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Adult sons lying

Vantez66
Community Member
This is tough. We have just found out that our 22yo son has lied about his university course, to the point where he told us he was invited to do first class honours for which he received a distinction mark. He failed subjects in his second year and by the time third year came around he was asked to leave due to continued failure and poor performance. We found out he lied because we asked him about the graduation ceremony which he lied about too. He broke down and told us he had lied because he couldn't cope and felt like a failure.This has been quite a sad blow for us as parents, the lies have snowballed and we are feeling like terrible parents, as though we have made it difficult for him to come to us for support or help.Are we bad parents? Where can we go from here? I have suggested some counselling for him and ourselves because we are swinging between angry and sad. Our trust has be broken, it's devastating. Any help would be appreciated
8 Replies 8

geoff
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Vantez, and thanks for posting your comment.

There are going so many questions about everything he tells you and question so much from previous years that have now broken the trust you thought you once had.

You can't blame yourself here because he was meant to be a responsible 22 year old, but his expectations were far too high as all he wanted to do was please you both of you, and you can't be sure what he was telling his mates, so it's a sad position he has left everyone in.

Can I ask if you ever thought he was lying as a kid growing up, and understand that kids do tell white lies, I'm not innocent, but we ly to form a good opinion, however, it normally backfires.

If he has counselling how do we know whether or not he is telling the truth, so would you be able to go with him.

Best wishes.

Geoff.

Vantez66
Community Member

Hi Geoff

Thanks for your response. We wouldn't have said he lied anymore than a child tells find as they grow up. He was a very responsible and reliable child, had a part time job and a good social life. Since failing his studies he has escaped into online gaming and that is also an issue. I agree with your suggestion around going to counselling with him and to be frank right now we would look out of the window to check if he said the sky was blue.He did say he has lied to all of his mates about it and has cut others out because it was easier once the lies escalated. We understand that he has lied to maintain a positive opinion about himself but to be realistic, we've got no idea about the situation. Is it reasonable to expect him to build our trust again? If he was a friend who did the same things our response may be different, we would be kinder and more forgiving. Again thanks Geoff, we appreciate your response.

Hang10
Community Member

Hi Vantez66

The lying about it for all that time was sad, I think some reason your son didn’t want to tell you when it first happen that he was struggling or no longer interested in the course.

I think he was trying not to disappoint you I say you spent a lot of resources on him and he would feel kind of guilty that no investment positive results have come out of it.

The problem with lying is they start small and to continue to lying it grows out of control and destroy trust.

To destroy lying it needs truth. Hopefully the truth will set free the situation and help all parties to move forward positively.

Take care

Hang10

geoff
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Vantez, thanks so much for getting back to me, it means a lot.

Just wondering whether he lives with you at home, just because someone who lies forgets what they have to say to other people so they make up a different story to what you were first told.

I have someone I take shopping 3 times a week, as he has never held a licence, but each time he tells me a story it's different to what he told me a couple of days ago, and normally a lier has to cover their previous lies and eventually gets so confused they don't know what has been said.

I think that he has to earn your trust again, prove that he is telling you the truth, the ball is in his court, but it's a slow event.

I feel very for you but also a deeper sorrow for him living in an unrealistic world.

Hope to hear back from you.

Geoff.

Vantez66
Community Member

Hi Hang10

Thanks for you input, finding a way forward now, counselling and opportunities to rebuild trust and integrity. It's tough as parents, though.

I live with PTSD as a result of childhood trauma so our approach to parenting and family life has always been from a loving, listening and communicating perspective, holding space for our darling boys. Again thanks for your input Hang10

Vantez66
Community Member

Hi Geoff

Yes he does live at home and has a part time job. One little white lie has become a web of deceit really and it seems out of character but when self esteem is involved I guess it gets messy. He has a great home life, stable and healthy environment, his father and I are a happy loving couple, together for 27 years and we have battled through family tradegy and come through it together. Part of me feels like we need to set some non negotiable boundaries around how he can continue to live at home and rebuild trust plus get his life on track and part of me wants to punch him in the face, angry sad angry sad, what a lovely merry go round. I'm sure the feelings will pass and we won't seem rudder less

geoff
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Vantez, thanks again.

I know that everything a loving parent can do to help their kids in every possible way as they grow up, somehow goes haywire, for a parent we can't understand because we are unable to know who they associate with behind our backs.

To set some non negotiable boundaries is your best option, but know that it's not going to be easy.

Best wishes.

Geoff.

Kyttie
Community Member

I have lived similar for many years. To be honest, unless your son wants to change, he never will. For some, like my son, it is what he does. He lies.He does it to avoid embarrassment, and to try to make out that he is more than he is. It's plausible at the time, but then later when I think it over, nothing adds up. He does not live at home but has a job, or did..and I dont know exactly where he is living right now.

It's just his personality, he got that from his father and unlike, it seems, your home, there was alot of unpleasant mental distress caused to my son in his early years. He does try to 'be good', but fails. At 30 he has recently said he thinks he should go on a mental health programme to try to sort out why he does what he does.

Are you bad parents? NO. you have done your best. That is obvious because you care so much you want to whack in fair in the head..that is frustrated love showing.

Non negotiable boundaries?? I tried that and never stuck to them.. And then I felt like a weak pushover..because I could just not stand to be totally estranged if I enforced them.

I broke the boundaries I set for myself..not to LEND money. If he needs it and I can afford it, I give it.

So, my advice, from experience is this. If he needs money and you can afford it, give it to him. Except if you know for certain it's for drugs. If he says he needs clothes, then go shopping with him, or give him the money and never ask to see what he bought.

Whatever he says : just say "oh OK..if that's what you say"..not believing or disbelieving.

These situations drive us, the caring parents to anxiety and depression..we become sick while the child goes about their way. Their self harm, their way of life, is harming us,the parents. I am writing this only to try to convince myself to let go..and let god..and I've been having to do this for many many years..I wont disown my son, but I have to try and distance myself from what he does in order to stay sane myself. It's not easy, its simply awful, we cant tell our friends with 'perfect kids'..but you both and I, love our sons..but we dont like their life choices on little bit. That is not being a bad parent. GOOD LUCK...AND LOVE TO YOU BOTH.