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What is the Connection Between Personality Disorders and Lying?

By Laura Evans
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Personality disorders is an umbrella term that covers several types of mental illnesses. Among these, lying is particularly apparent when examining narcissistic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder. In these cases, the connection between personality disorders and lying centers on the patient's desire to seem important or stems from an inability to tell right from wrong.

A relationship between personality disorders and lying is inherent in people who have narcissistic personality disorders. Those with narcissistic personality disorders will lie in order to make themselves seem more important or knowledgeable. These lies can come in the form of inflating their accomplishments or their backgrounds. People who have narcissistic personality disorders feel that they are special and should be treated specially and may not care if getting that special treatment results in harm to others.

Other narcissistic personality disorder symptoms include setting unrealistic goals, feeling jealous of others, and feeling superior to others. At the same time, persons with narcissistic personality disorder may think others are jealous of them. People with narcissistic personality disorder may try to take advantage of others and have difficulties in having healthy relationships.

Those who have antisocial personality disorder also demonstrate the connection between personality disorders and lying. People who have antisocial personality disorder lie frequently. They may also steal, may be aggressive, and may not care about the difference between right and wrong. At the same time, people with antisocial personality disorder can be quite charming and may use this charm to help them manipulate others.

Narcissistic personality disorder is named after the Greek mythical figure Narcissus, the beautiful, vain boy who fell in love with his own reflection and gazed admiringly at himself until he wasted away and died. The causes of narcissistic personality are unknown. Current thinking focuses on genetics or on a dysfunction between the brain, thought processes, and behavior. Other theories revolve around abusive or dysfunctional childhoods.

Additional symptoms of antisocial personality disorder include the inability to have healthy relationships. People with this type of personality disorder may also have spotty work histories and may have repeatedly been in trouble with the law. Other symptoms may include being impulsive and violent.

The mental illnesses included in the broad description of personality disorders are generally divided into three clusters. Cluster A includes schizoid personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, and paranoid personality disorder. Cluster B includes narcissistic personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, and borderline personality disorder — which are conditions most likely to exhibit a connection between personality disorders and lying. Cluster C includes avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, and obsessive compulsive personality disorder.

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Discussion Comments
By Lostnfound — On Sep 15, 2014

In my experience, people who are bipolar are the most likely to show remorse for lying -- if they are stable and on medication. Bipolar people tend to lie most when they are in a manic phase. When they come down, they usually realize they have lied and feel guilty for doing so.

Borderline personality disorder is another condition where sufferers may feel remorse for lying, again, if they are on their medication. Maybe it's the chemical imbalance that makes people with these disorders lie and feel good about it. When their brain chemicals are balanced, their consciences seem to click back into working order. It's a strange phenomenon to watch.

By Grivusangel — On Sep 15, 2014

I've seen examples of chronic lying in both Cluster A and Cluster B personality disorders. In the Cluster A group, it's probably worst with paranoid personality disorders. These persons will lie to bolster their arguments, but the weird part is, they usually believe they are telling the truth.

I'd say chronic lying might even be a hallmark symptom of every Cluster B disorder. Every person I've ever known who had a disorder in that cluster lied -- and lied a lot. It seems to be second nature to them. The trouble is, a lot of people in this cluster are very, very convincing liars and most of the time, lying doesn't seem to bother them, until they get caught.

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