Is the Histrionic a Pathalogical Liar?

August 29, 2011

Let’s start with the definition of pathalogical lying (aka pseudologia fantastica). For that, we turn to Wiki:

Pseudologia fantastica, mythomania, or pathological lying is one of several terms applied by psychiatrists to the behavior of habitual or compulsive lying

…Although it is a controversial topic,[2] one definition of pathological lying is the following: “Pathological lying is falsification entirely disproportionate to any discernible end in view, may be extensive and very complicated, and may manifest over a period of years or even a lifetime.

… The defining characteristics of pseudologia fantastica are that, first, the stories told are not entirely improbable and often have some element of truth. They are not a manifestation of delusion or some more intense type of psychosis: upon confrontation, the teller can admit them to be untrue, even if unwillingly.

Second, the fabricative tendency is long lasting; it is not provoked by the immediate situation or social pressure as much as it is an innate trait of the personality.

Third, a definitely internal, not an external, motive for the behavior can be discerned clinically e.g. long lasting extortion or habitual spousal battery might cause a person to lie repeatedly, without the lying being a pathological symptom.[2]

Fourth, the stories told tend toward presenting the liar favorably. For example, the person might be presented as being fantastically brave, knowing or being related to many famous people.

Pseudologia fantastica may also present as false memory syndrome, where the sufferer genuinely believes that fictitious events have taken place, regardless that these events are fantasies. The sufferer may believe that he or she has committed superhuman acts of altruism and love or has committed equally grandiose acts of diabolical evil, for which the sufferer must atone, or has already atoned for in his/her fantasies.

When you listen to their stories you would think they were mythological figures from a Greek Tragedy or re-incarnations of Joan of Arc and Mother Theresa. This is the histrionic indulging in flights of fancy. Histrionics are self-indulgent narcissists. They are either inflating their egos or seeking attention with victimhood. Any attention will do.

False Memory Syndrome is defined as:

[A] condition in which a person’s identity and interpersonal relationships are centered around a memory of traumatic experience which is objectively false but in which the person strongly believes. Note that the syndrome is not characterized by false memories as such. We all have memories that are inaccurate. Rather, the syndrome may be diagnosed when the memory is so deeply ingrained that it orients the individual’s entire personality and lifestyle, in turn disrupting all sorts of other adaptive behavior…False Memory Syndrome is especially destructive because the person assiduously avoids confrontation with any evidence that might challenge the memory. Thus it takes on a life of its own, encapsulated and resistant to correction. The person may become so focused on memory that he or she may be effectively distracted from coping with the real problems in his or her life

What’s frightening is that some of these people have put themselves in a position of authority. They masquerade as activists, advocates and “journalists”.

But in reality, they are spreading misinformation and their warped view of the world. Their mind is warped by years of abuse. Science tells us that abuse (both physical, sexual and emotional) alter the brain’s biochemistry. The way they see the world is vastly different than those who have not been affected by life-long trauma.

They have formed support networks that support their lies and promote a dysfunctional lifestyle. Networks of enablers enabling lies upon lies. They recruit other emotionally damaged people by telling them the lies they want so badly to believe. As individuals, these people have the power to ruin lives. (remember Caylee Anthony) But as a collective, they have the power to do much more harm. They have the power to spread their disease.

This is no conspiracy theory. This is merely the observation that disordered people will do ANYTHING to maintain the lie. They will create lies to cover up lies. They will create lies until their whole life is a lie. This blog has given you a glimpse into their world. If I am obsessed, it’s because I know firsthand how damaging these people can be. I know the only way to stop these liars from telling their lies is to confront them with their lies. (Oh but don’t think they won’t fight you tooth and nail to stay in denial).

Lies are actually the least of our worries with histrionics. As Casey Anthony demonstrated, histrionics spread misery and pain where ever they go. You might be able to argue that they are not doing this intentionally, but what does it matter. Regardless of intent, misery and pain is misery and pain.

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