Another Thread About Lying--Please Add Your Theory...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by DaisyFace, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Good morning, All--

    I didn't want to hi-jack anyone else's thread, but YIKES the lying with our difficult children is so out of control and so constant...and there seems to be no explanation for it (at least as far as I know....)

    Now SOME lying I understand. It makes perfect sense to me that a child would lie to try and avoid trouble. As in: Who broke the cookie jar? Not me!! This kind of lying I understand...and heck, we've probably all done it at one time or another.

    It's this difficult child version of lying--the bizarre, outlandish stories. And most of the time, there seems to be no rhyme or reason for the story-telling. Sometimes it is an attention-seeking behavior--but usually....I don't know what it is supposed to be. I swear these kids will try and convince us the sky is purple, just for the heck of it.

    So what is your theory?

    Have you ever been able to come up with any explanation?

  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Ok...give me an example. Ive told some whoppers so maybe I can help by explaining my reasoning. Ive never tried to say the sky was purple though unless it
  3. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Well, it's all the little things....

    We went to the lake for two days....difficult child described it as a week-long trip.

    She invited her "best friends" to a party--but it turned out she barely knew the girls who came to our house.

    She will talk about things that happen in class, or at lunch, or on the bus, and it will turn out that the people who feature in her story aren't even in the class in the first place.

    Like I's hard to find a rhyme or reason to it.

  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Ok...over exaggeration or grandiosity...maybe you could call it. She is making herself look more important or bigger or better than what she really thinks she is.

    She may know other kids go off on weekend trips so she has to one up them with week long trips. Makes her oh so much more important. She probably also does all these grand things on her trips. Maybe not things you want to know about either.

    With the friends thing...she is doing that to probably boost her ego because she really doesnt have close friends. She will say these people are her best friends because that is the best she can do.

    Its a grandiose way of looking at things. Her reality is skewed.
  5. aninom

    aninom New Member

    It could also be that she is nursing a daydream about, say, having friends: making an outsider, or her parents, believe this is reality makes the dream a bit more realistic - and there is a pleasure in that. When I was a kid (eight, nine?) I used to tell the other kids my parents were very strict, when in fact they had no control at all over the difficult child sister. A part of me felt a sad kind of happiness at having someone believe this alternate reality, thus bolstering the vitality of the daydream.

    Another thought I have about lying is that it is about having absolute control over others', and what information others have about you. I think with my sister she enjoys us not knowing, or us knowing wrong - it gives her a sense of control to make us believe about her and reality in general whatever she wishes us to, knowing she is the only one that has control over the truth.

    Great topic! I don't think your daughters' lying is malevolent. She seems a bit lonely, probably because of her conduct issues. Hopefully she'll grow out of this and be just fine - I really don't think this is too unusual a behavior. How old is she?
  6. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    Wow! Great theory!

    Making up stories to keep others off-balance in order to have a sense of 'control'... That makes a lot of sense, when you think about it.


    I agree with you about the grandiose thinking. It's just so sad, though--isn't it? Instead of letting people get to know the "real" difficult child, she lies to make herself seems more interesting or important and therefore risks ruining any possible future friendship, because sooner (rather than later) the truth comes out and feelings are hurt all around..
  7. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I've told some whoppers myself, for no reason other than to have something to say. Everyone else is more important so I have to return the focus to me.

    I don't do this any more - because it's too hard to keep up. Too hard to remember the details.

    But yeah, being the center of attention could be part of it.
  8. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    What I never get is with my Oldest, even when caught in a lie, she will continue to uphold the lie, or simply tell me I am wrong (she would indeed argue that the sky was purple). I stopped trying to debunk her stories long ago because of this, it was too frustrating. There are definitely times when she lies to make herself look more pitiful, to get sympathy from people.. but sometimes, they're just bizarre lies for no reason.

    The only "theory" I can come up with is that she lies so much, she convinces herself it's true. Delusion, dissociation, something.
  9. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    You're all talking about disordered thinking -- grandiose, skewed, delusional, dissociated thinking is all part of a disorder that needs treatment. It isn't going to go away by itself.
  10. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    No doubt you are correct....
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Here's my story and theory. I think it all depends on how far the child will go to lie and if he seems to understand that it could hurt him and others...and whether or not he cares.I also don't think that a chld necessarily has disordered thinking to lie. I know I was aware I was lying. I just didn't really know it was wrong. Or care. I thought everyone lied. it is.

