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Pathological Liars

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How do you deal with pathological liars? One's that you can't just cut out of your life. I can't give the reasons due to confidentiality reasons. I can tell you that the person is a minor and is not related to me.

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My DD has a bully like this and we are avoiding her at all costs. Even being in the same classroom leads to false stories and accusations. I asked the school to keep them in separate classrooms and we drop activities that the liar joins. It's just too risky.

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Don't ask them any questions that you don't know the answer to.  Find out the answers in other ways.

 

Don't bother to ask them questions that lead to lies, just inform them of the facts with no debate.

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Is lying the ONLY issue you have with this kid? Can you give a rough age range and an idea of the sort of lies they tell? I think I'd treat lies like "I didn't knock over the flowers" differently from "My dad's an astronaut, and he's taking me to Mars!", and treat both of those very differently from "Sally-Ann hit me, for NO REASON, and she called me a name" (when Sally-Anne did nothing of the sort).

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I had someone in my life like that.  I couldn't prove they were lying, but nothing really added up.  I used to give him a tilted head look.  WIth a 'hmm, that doesn't seem quite right" comment and change the subject.  One day he told me that he noticed I did that every time I thought he was lying to me, I said "yep" and once again changed the subject.  I still gave him the same tilted head and same comments. LOL 

 

I wasn't going to argue with him or try to say he was lying, but some of them were sooooo obvious that it was ridiculous to even continue the conversation.  

 

Like for instance...When he was a high schooler  According to him, One of his teachers lost every single assignment he turned in.  Every single one!  And, the teacher was going to fail him if he didn't make them all up by the end of the term, a week away. It was of course the teachers fault. And of course the student didn't have a single assignment at home with a grade on it, to prove he had done the work.  A bit of history....He had failed 8th grade and his GPA at this point in highschool was a 1pt.  (So it wasn't like a regular student getting messed with by a teacher) Not surprising...he didn't graduate. 

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My cousin is one. I've cut her out of my life though. I have no advice on how to manage someone like that, especially a child. But i definitely send my sympathies. It's a stressful situation, for sure.

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My neighbor is one.  I avoid him at all costs, and his children as well since they seem to be following in his footsteps.If my neighbor lies to me, I will point out that I am aware he is lying.  (For example, if he really was a millionaire as he says he is; he wouldn't be my neighbor.) 

 

My brother is one, but I am now aware that he is mentally ill.   With him, I just listen and nod.  His lies are far more unbelievable, but I really think that it is his reality and to try to point it out is fruitless.  

 

Sorry.  I'm not much help, but I can sympathize with you.  

 

 

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My neighbor is one.  I avoid him at all costs, and his children as well since they seem to be following in his footsteps.If my neighbor lies to me, I will point out that I am aware he is lying.  (For example, if he really was a millionaire as he says he is; he wouldn't be my neighbor.) 

 

My brother is one, but I am now aware that he is mentally ill.   With him, I just listen and nod.  His lies are far more unbelievable, but I really think that it is his reality and to try to point it out is fruitless.  

 

Sorry.  I'm not much help, but I can sympathize with you.  

 

Have you never heard of "The MIllionaire Next Door"?  There are lots of people who are millionaires who live quite frugally. 

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Are you asking how to cure it or avoid it?

 

I can't really avoid the person. Can it really be cured?

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Don't ask them any questions that you don't know the answer to.  Find out the answers in other ways.

 

Don't bother to ask them questions that lead to lies, just inform them of the facts with no debate.

 

This person just comes up with crazy stuff, without being asked questions. His/her peers are fed up. I'm trying to figure out if maturity is part of the issue. Person is a minor.

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Is lying the ONLY issue you have with this kid? Can you give a rough age range and an idea of the sort of lies they tell? I think I'd treat lies like "I didn't knock over the flowers" differently from "My dad's an astronaut, and he's taking me to Mars!", and treat both of those very differently from "Sally-Ann hit me, for NO REASON, and she called me a name" (when Sally-Anne did nothing of the sort).

 

All of those things are an issue. Age range is high school.

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If the person is high school aged, then this isn't simply a maturity issue - most high schoolers are past lying just because they prefer the story in their heads to real life, and they're not likely to lie simply to get others into trouble either. (Though they, like everybody else, will lie quite a bit to get out of trouble if they think they can get away with it - or even if they don't think it, so long as lying saves face!)

 

If it's lying of the sort that's probably trying to get attention, I would take a two-pronged approach. First, ignore the lying. When the kid says something fantastical, look at them a second and then move on with the conversation. If they are not the only person in the conversation with you, turn to somebody else. Don't even acknowledge what they said if you can help it. If they push the issue, just say something like "Okay" or "I heard you" and move on. If they accuse you of not believing them, say "Well, it IS a little far-fetched" and move on. (Note: Do NOT do this if they're alleging abuse or suicide threats. Take those seriously, even if you don't think they're credible. That is, contact the appropriate authorities. They have the resources to determine if the child is telling the truth here - you don't.) However, on the flip side, you should be sure to give them some positive attention when they actually do something remarkable (or kind, or interesting), or when they tell the truth.

