Friday, March 31, 2006

Her Drug of Choice

Someone very close to me has a very toxic addiction. To some, it may not seem like a drug, but to watch her continue to use it, it sure seems like that to me. She cannot stop using it, even when there is no reason to do so. It destroys relationships around her and creates unnecessary stress. It makes those who love her feel they do not know her at all. It threatens to destroy a budding career, a happy marriage and a stable family life.

Her drug of choice is lying and, apparently, even when her life is good she cannot stop using it.

I grew up observing her, and learned early on that she had a problem telling the truth. Back then, we all made excuses for it, saying it was only when she faced disappointing someone or a failure she could not handle. She didn't mean to do it and she'd grow out of it.

But, after awhile, we knew we were only kidding ourselves. She was a compulsive liar before she ever left high school. Over the years, I have watched her weave the lies and have remained silent. Most of her untruths are usually harmless and needless--from lying about what she ate or did that day to exaggerating adventures she never really experienced. Others are more risky, such as promoting honors she's never won or a college degree she never received. And other fabrications in her arsenal are calculated moves--strings of hateful lies intended to build herself up or tear down another person.

It hurts when someone you love does this, almost as much I imagine as realizing a loved one is an alcoholic or on drugs. I just don't understand why she continues with it, when there is no reason or need for it. The lies are like the air to her now. She cannot breathe or survive without them. And, it is as if she feels her real life is unworthy of truth.

And the lies will eventually destroy the relationships around her, one by one. I have seen it all before--when all the cards in the house she's delicately built come crashing down hard. And, then she's left in the heap of destruction, and has to start completely over again. She does not have long-term and deep friendships, though she brags about her many friends. She has a string of break-ups and friendships gone sour after the other person realized they had been lied to over and over again. If only she realized that her life could be really good without the lies. Why can't she just GET REAL? I don't even know if she realizes how to get real, actually. In truth, I know that she lies more to herself than anyone else.

There is a sadness in this that leaves me with the worry that one day she will look in the mirror and really allow herself to see her truth. And, I'm scared at what might become of her on that day. Will the lies have gotten so bad that she won't be able to face herself anymore? Will the lies destroy her family and support network completely before she realizes she has a problem? Worse than that, will she never realize she has a problem--or choose to instead continue her life of walking on eggshells--always in fear of being exposed by her untruths?

Tonight, I learned that someone I dearly love is STILL lying. I had hoped that motherhood and stability had changed her, but I see that it has not. And, it breaks my heart all over again, just as it has done so many times before...


Blogger Shelli said...

I am sorry about this, CMC. I know the pain of this, too. I really hate it when people lie, especially when the lies are for no reason at all. Is there a way to sever your relationship or would that not be an available option? It seems as if her addiction is invading your life. Otherwise, you may just have to do what they tell you in Al-anon...Love the Liar but not the lying. (Love the addict but not the addiction.) Good luck and hugs to you!

1:18 AM, April 01, 2006  
Blogger FRIDAY'S CHILD said...

There is a professional liar and a congenital liar. I think she's the latter.

7:22 AM, April 01, 2006  
Blogger Alison said...

I have known 2 compulsive liars. One of them, I only saw caught in a few lies, though she kept them up even when the facts were in plain evidence. The other's whole life seemed to be built on lies--making up friends, boyfriends, things that had happened to her, etc. Even asking me to lie for her to other people. I never could know what was true with her, and even when she was caught in lies, and said she would never lie again, the promise only lasted for that day. I truly believe she could not help it. It was the only way she knew how to live. It's a struggle--how do you react? What do you believe? You have to second-guess everything the person says, no matter how truthful it seems, and you find yourself playing along even with obvious lies, because it's easier to pretend than confront.

Come to think of it, maybe I've known more than 2 compulsive liars. Someone was recently booted off a message board I'm on when it came out she'd made up a pregnancy, an attack by a stranger, and even illnesses and injuries her children supposedly had... (The one good thing was that someone else on the board had met her in person, and that person could at least confirm that her kids really seemed to be okay & the mom didn't have Munchasen's by proxy or something!) But then, someone might make up stuff for strangers on the Internet & not do it in real life. Making up your whole life, even to those around you when the risk of being exposed is constant, truly does seem like an addiction.

9:28 AM, April 01, 2006  
Blogger Vanessa said...

Add me to the list of people who have a compulsive liar in her life. I adore my liar, but I do get tired of trying to figure out the morsel of truth buried in her lies. I finally got fed up with her and convinced her to start seeing a therapist, but NOW SHE LIES TO HER THERAPIST. Deep down I knew she would do that, but I was hoping she wouldn't. I don't know what to do about these types of people except do what Shelli said and love them regardless.

5:58 PM, April 01, 2006  
Blogger Crazy MomCat said...

Thanks, guys. Unfortunately, Shelli, I can't or don't want to sever ties with this person. They are in my family and close to me. Your advice is so true and it will be something I strive to do--try to look past it and realize it is deep-rooted in insecurities. I find it very sad, actually.

While I hate that some of you all know what I'm talking about from personal experience, it comforts me to know that others know where I'm coming from in all of this. It may sound dramatic to some, but living with someone like this in your life is quite emotionally draining and difficult.

Happier posts tomorrow, I promise! HA!

8:06 PM, April 01, 2006  
Blogger Barbara said...

It's time: Trying to Catch Up: Blog Olympics Training Camp

12:28 PM, April 02, 2006  
Blogger David said...

tough situation, truth is more valuable whe we see how rare it is these days.

7:23 PM, April 02, 2006  
Blogger daughter of elvis said...

wow. your entry could have been written by me. it is nice in a way to know there are other people out there that struggle with the same thing. it is a family member for me as well, so not like i can sever the ties.

1:47 PM, April 03, 2006  

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