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The Issue Of Compulsive Lying Philosophy Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Philosophy
Wordcount: 3229 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Compulsive lying is a common disorder frequently acquired by low self-esteem and a demand for attention. To begin, it may help to apprehend the difference between pathological and compulsive lying. A pathological liar will lie relentlessly to gain satisfaction of their needs. This person has very little courtesy or consideration for the feelings of others. Pathological lying is generally observed as a way to cope and is usually developed in early childhood. Being manipulative, insidious, and egocentric are all characteristics that come along with pathological liars. On the other hand, compulsive liars are more modest. The trouble with these liars is that they are addicted to being dishonest. Lying is a habit and it is in their nature to lie about things, great and small, regardless of the situation. It is a way of life to consistently bend the truth. To make matters worse, compulsive lying is often just a symptom of an even greater personality disorder, which makes it harder for the problem to be resolved. There are various types of lies that people take to their advantage. The white lie is the “polite,” well intentioned lie. It is used to exaggerate, or embellish gossip. A common example is the giving of a false compliment, not to hurt the feelings of someone making the request. Another type of lie is the bold-face lie. This is the obvious, far-fetched lie, commonly used in telling stories and tall tales. Lying by omission is also another example. Most criminal frauds or businesses use this technique by leaving out certain information, manipulation of prices, or by taking an advanced fee without delivering services or goods. Whether it is to destroy a person’s reputation, to avoid the admission of guilt, to bypass consequences, or to escape rejection, people lie endlessly.

Detecting a Lie

“The cruelest lies are often told in silence.” — Robert Louis Stevenson

Body language is difficult to control, which leads us to believe that nonverbal cues would be easy to conceive. But despite the common belief, there are no rational, nonverbal signals that affiliate with lying. Lying is difficult to conceal because emotions give away a person’s identity. It takes much more mental effort to lie, than it does to tell the truth. Lying also causes more anxiety and stress. There are many general behaviors that relate to lying. Physical characteristics will be limited and stiff, noticeable speech errors, shorter responses, fidgeting, and blinking are all examples. Another popular belief tells that a liar will break eye contact. But on the contrary, many liars will try to keep the eye contact, making it seem as if they are not lying. The timing and duration of emotional gestures are off normal pace. When receiving an unwanted gift, for example, a person will tell how much they love the gift and then smile, rather than at the same time the statement was made. Many expressions will be controlled and clearly false. Liars often avoid silence in a conversation; they will add unnecessary details to support their lie. Unfortunately for some people, lying becomes effortless. Research shows that lying is very common in relationships, and many people are talented at it. It is normal for kids to lie at an early age, whether it is to get out of trouble, or to mislead parents. Parents have trouble detecting lies in their children, especially when they are at such young age. Most children have difficulty learning how to protect others feelings by lying. In some cases, the truth can be abhorrent and severe. There is no precise way to tell if someone is being honest or not, which makes it easier for people to lie. Not everyone experiences guilt, and by getting away with lying, they will begin to think it is acceptable.

When Lovers Lie

“Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies.”–Oliver Goldsmith

It is not eccentric for lovers to lie to each other. As a matter of a fact, this issue occurs frequently, especially among lovers. Spouses tend to worry and become inquisitive, exceedingly asking questions. Partners may tend to ask many provoking questions, such as; who you with were, what you were doing, the truth of the matter, and why you took so long. After being interrogated, the spouse feels as if their sense of solitude has been revealed. Asking questions is always good, but too much of a good thing can become bothersome. As a form of defense, lying becomes the key in this situation. Another influence in lying to a lover is the beliefs and practices of intimacy. There are several types of attachment styles and deception. First, truth tellers in a relationship are usually very secure. They feel comfortable with themselves and their lover. Second, most individuals who lie to please their partners are often apprehensive. Fear of rejection causes them to be more susceptible to lying. These people are needy, and ask a lot of invasive questions. Ultimately, spouses will try and keep a good distance between one another by lying. A spouse can only get so close if they don’t know the truth. There are many topics that lovers lie to each other about. The first topic is relational issues. Past relations, time spent together, feelings, and commitment are all examples of this. For instance, lovers lie about their friendships with other people. They may be on the phone, texting, and e-mailing others of the opposite gender, while their spouse has no idea about it. They often hide the time spent with other friends or co-workers. Another issue deals with their sexuality. Several examples are sexual history, masturbation, and sexual fantasies. Negative thoughts and behaviors are commonly lied about as well. Lovers will lie about liking their spouse’s appearance, hair, weight, age, or clothing. Finally, financial issues, as far as spending problems, debts, and income can be lied about.

