Home » Ask the Therapist » I Think I Am a Compulsive Liar

I Think I Am a Compulsive Liar

Asked by on with 1 answer:

From England: I don’t mean to be and I desperately want to stop. Please help me. I am absolutely horrified and hate myself so much because I that I lie about some things that are serious and many other minor things (not to do with anyone else but myself) and I don’t know why I do it, I don’t do it on purpose, I don’t mean to – it just comes out somehow automatically before I can stop myself, it always has done and I desperately want to stop and don’t want to hurt anyone. I don’t think anyone in the world would hate or judge me more than I do myself and deservedly so. I think I have done it since late childhood. Please help me. I was sexually abused as a child and grew up in a very dysfunctional family where my mum had a ‘nervous breakdown’ when I was about 7 and again at 9. She was/is also very agoraphobic. I and didn’t tell anyone about my abuse until well into my thirties. My ex-husband left me when my children were 5 & 3 and I never remarried and never want to. Please, please help. I don’t know where else to turn. Thank you.

I Think I Am a Compulsive Liar

Answered by on -


 I appreciate your email and think it is very brave of you to start facing these issues. One way to begin understanding the lying is that for years you kept the abuse a secret. This, along with growing up in a dysfunctional family created an internal truth that had to hidden to the outside world. Since the beginning of your “lying” started in childhood it makes since that the original dynamics of the abuse and dysfunction may have been what forged this coping mechanism. My experience in this matter is that learning how to cope as a child by lying becomes a style of interfacing in the world.

I would highly recommend some individual therapy to sort through the origins of this style — and to find ways to begin sorting through this compulsion. There is some interesting research that expressive writing may be one way you might enhance your therapeutic process.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

I Think I Am a Compulsive Liar

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). I Think I Am a Compulsive Liar. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 6, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 22 Jul 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.