Need help breaking free from addiction?
1-888-993-3112
Call 24/7 for treatment options. Ad Info & Options

Recovering Liar

Question:

I have been married to my husband for almost 5 years. We have two beautiful children and I love him very much. The problem is he is a liar and I don’t know what I should do. We have been counseling for two months and he just admitted that he feels he might be a pathological liar. He lies to me about everything. The sad part is he lies to everyone. He is a very hard working man and a great family man. I am at a loss. Is there ever a cure? Can someone who has been lied to for this amount of time ever trust him again? Could he ever become trustworthy? And what about the kids, they are young and naive now but wont be forever? I have no clue what I should do next.

This Disclaimer applies to the Answer Below
  • Dr. Dombeck responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
  • Dr. Dombeck intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
  • Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
  • No correspondence takes place.
  • No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Dombeck to people submitting questions.
  • Dr. Dombeck, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Dombeck and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
  • Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.
Answer:

I guess that despite his lying, your husband is able to be responsible towards you and your family to some degree. It would appear to me that there is hope. It is excellent that you are in counseling for that is certainly the thing you both should be doing. It will be important for you to kindly, gently but very strongly and firmly insist that this counseling continue (if not additional individual counseling for your husband as well), that he be called on his lies, that the two of you work to help him understand that lying is not necessary (that he is accepted for who he is – that you love him but not his lying behavior). If your husband enters into individual counseling, as him to sign a paper to allow the therapist to openly discuss details of his case with you. While not necessarily proper in other cases, in this one, openness and accountability is the word. In addition to dealing with the lying itself, you may wish to explore how the lack of ability to trust interferes with marital intimacy (emotional and sexual). If you have not dealt with this one yet, chances are good that you will soon.

<

p> People who engage in pathological lying can learn to change their behavior. It must be understood, however, that the lying is a pervasive part of how such people defend themselves from perceived attacks. There may be family-of-origin issues to be worked through. Expect that steady but not instantaneous change is possible in a motivated person. Also expect that real positive-direction change may be mixed in with some degree of back-sliding. Two steps forward and one back is still one forward. Most of all, communicate your love to your husband. It won’t cure him, but without it being made available, a cure is less likely.

<

p> With regards to important issues in your lives, you two will need to come up with some system of accountability that is mutually acceptable to him and to you so that you can trust that he is doing what he says he is doing. There is no shame in this (although he may perceive some there). Rather, such accountability is a support for him as he works to not be tempted to misrepresent himself in the same way that drug testing is an important part of a recovering addict’s support system. Good luck.

More "Ask Dr. Dombeck" View Columnists

Comments
  • miryam

    I have the same problem with my boyfriend of 5 years relationship, he lies constantly,beside he got a problem with gambling. he make me feel down all the time, he keep saying i am crazy and imagining things. I fought constantly asking him why he hide things from me. I am very desperate we love eachother a lot. please i need more toosl as what to do in order to save our relationship.

    Your advise is very helpful but i feel it is not enough.

Close

Call the Helpline Toll-FREE

To Get Treatment Options Now.

1-888-993-3112 100% Confidential

Get Help For You or a Loved One Here...

Click Here for More Info.

Close

Call The Toll-FREE Helpline 24/7 To Get Treatment Options Now.

100% Confidential
Get Treatment Options From Your Phone... Tap to Expand