What are the signs of a pathological liar

Pinocchio Syndrome: How to Deal with Liars

The vernacular knows: Lies have short legs. In other words, there's no point in lying, it'll come out quick anyway, and then there's no escape. We teach young children that lying is not okay. And yet they exist, people with the Pinocchio Syndrome, notorious liars. To gloss things over is one thing. But if you lie all the time, even about important things, this is a problem for most people. How can the other person still be trusted? How can you tell when the truth is being told and when not? Suddenly everything is questioned, without exception. How to deal with such people ...

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Pinocchio Syndrome definition: what is it?

There are three explanations for Pinocchio syndrome and no, they are not made up:

  • Pinocchio syndrome as a social phobia

    There are people who are extremely afraid of being laughed at and ridiculed by other people. They suffer from a social phobia, which is exclusively related to joy, humor and exuberance. The technical term for this is gelotophobia. These people are constantly preoccupied with seeing signs of ridicule in others everywhere. Their very pronounced fear, however, makes them appear completely unnatural and wooden, and downright stiffen. The German psychotherapist and psychoanalyst, Michael Titze, characterizes the cramped appearance as Pinocchio's syndrome.

  • The Pinocchio syndrome as a symptom of a serial character

    There is also a South Korean television series whose leading actress suffers from the (fictional) Pinocchio syndrome. It manifests itself in such a way that she gets hiccups every time she starts to lie.

  • The Pinocchio Syndrome as a colloquial term

    When the Pinocchio syndrome is mentioned in the following, it is more a slang term for people who lie all the time. No reference should be made to social phobics, nor to a series figure. Rather, Pinocchio has been for many since childhood the Symbol for a person who lies. It is named after the wooden doll of the same name from a children's book, whose nose grows noticeably long the moment it lies.

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Pinocchio Syndrome: Nothing But the Truth?

First of all, we should note that all people without exception lie. Certainly one or the other reader will be outraged now, but this is about a very broadly defined concept of lie.

Researchers assume that we up to 200 times a day lying - and it often makes sense. Perhaps you know that: A colleague enthusiastically shows you her latest acquisition - a dress, shoes or something similar - and you should now express your opinion on it.

While you may not be quite that fond of it, you probably will not come out with the whole truth. Or you will be asked for your current weight and "correct" the actual value down a little ...

When it comes to protecting other people in some way, because we know the Hurting or offending the truth for them, we speak of white lies.

At the same time we are right too gracious to ourselves - The German language has a number of euphemisms for expressing lying in a different way. You can therefore also talk synonymously with lying:

  • imagine
  • gloss over
  • cheat
  • forge
  • fantasize
  • whisper
  • dizzy
  • To deceive

So we adjust the truth to ourselves, often in the assumption that as long as the other does not know about it, there is no harm either. While white lies are usually still socially accepted, it stops with “real lies”.

Truth instead of lies: quotes and sayings

  • History is an agreed upon lie.Voltaire
  • Whoever lies once is not believed, even if he speaks the truth.Phaedrus
  • Anyone who doesn't know the truth is just a fool. But whoever knows it and calls it a lie is a criminal.Berthold Brecht
  • People are all such that they would rather hear a lie than a rejection.Cicero
  • Whoever lies has at least thought the truth.Oliver Hassencamp
  • Those who blush easily should wear green when lying.Yves Saint Laurent
  • Sometimes the best has to lie. Sometimes he does it with pleasure.Wilhelm Busch

Pinocchio Syndrome: Why Do People Lie?

Even young children are taught that lying is not okay. According to Chinese scientists, it starts at the age of three. Perhaps the most exciting question when there is unanimous opinion that lying is stupid: Then why do people lie?

Indeed, if we lie 200 times a day, the truth will be interpreted in our favor every five minutes. But lying only makes sense if it does there is a counterpart. What are the motives?

