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Topic: Compulsive lying - support, advice etc?

11 posts, 0 answered
  1. xerxes
    xerxes avatar
    2 posts
    1 October 2017

    Hi everyone,

    This is my first post here. I've been wanting to reach out and talk about this for a long time, so I'm going to be honest and get everything off my chest -

    I am a compulsive liar, and I have been since I was a child, although I can't remember exactly when this began. I grew up in a conservative religious environment where lying was almost necessary to keep myself out of trouble, but at some point it escalated into my lying simply out of habit. My parents were also (and continue to be) emotionally abusive with narcissistic tendencies - I've never been close to them, and as I've grown up our relationship has only worsened. I've struggled with mental health issues in the past, to which they responded negatively and didn't provide any support (their attitude was that any issues I had were my own fault, and their solution was either to ignore it or to pray).

    So that's a little bit of background - back to my lying problem. I first encountered the term 'compulsive lying' about 4-5 years ago, and I knew immediately that it applied to me. My lies as a child and teenager were largely about myself/my life, and designed to make me seem like a more interesting and likeable person. I lied to my friends all through school about trivial things; what I did on the weekends/holidays, my life outside of school, my family. I exaggerated or made up stories for the same reasons. I was always conscious of my lies and never confused them with the truth. My high school friends never caught me in the act, so I never addressed the problem, and when I moved cities for uni I was hoping that I could leave that part of my life behind me.

    But the real problems started then. When I began uni and made friends in this new city where nobody knew me/my past, I was swept up by my compulsive lying again. I lied about my parents' ethnicities, about where I was born, about my siblings (going so far as inventing another elder brother when I really only have one) etc. I got into a romantic relationship not long after moving, this person was fed the same lies that all my friends heard, and now we're talking seriously about marriage! I've never been caught in the act, my partner/friends think highly of me and have never suspected a thing, but I know the truth - I've always been able to separate my lies from my reality. It's eating me inside because I desperately want honest relationships with people, without destroying those I already have and love dearly. Please help! I feel so alone

    2 people found this helpful
  2. MsPurple
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
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    MsPurple avatar
    170 posts
    1 October 2017 in reply to xerxes

    HI xerxes and welcome to the BB peer support forums :) I am glad you have reached out with your story and decided to go from reader to poster (even if this the only thread you will post in)

    I understand the whole religious guilt thing. My parents are athiest but I went to church for a few years to escape my reality (from my step mum, and the fact I was struggling with undiagnosed anxiety). Apart from physical illness (e.g. a cold) you kinda felt guilty for mental health issues. (Now disclaimer. Not all churches are like this! My friend went to one and her dad had depression and they were super supportive and encouraged him to get help in the form of a psychologist). One of the reasons why I left the church was because I was suffering from an eating disorder. My weight was low and I really had nothing else to lose, but I couldn't beat it alone. I kinda let them know and they said I needed to get support from God and the church. But they didn't understand eating disorders and they were not professionals. I ended up leaving that church for numerous reasons. I just want to let you know I do understand the guilty feelings regarding mental health. But now I don't feel guilty at all about. I have been educated. I know that mental illness can affect any person, any age, any gender, sexuality, race, religoion etc and it can come out of no where. No one chooses to have a mental illness

    Now I don't really have experience or the greatest knowledge of compulsive lying. I have told little lies to emphasis a story but I have never had the compulsion to do so. What I can see with you is it is a way to escape your reality and to try forget the hard times in your past at home. I thought I would post to encourage others to reply and to bump up your post (in the new threads for any new posts in a thread it will bump it up to the top and that way it helps people to see this).

    I should also encourage you to see your GP and discuss your feelings. You don't have to discuss the compulsive lying. But you say you have been dealing with other mental health problems. Maybe see if you can get a referral to a psychologist who can help you with the compulsive lying and give you strategies to catch yourself doing it and to help you overcome it.

    Hope this helps. Please check back with us

    MP

    2 people found this helpful
  3. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    Croix avatar
    235 posts
    1 October 2017 in reply to xerxes

    Dear Xerxes~

    You are definatly not the first person to come here and talk about having that problem, and I guess telling a lie is something we all do, the difference being motivation and degree.

    As someone who was brought up in a religious atmosphere my beliefs, interests and general behavior were at odds with the prevailing views set down by my parents, so naturally I told lies that got me out of trouble and gave me more freedom.

    Fortunately for me it never went further, possibly because I was not closely supervised, and when the pressure went away I reverted to normal accounts of things. I would not be surprised if this is pretty common behavior for many kids and not just for those with religious parents.

