(Closed) Daughter might be a pathological liar. Help

posted 7 years ago in Parenting
Post # 152
5789 posts
Bee Keeper



I know you’ve probably read more than you’ve ever wanted to about how to help her, but does any of this ring true for you?


I’d find her a female therapist as well. Has she started to develop yet or have any signs of approaching puberty? Have you noticed her behavior is like this at any particular time, or is it sporadic?


It must feel like you’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop. 🙁


Post # 154
561 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

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@bearlove:  I agree that it sounds like a PhD-level clinical psychologist is needed.  Good luck op!

Post # 155
6354 posts
Bee Keeper

I’m so glad she’s only 11, AND she has a therapist.

I can understand how upsetting this must be for you, but my impression is that this story is going to have a happy ending… she’s going to grow out of this phase. Yes, she’s probably doing it for attention or to create an alternate reality or something like that, because she’s unhappy about her real life for one reason or another. Abandonment feelings sounds completely plausible.

That said, there’s no reason to prolong it or encourage this phase. You definitely do want her to grow out of it, and really understand why it is wrong (even if her lie is not caught right away). A pathologically lying adult is a big problem to herself and anyone she’s in contact with.

I would do a few things, as a parental united front with your DH:

– Sit her down and let her know how very, very much you both love her and that nothing can ever, ever change that, she’s your little girl for life no matter what… and… that you’ve both noticed that she’s had a lying problem lately and you are both are very worried.

– Explain the importance of honesty and trustworthiness. Explain how upset and hurt you feel when she says something now and you can’t just assume it to be true, you have to worry that it is a lie. Really emphasize how this hurts you and DH and how much you want things to go back to how they were before, where whatever daughter says, you simply know that it’s true.

-Tell her that trust is like a flower plant so every day that she is honest it grows back a little bit more, and if she keeps at it, it will be blossoming, but every time she lies, it cuts off a piece of that plant. Explain to her that the plant never dies because the “seed of truth” is always there under the soil, but nobody can see that beautiful flower when the person is always lying, because they’ve cut the plant down so small it’s invisible! However, the flower can always grow back if the person is very careful to be honest instead. A big, beautiful flower is a wonder to behold and everyone flocks to it, to be bathed in the incomparable beauty of truth (the goal is to explain to her how it takes time to build up trust, and how important trust is socially, while never instilling the fear in her that she “is bad” and/or it’s “too late” to fix it).

– From now on, both of you have to (calmly, always in a gentle teaching voice) call her on anything that might be a lie. “Is that really true?” “This is not a lie, is it?” …if you see in her face right away that it is a lie, quickly remind her “Let’s not cut off that flower’s leaf! Let’s grow that flower instead. What is the seed of truth?” (I’d go to town with the flower analogy because it’s positive, concrete and not personal).

– Remind her of the flower analogy every time you see a flower, especially when she’s had a good day. “Look at that flower, bigger than the others. I think that’s like your truth flower! Last month it would have been like those little ones but now, look how big it is already! It’s hard work isn’t it? But you’re doing it, and I’m so proud of you!” Maybe even consider flower-themed rewards.

If she hates flowers this won’t work, but most little girls love flowers so I hope it’s a good fit for her 🙂

Hope this helps!

Post # 156
13094 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2010

So I’ve just read through the whole thread and here are my thoughts.


I don’t think she’s a patholigical liar.  I think she has anger management problems and is very manipulitive and those are often presenting themselves with lies (you talked about her hitting other kds at tennis and such and being super angry when she didn’t get the lead in the play or the goal in soccer).


While I am definitely pro-spanking, she is too old for it at this point and it will only do more harm than good.  Plus, she may accuse you of abuse.


I really like 

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@KoiKove:‘s idea of giving your other kids good things when your daughter lies (they get ice cream or get to go to a movie and she doesn’t) because she seems so unaffected by bad things happening to her but really hates it when other people get something that she doesn’t.  And don’t worry about her thinking you’re being mean for it; punishments aren’t supposed to be nice!  Her current punishments aren’t “hurting” her enough to be effective because she doesn’t care about the current consequence.  You have to find a consequence she actually cares about (and other people getting things she wants seems to be something she really cares about).


I also think it would be good to try another therapist.  The current therapist doesn’t really seem to be helping much and I know a lot of time with therapy it can be all about finding the person who is the right fit.  I don’t think your current therapist is the right fit for you and your daughter.


I think her anger management problems probably stem from her abandonment issues and I think she ought to know the truth about her mother.  You don’t have to bad-mouth her birth mom but stop lying to her and giving her false hope.


Lastly, I wanted to say that I think you are doing a great job dealing with a really tough situation and you obviously love her very much.  I wish you the best of luck with this!

Post # 157
741 posts
Busy bee

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@TexasSpringBride:  do you know what modality your current therapist is using (behavioral, cbt, psychoanalysis, family therapy, etc)? This might be helpful in looking for a future therapist.

