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Why does she lie?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
A friend of mine lies. I'm doubting if she's a friend these days.

She'll lie about insignificant details and major events. She lied to about her brother's death; she gave me daily (false) updates that continued for two weeks after he died. O.K., so maybe that was grief... But I've started realizing there's a 50-50 chance anything she says is true. Something as dumb as "I love your daughter's backpack - where did you get it?" will be answered with an untruthful answer. Why? She knows me; she knows I'm not going to run out and buy one!

She is very competitive (and her daughter has huge envy/competition issues with other girls). My friend didn't come across as competitive for a while; our family noticed it first with her daughter's problem. (Her daughter is the class bully, but only to other girls. Her mom told me she gets along with boys because they are different enough that she doesn't compare herself to them.)

Why do people lie? First of all, you get found out, and secondly, you are then considered untrustworthy and what good is that. She wasn't this bad (to me) when I first knew her, but she has been lying more and more over the years. She's alienated a lot of people, and now she seems to be doing it to me.

Anybody have an objective view?
post #2 of 19
I've got no idea on this one but I do have a similar friend. I think he's constantly trying to impress others and so he lies to everyone about alot of things. Some small and insigifinacant and others not so much. Occasionally some one will call him on it and even when he knows he busted he still insists he's not embelishing! I don't get it... I personally think it take too much energy to lie.
post #3 of 19
I seriously think that some compulsive liars have an actually certified phsychological reason. Others, unfortunately, try to make themselves feel bigger or better or different then how they percieve themselves. Usually it isn't even an issue of them lying to you specifically, but it about how the lying makes them feel. If that is the case, she probably doesn't even realize that she is lying at the time, it may be true in her mind at the time she says it.

It is difficult to deal with people like that - I have a relative who is the same way.
post #4 of 19
I think they call that "pathological" lying. They just can't help themselves.

I can't even begin to understand why people lie on a regular basis. It makes zero sense to me!
post #5 of 19
I think it results from feeling inadequate. The need to feel "special". My mother does this as well. Which is why anything she says goes in one ear and out the other. And then she will turn around and say she hates a liar. She will lie about stupid stuff that she knows I'll find out. She has very little self esteem and the need to feel important. So she will exaggerate everything! If she has a headache it's always a migraine! Hit her toe? Oh she thinks she broke it. So she's also a hypochondriac too.

When I was a kid we had decided to move to Ky. I was about 10 at the time. We were trying to sell the trailer we were living in. One guy came to check it out and she told him that the roof had just been covered in new tar. Me, being a kid and not knowing any better said "No you didn't momma". Well let me tell you. I got a big thank you from that guy. He quickly walked away. Unfortunately I also got in big trouble! For telling the freakin truth.

Sorry as you can tell this topic is one that gets my blood boiling a bit. I have lots more stories like the above. I don't think there's a day that goes by that my mother doesn't tell a lie.
post #6 of 19
Holy cow I could write a book about the liars I have met.

another poster said it well, they're trying to make themselves stand out and make themselves more important than you for some shape or reason. It could just be attention (i.e. the brother's updates...maybe she likes the attention you gave her) or it could just be for plain competition...to let YOU know SHE'S better than you (in her head).

Lying is what ruins any relationship. You're right, you'll find out most of the time and it makes you question her credibility.

That's too bad her daughter is a bully to the other girls. One girl I grew up with was like that (with the mom that reassured her how much better she was than the other girls). My mom quickly realised this and didn't allow me over to her house. It didn't help my social skills since i was being alienated from the other girls, but it did teach me to be my own self.
post #7 of 19
My mother does the embellishing thing. Takes some seemingly random, every day event and creates a dramatic scenario. Of course, she truly believes the new and improved version with no regard for the facts. If it is really something big/out of the ordinary, you can imagine how that goes! I think she should have been a playwright or novelist. It is highly irritating to be around. I have almost zero tolerance for any type of drama in my personal life which is kinda sad because a little drama seems to be fun for some people. Arrgghh.

I have known people who seem lie just to lie, with no logic at all. They are difficult to have as friends. I think it may be due to low self-esteem, feeling small and unimportant and then it becomes some kind of habit they cannot escape. One guy, when I listen to him talk, I can tell now just where the train jumps the truth track. I shut him out after that point. His son has grown up to be the same way.

I'm sorry you have to deal with someone like this. I really feel sorry for her daughter.
post #8 of 19
I'm not sure why people lie like that. I have a friend that lives in a shitty house in the city, and she's always lying about money. She says things she has cost way more than they do, and that sort of thing. I think she only does it to make herself feel better. I just try to ignore it.
post #9 of 19
my boss is like that, lies for no reason at all.
post #10 of 19
She is using it as a crutch for her insecurity. Is she very insecure?

My dd's friend lies all the time and my dd doesn't like this aspect of the relationship, and she is so young to be lying.

ETA: Another thing to add to my dwindling friends list-no lying, no swearing and if they don't like cats. Ya just might say I don't have any!!!! No time for them anyway, family is very demanding and pets are even more demanding.

I found out looong ago not to trust 99% of the population. It's that special 1% that can be trusted.
post #11 of 19
My brother in law is a compulsive liar. Nobody can understand it. He was engaged to one girl, then broke it off a couple of months before the wedding, then 2 days later he announced he was marrying someone else... and the wedding date was in like 5 weeks - BEFORE the other wedding was supposed to happen. We assumed the other girl had to be pregnant, but she wasn't so we have no idea how long they'd actually been "engaged" for.

He hadn't even told the new girl he was marrying that he was about to get married to someone else. Needless to say they divorced within a year... He'd told the one he married he was quite well off, and had huge savings and so on, and when she found out he had been engaged to someone else, and was actually up to his eyeballs in debt, she wasn't too pleased...

