Hopeless in lying
My daughter who is 19 now still have a problem with being dishonest, lying.
It has been 2 1/2 years since we have learned she is bipolar on the manic side, we are still trying to find the right combination in meds. But how do we overcome the lying???? She is going to a therapist but I can only afford her to go once a week and the lying is not something we have been able to overcome, just when she starts to do good then she is caught lying again. I mean even to my face when I know for sure that what she is telling me is false. How do we move forward with any trust at all?
Even though we look at lying a pathological behavior, often it is acquired as a way to make others happy and avoid conflict. Bipolar teens in particular, may have trouble negotiating social interactions and asking and for and getting what they need in a constructive way. They have difficulties with problem solving, and any situation that provokes emotional intensity. If the lies seem to be about things that have to do with displeasing you ( ie telling you she took a positive action when she didn't, or telling you she didn't do something that will cause you to be disapproving), then it is likely that this is the reason.
This becomes challenging. The only way to shift this behavior in the context of the relationship is to emphasize the honesty and reward the honesty above all else. You would have to overlook the negative or undesirable things she is lying about and focus only on rewarding honest behavior. This could take time, and you would have to consistently change your reactions to her.
Teens with bipolar disorder also may lie to get control or feel more independent from their parents. Sometimes it appears to be driven by anger. In these cases, an approach to lying would look more like a constant discourse when you express that you feel skeptical and you want to trust her but historically she has lied. You can work from the premise that most of what she tells you is untrue, and apologize to her for having to do that, but insist that until she changes, it would be naive to believe anything else.
The truth about lying is that it is a pretty intractable behavior. It is very hard to change once it begins, and frankly rarely is therapy successful at changing it.
Good luck to you, and hope your daughter is on the path to wellness.
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