Why People With Borderline Personality Disorder Lie?!

An article by Psychology Today.

Lying can destroy relationships whether between a child and a parent or between a wife and a husband.

It can ruin trust and intimacy and foster resentment.

Many times people who feel deceived will cut ties completely with the person they believe lied.

Borderline Personality Disorder and Lying.
Unfortunately borderline personality disorder is not a well known or a well understood disease.

Even so many people believe lying is part of the disorder.

However you maybe surprised to learn that the link between borderline personality disorder and deceit is not so clearly defined.

In fact if you review the symptoms of borderline personality disorder, lying is nowhere to be found.

In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illnesses 5th edition which is the standard source healthcare providers use to make appropriate diagnoses,
deceit is not part of borderline personality disorder diagnostic criteria.

However that doesn’t necessarily mean that those with borderline personality disorder do not lie or that they aren’t more likely to lie.

In fact many family members and friends of those with borderline personality disorder cite lying as a major concern in their relationship with their borderline personality disorder loved one.

Why Lying occurs in borderline personality disorder.
There are a few potential reasons as to why lying may occur in people with borderline personality disorder.

Intense Emotions.
People with borderline personality disorder feel incredibly intense emotions.

These feelings can be so intense that they cloud the individual’s thinking, making them view things through an emotional lens that may be different from how other people see it.

They look for details that confirm what they feel and ignore facts that will contradict them and this can be incredibly frustrating for friends and family members.

It is important to understand that the person with borderline personality disorder isn’t consciously lying, he truly believes his viewpoint is correct even when it is blatantly false.

Impulsivity.
Borderline personality disorder is also associated with impulsivity and the tendency to do things without thinking about the consequences.

So some instances of lying may be the result of a person with borderline personality disorder just not thinking before giving a response.

Shame.
In addition people with borderline personality disorder often experience deep and entrenched shame so lying may be one way to conceal mistakes or weaknesses that increase shameful feelings.

People with borderline personality disorder are often also very sensitive to rejection, so one function of lying could be to cover up mistakes so that others will not reject them.
Biology of Lying

Based on a sophisticated imaging technique called functional magnetic resonance imaging fMRI.

Researchers have found that deception is linked to activation of the prefrontal cortex which lies at the very front of the brain.

The prefrontal cortex plays an important part in determining a person’s personality, planning cognitive tasks and regulating social and emotional behaviour.

Interestingly this activation of the prefrontal cortex has been found to occur whether the deception is related to emotional or neutral deception.

For example lying about something to avoid a negative reaction or out of fear versus lying about what you ate for breakfast.


However the basis of lying whether the lying is meant to help or harm the person doing the lying, may affect whether other regions of the brain are affected.

Lying and the Impact on Relationships.
No matter why a person with borderline personality disorder lies, whether it is because he truly thinks his skewed worldview is correct or if he is feeling ashamed, the impact on relationships can be extremely detrimental.

Friends and family members may no longer trust the person, isolating them away from their loved one.

Finally lying can destroy relationships completely.

Even loving and devoted family members may feel they have to separate from their loved one if lying has become common.

This can eliminate an essential support system and harm both people.

A Final Word.
In the end it can be difficult to maintain a relationship with a friend or a family member with borderline personality disorder.

However it is important to understand that people with borderline personality disorder often engage in destructive behaviours not because they intend to hurt you but because their suffering is so intense that they feel like they have no other way to survive.

Lying may be one example of this.

While that doesn’t excuse the behaviour,
If you understand the cause you can help your loved one get appropriate therapy to help manage his symptoms of borderline personality disorder.

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