The truth that survives is simply the lie that is pleasantest to believe. — H. L. Mencken

pros and cons of lying

There may be certain reasons to lie, that seem acceptable in some cases. The expression, “truth hurts” is generally accurate. The truth can be the most painful thing to hear, especially if it is not what you are expecting. Relationships are based up the truth and that occasional lie. “I sometimes think about someone else during sex,” or “I often wonder why we are together” are both very hurtful truths that would be told in a relationship. Lovers often hide the truth, because they do not want to hurt their partner. But in opposition, when we really want to hurt somebody, we often say what we think. The truth will come out fierce and impetuously once the relationship is falling apart, and one or the other partners no longer see a future with each other. While telling the truth in a relationship can lead to much pain, lying is almost a necessity. Avoiding conflicts is one way that lying can be an advantage.

“Lies that built are better than truths that destroy.” — Senegalese Proverb

Couples do not always see eye-to-eye on certain issues, and conflicts will spark up. They argue about many different topics, such as; annoying habits, how to raise kids, how they spend time and money, and household chores. It varies between relationships because many people do not like to argue. An easy way to avoid conflicts is deception. Deception safely divides the lovers’ negative thoughts toward each other. It also helps share lives with each other while avoiding difficult issues that are not always easily discussed. It can be simpler to tell the partner what they want to hear, rather than arguing over the topic. Deception also helps to protect privacy. People cherish their rights to make decisions for themselves and having freedom without a partner constantly acting as a road block. No one wants to be controlled or taken from their independence. This allows us to control and maintain boundaries. There are also many disadvantages of lying. In a relationship, love and trust are one in the same. Without trust, it is almost impossible to have a stable relationship. Many couples break up with each other once one gets caught lying or cheating. It is very difficult to regain trust with someone who has already broken it. But if the couples truly want to work it out, they will make an effort to do so. Lying can also be used to limit choice and take away a person’s control. Lying is actually a form of stealing. When you lie to someone, you are stealing their right to make a decision based on the reality of the situation. The person does not know the truth of the matter, so they are unable to act for themselves.

“If a man is sufficiently unimaginative to produce evidence in support of a lie, he might just as well speak the truth at once.” — Oscar Wilde

Once a lie is told, it must be repeated. When people embellish in a story, they often tell it so many times that they start to believe their own lie. To keep accuracy, the lie would have to be continual. Once lies are started, they are difficult to maintain. Whether it is to avoid conflict, exercise freedom, or to protect harsh feelings, lying must have a balance.

How to Tell A Lie

Lying is a lot easier than people think. Lies often go undetected. It is very important to keep track of the lies being told. People think they can tell when a lover is lying by watching their nonverbal behavior. Again, the truth is much further. People also play close attention on their verbal responses and body language, which does not work. Although partners use the wrong methods of detecting a lie, it is helpful to know what activates a partner’s suspicion when lying. So, while attempting to lie, make sure to limit all suspicious behavior. First, do no drag out or exaggerate a lie. Keep it short and go straight to the point. Providing too many details will make the lie sound suspicious. For example, while coming home late one night, you decide to lie about where you were. Instead of telling the truth about being at a friend’s house, you lie about a line of traffic that you were stuck in. “You should have seen the traffic delay. People were backed up for miles. Once we finally began to move, we moved at a crawl. It took forever to get out of there!” Essentially, your spouse might question why there are so many unnecessary details to that story. To make it much easier and more believable, you could have said, “Sorry, traffic was terrible tonight.” This sounds much more honest and much less desperate. Second, while trying to lie, do not make up something far-fetched. It is better to keep the lie plausible. Stick with logical and reasonable excuses. Third, always stay calm. Do not show signs of anxiety or stress, considering this will give away the lie. If basic questions are asked, it is a good thing. Make sure to answer them with reasonable thought and be at peace. Finally, realize your partner’s level of attachment and use it to your advantage. If your partner is comfortable with intimacy and closeness, it helps to demonstrate them while lying. For example, using nicknames, standing closer, or holding them in your arms would all be convincing signs. But on the contrary, if your partner is uncomfortable with showing intimacy, do not use this technique. This could make it even more suspicious and leave them wondering why you are acting different.