    I guess in your case it didn't taper off and has become a way of life, whether you want it to or not. Like Ms Purple I've no first hand knowledge of this particular behavior pattern and how to stop it however I would imagine it has much in common with other addictions that seek to alter one's perceptions and feelings.

    I think you have overcome a most significant hurdle already, you have acknowledged to yourself - and others here - that you have a big problem, and you want it to stop. That's a pretty good start.

    You also realize what you are doing is high-risk with the possibility of losing the one you love, or at least severely damaging your relationship with her either now or some time in the future when the whole thing becomes unraveled.

    Let me start by saying I'm just an ordinary person with MH problems, not a doctor, however I honestly don't think it is something you can defeat all by yourself. I would think you are going to need ongoing psychiatric or psychological therapy and support for quite some time to rid yourself of these compulsions. The cause as well as anything else will most probably need to be addressed.

    If available in your area a support group for compulsive lying may be of great benefit.

    May I suggest you see you GP with this in mind and set everything out. If you think you might be tempted to gloss over matters then write it all down first and share the paper. All this will no doubt take longer than a standard consultation. See if you can be referred for treatment.

    This of course still leaves unanswered the question of what to do about the things you have told your fiancee and others, however one thing at a time.

    I really would like it if you posted again and said how you feel about these things

    Croix

    2 people found this helpful
  4. geoff
    Life Member
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    geoff avatar
    891 posts
    2 October 2017 in reply to xerxes
    hello Xerxes, and yes we have had people with the same problem, and MP and Croix have both made some great comments.
    I have been an atheist for a long time, because everytime I prayed when I really needed an indication of what to do, of course nothing happened, and sorry to those who are religious, no intent to hurt you, so please bare with me, that's why I have no belief at all.
    What does worry me is that some religious people do emotionally abuse the ones they love, I could never understand why they would go to church and then change significantly when they come home.
    As kids my twin and I used to lie to my Mum if we knew we were going to get into trouble, maybe Mum knew ut we always safe, we never got belted up for doing anything wrong, but as we begin to grow up we develop a conscious and feel guilty for telling someone that you have done the impossible, who's going to believe us anyway.
    You tell a lie but then you have to tell another lie to try and keep up with the previous lie, until eventually you get so confused with what you have originally said, so people know this, and when you're not with these people,I could only imagine what they say behind your back, 'he only b****ts'.
    It's not that hard to teach yourself out of lying, watch something on telly and talk to yourself and maybe a friend or your finance about what actually happened, tell them you're having sessions with a psychologist and this is for practice.
    If you want to get married and you can't overcome this lying then your marriage won't last, and please trust me when I say this, spouses hate being told lies, especially when you're first married.
    It only takes practice after practice, stop when you begin to tell them any lie, it only takes dedication and strength. Geoff.

    1 person found this helpful
  5. xerxes
    xerxes avatar
    2 posts
    29 October 2017 in reply to Croix

    Hello Croix

    Thank you so much for your response. I have to apologise for the delay, things have been incredibly busy for me lately. It means a lot to me to be able to get it off my chest in a space where I don't feel judged for it. That's the greatest hurdle for me - I want to come clean to the people around me, but not only am I afraid of the consequences, but also what they'll think of me. I imagine they'd think less of me, or wish to have nothing to do with me anymore, and the potential of that terrifies me. It would be a huge punishment on top of what I've been putting myself through with coming to terms with this. I've lived with this problem most of my life and I am so tired of it, sometimes it really makes me hate myself when I reflect on the person that I am. It makes me feel empty. I agree with you that I can't beat this by myself, so I really would like to seek out a GP and begin therapy right away, but I'm worried I won't be able to do it alone. I want to tell someone in my life with the hopes that they will be a source of support through the process - but I've outlined my anxieties about that above. I love my partner and I want to be honest with them more than anyone else, and hope that they will love me enough to support me through this, but I'm terrified of taking the plunge for fear of what I might lose. I'm using this space a sounding board for what I'm going through, and I hope to be more regular in posting updates on how I'm doing. Thanks so much again for taking the time to respond, this is making me feel less alone in what I'm going through, and is inspiring me with the courage to do it off the screen and with the people I love.

    1 person found this helpful
  6. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    Croix avatar
    235 posts
    29 October 2017 in reply to xerxes

    Dear Xerxes~

    First off I can well understand what you are going though. I agree it is very frightening and whatever you decide has risk. If you say nothing to your partner and she finds out later then the chances of her feeling betrayed and unable to trust you will perhaps be at its worst. If you just front up and tell her right now that might be a bit better - you are telling voluntarily after all.

