Cry Wolf!

"Cry Wolf" by Laura Branigan
“Cry Wolf” by Laura Branigan
""The Boy who cried Wolf"" from Aesop's Fables
“”The Boy who cried Wolf”” from Aesop’s Fables
Wolf! Wolf!
Wolf! Wolf!
''He's a Liar'' by Bee Gees
”He’s a Liar” by Bee Gees
''Lie to Me''
”Lie to Me”
''Lie to Me''
”Lie to Me”
Microexpressions from ''Lie to Me''
Microexpressions from ”Lie to Me”
Facial Expressions
Facial Expressions
Facial Expressions
Facial Expressions
Kristin Stewart Emotional Chart of Facial Expressions.
Kristin Stewart Emotional Chart of Facial Expressions.
Body Language Chart
Body Language Chart
Body Language Chart
Body Language Chart
Definition of a Pathological Liar
Definition of a Pathological Liar
Definition of a Pathological/Compulsive Liar
Definition of a Pathological/Compulsive Liar
Walt Disney's "Never Cry Wolf"' (1983)
Walt Disney’s “Never Cry Wolf”‘ (1983)
Cry Wolf!
Cry Wolf!



“Cry Wolf” – Laura Branigan
You couldn’t wait for answers
You just had to try those wings
And all your happy ever afters
Didn’t mean a thing
So I’m not gonna try at all
To keep you from the flame
Just remember not to call my name



When you cry wolf
Once too often
When you cry wolf
No, I won’t come knockin’
When you cry wolf
I won’t hear you anymore



If you start to stumble
If you start to crack
And if you’re ever feeling humble
Don’t look back



When you cry wolf
Once too often
When you cry wolf
No, I won’t come knockin’
When you cry wolf
I won’t hear you



You can try but you can’t get me
Into the fire
‘Cause I’m out of sympathy
And I can’t walk this wire
So find yourself somebody new
To catch you when you fall
‘Cause I got just one thing to say to you
And that’s all



When you cry wolf
Once too often
When you cry wolf
No, I won’t come knockin’
When you cry wolf
I won’t hear you
Baby baby, cry wolf
When you cry wolf
I won’t hear you




The Boy Who Cried Wolf

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



The Boy Who Cried Wolf is one of Aesop’s Fables, numbered 210 in the Perry Index. From it is derived the English idiom “to cry wolf”, meaning to give a false alarm.


The fable


The tale concerns a shepherd boy who repeatedly tricks nearby villagers into thinking a wolf is attacking his flock. When one actually does appear and the boy again calls for help, the villagers do not come thinking that it is another false alarm and the sheep are eaten by the wolf.


The moral stated at the end of the Greek version is, “this shows how liars are rewarded: even if they tell the truth, no one believes them”. It echoes a statement attributed to Aristotle by Diogenes Laërtius in his The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, where the sage was asked what those who tell lies gain by it and he answered “that when they speak truth they are not believed”. William Caxton similarly closes his version with the remark that “men bileve not lyghtly hym whiche is knowen for a lyer”.

The Fable’s history

The story dates from Classical times but, since it was recorded only in Greek and not translated into Latin until the 15th century, it only began to gain currency after it appeared in Heinrich Steinhowel‘s collection of the fables and so spread through the rest of Europe. For this reason, there was no agreed title for the story. Caxton titles it “Of the child whiche kepte the sheep” (1484), Hieronymus Osius “The boy who lied” (“De mendace puero”, 1574), Francis Barlow “Of the herd boy and the farmers” (“De pastoris puero et agricolis”, 1687), Roger L’Estrange “A boy and false alarms” (1692), George Fyler Townsend “The shepherd boy and the wolf” (1867). It was under the final title that Edward Hughes set it as the first of ten “Songs from Aesop’s fables” for children’s voices and piano, in a poetic version by Peter Westmore (1965).


Teachers have used the fable as a cautionary tale about telling the truth but a recent educational experiment suggested that reading “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” increased children’s likelihood of lying. On the other hand, reading a book on George Washington and the cherry tree decreased this likelihood dramatically. The suggestibility and favorable outcome of the behavior described, therefore, seems the key to moral instruction of the young. However, when dealing with the moral behavior of adults, Samuel Croxall asks, referencing political alarmism, “when we are alarmed with imaginary dangers in respect of the public, till the cry grows quite stale and threadbare, how can it be expected we should know when to guard ourselves against real ones?”