    Ok, this is my unique (ahem) take on lying. First, do you think he just lies like he breathes? Does it serve a purpose or does he make things up to look better or just to get attention? Why am I asking, you think...

    As a child I made up stories and it continued into adulthood. I have a serious personality disorder and, as God is my witness, I didn't realize how bad it was to lie. I just lied. My parents didn't lie. I did. Sometimes it was to get out of trouble. Sometimes it was to get attention because my own life was boring as opposed to my made up stories. Some of it was not keeping promises to other people (a form of in: "Do you promise not to tell Mom?" "Sure, I won't tell her." Then I did and didn't realize I was breaching promises/lying with my answer). I learned a cold and hard lesson about lying and now I almost tell the truth TOO MUCH (as in I have told all to the forum members where others may have held back). Maybe my "too much" is part of the borderline "all or nothing" but I much prefer the truth. by the way, dissociation of a lesser degree than DID can and does take place with borderline, although I never heard a little voice inside my head telling me to do anything...

    My diagnoses were what you see below, however, my biggest problem was never diagnosed formally, but I know I have it: "Borderline personality disorder" and you often lie like a biotch when you have a personality disorer. Your child is young and I'm sure you can't know yet why he/she lies completely. However, this is why *I* did. I have needed a lot of therapy to stop doing it. It became just a way of life, which is scary. I'm not sure what you can do about a child who simply is not in touch with how betrayed somebody feels when you lie to him/her. But I do wish you tons and tons of luck and think you should seek out answers with any professional you can find. I wish I'd found out sooner before I started losing people who were close to me and that I loved. Not getting help because of a few bad experiences will not help your child and normal parenting methods are unlikely to help. Rather than a Therapist, I'd see a psychatrist...make sure he or she has a good rep with kids. There are lemons in all fields. You may also want to try a neuropsychologist.

    My experience with Aspie/Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids is that they don't lie much and, when they do, they don't do a very good job of it. My son is on the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) spectrum and he is always shocked when somebody breaks a rule or swears. Not sure he feels the same about lying, but I haven't caught him in TOO many lies and when I do he fesses up fast rather than insisting, like I used to insist, that the lie was the truth. THAT is a much bigger problem.

    I wish there was a diagnosis and special treatment for lying because so many of our difficult child's have that problem, and it means so many different things.

    I don't know if this helped...I was just trying to give you a bit of insight into my own special situation. I do think personality disorders cause lying. I don't know what else does. It's not a good thing to do, for sure. It bites you in the butt!:sick:
  12. kitty lover

    kitty lover Guest

    DF, I just wanted to let you know that I totally agree that this type of dissassociated thinking needs treatment and will not go away by itself. My girl was transferred today (after spending 3 weeks in jail due to her lying) to a 90 day inpatient facility where she will be receiving some intensive treatment including DBT therapy. I wish I could have had someone agree with me a lot sooner that she was Borderline (BPD) but no one would listen to me until her Probation Officer met her and could see it right away. She made this happen for her and I'm very grateful. Treatment is essential!
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I dont think they can understand how betrayed people feel by their lying until it happens to them. I know I didnt and I know Cory didnt until it started happening to us. Boy did parenting bring me up cold, hard and fast! It did a whole lot to put the brakes on my manipulative behaviors and my lying. It made me grow up. I guess that is be I had my own behaviors being thrown back in my face in the form of my kids.

    With Cory, his child isnt in anyway like him so he doesnt get to taste that side, but he does get to feel the sting of gfgdom with his friends. They have lied to him, stolen from him and caused him grief. It always brings him up short. He is amazed that someone would do that to him. He feels betrayed. I tell you know how Dad and I felt when you did that to us. How does it feel Cory to have your things stolen? How does it feel to have someone you trust lie to you? He doesnt like it and now he makes a very concerted effort to not break out trust again. Im sure he tells small lies...we all do..but he wont steal from us or tell us something untrue if we ask flat out.
  14. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    This is such a good point!

    Constant lying is such a stressor in day-to-day life. It puts parents in a position of having to investigate every little thing....and it definitely erodes any kind of relationship they try to have with their difficult child. People get hurt--parents get frustrated--difficult children feel that nobody "trusts" them. Lying can cause such huge problems for a family...

    And yet, it seems that psychiatrists and tdocs don't take "lying" too seriously as a diagnostic symptom.
  15. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    This is the situation my family finds itself in, too...

    People around us are only just beginning to see how bad and how constant difficult child's lies and misrepresentations are.

