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Penny Rayas, MFT
Penny Rayas, MFT, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 395
Experience:  I have 20 years experience in the mental health field
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I need help on how to get my husband to stop lying to me. He

Customer Question

I need help on how to get my husband to stop lying to me. He lies about nearly everyting, and concocts elaborate stories around his lies, such stupid things sometimes. I have said a million times to him that my number one most hated thing is being lied to - and yet he won't stop. I don't want to be a doormat - I don't want a divorce - I just want him to be honest.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Penny Rayas, MFT replied 6 years ago.

Thanks for asking JA. Why do you think your husband is lying? I mean what does lying do for him? Is he trying to get away with doing something. What does he lie about? When is he more likely to lie?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

He is more likely to lie when he wants to do or buy something and he knows my answer will be no. He has depression and in my opinion, undiagnosed bipolar, because he has some serious impulse control issues. For example, and what is prompting me to write to you today - He was supposed to be out of town working this past weekend. My best friend called and had me and my kids come over Saturday night. She said "I have something to tell you" and she then confirmed that I believd my husband, Mike, was working out of town. She had gotten a text message from a friend of hers telling her that my husband was up north, at a softball tourney, and he had told at least one person, that "My wife thinks I'm in Sheboygan, working". I called him and left a general message and when he called back about an hour later, I just sort of played dumb, waiting to see what he would say. He was talking about how he was just taking a litte break from work. I asked where he was and he said "Sheboygan" I said - Mike,really, where are you? He stuck to his story, even when told him about the information I had - going on for 24 hours - in fact, giving details about where he was going to drive to dinner,what his work partner said about me thinking he was at a softball tourney.... on and on, the lies went. It just didn't add up to me - how could my friend's friend have seen him when he wasn't there? It went on until I checked his text messages on his phone and saw one saying he was leaving work and woud beup there in a few hours to one of his buddies who always goes up north. So he didn't stop lying until there was no way out - he coudn't lie anymore, and he was pissed he got caught. So he is tryin to insult my intelligence, get away with doing what he wants to do - its like he doesn't want anyone to answer to - He has lied to me our whole 5 year relationship - often about money, drinking, saying he's working when he's not - How do I know that he's not lying about cheating on me or something? I believe he has lied to his parents when he was growing up - but he's 36 years old and I have told him I can't stand to be lied to! His lying has cost us money, caused damage to the relationship and competley destroyed my trust in him. Is this just ingraned in him at this point, or is there anything I can do? I have never lied to him in our whole relationhip.

Expert:  Penny Rayas, MFT replied 6 years ago.

I think you can try to negotiate things you both want in the relationship. First keep telling him that you will not tolerate lying again. Now give him the benefit of the dout about the future. Have a conversation and be willing to negotiate with him. For instance if he wants to go to a ball-game you can't afford try to see if you can negotiate him going but giving up some other thing he want. In couples therapy I have couples talk to each other by using "I" statements. You can start by saying. I really love you but when your lie to me about where you are I think_______ ( that you don't respect me, what ever your thought is) and I feel Angry sad______ explain your feelings. Please don't blame. Listen to him and try to see what he wants. When one of you really needs something tell each other. Listen this is very important to me. Take some of the things that are important to him and be flexible. Try to open the communication and come up with an agreement. I hope opening the communication about what he wants and what you want and negotiating can reduce his lying. As for the bi-polar depression what symptoms do you see? Impolsivity and spending. Over drinking any other symptoms such as flights of ideas?

Expert:  Penny Rayas, MFT replied 6 years ago.

As for bi-polar this can be part of the disorder during the manic phase of bipolar disorder, the person feels elated. He/she has a heightened sense of self-worth and may begin talking rapidly as the mind races from one idea to the next. Compulsive lying plays a part in the disorder, since the person feels as if he or she can do or say anything when in that state.

When the individual is in the depressive phase of this illness, he or she may feel worthless and lack self-esteem. Lying may become part of trying to appear normal or discount how low the individual has sunk into the depressive state.

Another disorder I associated with lying is ADHD.

A person who has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder may begin lying because he/she has trouble with controlling impulses. The pattern may begin in childhood when the children steal because they see something they want and simply take it. When they are confronted by an adult about their behavior, they lie to avoid being punished or to minimize the punishment that will be meted out.

The child with ADHD who is lying may be doing so to make him or herself appear more attractive to others. Being unable to admit to having made a mistake may be part of the reason for a pattern of compulsive lying in children.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

It's hard to explain my husband in a few words. Your advice about using I statements probably only works if you have a willing partner - I don't think he would sit down and honestly talk to me - he never wants to discuss our problems and when we do "talk" he sits silently and never says anything but "okay". It's infuriating!

