(Closed) Daughter might be a pathological liar. Help

posted 7 years ago in Parenting
Post # 122
4045 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

Poor kid. I can tell you’re really trying to help her.


Have you tried behavior analysis? Make a note of all the lies and aggression. Write down what was happening right before the misbehavior, write down what behavior took place, then write down the consequence. Also make note of the day and time.


Once you have some data, check for patterns. Are the lies and bad behavior only really happening during a certain time of day? How is that connected? What is happening before the bad behavior begins? Is it that she doesn’t get her way? And what is the consequence – does she get to have a one-on-one talk with you?


Then you can maybe see the root cause of the behavior. We only do things for two reasons – we want to obtain something or we want to avoid something. Does she want to attain attention, an activity, or an object? Is she avoiding attention, an activity, or an object? It can be abstract and emotional too.


It’s so good to have documentation to catch the patterns if you haven’t already done so.


I’m not sure if it’s for attention. That may be part of it, but it seems way more about manipulation and emotion. Sort of: I was made to feel this bad way, so now you get to experience it too.


I’d contact another therapist, or even better, a child behaviorist. Have a behaviorist come in and observe your child at home and at school for a few hours until they’ve been able to witness some of this bad behavior. That person would probably be best at suggesting what to do and how the school can help as well.


Post # 123
1670 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

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@TexasSpringBride:  Oh I know too. I went from a 2.9 GPA to a 4.0 GPA. It is amazing stuff. It is very bad for you though. I didn’t wean myself off and I crashed badly. So at least she is being weaned off. But I would consider that it has left her with no dopamine and possibly affecting her mental state.  Especially if she has BPD. 

Post # 124
330 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

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@TexasSpringBride:  Having read through most the responses, I have to agree with
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@KoiKove.   I don’t think you can screw her up any more. Chances are, if she keeps lying, at best, she’ll be in therapy forever, at worst, she’ll end up in jail.

I’m not sure what the laws are like in Texas, but I know in some states you can have your child temporarily institutionalized if they have an actual psychiatric problem (which I think pathological lying is). That sounds horrible, but as a last resort, it might be best. Just like an alcoholic needs to be in rehab, she might need something similar.

Besides that, since I’m not a parent, all I can do is wish you luck.

ETA: I read what you wrote about mom. It might be better to just tell the girls she doesn’t want to see them. I feel like down the road, the fact that you’re lying could be another trigger for her. Don’t say “she doesn’t want you” just say “your birth mom is having a really hard time right now and she needs to work through some things. she cares about you a lot, but it’s hard for her to see you.” If you’re the praying/religious type, you could tell the girls to pray for her too. Of course, I’d give birth mom a head’s up, so if the girls say something, she’s in cahoots. Dear Daughter might know deep down that you’re lying, after all, it’s what she does.



Post # 127
1744 posts
Bumble bee

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@TexasSpringBride:  Is your husband happy with your daughter’s current therapist?  Will it be difficult to convince him that things aren’t working now, it’s time for a change? Or a least a second opinion.




Post # 128
5398 posts
Bee Keeper

She needs a new therapist, and I think it’s only hurting her to not tell her the truth about her birth mom. If she’s constantly begging to talk to her and visit, she needs to understand the truth. I really think that’s the solution. 

Post # 129
51 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

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@TexasSpringBride:  I am in no way a psychologist, but I showed this story to a friend of mine who is. She had 3 different types of suggestions:


1) Try getting the game Ungame Family Verison, to help with family discussion at home


2) Look for a rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) therapist


3) Take her to a jail so she can see what happens to people who lie.

as for activites, maybe Big Brother/Sister program? Or something she can do by herself without other children… like playing an instrument?

Edit: She also suggested looking for a female therapist since her issues are with her mother. 

Also, an activity that can be helpful is asking her to speak to an inanimate object (chair, stuffed animal) as if it were her mom. What she would say to her if she could see her or talk to her in person? She suggested you have the therapist do this, unless you are comfortable with it at home)

Post # 130
1880 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

She’s fucked up. Too bad she’s 11, if she was 18 I’d say cut your losses. Unfortunately I think if, at 11, she’s presented this behavior for 3+ years, she has no baseline of normality to return to. Crazy lying IS her normal, so it’ll be really hard to get her to change.


I would try to take her to a therapist that specializes in antisocial personality disorder or psychopathy, however I would caution that those are the two hardest personality disorders to treat (basically… you can’t treat them effectively, as far as I can tell, just teach the person to blend in better). So. Well. Sorry this post is so freakin cheery but from reading the thread, that’s the most realistic assessment I can give.