The idiomatic phrase “to cry wolf” has been frequently used in the titles of films, books and lyrics, but these rarely refer directly to the fable.




“He’s A Liar” – Bee Gees


I was stood by the light as I looked through the window
With the greatest intention not meaning to see
I was there in the dark and I saw you together
You were up in his arms , I was down on my knees
Get the cards on the table
No need to pretend
You’ve got to be cruel to be kind
He can sell you his love and you know you will pay ’cause



[chorus 1]
He’s a liar
He’s a liar and I should know liar
He’s a liar and I should know – ahhh



Well, they told me I fell but I just don’t remember
I was standing face down, they were there at my feet
There was smoke in the air and sweet smell of leather
I was through the window and down in the street
Well, I’m cold and I’m hungry but I’m still alive
And it’s not how I want it to be
There’s a hand on my shoulder
He said I’ll survive, but-



[chorus 2]
He’s a liar
He’s a liar, and I should know liar
He’s a liar, and I should know – ahhh



Was it not for the man that was blocking the drive
Was it not for the red limousine
I’d be millions of miles from th scene of the crime
And somehow in this madness believe she was mine -but



[chorus 3]
I’m a liar
He’s a liar
And I should know liar
He’s a liar
And I should know-ahhh
He’s a [repeat and fade]





Lie to Me

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Lie to Me (stylized as Lie to me*) is an American crime drama television series. It originally ran on the Fox network from January 21, 2009 to January 31, 2011. In the show, Dr. Cal Lightman (Tim Roth) and his colleagues in The Lightman Group accept assignments from third parties (commonly local and federal law enforcement), and assist in investigations, reaching the truth through applied psychology: interpreting microexpressions, through the Facial Action Coding System, and body language.


The show is inspired by the work of Paul Ekman, the world’s foremost expert on facial expressions and a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. Dr. Ekman has served as an advisor to police departments and anti-terrorism groups (including the Transportation Security Administration) and acted as a scientific consultant in the production of the series. He is also the author of 15 books, including “Telling Lies” and “Emotions Revealed.”


Cast and characters



  • Tim Roth as Dr. Cal Lightman, a genius psychologist with an expertise in body language, predominantly microexpressions, and a founder of The Lightman Group, a private company that operates as an independent contractor to assist investigations of local and federal law enforcement through applied psychology.[11] Though often confronted by people’s skepticism, Lightman uses any psychological technique he deems necessary to reach the truth, however elaborate or confronting. He is divorced, and has shared custody of his teenage daughter. He cares deeply about his colleague Gillian Foster, and there is a chemistry between them that has yet to develop into anything more, although in the season three finale he confesses (to his daughter) that he loves her. His mother committed suicide while he was still young, an event that led him to discovering and researching microexpressions. There is evidence he was involved with British Intelligence. Lightman also mentioned interrogating IRA members, going as far as admitting his read of one of them caused the US government to murder innocent people, based on their misinterpretation of his words. He has also admitted to being an MI6 intelligence agent during the Yugoslav Wars in 1994 in an attempt to gain the trust of an intelligence agent that he was interrogating. Lightman is a West Ham United supporter as he mentions himself in season two. He can also be seen wearing a Claret and Blue scarf in one of the later episodes of season two. The character is based on Dr. Paul Ekman, a psychologist and expert on body language and facial expressions at University of California, San Francisco.[13]
  • Kelli Williams as Dr. Gillian Foster, Dr. Lightman’s colleague in The Lightman Group.[14] Her husband’s lack of candor often challenges her open pact with Lightman: not to let their professional skill interfere with coworkers’ personal lives. So, when Cal believes her husband, Alec, is cheating on her, he simply ignores what he is seeing, much to Torres’s dismay. It is later revealed that he was not, in fact, cheating on her, but was trying to overcome his drug addiction. They promptly divorce. Gillian had adopted a baby (Sophie) who was eventually returned to the birth mother. This character is based on Dr. Maureen O’Sullivan, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of San Francisco.
  • Brendan Hines as Eli Loker, an employee of The Lightman Group. Unlike Torres, whom Lightman calls “a natural”, Loker acquired his skills in “reading” people through academic education and practice. During season one, he also adheres to Radical Honesty, and thus rarely lies, even if that makes him appear rude or undiplomatic.[15] Lightman demoted him to an unpaid intern after, despite Foster’s warnings, he divulged sensitive information to the SEC while working on a case. However, he is later promoted to vice president, which puts a rift in any developing relationship between him and Torres.
  • Monica Raymund as Ria Torres, an employee of The Lightman Group, and a protégé of Dr. Lightman’s, who was recognized as a “natural” while she was still working as a TSA agent.[16] Torres was abused as a child,[17] a common pattern among naturals. Though talented and loyal, she lacks academic training and sometimes lets her emotions cloud her judgment. She has a half sister who was formerly in juvenile prison and is now enrolled at a private school.
  • Hayley McFarland as Emily Lightman, Cal Lightman’s teenage daughter. She is under shared custody between her parents, and though she does not appreciate her father’s ability to “read” her, she does not deny its merit for social screening. She has had a few boyfriends over the series that her father frequently scrutinizes. Though she sometimes gets into trouble and has fake IDs, and, much to Lightman’s chagrin, has been sexually active, she is generally very well-behaved and has a loving relationship with her father. (Recurring – season 1, regular – seasons 2–3)
  • Mekhi Phifer as Ben Reynolds, an FBI agent who is assigned to and assists the Lightman Group in their investigations, offering armed assistance and practical insights. Reynolds doesn’t always agree with Lightman’s ways, but stands behind him most of the time. (Recurring – season 1, regular – season 2)