  • Social motives

    It is lied out of courtesy because (as mentioned in the example above) the truth would be hurtful. Lying is the social lubricant that makes communication possible or sustains it. Relationships and friendships would break if the whole truth were always told in a completely undiplomatic manner. In addition, modesty can also be a reason - for example, if the colleague belittles her part in the project, although in reality she put countless hours of overtime into it.

  • Selfish motives

    Often there are absolutely selfish motives behind lies. Someone with Pinocchio Syndrome will accordingly lie a lot and try to present themselves in the best possible light. Last but not least, behind this is the fear that someone could look behind the facade and recognize the real you. But this fear is so deep that there is always a lie. Even if there is a true core, there is fabulous around it in order to look even better.

Pinocchio Syndrome: More Women or More Men?

Psychologists like Claudia Mayer believe that there is a difference between men and women when it comes to lying. Both lie, but women tend to lie to lie to others and in order to avoid arguments, men seem to be more about self-enhancement.

The Viennese social psychologist Peter Stiegnitz confirms this: Men like to lie about theirs job, Women more likely to Weight. And yet, according to his estimates, 20 percent fewer women lie than men. Either way, people with Pinocchio syndrome seem to have low self-esteem.

Pinocchio Syndrome: Dealing with Pathological Liars

If someone becomes a pathological liar, their self-esteem is not only cracked. This is a psychological disorder, which is known in technical terms as lying addiction, mythomania or pseudologica phantastica. Anyone who shows the characteristics of Pinocchio's syndrome may have serious self-esteem problems.

Typically these people begin to lie and fabricate systematically and at a certain point no longer even notice that they are moving further and further away from the truth. What is still a phase of development in children is a phase in adults Indicative of a narcissistic personality disorder.

Sometimes these people turn out to be impostors in their professional lives. People with Pinocchio Syndrome, who are constantly getting mysterious illnesses that no doctor can figure out, may have Munchausen Syndrome. Ultimately, everyone is one increased need for recognition underlying.

Pinocchio Syndrome: This is How You Can Know It

Typical of notorious liars is that they are very detailed and eloquent be able to tell their stories so that the lies are not immediately noticed. Dramatic staging is also an essential part of the pathological liar and thus clearly speaks in favor of narcissism.

Completely made up life biographies and strokes of fate are typical features:

  • illness

    Pathological liars pretend to have a (mostly serious) disease such as cancer.

  • Prominence

    It is claimed to be the illegitimate child of a star or a CIA agent.

  • Disasters

    These liars like to portray themselves as victims of a natural disaster, a rampage or at least of a relative who has experienced something similar.

  • title

    The importance of one's own personality is emphasized with titles of nobility or academic titles.

Anyone who suspects Pinocchio syndrome in a colleague or acquaintance should the following identifying marks respect, think highly of:

  • The drama

    The sick liar needs an audience (often in good faith), in front of whom he can produce himself or pose as a victim.

  • Contradiction

    The facts speak another language. It should be noted, however, that experienced liars can be particularly convincing and gullible listeners often do not know the facts.

  • The receipts

    There are never any witnesses who can confirm a version. Here, of course, the socially anchored principle “in case of doubt for the accused”, which means: First of all, someone enjoys an advance of trust.

  • The logic

    Instead of answering explicitly, they evade, the liar gets entangled in content-related and chronological inconsistencies.

  • Recycling

    You should be prudish if a story sounds familiar to you: Pathological liars like to fall back on TV series, novels or the experiences of other people and only modify them minimally - efficiency is everything.

  • The signs

    However, this is not the case - you will be the classic traits of people who are not used to professional lying not discover here: So stammering, blushing, excessive sweating or embarrassed looking away. Ultimately, only your gut instinct and the inconsistencies of the points listed above will help.

Like all Illnesses in the psychological field something can only be achieved here through therapy. Since the aim is to change something in the behavior of the person affected, behavior therapy is promising. A doctor or psychologist should therefore be consulted for further information.

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November 12, 2020Author: Jochen Mai

Jochen Mai is the founder and editor-in-chief of the career bible. The author of several books lectures at the TH Köln and is a sought-after keynote speaker, coach and consultant.

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