    I can't wait until we get the kind of opportunity for treatment that difficult child really needs...
  16. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Well, I have to say that this thread got a whole lot more serious than I thought it would...

    I expected to hear a few "lighthearted" ideas about some of the outrageous stories so many of us have heard from our difficult children over the years...

    Instead, this has actually helped confirm in my own mind that this kind of constant lying and misrepresentation is a symptom of an underlying mental illness.

    I have been taken in waaaayyyy too long by difficult child's stories and each time I have gotten burned I have felt so stupid. How could I not know it was a lie???

    And of course, none of our therapists or docs have considered lying any more than "typical teen"....

    Sometimes, we as parents have even been blamed for the lying--as in "You know, if you made it "safer" to talk to you....difficult child lies because she's so anxious for your approval....difficult child lies because you didn't build a good relationship...." etc etc etc

    I am grateful that our therapist is beginning to understand the extant of the lying...

    Hopefully, it will lead to proper treatment.

    Thanks everyone, for your input!

  17. compassion

    compassion Member

    Yes, in my expereinxe is connected to her mental illness. The ill, not bad stuff. I sitll though have to set very firm boundaries and follow through. For example, today, she was to do schoolw ith me at 8. The deal is she does school or deos not get her $10. She calls later beggignme and I calmly stuck with it. She did pull at my heartstrings how ill she is. I will bring her some stuff I have aroudn here.
    Grandiosity and jsut a very diffrent eay of dealign with things. Consequences and actions are not connected. Her view of reality is very diffrent. I document, I stay clear. Iaccept, I cannto readonwith her when she is like that.
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    It's very hard on the person who is lying too. I know that sounds silly because you may ask yourself, "Well, why doesn't she just stop then if it's hard on her?" I wish I could answer that question. I knew it made my life hard, but I didn't or couldn't stop until I had a much better understanding of myself and why I did it. I do wish Psychiatrists would give chronic lying a name and find a way to treat it (lying can in my opinion become addictive and "normal" for some if it happens too much).
    As of now, all I know about chronic lying is that it is a very big red flag for serious future problems, especially when there is no point to the lie or when the person denies the lie when caught red-handed. These are not psychotic people, but in my opinion many are headed for personality disorders, which is not fun.
  19. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    This describes my difficult child to a 'T'. I can definitely say that 'he lies like he breathes' - at least, he did as long as he lived in our house. Since moving out I think he is lying to me less, but I still can't take anything he says at face value. When he was younger I think it was about power - about having control over who had what information. I think he enjoyed it. He also stuck to his lies when caught, past the point of all rationality. Now it's more a matter of knowing that there's a germ of truth at the base of his stories, but the details are up for grabs. He still only shares partial information, omitting important things. To me, that's also a lie because the intent is to mislead.
  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You know, I think there is a difference in lying if the child lies to the parents only but tells his friends the truth. In my case, the lying transcended my family and I lost friends too due to it and not until I lost somebody REALLY dear to me did it really register that lying is a huge betrayal to other people, and I finally learned and stopped.

    We need to add Lying All the Time to the DSM. Like borderline personality disorder, I think it would really respond to a sort of textbook teaching sort of therapy. I don't think regular therapy is much good after it becomes a way of life, but I do think that I'm not the only one who had this problem without the insight to realize it would make my own life much better if I'd only stop.

    I don't believe it's a "moral" issue so I don't believe that talk therapy or going to church does any good. I was a very "moral" child and teen. I was very strict about what I would and would not do. I refused to have sex outside of marriage (indeed was a virgin when I got married). It was both a moral and respect thing. I "got" that I couldn't know if somebody loved or respected me if I slept around. I refused to take drugs, even marijuana, or drink because I thought, in a very moral way, that this was bad for people's minds and spirits and I refused to breach my morals. BUT...I lied like there was no tomorrow. And for many reasons. And for no reason at all. It is one big reason that, although I never got the diagnosis, I'm sure I have Borderline (BPD) and that it has got better due to all the therapy I did have and my own enlightened "aha" moment about the lying (I was in my early 30' did not come fast).

    I think therapists need to focus on the symptom of lying. It is so detrimental to your family life, your friendships, and your jobs. For me it didn't spiral into stealing (I shoplifted some, but not a lot and felt very guilty). But I think it can turn into other things.

    So I'm in favor of making Excessive Pointless Lying a secondary disorder because it is quite disabling.