He borrowed $500 off DH to pay the last installment of the wedding ring (for the first bride), and PROMISED he'd pay the money back the next Monday when he got paid from his new job, and that weekend was when he announced he'd split from his fiancee. And then he turned up at my in laws with the new fiancee and her 3 year old kid, and all the new toys and things he'd bought the kid! They couldn't figure out where he got the money from, but my SIL who we'd told about the money knew, and was absolutely seething.

He constantly changes jobs every 4-6 months because he gets so deep into his lies he gets caught out and his only option is to leave.

DH and my SIL are so normal, I have no idea what went wrong with him!!!

I have never met someone who told such outrageous lies so easily.

Edit to add: He's a nice looking guy, very nice apart from the lying thing, and is a mechanic, so not exactly the highest paying job in the world, but can make a good honest living, and loves working on cars, so he'd definitely be considered a "catch" to plenty of girls. I have no reason why he'd be insecure...
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone, for the input!

She doesn't act insecure, in fact, just the opposite. But I think she is. She has more material things than anyone else I know, but still compares what she has/doesn't have with others. Everything is a contest.

Funny thing is, she KNOWS I know when she's lying. I know her well enough now that I can tell, and she knows I know. Still, she lies.

I wish I didn't have to see her all the time, or that she'd get a grip!
post #13 of 19
I have nothing for people who lie.

My husband has a sister who lies all the time, she has lied about her health, and anything and everything. I do not believe a word she says, I do not like to even be around her. Thank goodness the only time we have to see her is at Christmas.

I know that sounds horrible, but it is just the way that I feel. She has cried wolf about her health so much that it is a shame. I told my husband one time, that something really bad could happen to her far as her health and no one is gonna believe her. The rest of the family just listens to her, and lets her ramble. I don't, she knows that I don't believe nothing, and I mean nothin, that she says.

I teach the kids at day care all the time to tell the truth, I try and tell them that it is always better to tell the truth even if they are gonna get in trouble.
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by SwampWitch View Post
Thanks everyone, for the input!

She doesn't act insecure, in fact, just the opposite. But I think she is. She has more material things than anyone else I know, but still compares what she has/doesn't have with others. Everything is a contest.

Funny thing is, she KNOWS I know when she's lying. I know her well enough now that I can tell, and she knows I know. Still, she lies.

I wish I didn't have to see her all the time, or that she'd get a grip!
She's probably waiting for you to ask her why she lies all the time, I dare you to ask her.
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by SalemWitchChild View Post
I think it results from feeling inadequate. The need to feel "special".
They just don't feel their normal life is enough, so they have to make it up to feel special.
post #16 of 19
When I was much younger (grade school and early high school), I was very insecure. I was geeky and awkward and had very, very few close friends. As a result, I would make up stories about the cool people I knew and the cool things I did. Gradually, the stories would extend until I was basically lying about every detail of my life, in order to make myself sound more important than I really was. I desperately wanted to fit in and thought that by creating a world in which I did fit in, the real people in the real world would accept me. It never once occurred to me (back then) that by lying and embellishing the way I did, I was only adding to my own ostracization -- even other kids could easily figure out that I wasn't telling the truth, so they learned not to trust me and that just led to me being even more unliked.

I eventually reached the point where I clued in to the fact that my lying all the time wasn't helping me make any new friends, and so I just stopped. It wasn't until close to the end of high school that I was able to undo all the damage I'd done, but once I got to university it was like I got a new lease on life -- nobody there knew me as a liar, to them I was just another freshman.

I don't know why your friend does it, but I know I did it because I was insecure and thought it would impress people. Now that I'm older and "wiser," I don't feel the need to lie or embellish; I'm confident and comfortable with myself the way I am. I wish I had been able to say that about myself way back when, though.
post #17 of 19
A friend of mine with a real interest in psychology and took a number of courses in college told me that often liars were raised by parents who were perfectionists and were unable to convey the assurance of unconditional love. That doesn't mean all conpulsive liars fall in that category but it is often the root cause of it. My ex was a compulsive liar and I could see his mother being that type of person.
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks again for all the responses! They make a lot of sense. Mirinae, a special thanks for sharing your experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddcats View Post
She's probably waiting for you to ask her why she lies all the time, I dare you to ask her.
Ha, ha, you're evil! I have to see her all the time and that would make things even more awkward and difficult, wouldn't it? This morning, she overheard my daughter telling a friend she advanced from Brownies to Guides last night (in Girl Guides) and she wouldn't even look at me - she kept her back facing me when she walked by, and wouldn't look me in the face. More competition?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Denice View Post
A friend of mine with a real interest in psychology and took a number of courses in college told me that often liars were raised by parents who were perfectionists and were unable to convey the assurance of unconditional love....
It sounds like her parents were like that... and would explain why her daughter is going down the same path. (She clearly favors her son over her daughter.)
post #19 of 19
SwampWitch,

My dad does this all the time. Confronting him about his lies does absolutely no good... he just justifies them even more or tells you that he didn't actually say anything and you've misunderstood the situation.

Truth is, he has a mental condition, and really should be treated for it. Unfortunately, because it's not a life threatening situation, he can't be forced to go to therapy, although I would dearly love to make him do that.

I've found the best thing to do is just ignore the lies as much as possible and make sure he knows I don't buy into them, but without making a huge fuss. It hasn't made my Dad say anything more true, but at least I know that I'm handling the situation the best I can.

Best wishes in this. It would really be best if she could get therapy with someone who knows what her problem is.... often if you don't know the person it's hard to know that they're doing it.
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