Traits and Signs of Pathological Liars

Here is part of an article by Robert Longley that appeared in Thought Co. I wonder whom this may remind you? Hint, he used to live in New York City, then temporarily moved to Washington DC. He can either be found playing golf or watching Fox News. He is known for his political and business backstabbing and running companies into bankruptcy. He loves dictators and killers around the world and badmouths America’s allies. He has been involved in a mountain of corruption, and it is expected that a few years hence he will be spending long stretches of time behind bars.


Pathological liars are driven by definite, typically identifiable motives such as bolstering their ego or self-esteem, seeking sympathy, justifying feelings of guilt, or living out a fantasy. Others may lie simply to alleviate their boredom by creating drama.

In 1915, pioneering psychiatrist William Healy, M.D. wrote “All pathological liars have a purpose, i.e., to decorate their own person, to tell something interesting, and an ego motive is always present. They all lie about something they wish to possess or be.”

Keeping in mind that they typically tell their lies for purposes of self-gratification, here are some common identifying traits of pathological liars.

Their stories are fantastically outlandish: If the first thing you think is “No way!”, you may be listening to a tale told by a pathological liar. Their stories often depict fantastic circumstances in which they possess great wealth, power, bravery, and fame. They tend to be classic “name-droppers,” claiming to be close friends with famous people they may have never met.

They are always the hero or victim: Pathological liars are always the stars of their stories. Seeking adulation, they are always heroes or heroines, never villains or antagonists. Seeking sympathy, they are always the hopelessly suffering victims of outrageous circumstances.

They really believe it: The old adage “if you tell a lie often enough, you start to believe it” holds true for pathological liars. They sometimes come to believe their stories so completely that at some point they lose awareness of the fact that they are lying. As a result, pathological liars can seem aloof or self-centered, with little concern for others.

They don’t need a reason to lie: Pathological lying is considered a chronic tendency driven by an innate personality trait. That is, pathological liars need no external motivation to tell a lie; their motivation is internal (e.g. seeking adulation, attention, or sympathy).

Their stories may change: Grandiose, complex fantasies are hard to tell the same way every time. Pathological liars often expose themselves by frequently changing material details about their stories. They may simply be unable to remember exactly how they told the lie the last time, their exaggerated self-images drive them to further embellish the story with each telling.

They don’t like to be doubted: Pathological liars typically become defensive or evasive when the believability of their stories is questioned. When backed into a corner by facts, they will often defend themselves by telling even more lies.


Of course America’s enemies know all this about co conspirator A in the New York indictment and conviction of his lawyer Michael Cohen. So they play upon A’s uncontrollable needs to the detriment of our national interest — easy pickings for Putin and co.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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