When you said to tell him I will not tolerate lying again - what are my options for that? What is to stop him from continuing to lie other than telling him my feeligs - when he wants to do something, he just does it and doesn't think about anybody else. I have used I statements with him and told him I feel upset, betrayed, sick to my stomach,pissed off, hurt - everything. He Continues to Lie! I am telling you right now that I would be stupid to give him the benefit of a doubt in the future based on pass eperience. Trusting him with anything is too hard, because I have caught him in so many lies - how many have I not found out about?

As far as the bi-polar, he does have flights of ideas - he often can't sleep at night when he is at one of his high times and will sit up writing long, elaborate lists or he just makes all these plans for the future that are nuts. He does spend money we don't have and has been in money trouble in the past. He has always drank a lot since I've known him and also has 3DUIs.Just recently, it reached crazy situation and he finally admitted that he has a drinking problem. He told me that he had been drinking at least a six pack a day, siting in our minivan before coming home from work. Of course, he would lie to me daily about this. According to him,he is not drinking anymore, but how the hell do I know what to believe?

Expert:  Penny Rayas, MFT replied 6 years ago.

I think I really understand your husband has a problem with alcohol and all alcoholics lie. I have work with alcoholics for a very long time. Until the get into recovery they beleive their own lies. You need to understand addiction in order to help addicts.

This is a logical and very necessary first step. Before you can learn how best to help a struggling addict or alcoholic, you need to understand the nature of addiction. There are several models of addiction that attempt to describe what it is and why it affects people, but none of those models are entirely accurate. Many people have heard of the disease model, which does a fairly decent job of describing what we see in the real world. For example, even addicts or alcoholics who have stayed clean for several decades can relapse and be right back to their old level of consumption within a matter of days.

Also note that addiction can affect potentially anyone, including those who:

-Have no apparent genetic predisposition for addiction or alcoholism
-Have very little environmental risk
-Have no moral shortcomings or laziness about them

Even if you do not believe in the disease model, learning more about how it works is a necessary foundation in learning about how you can potentially help a struggling addict or alcoholic. If you want to know how to help alcoholics then you need to learn about the condition.

#2 - Get help yourself in order to help the addict

We cannot control a drug addict or an alcoholic, but we can control our own behavior-including how we behave in relationship to a sick and suffering (and possibly manipulative) addict or alcoholic. Therefore, the best thing that you can do if you want to help someone in your life is to get yourself to an Al-Anon meeting. The people there can listen to your situation and give you the best specific advice on how to go about handling things. Educating yourself on how to set limits and boundaries is one of the most important things that you can do in this case.

#3 - Establish boundaries and set limits with the addict

One example of setting a boundary is telling a close friend that you prefer they not be around you if they are drunk or high. Notice that it is specific, and you have to sit down and communicate this type of request explicitly with someone. Setting a boundary like this is difficult because there is this tendency to hurt other's feelings. But that is part of what is keeping you sick-caring more about this person's feelings than your own personal well being. Setting boundaries is about putting your own personal well being first, and letting that be a guiding example of how to live. You know you are setting effective boundaries when you are taking back control of your own life and starting to regain your own sanity-instead of being all wrapped up in the problems of a struggling drug addict or alcoholic. This is a crucial distance you must learn to keep when learning how to help a recovering drug addict. This means to take care of yourself. Go out with a friend or take a class you always wanted to take.

#4 - Confronting the addict

Any time that you casually approach this struggling addict or talk with them about the possibility of getting help is an example of an informal intervention. This might not sound like a very useful option compared to a more formal and organized intervention, but nonetheless it can be very effective. Does this mean that you should pester someone incessantly until they get clean and sober? Probably not. Helping an addict is never that straightforward. But you should never give up hope on them, and you should have a consistent message for them without badgering them. Make sure they know that help is available for them if and when they want it.

#5 - Organize a Formal Intervention

This is what most people think of when they hear the term "intervention," where the friends and family of an addict all get together and confront that person together and urge them to get help. This is not necessarily the best choice though. There is a lot of evidence that an addict or alcoholic will only change when they personally come to their own point of surrender. A formal intervention does not bring a person to this point. Many would argue that the intervention would only work if the person is already at this critical point of surrender. Nevertheless, some formal interventions have been successful at persuading people to get clean and sober.

Alcoholism in marriage does cause many problems for everyone involved. However, as a partner of an alcoholic the most important thing for you to do is learn to take care of yourself. There are many programs that help you get a grip on your situation and empower you to stop lying, manipulating or making excuses for your love one who is an alcoholic. program like Ala-non teaches you to understand what you do have control over and what you don't. As a support group they help you by guiding you to have more control over your life and your marriage. Just key in Ala-non in any search engine with you city or town name or look for them in the telephone book.