Post # 158
2 posts

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@harperlynn:  Out of all the suggestions, I really like this one.  Make her journal everything/everytime she lies.  Who it hurt and why it hurt this person and why she told the lie.  What did she what to happen?  Did it feel good?  Why?  Did she enjoy the consequences that happened to her?  Why or why not?  Might make her think a little.  I’d make her read it back at least once a month, out loud to the whole family and to her therapist.   How long has she been seeing the same thearapist?  I’m wondering #1 if this is just a way for her to get more attention and #2 if he’s doing anything for her?  Maybe it’s time to change therapist?

This is a weird thought, but maybe she’s getting too much attention.  Maybe she needs to feel what it’s like to really be abandoned.  Maybe she needs to be sent to her room without any toys, movies/tv, computers, phones, etc. to see what it’s like to have nothing, not even the trust of her family.  I don’t know and am just thinking, but she is getting attention albeit negative attention.  (and I’m sire positive when it’s warranted)

How about taking her and making her work in a food kitchen or at some shelter?  Show her people who have no one and nothing?  Either you or your DH would have to accompany her though so it would be more time taken out of your schedule and other family time.  It’s alot to ask but maybe within 6 months, she could learn to appreciate that she does have a loving family always there for her. 

Oh, and I agree.  She’s past the age of spanking.  I got spanked all the time as a kid as did my husband.  (he’s one of 7 and I’m one of 6) We in turned spanked our children when they deserved it but quit when they were around 9 or 10.  I have to add that my husband and I didn’t spank unless it was something big.  I now have 5 responsible and caring grown children, one who is getting married.  That’s why I’m on this site. 

Good luck to you.


Post # 159
2515 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

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@TexasSpringBride:  i’m glad you’re looking for a new therapist. i hope you can find one who will get your DH on the same page as you in regards to telling your daughter the truth about her mother. i definitely think there are ways of wording so the blame is solely on the mom without making the daughters feel bad (ie- don’t say “your mom doesn’t want you”) and the right therapist will know how to do this. i also agree with a PP who said to go talk to a family lawyer. you might be able to get the mom’s parental rights taken away through legal paths.

Post # 161
4369 posts
Honey bee

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@TexasSpringBride:  ***hugs***. I’m so sorry you have to deal with this. 

Post # 162
20 posts

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Unfortunately, she is still lying and manipulating. The family only sees her at Christmas and her birthday, when she comes for gifts. She got fired from a job my uncle got her for sleeping around with her boss. And three weeks ago, she packed up my stepdad’s car and, without telling anyone, high tailed it to New Mexico to live with her “boyfriend” – the 40 yr old son of her old boss that she has met once before. Then she lied and said that my stepdad said she could take his car, which he did not. She also raided my mom’s purse and brothers piggy bank and took all the money she found before she left. But denies that as well. My parents refuse to turn her in because she is “family”. I understand she is their daughter too, but do not understand how they can still treat her as family with all the hurt and drama she has caused.

I just hope the OP’s story has a better resolution than my sister’s.

Post # 163
2902 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

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@Soon2BeeMrsG: I was acting this way to see if people still cared about me, my thinking was, if my own mother didn’t want me, why does anyone else? Taking things away from me, grounding me and threatening me with punishment of any other kind didn’t work because I didn’t care about anything. I’d already lost the thing I loved the most.


Oh that is the saddest thing I have read in awhile, poor little soon2bee 🙁


I think you have hit the nail on the head with the reason she doesn’t care if you take her things away. She is daring you all to stop loving her, things are just things. It’s not love and she knows that. 


Post # 164
723 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

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@FauxBoho:  “She is daring you all to stop loving her, things are just things. It’s not love and she knows that.” Beautifully put.

I expect this is why she is now going after her siblings, too. I’m sure she’s wildly jealous of them and how “normal” they are and how “normally” they are treated, and is trying to put you in the position where you have to choose between them and her. All I can say is: new therapist, stat.

Post # 165
7995 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

I would like to suggest that you take her to see someone who specializes in Clinical Neurolinguistics.  My daughter has some isssues that did not fall into a catagory that could be served by either the school system nor our family therapist.  What we thought was a disciplinary problem really stemmed from a processing problem.

My daughter did not test postive for any of the traditional learning disabilities and our family therapsist said she suspected that something else was going on and recommended an evaluation by this specialist.

Well let me tell you- our daughter tested positively for a problem that we NEVER knew existed.  Something that we had thought was a disciplinary problem!  Of course, now upon reflecting back- it makes a lot of sense.  But it was not ADD or autism or dyslexia- so the school would not catch it.  And it is a developmental concern that is not a family therapy issue either. 

When I read about your daughter- it really seemed like an evalution like this might be of use to you.  It is not cheap- $1400 out of pocket and not covered by insurance.  But WELL worth the money.  Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

Post # 166
2649 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

@TexasSpringBride:  I am thinking a new therapst stat.  I think a  Marital/family therapist might work the best, because it won’t single her out, but it will help the family as a whole, and will help her feel more connected to your family.


What kind of therapy is your therapist performing with this child? From your posts  it sounds like Validation Therapy, which is good for a short term, but should not be used exclusively.


Prehaps a cognitive behavioral therapist or a REBT. http://www.rebtnetwork.org/whatis.html


ETA: Something elce we are taught it to reassure the parents that it will be ok. 9 times out of 10 it will get worse before it gets better, but hang tight your half way there.


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