 

If you're not sure whether an innocuous statement is true or false, respond in some non-committal way, then move on.

 

If they're lying just to get other people in trouble... well, that depends on the exact nature of what they're saying. If they're accusing people of doing things while under your supervision (if that's the situation), the solution is to ask them to stay close to you. Say you need their help, say you need them close so that you can make sure the other kids don't pick on them, say both those things - but keep the kid close.

 

If the accusations are of things that you're not present for, and not supervising, then I've got nothing.

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This person just comes up with crazy stuff, without being asked questions. His/her peers are fed up. I'm trying to figure out if maturity is part of the issue. Person is a minor.

In my experience with a family member who lied compulsively as a kid and teen about everything, even stupid things that made no sense and didn't benefit him if people believed him, they don't mature out of it.

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This person just comes up with crazy stuff, without being asked questions. His/her peers are fed up. I'm trying to figure out if maturity is part of the issue. Person is a minor.

I have only had experience with one person who was exactly as you describe.  I have known him since he was in elementary school.  When he was younger, I thought he might grow out of it.  However, he is in college now and nothing has changed.  With this kid, I don't think it is a maturity issue. 

 

Luckily, my family's contact with him is minimal, especially now that he is away at college.  :grouphug:  If you are dealing with this on a regular basis.

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I was fortunate enough to be able to cut my pathological liar relative out of my life once I was well into adulthood. Unfortunately, people under her sway then cut me out. This person never matured out of it, even though she had several pivotal moments where she realized what a dangerous path she was on. She continued to choose that path, though. And it was certainly a choice

 

I think people like this love to make chaos and have the feeling that they can control some of it by what they tell the different "players." And I think they really do view others as just actors who can be given a script (or manipulated into a script through lying and bullying).

 

Be really aware of how low they can sink...and they want to drag others with them. Don't get into a situation where they could make serious allegations against you. Hopefully the police and judges will see the situation for what it really is, but maybe not. Make a personal "two deep" policy when you're around them, if at all possible.

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Have you never heard of "The MIllionaire Next Door"?  There are lots of people who are millionaires who live quite frugally. 

 

I will caveat this by saying that true millionaire next door types tend not to talk about money at all, and would be highly unlikely to flaunt it verbally to their neighbor.

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Have you never heard of "The MIllionaire Next Door"?  There are lots of people who are millionaires who live quite frugally. 

 

:)  No, I haven't heard of it, but it sounds like fun.  There's more to the story here.  Trust me -- he is NOT actually a millionaire.  

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I kind of ignore it.  I don't engage these people on anything that matters, so I just take them at their word most of the time and don't take any notice of the information.

 

If it's too far out I do the same thing Tap does - kind of a raised eyebrow and, hmmm.  

 

I knew a guy in hs who hung out in our group who did this - he was supposedly accepted to a famous music school, had a summer job singing at Disney - he told teachers and everything.  One day he told us a producer he'd met was flying him and his girlfriend to Hollywood to see the opening of a movie.  I was a little more forward in those days and said "yeah, right" and he looked soooooo offended.

 

Anyway, I say him on campus at the local university the next year and he did dinner theatre in the summer, so I feel confident he wasn't going to Hollywood either.

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Can you elaborate on that? I've never heard that term before.

It means always having two adults present when you are with kids so that no one can accuse you of abuse. And no one can get away with abuse.

 

Edited for random autocorrect weirdness

Edited by Jean in Newcastle
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For a minor I'd probably treat it a little differently.

 

1) I'd try to not ask questions that would generate a lie.

 

2) If they were telling a lie that was obvious, I'd maybe ignore it, or counter it with a simple statement, not necessarily looking for continued discussion.

 

3) I'd start off assuming that some kind anxiety might be at the bottom of it. If this is a person I wanted to invest some time into, I might try and gently dig into that a little, to see if there was any way I could help. I'd try and get them to trust me.

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It means always having two adults present when you are with kids so that no one can accuse you of abuse. And no one can get away with abuse.

 

Edited for random autocorrect weirdness

 

Not always possible in the work setting.

 

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A child in a group I work with exaggerates and lies for attention. When I hear it, I give a raised eyebrow and a long look, with "Really?" said in a slow way that makes clear I don't believe her. If she continues, I say "Right" and move the group's conversation on to something else. It's obvious I don't believe what she says, but I'm not giving her the attention she wants. She's argumentative when confronted directly, and that keeps everyone's attention on her. I'm not wasting my time or our group's time on that. The other kids know I'm honest with them, and my reaction helps them see a different way of dealing with her nonsense.

 

ETA:  She's surrounded by high-achieving friends, and it bothers her that they get a lot of attention for their achievements. She's doing public speaking this year, and she seems motivated.  I hope that having all eyes on her while she talks at length about substantial topics will satisfy her desire for attention so she doesn't feel the need to make things up anymore.

