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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7663
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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Hi, My 26 year old sister is a compulsive liar. Her actions

Customer Question

Hi, My 26 year old sister is a compulsive liar. Her actions are not purposeful and she is a great person apart from the lying. More recently, she has communicated her inability to form lasting friendships and connections with people. She is currently finishing law school. She is in counseling. My question is: will she be able to have a normal life if she is rehabilitated or will she always be plagued by her former lies? She has improved so much, but I worry that the sadness she experiences and loneliness she feels will ultimately consume her despite rehabilitating herself and that she may feel that she can't function in the world. I am hopeful that she can escape her troubles and be successful - we (our family) believe this is possible. Thanks for your feedback.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 1 year ago.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Seeking expert counseling is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Dear friend,

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I believe that I can help.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Can you tell me more about the nature of her lying?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Does she have close family ties?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Does she prefer solitary activities, or perhaps few activities at all?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Does she seem to be affected by criticism or praise? A lot or a little?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Is she emotionally cold, attached, or bland?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Is she feeling this way because she is suffering from depression?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

What does she lie about? Is it to make herself look better? Is it to manipulate others? What does she gain from lying?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Does she have empathy for others? Can she feel their pain?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

When you come back on line, please answer the questions I have posed to the best of your ability.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I shall exit the chat for now, and save it so that you can resume anytime, whether or not I am back.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

It is already late and perhaps we shall get back together until tomorrow early morning or late afternoon. Answer anytime.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I need that information before I can give you the best response, which is my goal and intention.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I wish you a good evening and hope to see you on later.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Warm regards,

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Elliott, MAE, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Perhaps you want a mind reader. You can ask for a refund. If you are so impatient as to want an answer without giving the full information, then you are not that patient about helping your sister.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

She cannot escape her troubles and have a happy life without being properly assessed, diagnosed, and then being treated accordingly.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You want to help her, you say, but cannot even take the trouble to answer relevant questions about her condition. That does not demonstrate much commitment to her, but now you can say that you have tried.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

If you would like to continue I will be happy to work with you to find an answer to your question.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You can answer if you like or give me more bad ratings for trying my best to give you a caring and professional answer.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I am exiting and saving the chat.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Warm regards,

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Elliott

Customer: Elliott,
Customer: i am sorry to have upset you. I do not however want to pay for every correspondence. I hope that is not the case. Clearly, I do want to help my sister, as does my family. She has been combating this issue her entire life and we are all aware that it is a problem. We applaud her for the work she has been doing with her psychiatrist. She is much improved and her words carry much more weight than they did in the best. Ultimately, my question is whether or not she can live a successful and normal life with her treatment? To be more specific, a number of past relationships etc. have fizzled due to her lying. Given the connection in our world today, she fears that she may never be able to recover from her bast mistakes - moreover, even if she stops lying, she will still be plagued and judged for her past acts.
Customer: To answer some of your questions
Customer: 1 her lies are generally grand exaggerations that are made to make herself look better
Customer: 2. We have close family ties. There are five children in our family. She is smart and capable and currently in law school. We come from a good background and solid upbringing. No negative family background.
Customer: She has lots of empathy for others. She is loyal and very caring. She had a best friend that died a year ago from ovarian cancer. She took care of her all the time and did not lie to this individual. She was a real rock and mentor in her life.
Customer: I think that answers all the questions. Ultimately we are so happy that she has been working on this and she is getting better. I don't want her to be discouraged and think that she will never have a normal life or that she will never be able to live this down (I.e. past lies). She is bright and a wonderful person and we are hopeful that she is overestimatin the impact and that in time people will see her for the new her and let go of the past. Also, she is only 26 and has so much more of her life to life. Can't she move on from this?
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Thank you for getting back to me. You did not upset me but rather surprised me. I am only here to help.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Your sister seems as if she has been suffering from very low self-esteem rather than from a personality disorder. This is very encouraging. Past lies are forgotten when good people do good things. She has shown herself to be a good and compassionate friend, a successful student, and has the love and admiration of her family.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

There is no reason that she cannot get past this. Much of it is merely a remnant of her past feelings of inadequacy which she is working on with her psychiatrist, who is, I assume, one of those rare psychiatrists who actually practice psychotherapy rather than just giving medications.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

People escape their past by creating a new reality of who they are. It seems that she has done remarkable things much more credible than her exaggerations. She has a portfolio of deeds that she must use to continue to lift herself up if she has not yet discovered what a remarkable person she has become.

Customer: She is transferring to a better law school for next year, but she acknowledges that she lied to people at the law school she is lying. She can start fresh at dr new school in the fall but worries that despite her work to rehabilitate, that her past conduct will continue to follow her despite her improvement. I think the impact was limited because she tried to keep her head down and study at school and she plans to cut off those people and move on. We all just want her to be successful and honest and we know she can do it, but we also want to know that she can get away from the past or people from for example this past school that may ask about her or try to contact her.
Customer: Her therapist had her address her lyong only with her family. Given that she has little to no longstanding relationships, her therost has suggested that she not address the issue directly with others and furthermore tht she start fresh and move forward in her new environment. I genuinely hope that the past scan be the past and thAt people can forget about it and that her new behavior will replace old stores etc we own a family business and she p
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

She needs to keep her focus on the present and the future and leave the past behind. There are many people who are slanderers or just mean spirited, and they will have no credibility in the face of her good performance and current honesty and openness, which she must continue to nurture.

Customer: she plans to come back to the business one day. She had some issues with dishonesty she worked there in early 20s. My hope is that she can come bad after law school, be happy and truthful and no longer live in that negative light or previous impression.
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I believe that she has the professional training to understand what it means to be on the straight and narrow.