“Always tell the truth. That way, you don’t have to remember what you said”

— Mark Twain

Telling the truth

Once a lie is told, it is extremely difficult to go back and confess the truth. Sometimes it pays to come clean, but it can also lead to more problems. It can be hard to discuss your opinions with others, which makes confessing such a difficult decision to make. Eventually, in time, the truth will come out. The best way to discover the truth is to hear it from the person who told the lie. Many times, people slip up and hear the truth by other means, for example, third party information, surveillance, or accidental discovery. This will make it more difficult to regain trust. Not only have you done something wrong and lied about it, but you also made that extra effort to hide it. Regardless if you confess before the person hears about what has happened, there will still be many problems. It is critical to have trust when trying to work through problems. Often, people will come clean after a guilt trip plays a toll on them. Once you admit something you have done wrong, it can change the way someone sees you. It may create hostility and resentment. Although having everything out in the open can lead to more conflict in a relationship, lying and being guilty of doing so will lead to more conflicts. Trying to relieve guilt is not the wisest thing to do. People tend to experience the most guilt when they believe that they are going to get caught in their lie. As time goes by, the feelings of guilt will most likely fade away. But being able to trust your instincts will help in deciding whether or not it is a good idea to confess. If you believe that telling the truth will set you free and make your relationship grow through experience, then perhaps it is the best thing to do. Getting even or having the ambition to hurt a partner is often driven by telling the truth. Having good intentions will not always bring an honorable outcome, but negative intentions frequently bring adverse conclusions. Before the truth comes out, make sure you know what you want to accomplish by confessing. There are many factors to consider before telling the truth. First, time and setting will definitely make a huge difference in the reaction of the truth. For better results, look at the situation from your partners point of view. Make sure when confessing, it is at a time when they are able to reach out for support. Do it in a private place, where every thing is tranquil and at ease. The person may need time to cope with the suddenly given information. Second, prepare the person before breaking the news. Let them know that something needs to be talked about, and it may be difficult for them to conceive. Ask them to listen are react calmly to what you have to say. Third, try to be descriptive with your words and explanations. Describe what you have done, and why you chose to make those decisions. Take all responsibility for your actions. Never blame anyone but yourself for the lies you have told. Even when the other person may be partially to blame for the action, do not blame them, for it was your choice to lie about it. Fourth, always expect the worst. You can never be sure of how someone will react, but make sure to prepare for something heavy. Finally, do not fight back or try to defend yourself. The truth can be bearing to hear, and when someone is hurt or in a lot of pain, they tend to take it out on the person they believe responsible for it. The best way to deal with this situation is to avoid contention. Instead, stay calm and understand how they feel in the situation. Be aware of the decisions or changes your partner may want to make after hearing the truth.

“The truth that survives is simply the lie that is pleasantest to believe.”– H. L. Mencken

Self Deception

Often without realizing it, people lie to themselves on a daily basis. It is usually in order to maintain a sense of control. Many issues go on in the world that so many people do not even realize or take the time to understand. Our attention is focused mainly on what we care about or what we believe. Have you ever met someone at a party that you have never seen in your life before that? Then suddenly, after the party, you are seeing them every where you go. This is because we do not notice all of the people around us, unless we know who they are, or are interested in knowing them. But they have always been there; the difference is that we had been seeing them unconsciously. There are several advantages in self-deception. It is very beneficial because it allows people to disregard everyday errors, imperfections, and downfalls. Seeing “the best” in people, is apparent, even when the best may not be there. People are able to cultivate a positive self-control, cope with many of life’s problems, and have healthier romantic relationships. It is plain to see that people who do not engage in self deception will have a difficult time to maintain close relationships. Such individuals will abide in issues and have a hard time focusing on the good things in life. There are also disadvantages when it comes to self-deception. People will have trouble trying to work out hard times and dealing with the serious issues. If they are overlooking all of the bad, it can cause them to have even more emotional, physical, or mental problems. Too much optimism is disastrous, which is why you need a level of balance.


Compulsive lying goes much deeper than self-esteem issues, and there is more to it that you would even imagine. It is now clear that detecting a lie is not always as simple as it seems. There are many types of lies, and many ways to catch someone in the act of lying. People lie day to day, and sometimes they do not even realize it. Telling the truth is often just as hard as successfully telling a lie. Lying can serve as an advantage or disadvantage, depending on the situation. While trust is an ongoing process to build, it is constantly being broken back down by lies. Compulsive lying can be dealt with through counseling or therapy. But since it is an addictive habit, getting someone to admit the problem is the most difficult part.


Compulsive Lying Overview


Detecting a Lie


How to Detect a Lie


Truth about Deception


Deception Detection


How to Read People


Foot Notes

“The cruelest lies are often told in silence.”

— Robert Louis Stevenson

“Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies.”

–Oliver Goldsmith

The truth that survives is simply the lie that is pleasantest to believe.

— H. L. Mencken

“Lies that built are better than truths that destroy.”

— Senegalese Proverb

“If a man is sufficiently unimaginative to produce evidence in support of a lie, he might just as well speak the truth at once.”

— Oscar Wilde

“Always tell the truth. That way, you don’t have to remember what you said.”

— Mark Twain

“The truth that survives is simply the lie that is pleasantest to believe.”

— H. L. Mencken


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