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Many people particularly those with a strong moralistic bent regard any lying as pathological However as detailed in prior chapters in this book lying and self-deception are pervasive features of everyday life and human interactions Furthermore as I explore in Chapter 13 lying may be beneficial to the individual or may serve the needs of those to whom the lie is directed In this chapter pathological lying refers to lying that is compulsive or impulsive occurs on a regular basis and either does not seem to serve overt material needs of the person or has a self-defeating quality to it For example the pathological lie is told even though its ultimate disclosure and negative consequences are inevitable The following categories illustrate various forms of pathological lying They are separated for ease of description and discussion however it is obvious that considerable overlap exists among them The impulse control disorders such as pathological gambling kleptomania and compulsive shopping are often associated with various forms of deceit Pathological lying covers a wide spectrum of severity from habitual lying in certain circumstances to pervasive pseudologia fantastica Lying is a frequently found clinical feature associated with the impulse control disorders eg kleptomania gambling and compulsive shopping and with substance abuse The childhood histories of persons with pathological lying often include physical or sexual abuse dysfunctional families impulsive behavior low self-esteem and dyslexia or other forms of cerebral dysfunction The etiological role of these factors is unclear butseparately or in combinationgenetic predisposition cerebral dysfunction and the lack of a secure childhood may facilitate the emergence of chronic lying as a maladaptive coping mechanism I dont dig into peoples private lives I never have Ross Perots brief statement on ABC News in July 1992 was meant to end allegations that he secretly investigated his presidential campaign volunteers The allegations ended but not the way Perot intended Within hours irrefutable evidence appeared that proved Perot had hired others to probe
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