    If it was me, and I know it's not, I'd think about a slightly more positive angle. Get started on treatment first, then tell. This has the advantage of being voluntary, and at the same times shows you realize the seriousness of the matter and are taking steps to stop it happening again.

    After all from your partner's point of view it is not just the things you have said about yourself and the past that will concern her, but also how she is to trust you in the future.

    After all if someone who habitually bends the truth just says they are going to stop it might be a little hard to take at face value. Someone who is showing evidence of trying to stop stands a higher chance of being believed - and most importantly actually stands a better chance of stopping the habit.

    I guess the other thing which we have not really spoken about is fairness and looking after one's partner. While I'm sure there is a temptation to put all this in the too hard basket would it be fair to her?

    Look, whatever you decide at the moment we will be here for you, we understand how difficult this all is

    Croix

    2 people found this helpful
  7. Rosie121
    Rosie121 avatar
    1 posts
    27 February 2018
    I've been in some kind of relationship with my husband since our wedding day 9 years ago where I've always been alone and afraid.My husband worked away from home so I raised our children alone, but for the last 6 years our company is now in our yard. Everyday it eats at me, I'm constantly trying to imagine my life alone and I feel like know one would ever want to be with me. I don't think I could have sex with anyone ever again including my husband I feel disgusting and ugly since he tried to have an affair but I caught it before it actually happened.
    To be honest what i found was brutal, i got broken and weak! I used to be strong and outgoing people looked up to me for it. Now i'm just weak, lonely and afraid. save yourself and find out the truth before its too late.
     
    1 person found this helpful
  8. Ross71
    Ross71 avatar
    1 posts
    25 March 2018

    Hi Everyone,

    im a widowed father of 7 kids, my wife passed away 3 and a bit years ago. i had found someone who loves my kids like her own but im a closed book and lie about stuff being done. I found it hard to involve her in daily stuff or i would even forget to offer her to come over to the house as i was ashamed about how we lived.

    She is very open about whats in her bank account etc and I am ashamed about my finacial situation. She finally said i need help and need to find me, i feel lost as its like my younger kids now have lost 2 mums. is it to late for me to repair wht i have broken, she said she will wait but i have doubts in my head all the time.

    Thanks for Reading Ross

  9. Chloe_M
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Chloe_M avatar
    56 posts
    6 April 2018 in reply to xerxes

    Hi xerxes,

    I am glad that you finally reached out to someone, even if we are not professionals, just members of the public on a forum!

    I have what I'm sure is undiagnosed anxiety, and I haven't told my parents about the frequent panic attacks I experience, or that I am really paranoid about germs. They only know that I am anxious all the time.

    I feel like my parents, if they actually knew me, wouldn't accept who I am. I feel like I am a different person in front of them, this little goody two shoes that cares overly about school and getting good marks. I do care a lot about school... That's only really because my parents do and they have really high expectations. They don't think I'm like a lot of other teenage girls... Well surprise surprise, I am! I am just like everyone else, except i feel like I have a huge problem, but it just goes around in circles. They ask me things, and the lies just spill out.

    Don't feel worried about being judged Xerxes; all of use here will either relate or try and help. I think that you should open up to your partner... A healthy relationship is an honest one. If they truly love you they will accept you for all your faults; the same goes for good friendships.

    Best of luck x

    Chloe

  10. Taylahellen
    Taylahellen avatar
    1 posts
    6 July 2019 in reply to xerxes
    Hi there, this is my first post. My boyfriend just broke up with my because of my lying - I just can’t stop myself, it’s even about little things like getting my nails done. I don’t k is why I lie or how I could hurt someone I love so much. I had a really awful relationship prior and I think that’s really when I started lying. I just want some advice on how to stop, I’m seeing a psychologist and a life coach but just need some support and advice
  11. geoff
    Life Member
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    geoff avatar
    891 posts
    7 July 2019 in reply to Taylahellen

    Hello Taylahellen, and a warm welcome to the forums.

    The truth can be told by people in a different way, in the way their personality wants to express it or what they feel is acceptable or how they think people want to hear it so as not to get a bad reaction, maybe this is done by telling 'white lies', I know I've done this on more occasions than I can remember.

    I'm pleased you're seeing a psychologist because teaching someone what will happen in a situation when you lie compared to when you tell the truth is a vast difference.

    Lies are found out by other people wanting to tell and rectify the situation by telling the truth and by not being honest will make you further from what you want and will likely prevent you from getting what you want in life.

    Truth is courage and strength.

    Best wishes.

    Geoff.