Why Do Narcissists Pathologically Lie? – 10 Reasons
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Why Do Narcissists Pathologically Lie? – 10 Reasons

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Narcissists are often known for their grandiose sense of self-importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism. This fragility is often protected by a fortress of lies, both to themselves and others. Understanding why narcissists pathologically lie is crucial in comprehending their behavior and the impact it has on their relationships and interactions. And today, I will be sharing with you, 10 reasons why narcissists pathologically lie.

What is Pathological Lies

Pathological lying refers to a compulsive urge to lie habitually. This form of lying transcends mere fabrications to avoid trouble or gain advantage; it is characterized by a deep-seated pattern of dishonesty that is often unnecessary and self-defeating. Unlike casual lies, these falsehoods are woven into the very fabric of the liar’s existence, creating a distorted reality where truth and fabrication blur indistinguishably.

Related: How to make a Narcissist look stupid

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Why Do Narcissists Pathologically  Lie?

1. To Maintain a False Sense of Self

Narcissists have an inflated sense of their importance and an insatiable need for admiration. They construct a false self-image that is often far removed from reality. Pathological lying serves as a tool to maintain this facade. It allows them to weave a narrative where they are always the hero, the genius, or the victim, depending on what scenario best feeds their ego at the moment. This relentless pursuit of a grandiose self-image compels them to distort the truth habitually.

Lies, in the world of a narcissist, are not merely for escaping accountability or for the manipulation of others; they are essential bricks in the construction of their false self.

Related: Signs of a Narcissistic Mother

2. To Manipulate and Control Others

Control is a central theme in the narcissist’s world. They view relationships and interactions through the lens of power dynamics, always seeking to position themselves in a place of authority and influence. Pathological lying becomes a strategic tool in their quest for control. By distorting reality, they can manipulate the perceptions, emotions, and actions of those around them, bending others to their will with remarkable ease.

This manipulation is not always malevolent in intent; it can often be a misguided attempt to maintain relationships and environments that feed their narcissistic supply. However, the outcome is invariably toxic, as the lies erode trust and create a foundation of instability and insecurity in their relationships.

Related: How Narcissists manipulate their victims

3. To Avoid Responsibility and Accountability

Narcissists have a profound aversion to criticism and a deep-seated fear of failure. This fear drives them to avoid responsibility and accountability at all costs. Pathological lying serves as a protective mechanism against the perceived threats of exposure and judgment. By denying their mistakes, shifting blame, and fabricating excuses, they shield their fragile ego from the harsh realities of their imperfections.

Related: How Narcissists react when you leave them

4. To Exploit and Deceive for Personal Gain

Narcissists are often characterized by a lack of empathy, which enables them to exploit and deceive others without the burden of guilt. Their pathological lying is not only about self-preservation but also about advancing their interests and desires. Whether it’s for financial gain, social status, or simply the thrill of deception, narcissists use lies as a means to an end.

Related: How to make a Narcissist love you again

5. To Create a Sense of Superiority

At the heart of narcissism lies a deep-seated sense of superiority. Narcissists believe they are unique and entitled to special treatment. Narcissists pathologically lie to reinforce this belief by creating a narrative that they are always the smartest, the most successful, or the most wronged. These lies are not just about impressing others; they are about convincing themselves of their exceptionalism.

This need for superiority often leads narcissists to belittle and demean others, using lies to exaggerate their faults and shortcomings. In doing so, they elevate their status, further entrenching their sense of entitlement.

Related: How Narcissists react when you leave them

6. To Evade the Consequences of Their Actions

The consequences of one’s actions can be a source of significant anxiety for anyone, but for narcissists, the stakes are even higher. Their fragile self-image cannot withstand the scrutiny and judgment that often accompany mistakes and wrongdoings. Pathological lying offers an escape route, a way to rewrite history in their favor.

Whether it’s denying their involvement, blaming others, or creating elaborate excuses, narcissists use lies to dodge the repercussions of their actions. This evasion perpetuates a cycle of irresponsible behavior, as there is no accountability to prompt change.

Related: How to make a Narcissist leave a relationship

7. To Feed Their Need for Attention and Admiration

Narcissists have an insatiable need for attention and admiration. They thrive on being the center of attention and will go to great lengths to ensure they remain there. Pathological lying can be a means of captivating an audience, spinning tales that make them seem fascinating, heroic, or pitiable.

These lies are designed to elicit reactions that feed the narcissist’s ego, whether it’s admiration, sympathy, or envy. The truth, which might be mundane or unflattering, is cast aside in favor of stories that spotlight the narcissist.

Related: How to make a Narcissist fear you

8. To Compensate for Insecurities and Low Self-Esteem

Despite their outward appearance of confidence and superiority, many narcissists harbor deep insecurities and low self-esteem. Pathological lying serves as a compensatory mechanism, allowing them to mask their vulnerabilities and project an image of strength and assurance.

These lies are often rooted in a fear of being seen as inadequate or flawed. By fabricating achievements, exaggerating talents, or minimizing weaknesses, narcissists can maintain an illusion of competence and worthiness.

Related: How to get a Narcissist’s attention

9. To Sustain a Fantasy World

Narcissists often retreat into a fantasy world where they can escape the limitations and disappointments of reality. In this realm, they are not bound by the rules of truth and consequence. Pathological lying becomes a way of sustaining this fantasy, creating a narrative that aligns with their desires and aspirations.

