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The Lying Epidemic

The Lying Epidemic

Compulsive lying is more relevant today than ever before. Compulsive liars become community leaders, successful business professionals, politicians, and entrepreneurs. Parents, relatives, spouses, friends, teachers, neighbors, doctors, and lawyers are showing empathy, avoiding pain, escaping blame, and attempting to impress through lying.

Whether it is learned in infancy, as a toddler, or, as many psychologists report, a natural born tendency, spontaneous and universal, it is agreed, across most channels, lying is a fundamental part of learning empathy. Most liars lie for no significant gain and find it difficult and at times impossible to stop. Studies have shown infants as young as six months are capable of recognizing other minds as separate from their own which opens the door to lying.

A majority of parents believe their children lie to avoid punishment, fit in socially, develop friends, or to avoid controversy. They think all children do it and they attempt to resolve it privately within the home – often with corporal punishment. What they fail to recognize, is early childhood lying can easily transition into pathological or compulsive lying, a controversial topic and medical disorder described in 1891. More recently, studies have found pathological liars had increased white matter in portions of the brain, and that genetics and environmental conditions contributed to their lying – a diagnosis you want to make and treat as early as possible.

Lying often signals the onset of other disorders: false memory syndrome, an inability to separate dreams from reality, personality, narcissism, and serious mental turmoil. Antisocial lying, most commonly found in teens and adults, stems from a need to fit in; financially, socially, culturally, and economically, in order to build relationships and to cope in this fast moving global society. Antisocial lying can be physically harmful; counseling and therapy is highly recommended.

Regardless of the level of lying or the nature of the lies, consultation with a certified therapist can help one determine and understand why the person feels the need to lie (often unnecessarily), particularly children or adults whose intelligence is average or above average. In cases of “onset” lying or lying to hide a hurtful truth, a counselor / therapist is a must. Crimes against liars often go unreported.

Improving Lives Counseling Services can help you or a loved one understand why the smallest or little white lie is told, why the make believe friend is still around, why there’s a need to hide the truth, to escape reality, fabricate fantastic stories, and knowingly and intentionally make false statements. Liars don’t want to lie, cheaters don’t want to cheat, and, believe it or not, children want to be honest with their parents. Our therapists work individually, within family units, and in group sessions. Call us.