The complexity of compulsive lying disorder

Compulsive lying disorder, also known as mythomania, is a psychological condition characterised by a persistent pattern of lying and deception.


Individuals with this disorder often feel compelled to fabricate stories or falsify information, regardless of the situation or consequences. While lying is a common behaviour in many people's lives, compulsive lying goes beyond occasional falsehoods, becoming a pervasive and detrimental pattern.

Impact on relationships

Compulsive lying disorder can significantly impact relationships, both personal and professional. The foundation of trust, crucial for healthy connections, is eroded when lies become a constant presence. Partners, friends, and family members may find it increasingly difficult to rely on and believe the individual with mythomania. The constant deception can lead to strained relationships, increased conflict, and a breakdown in communication.

Moreover, the emotional toll on loved ones can be significant. They may experience feelings of betrayal, confusion, and frustration as they navigate a web of lies. Over time, this can lead to resentment and a breakdown in the relationship itself.

Recognising the warning signs

Identifying compulsive lying disorder can be challenging, as individuals with this condition are often skilled manipulators. However, some common warning signs can help raise suspicions. These include:

  • Inconsistencies in stories: Individuals may provide contradictory accounts or change details when retelling events.
  • Exaggeration and grandiosity: Stories may be embellished to create a false sense of accomplishment or superiority.
  • Lack of remorse: Individuals with mythomania may not express guilt or regret when confronted with their lies.
  • Avoidance of accountability: They may evade taking responsibility for their actions and resort to further deception to maintain their false narratives.

The detrimental impact of compulsive lying

Compulsive lying can have severe consequences for the individual and their relationships. It erodes trust, which is the cornerstone of healthy connections. The continual deceit creates a dynamic of suspicion and doubt, making it difficult for others to engage authentically with the individual.

As the lies accumulate, the individual with mythomania may find themselves isolated and facing strained relationships.

Seeking support and counselling services

Recovery from compulsive lying disorder often requires professional support and counselling services. 

Counselling services, such as individual therapy, can provide a safe and non-judgmental space for individuals to explore the underlying causes of their compulsive lying. Therapists trained in cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) or psychodynamic therapy can help individuals identify triggers, challenge distorted thoughts, and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

Support groups, both in-person and online, offer individuals the opportunity to connect with others who have experienced similar struggles. These groups provide empathy, understanding, and a sense of community, helping individuals feel less alone in their journey towards recovery.

Compulsive lying disorder, or mythomania, can have a profound impact on relationships, damaging trust and straining connections with loved ones.

Recognising the warning signs and seeking professional support is crucial for individuals struggling with this condition. Through counselling services and support groups, individuals can gain insights into their behaviour, develop healthier coping strategies, and rebuild trust with their loved ones.

Remember, with the right support and a commitment to personal growth, it is possible to overcome compulsive lying disorder and establish meaningful and authentic connections with others.

To find out more about how Hope Therapy can help, book an appointment with one of our team.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Wantage OX12 & Rickmansworth WD3
Written by Hope Therapy & Counselling Services, Offering Counselling, CBT, Hypnotherapy, EMDR & Mindfulness.
Wantage OX12 & Rickmansworth WD3

Ian Stockbridge is the founder and lead counsellor at Hope Therapy and Counselling Services. 

As an experienced Counsellor, Ian recognised a huge societal need for therapeutic services that were often not being met. As such the 'Hope Agency'was born and its counselling team now offers counselling and therapeutic support throughout the UK.

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