 

 

 

Edited by klmama
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Not always possible in the work setting.

 

 

Really? Because this is pretty standard with people who work with kids. I don't know what, exactly, the work setting is, but you should definitely suggest to the higher-ups that this should be implemented.

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Really? Because this is pretty standard with people who work with kids. I don't know what, exactly, the work setting is, but you should definitely suggest to the higher-ups that this should be implemented.

It's standard if you are going to be one on one with a kid but many teachers will be alone with a roomful of kids.

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Really? Because this is pretty standard with people who work with kids. I don't know what, exactly, the work setting is, but you should definitely suggest to the higher-ups that this should be implemented.

It would be common in any business that employed high-school aged kids.

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It's standard if you are going to be one on one with a kid but many teachers will be alone with a roomful of kids.

 

In which case you are not one-on-one with a child. You're one-on-twenty, and you have witnesses that the liar is lying. (Or they have witnesses that they're not.)

Edited by Tanaqui
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My niece is a liar and was a liar as a toddler. It was definitely to an extreme. In her case, her mom would defend her all the time. Definitely needed to always have multiple adults around. She accused my husband of attacking her once. But I was in the room. He did not say anything to her or do anything to her. She walked in and just started kicking him and laughing and he just kept looking at me, having no clue as to what to do, until I finally told her to stop kicking him. She ran out of the room and told her mom that my husband attacked her. That was the final straw. My sister started yelling at me to get control of my husband and telling me she could press charges. My sister has been on cut off ever since. She knew her daughter was a liar, but that is how she handled it. 

 

I have a good friend from my childhood though. She is such a sweet and great person. She has a daughter who is a liar. Her daughter was a bully at school too. And at home, attacking her siblings. My friend was such a great mother and has gone through so much. She had her child in a therapy program. But as an adult, her child decided to go "scorched earth" and make up all these stories about the parents. Fortunately, we are from kind of a small town area so people already knew her and her mom so nothing came of it against the mom. But the girl has nothing to do with anyone from her childhood and has moved far away and posts openly on social media all sorts of things that could not even be true. Stuff like that she was kept from going to school and held as a prisoner, worked as a slave in her parents home. This girl actually went to public school and was involved. I can google her name and see stuff from graduation that the school put out and pictures from the high school she went to. She even posts about victim blaming and how victims do not lie. BUT, she is not a victim. She is a perpetrator, victimizing many other people. I also heard at one point, she filed a false rape report against a boy, but there was beyond a doubt evidence that she was lying. The beyond a doubt evidence were her own texts admitting it never happened but would make a report that it did if he did not do things for her that she wanted. And making fun of the boy for being a virgin, stuff like that. My friend's children are older than mine and she is a public school teacher back where we grew up. 

 

My only advice, never take anything seriously with this person, avoid all contact as much as possible, and make sure you always have witnesses around. Oh, and never leave them alone around anything of value to you.

Edited by Janeway
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My XMIL is a liar.  Now she is 87 and now it is just sad the things she has lied about all of her life. However, it wasn't sad at all when it was happening to me as a young wife and then mother.    I think she knew a lie when she told it in the beginning, but honestly some of those lies just became part of her and she couldn't remember the truth anymore.  

 

My best advice is to avoid a liar at all costs.

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Really, this is not a situation where I can avoid the person. Unless I want to quit my job.

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Really, this is not a situation where I can avoid the person. Unless I want to quit my job.

But you don't have to specifically engage the person about their lies. You aren't their parent. And if it is a classroom situation, you are not responsible for other students liking him/her. You are simply responsible for maintaining a safe environment for everyone. And for enforcing things like cheating. If it is another kind of work environment then of course it will have its own rules for conduct.

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But you don't have to specifically engage the person about their lies. You aren't their parent. And if it is a classroom situation, you are not responsible for other students liking him/her. You are simply responsible for maintaining a safe environment for everyone. And for enforcing things like cheating. If it is another kind of work environment then of course it will have its own rules for conduct.

 

Oh, I don't engage him. It's a classroom situation. I was avoiding too many details but I guess it's really okay. The problem is that the other kids are fed up after two years of it. No one seems to be able to get it under control. No cheating issues.

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Oh, I don't engage him. It's a classroom situation. I was avoiding too many details but I guess it's really okay. The problem is that the other kids are fed up after two years of it. No one seems to be able to get it under control. No cheating issues.

Peer pressure isn't making him stop. I would suggest counseling if it was your child but I don't know if teachers can suggest that to parents.

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Peer pressure isn't making him stop. I would suggest counseling if it was your child but I don't know if teachers can suggest that to parents.

 

The school counselor has worked with his parents on this....... I'm just trying to figure out some things, as we have all been told not to send him out of class unless we can't get him to be quiet, or he makes up stuff about peers.

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