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Jean
Jean, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 433
Experience:  Masters degree in counseling, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
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How do we help our 36 yr old son who is a compulsive liar which

Resolved Question:

How do we help our 36 yr old son who is a compulsive liar which is affecting his job and personal relationships? He has been considerably getting worse and we confront him, but most times he doesn't admit to his lies, even when he is caught.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Jean replied 2 years ago.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Hello, I am available to try and answer your question.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

I'm sorry for your struggle with your son, has you worried and concerned.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Often times, one has to feel the discomfort such as losing a job, a relationship etc. before they see the true effects of their actions.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Are you concerned that he's not feeling much remorse for his actions? Has he been willing to seek treatment? Sounds like he denies it as a problem. This is very difficult for those who love him. You feel so much, and he seems to feel so little. You hurt because you feel, your son may not experience that same sensitivity.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

When one lies even when it's not necessary it has become addictive, similar to one who is addicted to alcohol or drugs. Somehow they begin to rationalize it, or become immune to it. Has he gotten into legal problems? It may have to get worse before it gets better, a bigger consequence, in his face, something he can no longer deny. He sounds like he has "errors in thinking".

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Here's a link for additional information about errors in thinking http://www.kmolnar.com/Thinking_Errors.html

Jean N/20pluscounts :

How do those who hurt others think? In order to violate society’s legal and moral rules a person needs to change their way of thinking. They change their way of thinking so they do not have to think about how they are hurting others. When they change their thinking, they are using thinking errors. Thinking errors are “mistakes” in the way someone thinks. They use thinking errors so they are really not bad, or not hurting someone. Thinking errors are used in both criminal and non-criminal situations. Thinking errors let a person blame other people, not take responsibility for their behaviors and stops people from ever getting better.


In order to reduce the chance that you will hurt others again, you must lean how to recognize thinking errors in yourself and in others. Everyday you will need to recognize your own thinking errors. When reading the following list of thinking errors see if you can identify which thinking error(s) you use in your every day thinking. If you are able to identify your favorite thinking error(s) you will be able to start changing your thinking.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You will find a list of the thinking errors on the web site I listed. Changing one's thinking takes a desire to make those changes, a commitment, a desire to make them better. The first and most important step is for him to identify there is a problem. If he continues to deny, blame, lie... it is only a matter of time that it will catch up to him. As you said you have confronted him, yet he continues. For real improvement to happen, he will have to take responsibility for his actions, begin to recognize how it is negatively affecting himself and others. Share the web site info. with him, it may be a start for him if he reads about the thinking errors and begins to recognize himself. There may be little else you can do other than protect yourself from the lies and the hurt. If he loses a good job, or a special relationship, that may be the time he takes notice.

Jean N/20pluscounts :








LyingAttempting to deceive oneself or others in order to satisfy your own desires“I didn’t do it.”“The important thing is to get what I want. If I have to lie to get it, then I’ll lie. Lying is no big deal.”
Jean N/20pluscounts :

Lying attempting to deceive oneself or others is an example of an error in thinking

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Best treatment for correcting one's errors in thinking is cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). It addresses one's distortions in thinking, and teaches them to think more realistically, and in a healthier way. It takes learning the new skills in thinking, and a commitment to practice them.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

CBT was developed by Dr. Aaron Beck. The therapist uses the cognitive model to help clients overcome their difficulty by changing their thinking, behavior, and emotional responses. Often times one lies to "protect" them self, some how have come to believe they need to protect self, are insecure.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Lying typically starts as a way to get what you want, but slowly person loses all sense of honesty, starts living in a fake world which is weaved by his own lies.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

A person who is used to compulsive lying is a very lonely and sad person. The good new is, with commitment and hard work, whatever is learned and be unlearned- to learn a new way.

Customer:

So what you're saying is that he definitely needs some professional counseling (if he will go). My husband and I talked about this at length before I considered this website and we feel once he has been confronted, he either tries to explain why he lied, or he 'denies' it by adding more to his 'story'. It has come full - head at his job and is about to be fired because he says he has done/completed something, only to find out he hasn't. Then the next day he comes into the office,he acts like he did nothing wrong. We want to talk to his wife (my daughter-in-law) but worry that it will only make matters worse for their marriage, plus he has a 2-yr old son. As my husband and I discussed this, we realized that he may have been doing this for quite some time, back in his college days and we never thought much about it because it was 'minor' lies (ie., about purchasing something that he hadn't, or now we don't know if he really did some other things that he told us) We always gave him the benefit of just making mistakes, but now we think we may have not realized he has been doing this for a long time. He doesn't seem to be very happy at his job or his marriage..often blames others (workers, wife) but now I think it's mostly him not able to take responsibility. Can he also be bi-polar? I keep seeing this term when I look up 'compulsive lying disorder'.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

I'm glad you could join the chat. Underlying this certainly could be depression or a mood disorder- anxiety??

Jean N/20pluscounts :

It does sound like it's gotten worse- this crisis of facing a job loss- may be the best opportunity for him to have to take a look at this, take an inventory of himself. Yes I think he needs professional help.

Customer:

So who would I look up in the medical profession? A psychiatrist or psycologist (sorry about the spelling). Do I need to find a counselor...I'm not sure what my next step would be? Should I ask my son first or just try to make him go?

Jean N/20pluscounts :

I'd talk to your son first, you can offer support, share your concern, sort of an intervention, but he will need to decide. A psychologist could further evaluate him to determine if he's dealing with depression, mood disorder, etc.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

If you enter into it with love, care, and concern, he may be less defensive.

Customer:

Unfortunately, my husband - his dad - is his boss and he has already told him he needs to get help or he must be on drugs. I will talk to my son about this. Thank you for your help.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Stating "we are worried, how can we help", and sharing this information with him. You are welcome- thank you for posting your question. Best wishes to you and your family!

Jean N/20pluscounts :

His dad may have a bit more leverage- pushing him into getting help- since he holds the key to the job.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

It is important for his dad/boss to hold him accountable- allow him to feel the discomfort, consequences of his actions.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

He's lucky to have a loving and caring family to support him.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

If you'd be so kind to rate/accept my answer so I can get credit, much appreciated. Thank you!

Jean, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 433
Experience: Masters degree in counseling, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
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Jean
Jean
Psychotherapist
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Masters degree in counseling, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)