  • Jennifer Beals as Zoe Landau, Cal Lightman’s ex-wife and Emily’s mother. She is an Assistant Attorney General and though currently engaged to another man, she also engaged in a tryst with Lightman, after he helped her in a case. (Seasons 1 & 2)
  • Monique Gabriela Curnen as Detective Sharon Wallowski. She is a police officer who assists Lightman. (Seasons 2 & 3)
  • Tim Guinee as Alec Foster, Gillian Foster’s ex-husband. He works at the United States Department of State and is a recoveringcocaine addict where throughout the series it was heavily hinted that he was having an extramarital affair until it revealed the woman was his CA sponsor. He and Gillian divorced. (Season 1 only)
  • Sean Patrick Thomas as Special Agent Karl Dupree. Dupree initially assisted the Lightman group on a case involving a controversial South Korean ambassador, who is presumed to be an assassination target at his son’s state wedding. Torres and Dupree are romantically involved later in season one. He also defends Torres against Loker when he divulged sensitive information to the SEC while working on a case. (Season 1 only)
  • Brandon Jones as Liam, Emily Lightman’s boyfriend, a high school jock who is not intimidated by Cal Lightman. Emily breaks up with him because he does not believe in sex before marriage. (Season 3 only)




Season one opens with Cal and Gillian hiring a new associate: TSA officer Ria Torres, who scored extraordinarily high on Cal’s deception-detection diagnostic, and is in turn labeled a “natural” at deception detection. Her innate talent in the field clashes with Cal’s academic approach, and he often shows off by rapidly analyzing her every facial expression. She counters by reading Lightman and, when he least expects it, peppers conversations with quotes from his books.

It was gradually revealed that Dr. Lightman was driven to study micro-expressions as a result of guilt over his mother’s suicide. She claimed to have been fine in order to obtain a weekend pass from a psychiatric ward, when she was actually experiencing agony (which mostly parallels Paul Ekman’s anecdote in his book “Telling Lies”).

For a small number of the early episodes, Lightman would team up with Torres to work on a case, while Foster and Loker would team up on a separate case. Occasionally, their work would intertwine, or Foster and/or Lightman would provide assistance on each other’s cases. As the first season progressed, the cases became more involved, and all four of the main characters would work together on one case for each episode.

In addition to detecting deception in subjects they interview, Lightman and his team also use various interviewing and interrogation tactics to elicit useful information. Rather than by force, they use careful lines of questioning, provocative statements, theatrics and healthy doses of deception on their own part. In the show’s pilot episode, Lightman is speaking to a man who is refusing to speak at all, and is able to discern vital information by talking to him and gauging his reaction to each statement. This approach is also taken in several other episodes (e.g., “Do No Harm“).