“Last week she almost broke her sisters nose because she didnt agree with her on something.”


Okay, I am sorry, but you need to SERIOUSLY think about committing her. You cannot knowingly keep someone around who will be a danger to your children, even if that person is another one of your children. If you can have her committed to somewhere with good inpatient care for people with antisocial disorder, it may really help. It would be really expensive, but it might be worth it.



Post # 131
741 posts
Busy bee

Okay, I didn’t read through all the responses because it is late but I think people should be very careful about throwing around diagnosis and you should really take all this with a grain of salt. In my close-to-sleep state I think I read someone say that what she might benefit from the most is someone talking to her directly about her abandoment issues. I don’t understand if or why the therapist has not done this yet. That is at the core of the issue. She might be “truth-seeking” in a way. I am a psychologist and work with child trauma. Symptoms of trauma overlap heavily with symptoms of other diagnosis, particularly the personality disorder diagnosis people are throwing around. I see this all the time. Here is an excellent resource http://www.nctsn.org/ If you’d like to chat further feel free to DM me. Take good care of yourself.


Post # 132
2889 posts
Sugar bee

As far as the sports as an outlet, what about basketball? It’s a smaller team, there are no hard things like a tennis raquet. There is a lot of running to get out agression/energy and there are many chances to score for the positive outcome she missed in soccer. I am not saying this will be a solution but I do think a sports team could be quite productive. Also, a coach is a different kind of authority figure than a teacher or parent and there is no one on one attention which een though she craves, she can’t always have. Just a thought. Good luck, it sounds like you are actively trying to help her which is really the first tep. 

Post # 133
2912 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

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@distracts:  +Half. I didn’t want to say it earlier, but she sounds like she’s basically 7-10 years removed from being diagnosed with sociopathy. The inability to empathize with people she has hurt by lying is really alarming. However, I don’t agree that it’s time to cut her off or commit her. There’s a reason why psychologists don’t like to diagnose children with “grown up” disorders. Maybe there is still hope.


I completely agree with telling her the truth about her birth mother. Right now, she’s in a vicious cycle of getting her hopes up then having them smashed against the rocks, and that’s devastating for adults let alone little kids. Her current therapist sounds like a dud who is unable to deal with her issues. You need to take her to someone who understands potential personality disorders. The new therapist also needs to be comfortable with tough love.


((Hugs)) I’m so sorry that you and the rest of your family are going through this. What a horrible situation. Y’all are in my prayers.

Post # 134
2297 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

this is a terrible situation and my mind immediately thought that if this is not corrected, in a few years it could escalate to false allegations of drinking/drugs/sexual assault. the fact that she literally had a teacher removed to be investigated is horrifying – i’m sure that’s on that’s teacher’s record somewhere now. kudos to you for not giving up on this behaviour – it needs to be handled!


i’m not a parent – but i would buy her a big, fat notebook and title it ‘all the lies i’ve told and their consequences’. 


then EVERY time she lies, in addition to apologizing (to their face when possible), writing apology notes she would have to write 


lie:  i lied about a teacher abusing a child.


consequences: that lie resulted in the teacher getting in trouble, etc. 


then every two weeks or so – look it over with her and talk about if she’s been lying more or less lately. or, when she thinks it’s funny/justifiable/gloats ask her to look it over – is she proud of herself and the lies she’s told? do you care about these people? why/why not? what does that say about you as a person?

sometimes kids don’t remember all the bad things they’ve done. i’m a VERY visual learner. when i did poorly on weekly math tests, my mark was written on a calendar. after 6 weeks or so it got UGLY to look at and i wanted to change it – even though before the calendar i would have told you ‘yeah the last few were poor’. 


i wish you patience and success 🙂

Post # 135
1009 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

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@TexasSpringBride:  I read through the previous pages, and began to wonder if your daughter may have Antisocial Personality Disorder traits. Here is another link with symptoms. She could also have Histrionic Personality Disorder, from what I read about her on a former thread of yours. Another possibility would be Oppositional Defiance Disorder (my Fiance had this as a child). I know at 11, it’s considered too young for most diagnoses, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you.

You sound like a very compassionate and caring woman who has a lucky (step)family that should be honored to have you in their lives. After having dealt with a former stepbrother who displayed many symptoms of APD, some of the symptoms you mentioned definitely rang a bell. Seeing another therapist for your daughter might be an option, but if she has either one of the disorders, chances are she’s only going to tell a therapist what he/she ‘wants’ to hear. Please feel free to inbox me if you want to talk, I’ve had a bit of experience dealing with that sort of behavior, and may be able to offer some insight. *Hugs* and good luck!

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