Why do people lie and seek attention?

Why do people lie and seek attention?


Many people make fun of attention seekers instead of spending time trying to find out what is wrong with them and getting to the bottom of the reasons why they lie. If people stopped mocking liars and instead looked deep into their past and/or emotions, they will find that they are most likely deeply hurting.

We have all met at least one person in our lives who have lied about every little thing in their lives just to get attention, some even go so far as to lie about a life-threatening disease or mental illness. Have you ever wondered why they do this?

An article by Billi Gordon in Psychology Today says that ‘excessive attention seeking is not a flaw, it is a brain wiring response to early development trauma caused by neglect.’ Of course, everyone reacts to trauma and neglect in different ways, but for some/most people, they are craving the attention that they didn’t get but were supposed to when they were young. Not everyone who seeks attention had a bad childhood, however; for some people the constant need to have attention and empathy from everyone around them is caused by low self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence.


Not only do attention seekers lie to receive attention, they also sometimes say horrible things to people, knowing that this will end in them giving themselves a bad name – ‘bad publicity is good publicity’, as some people believe.

But, just because they do this doesn’t mean that they are a bad person.

As stated before, if you lie or say mean things to people in hopes to get attention then there is a high chance that it’s because of something happening in the past, meaning that these sorts of people still need help and support. For example, if somebody asks for your help because they are depressed and want to commit suicide yet have no intention of doing so but want just the attention, they still need help, even if it’s not really for depression.

People can show attention seeking behaviour symptoms at a young age, and if you’re a parent it doesn’t necessarily mean you have done a bad job. Some people become attention seekers because of trauma with childhood and others do it because of low self-esteem because of things like bullying.

People see attention seeking behaviour as ‘pathetic’ or ‘abnormal’, but society don’t see the pain and suffering that comes with attention seeking and causes attention seeking behaviour. Usually, the person who lies about things really wants help but the only way to get people to see their suffering is by lying about it. They cannot confront the real problem, so they make one up, which is easier to deal with for some people.

Even though it’s hard to put up with someone who lies about things to get attention, if you learn the reason why they are doing what they are doing then maybe you can get them help – that’s all they need, help, and for someone to see that they need help. They are not bad people, they just do stupid things – they make mistakes just like all of us, but don’t let it colour your entire view on this person.


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