Applied psychology

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Applied psychology is the use of psychological principles and theories to overcome problems in real life situations. Mental healthorganizational psychologybusiness managementeducationhealthproduct designergonomics, and law are just a few of the areas that have been influenced by the application of psychological principles and findings. Some of the areas of applied psychology include clinical psychologycounseling psychologyevolutionary psychologyindustrial and organizational psychologylegal psychologyneuropsychologyoccupational health psychologyhuman factorsforensic psychology,engineering psychologyschool psychologysports psychology traffic psychologycommunity psychologymedical psychology. In addition, a number of specialized areas in the general field of psychology have applied branches (e.g., applied social psychology, applied cognitive psychology). However, the lines between sub-branch specializations and major applied psychology categories are often blurred. For example, a human factors psychologist might use a cognitive psychology theory. This could be described as human factor psychology or as applied cognitive psychology.




Body language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Body language refers to various forms of nonverbal communication, wherein a person may reveal clues as to some unspoken intention or feeling through their physical behaviour. These behaviours can include body posturegesturesfacial expressions, and eye movements. Body language also varies depending on the culture and most behaviors are not universally accepted. Although this article focuses on interpretations of human body language, also animals use body language as a communication mechanism. Body language is typically subconscious behaviour, and is therefore considered distinct from sign language, which is a fully conscious and intentional act of communication.

Body language may provide clues as to the attitude or state of mind of a person. For example, it may indicate aggressionattentivenessboredom, a relaxed state, pleasureamusement, and intoxication.

Body language is significant to communication and relationships. It is relevant to management and leadership in business and also in places where it can be observed by many people. It can also be relevant to some outside of the workplace. It is commonly helpful in dating, mating, in family settings, and parenting. Although body language is non-verbal or non-spoken, it can reveal much about your feelings and meaning to others and how others reveal their feelings toward you. Body language signals happen on both a conscious and unconscious level.


Physical expression


Physical expressions like waving, pointing, touching and slouching are all forms of nonverbal communication. The study of body movement and expression is known as kinesics. Humans move their bodies when communicating because, as research has shown, it helps “ease the mental effort when communication is difficult.” Physical expressions reveal many things about the person using them. For example, gestures can emphasize a point or relay a message, posture can reveal boredom or great interest, and touch can convey encouragement or caution.

One of the most basic and powerful body-language signals is when a person crosses his or her arms across the chest. This could indicate that a person is putting up an unconscious barrier between themselves and others. However, it can also indicate that the person’s arms are cold, which would be clarified by rubbing the arms or huddling. When the overall situation is amicable, it can mean that a person is thinking deeply about what is being discussed, but in a serious or confrontational situation, it can mean that a person is expressing opposition. This is especially so if the person is leaning away from the speaker. A harsh or blank facial expression often indicates outright hostility.

  • Consistent eye contact can indicate that a person is thinking positively of what the speaker is saying. It can also mean that the other person doesn’t trust the speaker enough to “take their eyes off” the speaker. Lack of eye contact can indicate negativity. On the other hand, individuals with anxiety disorders are often unable to make eye contact without discomfort. Eye contact can also be a secondary and misleading gesture because cultural norms about it vary widely. If a person is looking at you, but is making the arms-across-chest signal, the eye contact could be indicative that something is bothering the person, and that he wants to talk about it. Or if while making direct eye contact, a person is fiddling with something, even while directly looking at you, it could indicate that the attention is elsewhere.
  • Disbelief is often indicated by averted gaze, or by touching the ear or scratching the chin. When a person is not being convinced by what someone is saying, theattention invariably wanders, and the eyes will stare away for an extended period.
  • Boredom is indicated by the head tilting to one side, or by the eyes looking straight at the speaker but becoming slightly unfocused. A head tilt may also indicate a sore neck, trust or a feeling of safety (part of the neck becomes uncovered, hence vulnerable; It’s virtually impossible to tilt our head in front of someone we don’t trust or are scared of) or Amblyopia, and unfocused eyes may indicate ocular problems in the listener.
  • Interest can be indicated through posture or extended eye contact, such as standing and listening properly.
  • Excessive blinking, or the absence of blinking, may be an indicator of lying.

Some people use and understand body language differently. Interpreting their gestures and facial expressions (or lack thereof) in the context of normal body language usually leads to misunderstandings and misinterpretations (especially if body language is given priority over spoken language). It should also be stated that people from different cultures can interpret body language in different ways. For example, in parts of Italy, a straightened index finger placed in the middle of the cheek and rotated is seen as an indication of praise (Giddens, Duneier, Appelbaum, and Carr 110).





