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Friday, March 4, 2011

Anxiety leads to lying

Wednesday was Angel Baby's birthday.  While I was out running errands that day, I stopped at McDonald's and bought myself a Happy meal for lunch.  I threw the toy in Angel Baby's seat, knowing she'd find it when we left for church that evening.  Instead, Monster Man was the first to enter the van.  He gave Angel Baby the toy, insisting that he'd found it at school and had brought it home to give to her as a present.  Since I didn't want to encourage any lying, I told him that he knew that wasn't the truth and that I knew where it had come from.  Even as I explained what the toy was and where it had come from, he kept insisting that he was telling the truth.  He started crying, saying that no one ever believes him anymore and that it's almost like we don't love him anymore.  How are we supposed to believe the things that we know for certain are lies?


It took almost 10 minutes for him to finally calm down and to admit that he'd found the toy in the car.  Since he and Angel Baby had been arguing earlier, he explained that he'd given it to and come up with the story in hopes that it would make her like him again.  


It was kind of scary, though, when it first happened.  He didn't show his usual signs that he was lying.  He looked me straight in the eyes and didn't even blink, rather than looking away and getting tears in his eyes (the tears came afterward).  It was almost like he'd begun to believe his story as he was telling it.  No matter how much I tried to calm him down, he just became more and more agitated that I didn't believe his story.


When I got home that evening, I immediately got online to ask the members of the National Tourette Syndrome Association's Facebook Page if they'd had any experience with anything like this.  Many reported both lying and stealing being part of their compulsive side of their anxiety/OCD.  One said that her child would lie like that in her continued efforts to be a people-pleaser.  Again, it was related to the anxiety.  Monster Man has always been the people-pleaser type, too, so I wouldn't be surprised if his lying stemmed from similar anxiety.  


The members of the group gave me some great advice on handling it, recommending that I talk to him individually about it (rather than in front of even his siblings) so that he wouldn't get embarrassed.  The embarrassment tends to make the anxiety and the situation as a whole a lot worse.  Next time, I'll be better prepared.  

3 comments:

  1. Most kids will lie Allie if they believe they'll get something out of it, even if that something is getting out of trouble. I've caught my daughter at it many a time and she will insist even though I prove that I know she's bullshitting me.

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  2. Hi Sire. The lying he does that accompanies his anxiety tends to be very different than the typical lying of children his age. When it is typical lying, his eyes give away a lot, and I can tell in the tone of his voice as well. If I hadn't known better, the lie he told the other night would've seen just like he was telling the truth. It's hard to explain the differences in writing, but most that I've talked to in the TS Facebook page have a good understanding of the differences I am talking about. It goes far beyond the typical lies of children.

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  3. My husband has had Tourette syndrome since he was a child of course. In our first year of marriage we have really been struggling with his being able to be honest with me. It's so obvious to me when he tries to push a story and he says he can't understand why he does it. It's usually always about something small that he deems unnecessary and he'd rather protect me than worry me. It's driven us into so many fights and a friend suggested today a link between these little lies and his ts. I just really would love the perspective or insight of those who might be able to help us get this figured out. I know he struggles with anxiety, he wants to please me and I'm a pretty strong willed and opinionated person so I just want to know how to help or if I'm being taken advantage of. Thank you

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