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A Habitual Liar's Lament

Question:

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p> (Note: the email writer provides a female name)

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p> From the age of 8 years old I was verbally abused by my father who was an alcoholic. I am now 37 years of age. In my younger days from about 10 years or so I started invented stores about the family I wish I had. These thoughts were not kept in my head I shared these fantasizes with friend my school mate. From what kind of home I lived in to the kind of family member I had. They were always perfect. I even convinced myself that the stories I made up were actually true. They began feeling real to me. I took on the personality I created and believed in the imaginary ones. Mostly I wanted others to believe them and often wondered and became annoyed if any doubt was express about the stories I told. Recently or about 4 years ago I came into contact with the Internet. I think I may be somewhat addicted to it. However, my addiction is for chat rooms meeting people on line. I spend hours talking to people and creating stories of fabulous lifestyles.

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p> Some years ago between 4 and 2 I met a woman online rather trusting in believing what I had to say without demanding anything of me. The character I play is that of a man. I am successful with the perfect family full of love. I create a new story almost every day. I have even had two children since we started chatting non of witch are true. My life is equipped with family member and friends. (I tend to remember everything I say no matter how long ago it has been said and if I don’t I can easily explain any discrepancies that my pop up). I have spoken to her as at least 5 different characters and I take on the personality of each one I play with emotions and all. I am always aware of what I am doing. I control her every move and get highly offended if things doesn’t go my way. I am in no way violent or have violent tendencies. I just refuse to speak to her for a period of time witch I know will cause extreme pain and suffering to her.

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p> I live my life in anticipation of being online and chatting with this woman. It’s one of my major source of happiness and mostly pleasure. When I am done speaking with her I spend many hours fantasizing about what we have spoken about. As a matter of fact 99% of my life is spend fantasizing about what one thing or another mostly about an elaborate lifestyle.

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p> I am an average achiever but I always project I know more than I do. I can talk a good game. I am capable of mastering any situation once I am shown the practical of it. I work well with others I am easy going and loved by most people I meet. I function quite well in the company of others in fact being alone is not something I welcome. I hate when people don’t believe what I say. Sometimes I try to comfort myself by telling myself you are not telling the truth but it never helps. It annoys me when I am not believed even though I know what I am saying is not the truth.

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p> The latest crazy thing I have done is to invite this woman to spend time with me and a family that do not exist. I am still working on the escape route

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p> Writing this I do believe I am nuts but I feel perfectly normal. Please help me.. If I am sick I would like to do something to help myself.

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p> Thank you so much this is the first time I have made an attempt to talk about this as I am somewhat embarrass by it.

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Answer:

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p> What you’ve written here is fascinating, I think, because on the one hand, here you are this person who engages in a lot of rather nasty social manipulation, who tells lies all the time and derives pleasure from manipulating the emotions of other unsuspecting people, and on the other hand, you reveal some of the motivation for why you feel so compelled to act in this anti-social manner – you’re deeply insecure and needy of attention and this is kind of the best way you’ve learned how to get it for yourself – and knowing this about you allows other people to have some pity on you – to understand and empathize with what you’re going through. You ask if you are “sick”, and I think the answer is probably no and yes. No you aren’t sick in the sense that the fears and insecurities that drive you are universal, experienced by almost everyone at one time or another. Yes you are sick in the sense that the manner in which you have learned to comfort yourself is maladaptive, socially inappropriate and ultimately self-defeating and you don’t seem to know how to grow out of it. People frequently write me as to whether there is a diagnosis about habitual liars (which is what you’re admitting to being) and I don’t know of one (although I think there ought to be one). You may have some histrionic personality traits, or even qualify for a histrionic personality disorder, who knows? Whatever the case, the problem would appear to be with your personality and social relationships and ability to be honest and to trust in relationships, and not with your brain or body. While your body is all grown up, your social self may still be functioning on the maturity level of a younger child.

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p> A key issue for you, maybe “The” key issue, is trust. People don’t like liars for two reasons. The obvious first reason because what they have to say is unreliable and can lead to bad decisions with negative consequences. The second more subtle reason is because it is impossible to have a real authentic and true connection with a liar. Lying is a defense against ever being vulnerable, emotionally naked, in front of another person. While it is good to be able to defend yourself against many people (as many people are willing to hurt you if they get the chance), it is poisonous to never allow yourself to be vulnerable at all. We all (except for sociopaths) have a built in need for being accepted by others who accept us as we are, knowing what we are. When we don’t have this sort of authentic connection to at least a few others, we get lonely and sad and feel unfulfilled and like something is wrong. In order to heal yourself and to grow out of your immaturity, it will be necessary for you to learn how to safely reveal yourself to another rather fully in all your inadequacies (and strengths) so as to allow people to know and trust you, and you them. I suggest that the best way to start with this learning would be to work with a good psychologist or other trained therapist who can be a non-judgmental witness for you.

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Comments
  • Owshen

    I have read the story of the "liars lament" I wish I could say that I didn't understand. Although I have not done the whole internet thing. I have led a life of lies. I started out the same way, lying about my family. Then lying about stupid insignificant subjects that I didn't even know why I was lying about in the first place, hense the name habitual lier. During my late teens I had a major depressive episode and tried to take my life. I landed in a state hospital for a good long stay. After that, for what ever reason I practically stopped lying and actually became "too honest" speaking my mind and hypocritically hating any one who lied. I started having more respect for myself and began to turn my life around. I was in therapy and it was actually working for once. And then while my therapist was going over symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder that I so happened to have almost all of. I broke down and told him that I was sexually abused. It is the truth, I was. And it was horrible and I beleive it has caused me a lot of problems in my life. But I didn't stop talking, in this strange dream like state I went on and told a story about how I got my vengance on my abuser. That was a lie. And since that day my life has gone into a downward spiral that I can't seem to break myself out of. I feel like I have regressed back to my adolescent years. I began treating my therapist like he was the enemy, like he now hated me, and everything I stood for. In truth I know that it is my own projection and it's me that I hate not him. But it doesn't help the fact that now I have destroyed all but a few of my relationships with people including my family and friends. I made things so hard on my therapist that he stopped talking to me. I would give anything to go back change things but I can't. Now I am living in my own private lonely hell and have no one to blame but myself. I have had moments that I have wanted to die, but I don't want to hurt my family. besides I think a part of me want's to live. I feel I have burned my bridges and have have no where else to go. All of this because I told a stupid pointless big fat lie.

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