From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


microexpression is a brief, involuntary facial expression shown on the face of humans according to emotions experienced. They usually occur in high-stakes situations, where people have something to lose or gain. Microexpressions occur when a person is consciously trying to conceal all signs of how he or she is feeling, or when a person does not consciously know how he or she is feeling. Unlike regular facial expressions, it is difficult to hide microexpression reactions. Microexpressions express the six universal emotions: disgust, anger, fear, sadness, happiness, and surprise. Nevertheless, in the 1990s, Paul Ekman expanded his list of emotions, including a range of positive and negative emotions not all of which are encoded in facial muscles. These emotions are amusement, contempt, embarrassment, anxiety, guilt, pride, relief, contentment, pleasure, and shame. They are very brief in duration, lasting only 1/25 to 1/15 of a second.



Microexpressions are typically classified based on how an expression is modified. They exist in three groups:

  • Simulated expressions: when a microexpression is not accompanied by a genuine emotion. This is the most commonly studied form of microexpression because of its nature. It occurs when there is a brief flash of an expression, and then returns to a neutral state.[
  • Neutralized expressions: when a genuine expression is suppressed and the face remains neutral. This type of micro-expression is not observable due to the successful suppression of it by a person.
  • Masked expressions: when a genuine expression is completely masked by a falsified expression. Masked expressions are microexpression that are intended to be hidden, either subconsciously or consciously.


Facial Action Coding System

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Facial Action Coding System (FACS) is a system to taxonomize human facial movements by their appearance on the face, based on a system originally developed by a Swedish anatomist named Carl-Herman Hjortsjö. It was later adopted by Paul Ekman and Wallace V. Friesen, and published in 1978. Ekman, Friesen, and Joseph C. Hager published a significant update to FACS in 2002. Movements of individual facial muscles are encoded by FACS from slight different instant changes in facial appearance. It is a common standard to systematically categorize the physical expression of emotions, and it has proven useful to psychologists and toanimators. Due to subjectivity and time consumption issues, FACS has been established as a computed automated system that detects faces in videos, extracts the geometrical features of the faces, and then produces temporal profiles of each facial movement.




Compulsive Lying Disorder



Famous Liars We Know So Well

Posted on March 17, 2014 by Alex

People lie all the time. Sometimes it is a harmless lie and sometimes the lies grow out of control until the individuals in question become compulsive liars. What’s more, lying is not limited to family members or the person living next door. Some of the most famous people in history have been liars.

It is really not that surprising, as most people that share some degree of fame are simply a reflection of the overall way that society conducts itself. It seems as though society has a problem with telling the truth.

When people think about famous liars, one of the most obvious things that comes to mind is politicians. Think of Richard Nixon and his unwavering denial of any wrongdoing throughout the entire Watergate investigation, only to find that he was lying about the majority of it.

More recently, George W. Bush insisted that weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq as a means of convincing Congress to allow him to declare war on the country. After the fact, it was determined that no such evidence really existed.

Politicians are definitely not the only famous liars. Famous sports figures often have a tendency to tell some stories of their own. Lance Armstrong was a hero for many people, not just in the world of cycling but for everyone. He was someone that was seemingly able to accomplish what most people would consider to be utterly impossible through hard work and dedication. After being diagnosed with cancer and then coming back and winning again, many people saw him as a poster boy for never giving up and always doing your best. Unfortunately, all of those thoughts were destroyed when it was later discovered that the reason he had been so successful in his cycling races was because he not only took performance enhancing drugs but essentially bullied everyone around him into either doing the same thing or refraining from letting anyone know what was really going on.

People that are involved in high powered business often have a tendency to lie a lot too. Charles Ponzi thought he had the ideal way to get rich by dragging people into a form of business venture called multi level marketing. It is now known as the Ponzi scheme because despite his many promises of making people rich, the only person that ever got rich was him.

Even famous religious figures are not immune to becoming compulsive liars. Televangelist Jim Bakker was able to preach the gospel to millions of people. Unfortunately, it seems as though he had a problem actually living by the examples that he was telling everyone else to live by, as questions about missing money began to arise.

Obviously, lying is a problem that exists in every corner of society and unfortunately it is often a problem that runs so deep that many people are completely unaware that the person that they admire has essentially made everything up.

