The reasons for this debate are beyond the scope of this article, but one thing is for certain: some people do lie consistently and compulsively.
This kind of lying can be described as both chronic in the sense that it occurs over long periods of time – often someone’s entire life – and habitual in the sense that it occurs regularly as if it is second nature.
Some people even consider it to be a form of addiction, whereby the liar lies in order to gratify some psychological impulse much like an alcoholic, smoker, or gambling addict might respond to specific neurological triggers.
Lies of this sort are always born of some internal motivation as opposed to an external motivation. In other words, they lie to gratify themselves, not to avoid the negative consequences of telling the truth.
Pathological lying is not always as obvious as you might expect, especially if the interaction between two people is fleeting or when the relationship has yet to properly develop.
The liars can come across as interesting, intelligent, socially adept, and even charming.
Yet, over time, as the lies become apparent, it strips away any trust that might have grown and causes significant tension between the liar and those being lied to.
Friendships, romantic entanglements, work relationships, and even family bonds are liable to break down if and when these constant falsehoods are uncovered.