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Ask Dr. DombeckAsk Dr. Dombeck:
Psychotherapy and Mental Health Questions

Pathological Lying

Sun, Nov 14th 1999

I believe my son may be a pathological liar and has been since child hood. He is now 28 and married with a new baby and a wife ready to leave him, after 5 months of marriage. He lies when he does not have to. He gets very angry when caught in a lie (that we can prove). Everyone who works with him thinks he's a liar, so it's not just me who thinks this is a problem. He is also in complete denial. My husband, my son's wife and I want to help him get help. Do you have any suggestions on how we can get him to a psychiatrist - and once there, how we can get him to see his problems. Also, is there a particular field of psychiatry we should be looking for? He has symptoms of feeling inferior. He purchases very expensive clothes, just had liposuction to look better, (in his mind) buys excessively, and brags about everything and anything. He has had to have a new macho vehicle every few months, starting with a Hummer, yet he abuses these and turns them in for another kind of vehicle, which is never any better in his opinion. His birth mother didn't want him and used him for the money his father has. She is an alcoholic who is now married to husband number 8. My son has had no contact with her for 7 years and asked me to adopt him, which I did. We are close as long as he feels I am on his side. While I believe he loves his wife and son, he is very active in sex on the internet and also phone sex. He is very intelligent and owns two successful businesses which permit him to live a lifestyle of excess. However, he feels that everyone else has more than he does, which very honestly is ridiculous. His father has until now believed every story or lie he has ever heard from our son, because he has felt that he had a horrible mother who never nurtured or loved him, and was very happy to allow his father and me to raise him at age 6. I am at a loss about what to do and also wonder if anything can be done. Please, help us.

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