Becoming famous is sometimes a good thing. Becoming famous for lying is definitely not the goal that any these people went out to accomplish, but it is essentially what they are now known for, more than anything else.


How to Spot a Pathological Liar

Edited by JillianC, TechFlash1, Flickety, Zareen and 41 others (From:


The term, “liar, liar pants on fire” takes on new meaning when dealing with a pathological liar. This person may not be completely rooted in reality, believing the lies they tell, often in an effort to remedy low self esteem. Unlike telling a few fibs here and there, or slightly exaggerating the truth once in a while, the pathological liar lies about literally every aspect of his or her life. From how much was spent on dinner last night to talking about the last time the dog was bathed, the pathological liar feels that every bit of communication has strategic meaning positioned for his or her gain.
Being lied to on a consistent basis is not only frustrating but also disrespectful to the other person. So how do you determine if you’re dealing with someone who may drop a few fibs on occasion versus a true pathological liar? A few clues and steps may help you draw a sensible conclusion.



Understand what a pathological liar is. Basically, a pathological liar is someone who tells lies habitually, chronically and compulsively. It has simply become a way of life for this person, to make up things for a variety of reasons and eventually, the truth becomes uncomfortable while weaving whoppers feels right to them. This kind of lying tends to develop early on in life, often as a response to difficult home or school situations that seemed to resolve better if the child lied. It’s a bad habit, not a manipulative trait––this is how to differentiate a pathological liar from a sociopath who does seek to manipulate.


Determine whether the person’s details and information comes across as consistent every time they tell a story. Find an easy, run-of-the-mill story, such as what the person had for dinner last night. They may tell you pasta and broccoli, but then may tell you and/or others that lobster and champagne was involved. Details and information will constantly change and evolve.

  • Compare and contrast both big and small details. From the number of people in the liar’s story to the actual storyline itself, recall what has changed and how often the details have changed in the story.
  • Keep tally of the cast of characters involved in the story. If, for example, suddenly the third time the story is told, the cops show up, you have to start wondering if he or she is telling the full truth.
  • Recall the frequency of the lies. Pathological liars will lie consistently, which is one thing you can count on––they will lie all the time. Conduct a non-scientific experiment and inquire about certain aspects of the person’s life everyday. Choose something random like what the person ate for dinner or watched on TV the evening before. Ask the person the same question throughout the day to see if it changes––play into the lie by either getting excited or showing intrigue when the person embellishes the story. Don’t give away that you’ve heard a different answer before.



Compare stories with mutual friends of both you and the person you suspect of being a pathological liar, to determine if the story has changed or reshaped to accommodate certain personalities. Certain details may be morphed to create drama or draw attention to the liar.

  • Trying to pit friends/family members against each other. If the liar was involved in an argument he or she may change the details so that he or she looks better. Also, he or she may involve other parties, making up information about the other party in order to get more people on his or her side.
  • Trying to avoid trouble. If the liar has done something wrong, he or she will do whatever is necessary to avoid blame––that means fabricating a story and/or pinning culpability on another person.
  • Fabricating a lie in order to gain attention. The main goal with many pathological liars is to gain positive notoriety. From being bored to having low self esteem, the pathological liar’s goal is to look better than everyone else, so that people pay attention and worship their accomplishments.



Consider whether the person is lying to gain attention. Part of the reason the pathological liar feels compelled to lie is because he or she may feel as though being in the spotlight has eluded them. This person feels that he or she should be the center of everyone’s universe and will do what he or she can to make it happen. Upon tasting the spotlight, it becomes self-reinforcing and the lies grow bigger each time just to keep on being the center of attention. Here are some possibilities:

  • Sympathy attention. The pathological liar feels that his or her problems are paramount to what everyone else is experiencing. From a paper cut to being admonished by a boss or teacher, the pathological liar runs around telling his or her story to anyone and everyone, exaggerating the details to ridiculous proportions in order to gain sympathy from anyone within earshot.
  • Wants to feel important. The pathological liar is the king or queen of the “one upper.” Whatever accomplishment you’ve achieved, they done it better. This person always has to feel superior to you at all times, no matter if it’s in the professional or personal arena.
  • Feels bored. Unfortunately, because this person’s life is not rooted in reality, he or she may become easily bored if drama is not swirling around his or her head. As a result, lies may be fabricated in order to amuse or entertain this person, which unfortunately means that other people become involved and possibly hurt as a result.
  • Insecurity. Low self esteem is one of the biggest reasons why people become pathological liars. Whether they consciously recognize it or not, a pathological liar feels that he or she is not important enough as they are so they must make up accomplishments or events to position themselves as worthy.