This detachment from reality can be particularly pronounced in the face of stress or challenge, where the contrast between the fantasy and the real world becomes too great to bear. Lies serve as a bridge between these two worlds, allowing the narcissist to reside, at least in part, in their preferred reality.

Related: How to make a Narcissist want you back

10. To Conceal Their True Nature

Ultimately, narcissists lie to conceal their true nature from others and themselves. Their lies are a smokescreen, designed to hide their manipulative, exploitative, and often malicious behavior. By presenting a facade of charm, intelligence, and compassion, they can navigate social situations with ease, winning over unsuspecting individuals.

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Why do Narcissists pathologically lie

10 Signs of Pathological Lies from a Narcissist

Recognizing the signs of pathological lying in a narcissist can be challenging, as they are often skilled at deception. However, certain patterns and behaviors can serve as red flags. These include:

  1. Consistency in Inconsistency: The stories told by a narcissist often have inconsistencies and contradictions. Over time, these discrepancies become more apparent, revealing the lies beneath.
  2. Overly Detailed or Vague Stories: Narcissists may provide an excessive amount of detail in their stories as a way to seem more credible. Alternatively, they may be extremely vague, avoiding specifics that could be verified.
  3. Shift in Blame: They frequently shift blame to others, refusing to take responsibility for their actions. This deflection is often accompanied by lies that paint them as the victim or hero.
  4. Manipulation of Emotions: Narcissists are adept at manipulating emotions, using lies to evoke sympathy, guilt, or anger, depending on what best serves their needs at the moment.
  5. Avoidance of Direct Answers: When questioned or confronted, a narcissist will often avoid giving direct answers, instead offering responses that are evasive or irrelevant.
  6. Charm and Eloquence: They use charm and eloquence to sell their lies, drawing people in with their charisma and convincing them of their sincerity.
  7. Frequent Name-Dropping: Narcissists often lie about their associations and accomplishments, frequently name-dropping to impress others.
  8. Lack of Accountability: There is a notable lack of accountability in their actions and words, with a tendency to deny or lie about any wrongdoing.
  9. Exploitation of Trust: They exploit the trust of others, lying to gain advantage or to extract sympathy and support.
  10. Creation of a Victim Mentality: Narcissists often lie to create a narrative where they are always the victim, regardless of the actual circumstances.

Related: How to deal with a Narcissist

A lying narcissist

Common Lies Told by Narcissists

The lies told by narcissists can vary widely, but there are common themes that emerge. These include:

  1. Lies About Achievements and Talents: They often exaggerate or fabricate their achievements and talents to appear more capable and successful than they are.
  2. Lies About Past Relationships: Narcissists frequently lie about past relationships, portraying themselves as the wronged party or as more desirable than they might have been.
  3. Financial Exaggerations: Lies about financial status and achievements are common, aimed at impressing others and bolstering their image of success.
  4. Fabrications About Others: They may lie about others to manipulate perceptions, sow discord, or elevate their status at the expense of someone else.
  5. Denial of Wrongdoing: A common lie is the denial of any wrongdoing, even in the face of clear evidence to the contrary.
  6. False Promises: Narcissists often make false promises as a way to manipulate and control others, with no intention of fulfilling them.
  7. Exaggeration of Emotional Intensity: They may exaggerate their feelings and reactions to garner sympathy or to manipulate situations in their favor.
  8. Misrepresentation of Facts: Facts are often twisted or ignored altogether, replaced with a version of events that suits their narrative.
  9. Lies About Health and Well-being: Narcissists may lie about health issues, either exaggerating or fabricating them, to elicit sympathy and attention.
  10. Denial of Reality: Even when confronted with the truth, narcissists may deny reality, insisting on their version of events despite clear evidence to the contrary.

A lying narcissist

5 Ways to Deal with Narcissists Who Pathologically Lie

Dealing with a narcissist who lies pathologically can be incredibly challenging, but some strategies can help mitigate the impact of their behavior.

  1. Set Clear Boundaries: Establishing and maintaining clear boundaries is crucial. This involves being assertive about what is acceptable behavior and what is not, and sticking to these boundaries even in the face of manipulation.
  2. Avoid Engaging in Arguments: Arguing with a narcissist is rarely productive, as they are skilled at manipulation and may use the interaction to further their agenda. Instead, focus on maintaining your integrity and refuse to be drawn into their games.
  3. Seek Support: Dealing with a narcissist can be emotionally draining. Seeking support from friends, family, or a professional can provide the emotional strength and perspective needed to navigate these challenges.
  4. Focus on Your Well-being: It’s important to prioritize your own mental and emotional well-being. This may involve stepping back from the relationship or interaction to protect yourself from the toxic effects of their behavior.
  5. Recognize the Reality of the Situation: Acknowledging that a narcissist is unlikely to change can be a difficult but necessary step. Understanding their behavior as a reflection of their issues, rather than a reflection of your worth, can help in coping with the situation.


Understanding why narcissists pathologically lie will guide you on how to approach them and their lies. However, when you recognize the signs discussed above, do not hesitate to adopt the 5 strategies I mentioned to deal with a lying Narcissist. See you again in my next article.

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