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Liar And Kleptomaniac

Question:

I am a compulsive liar as well as a kleptomaniac. I have been confronted by former roommates about my stealing from them and was subsequently kicked out of their apartment. A few months ago I was arrested for shoplifting and taken to jail. However, I was able to have that sentenced reduced to an infraction. I have tried many times to stop stealing and lying however I don’t know how. I am currently rooming with a friend and I have stolen from her as well. For the most part, I take money. I am not necessarily in need of money (as my parents still support me) but I feel like I never have enough. I cannot think of a single person I know whom I have not stolen from. I know that I have a severe problem but I do not know how to solve it. I would not even know where to start with seeking professional help. I am not writing because I am feeling quite nervous and paranoid around my current roommate and I would like to remedy the situation without completely ruining our friendship.

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Answer:

One of the pitfalls of a problem such as the one you are experiencing is that people tend to be ashamed of themselves and actively avoid getting the help they need. You would appear to have what is termed an “impulse control disorder” – which is a fancy way of saying that you can’t control your impulses to do socially unacceptable things (like steal, lie, etc.). If you want help for this problem, my suggestion is that you fight off whatever shame you might feel in asking for help, and make an appointment with a Clinical Psychologist for some psychotherapy. In extreme conditions, there may be medications that can help you, but I tend to think that you are best off starting with a psychological doctor and not a medicine doctor.

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p> Try to find a psychologist who is more senior and has been around for a while. If you can find a recommendation for someone who is good, then go with it – but otherwise just make an appointment with someone from the phonebook, or from your health plan book. Speak clearly and honestly about your problems with this doctor – he or she will not be able to help you if you don’t speak honestly. Stay with the therapy program for at least three months before you make any changes. Try to make all of your scheduled sessions. If you miss one, don’t give in to the temptation to miss all the rest. Instead, call and reschedule.

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p> When you steal from or lie to a friend, you seriously undermine their ability to trust you. Trust is the basis of the friendship and of all healthy relationships. You have to work on being trustworthy. You do that by being responsible and honest in your dealings to the best of your abilities. Good luck.

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