Look to whether the person has an addiction or secret habits that are potentially harmful. Pathological lying can arise in tandem with wanting to hide an alcoholic or drug addiction, an obsession with doing something too much such as spending time online or gaming, or in relation to a medical condition such as bulimia or anorexia. Therapy, group counseling and other professional interventions are important for such people but it may help you to better understand such lying if you know about the motivation behind it.

  • Part of the therapy needs to address compulsive lying. A compulsive liar can be changed.
  • There may be other personality disorders at issue, such as narcissistic personality disorder, bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder.



Examine the person’s reaction when they’re busted in a lie. The worst thing that can happen to a pathological liar is to be busted for telling the lie.

  • Extreme defensiveness. Expect the person to become extremely defensive, doing whatever he or she can to pin blame on someone else.
  • Quickly fabricating another lie to cover up the original fib. The pathological liar will start the cover-up process quickly to ensure that their reputation remains in tact. This may include a bigger lie than the original fib––which may be quite apparent.
  • Vindictive and may seek revenge. Rage and anger may be another reaction stemming from being “outed”, so expect possible retaliation or vindictive behavior. Alternatively, they may feel upset that they have been caught in the act by someone who cares for them and have a tearful meltdown.



Determine if the person lives in reality. The pathological liar is one who typically does not live in reality and has trouble maintaining any consistency in his or her life. Some signs include:

  • Wandering from job to job. He or she may not be able to hold down a job for a long amount of time due to either being busted for lying or not being able to handle day-to-day mundane tasks because of bluffing their way into the job.
  • Can’t hold a steady relationship. Romantic and interpersonal relationships often fail––this person will typically have a love of his or her life or a best friend for a few months and then will suddenly no longer have contact with that person. Between lies and unrealistic expectations, the pathological liar can often attract a bevy of new relationships but has trouble maintaining them.
  • May be estranged from family. After years of being lied to, family members may not be very supportive or close to this individual.




Why We Lie and How to Stop

The many lies we tell hurt us in the end.

Published on September 23, 2013 by Lisa Firestone, Ph.D. in Compassion Matter


There’s a scene in the movie “Something’s Gotta Give” that simply and succinctly captures one reality about the truth. After catching the man she loves on a date with another woman, Diane Keaton is chased out of the restaurant by a guilty and distraught Jack Nicholson. When he finally stops her, he pleads, “I have never lied to you, I have always told you some version of the truth.” She replies, “The truth doesn’t have versions, okay?” And that’s the truth. The truth may have many sides to it. It may be complicated or hard to understand, but it exists… in one version. Yet, most of us have trouble with the truth. We may not be outright liars, but we certainly shade the truth to make it fit more comfortably into our lives—to keep it from disrupting anything from our careers to our relationships to our afternoons.

In her research, Bella DePaulo, Ph.D. found that people lie in one in five of their daily interactions. Pamela Meyer, author of Liespotting, claims in her TED Talk that we’re lied to from 10-200 times a day. It’s important to consider: how honest is the world we’ve created around ourselves? How often do we ourselves tell lies? And, on the flip side, do we intimidate others in ways that might encourage them to shade the truth?

It’s common for people to only say the parts of the truth that they feel are acceptable or that they think people want to hear, leaving the full truth hidden away. They may lie by omission or tell “little white lies” that paint a very different picture of reality. It’s no surprise that these lies don’t just hurt relationships, they can outright destroy them. Even lies told in the name of protecting others can leave you feeling pretty bad about yourself, because you don’t feel like an authentic, strong individual when you aren’t being honest. Here are some examples of the many ways people lie and how these lies hurt them in all areas of their lives:

Controlling a Response—When you talk to a close friend about an interaction with a co-worker or lover, do you only tell your side of the story? Do you leave out a small but significant detail about something you brought to the table? Do you rephrase the less desirable words you said in the moment? Think about how these subtle changes may influence your friend’s attitude and response. Are you just getting your friend to say what you want to hear? In the end, how authentic is their response if you strategically manipulated the outcome?

