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Author Topic: Is lying common in pwBPD?  (Read 9568 times)
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« on: March 23, 2011, 01:22:26 PM »

I do understand that this is not part of the diagnostic criteria for BPD, but the two people in my life with BPD lie a lot. 

The lies have ranged from exaggerating minor incidents to convincing doctors that they have medical and psychiatric symptoms that they do not have.

Is lying a common trait in pwBPD?  If so, what could they be hoping to accomplish by being so dishonest?

"Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness" - James Thurber

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« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2011, 06:48:26 PM »

I don't believe people with borderline are "naturally" any more or less honest than anyone else, on a good day. I think that circumstances where it might feel acceptable to lie in the interest of psyche-self defense might arise more frequently for someone with disordered thought patterns. A lie might serve as a shield, or to soothe the fear that if the "true self" is seen, that it will be rejected. A lie might serve to keep someone's attention or sympathy. A lie might serve to hide a misdeed out of shame. There are as many reasons to lie as there are people, I imagine. Some people lie to keep the peace, or to avoid an uncomfortable situation. None of that is particularly unique to a disordered thought pattern I don't think.

What seems or feels like exaggeration, can also be due to how borderline filtering works. Actions and events tend to take on as much significance as "feels" applicable. This may or may not be indicative of reality, but nor is it likely intended as a lie. A person with borderline might say "Remember when you yelled at me?" when no voices were raised, but to them, thoughts or feelings expressed in a tense situation might "feel" like they were yelled at, and that becomes how they remember the situation.

"Sunny days wouldn't be special if it weren't for rain.
Joy wouldn't feel so good if it weren't for pain."
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« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2011, 05:10:21 PM »

One thing to consider is their facts are often what they are feeling at the moment.  When their feelings change so do their facts.  If someone believes something when they say it then they are not lying.

My w would accuse me of doing something because she was convinced I did it.  A few hours later she would accuse me of doing the complete opposite and denied ever making the first accusation.  She wasn't lying because she believed her own BS however what she was saying all three times was false.
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« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2011, 05:28:34 PM »

Thank you for your responses everyone.  smiley

I hear what you all are saying about defense mechanisms and maybe their perception of facts just changes based on their feelings, but I'm still wondering...Okay here's an example:

My d tells the hospital that she has a peanut allergy.  They freak out, put signs up for people not to bring peanuts on the unit, alter her diet - the whole 9 yards.   I go to visit her & get approached by a nurse who tells me that my daughter got a hold of some peanut butter, but not to worry because they were monitoring her for a reaction.   She has no allergies. What was all this about?

She got admitted to a psychiatric hospital for a suicide attempt.  During the admission, we were talking about feeling empty & depression, shortly thereafter, it became that she was anorexic (not possible), OCD (again not possible) & schizophrenic (don't think so). This is another example where I just don't see the point.  

"Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness" - James Thurber
Randi Kreger
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Author of the 'Essential Family Guide to BPD"

« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2011, 08:28:33 AM »

Yes, it is common. I go through why in both my books, especially EFG.
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Everything is as it is meant to be.

« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2011, 07:45:16 AM »

I thing that if they have to mirror different people in different social setting then it must become difficult. You cannot do that without telling some lies.

Mirroring is itself a lie. It says "we have so much in common" when in reality they don't know who they are.

They must have to tell so many lies and counter lies it is amazing they don't come unstook.



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« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2011, 04:46:47 PM »

Lying is the presenting issue with our daughter and the main catalyst for our decision to be estranged from her two years ago.  I'm still trying to figure out if she has BPD.  Sometime at about age 6-7 she started exhibiting almost constant lying, we were concerned because she would lie when the truth would serve her better.  In her teens she continued to lie but I just figured it was because she wanted to do something that she wasn't allowed to do.

For nearly ten years we believe that she had "turned her life around" and now we wondered if the person we thought she had become and the person her ex-husband thought she was, was a projection of what we wanted to see.  She has both education and training as an actress, or as someone put it "she lies for a living".  All her life she's been a drama queen.

The saddest part is that she believes her own lies.  In one of the few communications I've had with our daughter since we severed friendly relations I reminded her that when she was a child I would tell her she needed to quit lying and told her the story about the boy who cried wolf.  I can still see her at 8, looking in her eyes and telling her "Someday you will need us to believe you and we won't be able to because you're always lying."  It's heart-breaking to know that those worst fears have surfaced and I find it impossible to believe her about anything she says.
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Person in your life: Ex-romantic partner
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« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2011, 08:59:14 PM »

Sounds like she has the need to create a false reality in order to feel accepted.  Not sure if she has BPD though.  From my own experience and from what I read about BPD, I think BPDs tell more vicious lies and will stake their lives on their lies.  

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« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2012, 06:38:15 PM »

I would say it is quite common behavior for BPD's to lie but I believe they actually believe what they are saying as the truth and get quite frustrated when they are confronted about the lie.  My d who is 17 was confronted about stealing cigarettes from someone and although she at first denied it she then admitted she took one. She was once again confronted when she was told no there was more than one missing and this went from none to one to three...
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For the moment, doing the banana split!

« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2012, 12:38:48 PM »

The whole concept of truth and reality for a BPD is fascinating. It is quite right to notice things can be very skewed perceptionally from how someone else sees a situation.

The emotional state and what a sufferer wants to be the case just "is" reality. Then they project it. Do they know they are projecting a distorted reality? I've read pieces where a claimed BPD sufferer does know what they are doing, the distortion is just reflexive and they do it to fit in, project a positive image of themselves or avoid shame and negative perceptions. They also do it to get what they want.

I've heard straight from a BPD's mouth that she, "Always gets what she wants."

I have some examples with dxBPDgf, she activated an unused credit card of mine and went on a $5k spending binge in 24 hours. When I caught her and got the fraud notice and when I confronted her she burst into sobs. I came straight out and told her I knew what she did.  After the sobs, came the excuses. Point being here, she knew she'd done it.  The sobs were shock she'd gotten caught and the shame.  The gaslighting got good in the days after, to the point where it was my fault she did it. The reflex and creating that skewed emotional reality to avoid shame and responsibility. I'm sure today she'd deny she stole and perpetuated identity theft upon me. That'd be admitting a horrible thing. I know she has remapped it as I made her do it.

Of course one example does not make a case study. It just gives us a tiny flavor as to what the disorder sufferer goes through in their reality to justify their perceptions and actions.

Another case of dxBPDgf might be, later I learned she'd had multiple run-ins with CPS over her living situation and reports of negligence and leaving her two young children home alone in the trailer park.  Rather than accept any responsibility and understand why this was happening, she chalked it up to someone wanting revenge. Again, rather than accept the shame she wasn't being being a good parent and the reality that CPS was concerned enough to do weekly check ins, it was she was being victimized by someone with a vendetta because of a botched car sale which she never paid the full price for.

I wouldn't even attempt to speak to the condition as a whole, but from dxBPDgf's example, yes from our reality is lying is something they do. However, in the disorder it's not lying per se. It's motivated by the dark side of the disorder. Shame and exposing their faults, they'll to great lengths and mental gymnastics to avoid it. It's a reflex and the feelings they need to avoid that shame are now reality irregardless of the true reality.

The scary thing until you are versed in this behavior, this trait can be brutally deceptive. I've maintained that the lying, mirroring and taking on another's image is frighteningly effective due to the almost sociopathic ability to sell their image. The lack of any internal identity within the sufferer makes them able to don masks and sell them with nary a hint of a problem - until it's too late.


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