How to deal with a family member who lies

Question:

This is actually something that’s been stirring for many many years. This last episode just took the cake.   I have a close (in relation only) family member who is a pathological liar. Not only does this person lie, this person is very selfish and very messy for lack of better term. Here’s the latest that went down.  So I have a brother that’s been incarcerated for 13 years, he got out this year and went to stay with this family member, this family member is female and made up a beef with our aunt to keep my brother from going to see her (the aunt).

When we talked to the aunt, she had NO IDEA this family member was even mad at her, let alone all the crap this member talked about her, to everyone else (in and out of the family) but her. That left my aunt confused and brokenhearted because she doesn’t understand why the family member wouldn’t want my brother around her.

Now this family member has been married more times than I can count, and recently (a month ago) got a divorce.  My brother is living there, she ups and marries Joker Johnny and moves him in on top of my brother (who has only been living with this family member for 2 weeks).  Joker Johnny is a 50+ year old wanna be gangsta, saggin pants, ball caps to the side a blazin hot old ass mess.  I’ve talked to my family, told her it wasn’t a good look to do that to my brother, if she really loves Johnny like she’s professing to the world, then it can wait, my brother’s stability is far more important. That went in one ear and out the other.

We’ve talked to her til we are blue in the face, I’ve even ignored her for a few years for behavior very similar to this one, but I’m tired and I don’t know how to get her to change. It’s hopeless, and she tells everyone how she’s such a better person now, but nothing is different nor better about her. She’s gotten “saved”, goes to church every Sunday, bible study on Tuesdays and sometimes preaches at the church. (Please don’t take any offense to my quotations around saved, it’s because someone keeping up this kind of mess can’t possibly be)  I am about 2 seconds from abjuring this person from my life forever, I can’t take the madness.  The family member is my mom :-(

Signed,

Ready To Walk Away

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Answer:

There are many issues that need to be addressed within this question, but the main question that I am hearing is you need to know what to do about a family member who lies and disrupts the family. To address the problem you must understand the source of the problem before you can proceed toward what to do about it.

A person who lies does so in most cases in order to deceive, or in many cases to also harm the person who the lie is directed toward or about. Most of the time lies are birthed out of fear of what will occur if the lie is not spoken or told.  Individuals who lie and participate in malicious conversations feel like they are lacking something in their lives, they fear what may occur if they do not tell the lie, they fear losing control and other people forming relationships.

They also usually aren’t walking in their life purpose and are miserable because of it, and they have fears about their own futures. With all that going on, it is difficult for them to do what is right in their relationships with others. It is difficult to see when you are in the middle of the situation or the lie is about you, but people who lie are ultimately hurting themselves. The truth always comes to light now or in the future. If someone is a liar, it will eventually be shown and displayed to the world and it will likely lead to the breaking down or destruction of their life, reputation and relationships.

It is not your responsibility to fix any of that for them, but you can pray for them and encourage them whenever opportunities present themselves to do so. That does not mean you have to be around that individual if they are harmful your life, mindset, health or well-being. It means you can simply attempt to be compassionate, try to understand where the behavior is coming from, and know that they are experiencing some type of emotional pain and mental anguish that is leading to this behavior. Then when or if your paths do cross you can make your life choices and decisions about interacting with them from that point of wisdom, knowledge, love and understanding.

In this situation, there are issues going on that show that she (your mother) is hurting emotionally. She is searching for unfailing love but is not receiving it….and part of that may be because she does not know how to give it. Her actions are coming from a place of fear that if she does not lie to keep others away from your brother, or if does not jump from relationship to relationship that she will not have the love or attention she desperately needs in her life. If she is lying about your aunt it is because she views her as a threat to her relationship with your brother. Creating this rift in the family (in her mind) will keep that threat away.

Understand though that a liar cannot prevent the good plans that God has for others. The effects of their lies will only last but so long before truth is revealed. There is a verse in the Bible that says “humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God’s purpose prevails” (see Proverbs 19:21 The Message). God’s purpose and good plans for your aunt, for your life, and for the life of your brother will prevail. Just be patient, pray about it, exercise faith, love and wisdom in your own everyday life, and let God work it all out.

Another word from a biblical perspective comes from Psalm 63:11 and says “the mouths of liars will be silenced.” Translation: You don’t have to do anything, but the right thing in your life and for those you love. Be there for your brother to whatever capacity that you can, breathe, pray, relax, and let everything else go. God can do much more than you ever could to change this situation.

Some people just choose to have personalities that pollute the lives of others around them. That is their choice. They will have to live with the consequences. Love and honor your mother to the best of your ability when you do see her. Speak to her with respect when you must interact. That does not mean you have to invite her into every aspect of your life. Do what you need to do in order to maintain and protect your peace, joy, and loving, kind spirit. Sometimes that means distancing yourself from another individual unless and until they make different life choices. Don’t give any ultimatums. Simply make day-to-day choices for your own life and who you do and do not want to be a part of it. Let others live and learn on their own.

Pray for wisdom, and you’ll receive it.  Support your brother and give him wisdom and guidance as you can to help him rebuild his life. Let all your actions be birthed out of love with a desire for peace, then rest and be content knowing you are doing and have done all you can do.

 

Wisdom and strength to you and your family,

Truth in Love

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