When you control a response by shading the truth, you create an alternate, agreed upon reality between you and another person. You then get advice that may be based on faulty information. Plus, you deny yourself the value and integrity that another person’s true opinions might have awarded you.

Lying by Omission—Ever complained to someone that you aren’t losing weight without mentioning the Grande Frappuccino you downed as an afternoon snack? Everyone has times when they leave out less desirable details. Sometimes you do this to be sensitive or to spare a person’s feelings, but sometimes those details matter, and you know it. For example, if your partner asks what you did that day, you may not mention that you wound up running into an ex and having lunch. Maybe you try to conceal an ongoing flirtation with a co-worker. These may not feel like acts of deception to you, but imagine how your partner would see them. Whether there’s nothing to hide or something real you’d rather they not know about, leaving out significant facts will make you feel shady and create a hotbed for further deceptions. On the other hand, creating an environment where you can be open about these things will promote a feeling of mutual trust and honest communication.

Exaggerations—People’s insecurities about themselves may lead them to try to preserve a certain image of themselves, and they may experience a need for approval from others. However, when you exaggerate or don’t represent yourself honestly, you are left feeling like a fraud, which further hurts your self-esteem. There’s a fine line between highlighting your attributes and completely inflating your abilities. At work, you may promise to finish a task you know you won’t be able to complete on time. You may exaggerate to a boss when it comes to your progress or skill level. Doing this will lead to trouble when, most likely, your actions will fail to match your words.

At times, you may lie to compensate for guilt. Parents often do this with their children, missing a soccer game, for instance, then promising they’ll show up at every game for the rest of the season—only to disappoint again soon-after. It’s hard to hide a broken promise, a missed meeting or a poor performance. Exaggerating deems you untrustworthy. Your words start to mean a lot less when the reality doesn’t match up. Plus, you may never believe that you’re being chosen or cared about for who you really are.

Self-Protection—Too often, people are coached by an inner critic to not express directly what they want or feel toward other people. You may have a guard up that tells you not to be too vulnerable. You may downplay your emotions or act like you don’t care, because you don’t want to feel or look like a fool. But defending yourself with deceptions or false portrayals of who you are will drive you further from your goals and will likely prevent you from getting what you want in life.

Gossip or Covert Communication—Gossip is an epidemic. It’s in every household, office space and coffee house. It’s a booming industry taking over our media. The biggest problem with talking about someone behind their back is that you may flat out deny these observations when face-to-face with that person. You can see how this can be harmful to your relationships. A true friend or loved one should be someone you can talk openly with, someone to whom you can offer feedback and welcome the same in return.

Another problem is that gossip breeds cynicism and destroys compassion. It’s a nasty way of indirectly dealing with real observations or competitive feelings. When you favor direct communication over gossip, you become a more genuine, compassionate, not to mention appealing, person to be around.

Some people believe you need lies to survive in a relationship. I would argue that this is untrue. Misleading a person distorts their reality and makes them feel crazy, which is one of the most unethical things you can do to another person. So what can you do to be more honest? You can begin by being honest with yourself.

First off, you can stop listening to your “critical inner voice.” Shading the truth often comes from listening to an inner coach that’s not on your side, that instructs you to self-protect by telling you things like you can only be accepted if you say the right thing or don’t really reveal yourself. In relation to your boss, it may tell you, “You’ve been messing up lately so make your boss think you solved this problem without the help of your co-workers.” With your spouse, it may say, “Don’t tell her you forgot her birthday; it will only lead to a fight.” In relation to a competitor, it may advise you, “Don’t let him know you think he’s talented. Don’t let your guard down; he’ll just use the truth to hurt you.” By getting to know this inner critic, you can separate it from your real point of view and act against it.

Next, you can take chances on the people you care about by being a lot more honest and direct with them. You can find healthy and considerate ways to express yourself and to be sensitive to the other person’s sense of reality. The truth may not always be easy to hear, but in the long term, you will earn a lot more trust and respect from the people whose opinion you value the most.

When it comes to the truth, it’s important to think about whether you want people to trust you. Do you value integrity and want your words to be reflected in your actions? If you commit to these attributes on a behavioral level, you’ll be better able to gain trust and live your life with honest, open communication. This world may not be perfect, nor the truth always easy to take, but you can find peace and freedom in the security of knowing that the world you’ve created around you is as real as it gets.


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