Customer: So you believe she shouldn't answer question s or keep in touch with people she lied to in the past?
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

If it serves her better to apologize then she should, or at least send them a kind note and leave them disarmed.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

She will be gone and no longer be the current subject of gossip. She will soon be old news if she is not already.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

If she is not being pursued or hounded, then she should just forget about them.

Customer: Good advice. The concern was that they don't want to trigger additional lyong through the confrontation from old people that may provoke cover up lies as she tries to fix the issue. I think she can ignore them
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

There is no reason that she cannot lead an exemplary and successful life.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Yes. Ignore them and they will go away. She is about to be out of their lives.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

They do not seem like a very savory group, in any event, if they are vindictive. These packs of jackals will find closer and easier prey.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Perhaps she set herself up, unwittingly, to be bullied. Now she has done the right thing and walked away intact.

Customer: That is a huge relief to know. We are proud that she is seeing help and know that she has all the tools to be a wonderful person. She is a wonderful person and we tell her all the time that she doesn't have to make up stories to gain the admiration of others. She has already accomplished more than most, but the lying can be prohibitive. We are glad she finally realizes the tremendous and weighty impact the behavior has had on our friendships etc.
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

May I recommend a book for her to give her further help?

Customer: I'm sure there are better things to worry about than my sister. She sets herself up to be bullied for sure, but removing herself from the environment and starting a new is great for her.
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Here is the very effective workbook link.

Customer: That's great.
Customer: So even at 26/27 it isn't too late to make a come back?
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :


She is doing the right thing and she will succeed. Anybody who can make it through law school can reach even greater heights.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

She was a minor child 8 or 9 years ago.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

She is just starting.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

She is approaching the finishing line to attaining a great career and then the next chapter will begin with a wonderful basis for success.

Customer: You are right. It will be behind her if she stops it now. Fingers crossed. Any other advice or things we can do or I should tell her about the future ? We just want her to stock with it and ease her concerns a pith confrontation from past lies at her law school or elsewhere so she isn't provoked or further humiliated.
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Let her know how proud you all are. I'm sure you already do.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Tell her to forget about it and if someone mentions it she should just brush it off and put it behind her.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

She must not let anyone provoke her.

Customer: Good points. She has just lied a out some crazy stuff so we can see how it upsets her when she has been confronted.
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

She should start acting like an attorney at a press conference, and leaving those people jabbering to themselves.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

She does not and should not ever act defensive again. She has earned that right.

Customer: She nominated herself for athletes of the week in high school from a fake email account she created pretending to be someone she made up. She went before the honor board in college for lying to a professor about when our family was leaving for a holiday so she could take an exam earlier - I think this was not real
Customer: Was not really a big deal.
Customer: But at law school this year she told people she was engaged and she isn't even dating anyone. She even got a ring and wore it. A little nuts. She even knows how crazy it sounds now.
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

No. Lots of kids do this. Until recently I was teaching at a college and heard some whoppers.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

She felt insecure. This was just a way of helping to cope with her inadequacies at the time.

Customer: Obviously people don't get married all the time so whatever. But I'm sure she will get asked about that.
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

She's not the first to do these things and it is very understandable.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

If she is she can reply that it is a personal issue that she would rather not discuss. End of story.

Customer: She also told people she was running the Boston marathon and then of course there was a bombing so that was awkward. She didnt comment on it but we discussed how things jut ravel into more lies.
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

She will probably never even be questioned about it.

Customer: We know she isn't nuts but sometimes these things tht she has done see, really crazy whe. You think about them.
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

She has learned her lesson?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I see her as a woman in need of boosting her self-confidence. Something made her feel rejected or inadequate at some time.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

She will continue to grow out of it.

Customer: She sees how outlandish and terrible those lies are and she understands the gravity of the situation now. She sees how she can't have relationships with some of these peoplle, even people she liked because her relationship is centered on some big lies. That has really resonated with her and she feels it most when she sees others enjoying their lives or getting married, enjoying lots of friends etc.
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

She had already achieved notable milestones and will be adding to them. She will no longer need to boost herself up with fiction when the facts are so much better.

Customer: But it also follows her. In this day in age it is hard to travel In the US at our age with Facebook and everything and not have someone that you know in common. Of course, she doesn't have Facebook. But she always runs the risk of meeting a new person who may know someone she has lied to and that is the crux of her concern about never getting away from it.
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Her time will come for those other successes. Right now she needs to be focused on attaining that license.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

That is overblown worry and she needs to stop this negative thinking.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

This is obsessive thinking and her psychiatrist (or another psychotherapist) can help her, as can this other book that I highly recommend:

Customer: It is certainly paranoid but I can see why she feels tht way. I honestly believe this stems from my Mom's strict parenting.
Customer: We were never allowed to really socializen outside of school or like go to the mall with kids WTD because my parents believed education came first. So we never partied etc. she wanted to fit in.
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Which could have contributed to her feeling inadequate.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Anyhow, here is the book: same authors as above but a very different book:

Customer: Ok I will order it for her. Tanks for answering all my questions and help ease our concerns as well as hers. We are hopeful for her.
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :


She has done amazing things already. Keep encouraging her and telling her to put the past where it belongs. It will fade smaller and smaller as she forges ahead.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

My prayers are with your family for success for all of you.

Customer: That's a great point about fading. Thank you very much.
Customer: Thank you.
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You are so welcome.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Thank you. :)

Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7663
Experience: 35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Mental Health Professional
7663 Satisfied Customers
35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.