it is a desperate cry for attention. The thing that strikes me is the cleverness in the way he will tell certain people some things and others a different side of the same lie. His head must constantly be trying to keep up with who knows what!
Its hurting my head just thinking about it!