Why are there people who lie without need?

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There are people who seem to lie without apparent need, without seeming to get any profit from it. What’s more, all they do, seen from the outside, is risk losing the trust of those around them. So, the question is, why?

Everyone has ever told a lie. It is an indisputable fact and of which you will have reference in your memory. In fact, even though honesty is found as an axiomatic principle within your moral values, it is possible that you accept lying on some occasions. But what about people who lie needlessly?

Sometimes it is difficult to differentiate a person who often lies from another who suffers from mythomania, a condition in which we could speak of compulsive lying. The truth is that the group of individuals we are talking about does not suffer any psychological alteration, so pathology cannot be one of the reasons for their lack of truth. For this reason, it is more difficult to understand their reasons, since they do not seem to have a need or origin for those lies.

However, and like almost everything in psychology, there are reasons that explain this behavior. That is what we are going to explore in this space: the lie that only seems necessary in the mind of the person who tells it. Do not miss it.

Mythomania is the tendency to compulsive lying.

Lying versus mythomania

Lying is not essentially bad. You can lie so that a person does not find out about her surprise party or to get rid of someone who will only bring misfortune to your life, for example. It is one more form of social interaction and, as such, it is possible to use it for healthy purposes or to harm others.

On the other hand, there is a disorder called mythomania , in which the person lies compulsively. Here, the stories that are invented are not entirely improbable, they do not respond to specific pressures and the person suffers a lot when it comes to relating to others.

However, when this custom of not respecting the truth does not respond to a need or pathology, we find ourselves in an absurd situation , in which people who lie unnecessarily continue with their stories. Let’s explore this aspect of human relationships.

What is on the minds of people who lie unnecessarily?

They do not avoid any punishment, they do not appear more attractive, they do not receive a reward for it. So why do they lie? The truth is that the reasons exist, but they do not usually come out of the liar’s own mind. They respond to internal dialogues and mental processes that seek an emotional balance, improving the self-perception of the subject, and which are rarely observed if the relationship with him is not deepened.

  1. Need for approval

This is one of the most frequent motivations for lying, but in the case at hand there is no real pressure from the environment for it to occur. That is, the subject, despite being in a social circle that accepts and welcomes him, continues to feel that he needs to earn the approval of others, and for this he lies .

  1. Importance is given to the contents of the lies

This situation is more than one level deep, so let’s see it with an example . A person lies to his friends saying that he has a lot of money, a social context in which economic status is not important. When they find out that this is not the case, they are all shocked; everyone has similar economic capital behind them and there has never been a collective admiration for those people who have more.

However, the lie has nothing to do with the pressure of the environment, but with an internal judgment of the liar himself . For him, having a lot of money is one of the facets that make someone successful, and he wants to be successful; in this way he lies, although it has no effect outside of his mind.

  1. Feeling of lack of control

It may seem absurd, but made-up stories are under the control of the storyteller. Not reality. For this reason, when telling, for example, an anecdote, modifying it or telling it in a “fantasy” way, the liar takes control of the narrative and the events it exposes.

In this way, details and facts that could go against what would leave a person in a bad place (according to their own criteria) are avoided.

  1. Today’s invention is the continuation of yesterday’s fib

Sometimes, the lies that are already too far from the reality that could keep them hidden are the millionth step of the one that was told a long time ago and cannot be uncovered. A chain of lies that, the longer it goes on, the more difficult it is to break.

  1. Tell what you would like to be true

Although it may seem unlikely, repeating a lie many times can end up turning it into a collective truth. For this reason, many people tell certain facts and aspects of themselves reflecting what they would like them to be in reality. Although there is no need for it in most cases, it can be seen as a way of transforming reality within the person’s mind. 

Many people lie to compensate for disgust or dissatisfaction with their reality.

  1. For the person who utters it, it is not a lie

In the end, the reality that comes out of our mouths is a message that has passed through the filters of physical perception, mental processing, and memory capacity . In turn, these processes interact with the outside, so the result is usually further from the true reality than we usually appreciate.

Therefore, it is normal for the testimonies of two different people to be totally divergent in the face of the same fact . On these occasions, it might seem that you are in front of a person who is lying unnecessarily, but before judging, remember: people understand each other by speaking. It is very possible that this uncertainty can be fixed with a sincere conversation. After all, the only truth we know is the common lie that we all perceive through our senses.


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