Is lying a genetic personality disorder?

Everyone lies, and if you claim not to, then you’re lying. Some people are pathological liars (Pseudologia fantastica), which is a form of compulsion, whilst others lie to save face, or prevent distress to others. Being a pathological liar can be a sign of a personality disorder, and we’ve all met someone who matches this criteria. To be an effective, successful liar, you have to have an extremely good memory of whom, when and where you lied, and for what reason. I’ve known two serious pathological liars in my lifetime, and unfortunately neither could ever be trusted, and both struggled in social circles, so they lied to embellish their dull existence. People like for benefit, and it’s usually for some form of personal gain, and whilst it can be innocent, more often than not it’s being deceitful, but pathological liars literally can’t help themselves, and they lie so often and so naturally that it becomes a habit that they are unable to control.

Pathological lying is in itself potentially a symptom of a personality, or behavioural issue, that include:

borderline personality disorder (BPD)

narcissistic personality disorder (NPD)

antisocial personality disorder (APD)

Borderline personality disorder is essentially people who struggle to manage and contain their emotions, and usually results in a person acting irrationally without considering consequences. It’s common that people who suffer from this disorder have suffered a traumatic event from childhood that could have been abuse or neglect.

Narcissistic personality disorder is when a person has a deep sense of self-importance, and delusions of grandeur. They have the compulsion to be admired, even if the admiration is unwarranted and narcissism usually leads to selfishness and a complete lack of empathy to others.

Antisocial personality disorder is perhaps the most destructive of the three as they are very adept at manipulating others for personal gain, and they are experts at deceit, and this disorder perfectly sums up the two people I know. If you said you’d been to Tenerife they’d claim to have been to Elevenerife, as they’d always have to attempt to better you, and both were able to turn people against each other to make them look like the better person.

The main problem with a pathological liar is keeping the lie alive and attempting to keep it undetected, and they start off small, and have to lie again to cover up the initial lie, and before they know it they are within an elaborate maze of deceit and more often than not they are found out. I’ve previously covered lying in an article titled ‘To lie, or not to lie, that is the question‘.

Many studies by neurologists and psychiatrists have linked antisocial behaviour to a genetic component. As much as you try, you have a personality and it’s hard to change that personality as it’s hardwired into you, and whilst illnesses and disease can be genetic, and hereditary, can behaviour be genetically passed on? You often find that people who suffer depression have someone in their immediate family that also suffers from depression, so is being deceitful sometimes genetic? Is lying a survival skill? And if to survive you just be willing to adapt, then is lying a form of adapting to survive?

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