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akmcg's avatar

How do you deal with a family member who constantly lies and won't admit to it even when caught with hard evidence?

Asked by akmcg (149 points ) February 8th, 2010

I have a family member who lies a lot. Recently we went in on a gift for our parents anniversary and this person was in charge of all the details. I was told it was all taken care of. Now that my parents are ready to go on their trip in a few months, there is suddenly a big problem with the arranagements and they may not be able to go on the trip. I found out hard evidence that I was lied to and I called them on it but they somehow made it out that I was being unreasonable. How do I deal with this?

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11 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I certainly wouldn’t trust them to take care of matters for me or the rest of my family – I’d try to spend as little time with them as possible (after explaining as to why).

Ivy's avatar

In the end, you really can’t deal with anyone who lies. The best you can do is accept that they lie and cover their own ass afterward, and never ever trust them again with anything that involves you in any way. You probably went into it knowing this wasn’t the most trustworthy of individuals, and so you might be a little angry at yourself for trusting this person in the first place. Accept that too. This is what’s meant by ‘live and learn’.

akmcg's avatar

Dracool- Thanks, this is well put. I am indeed angry at myself for trusting them. I just hate how they turned it around to make it out like I’m mad about the money and money obsessed. I even went so far as to apoligize to put an end to the tension, expecting an apology in return but all I got was “Oh, it’s ok, I know you are obesessed with money”, instead of an apoloy for lieing to me in the first place! Wow. Now I am out $1k, my parents won’t be able to go on their trip, and the liar continues to live his life in denial and now our relationship is strained. Oh the wicked web we weave…..

Ivy's avatar

@akmcg “Oh the wicked web we weave ~ when first we practice to deceive.” Shakespeare’s words. The same guy who told us, “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” This takes a lot more courage when family dynamics are involved, because a family’s love is rarely unconditional. The unspoken agreement is that everyone believes the same myths and secrets and protects them, at all cost, even if it costs a family member who stops playing the family game. But if you really want to put an end to your participation in the family drama, the surest way is to stop apologizing when you’re the victim just to keep the peace. Of course your relationship is going to be strained, but honestly, why do you even want a relationship with someone who cheated you, lied about it, and now villifies you? Ask yourself that three times and drink five Bloody Mary’s in penance. :)

njnyjobs's avatar

@akmcg no need to hate yourself for trusting in them… you are a good person for being so… Now that you have seen the real skin, be cautious and wary when dealing with them if you must. else, stay clear from them pertaining to sensitive and important matters as much as possible.

MissAusten's avatar

I have a family member who seems unable to be truthful about even the most minor things. It used to drive me crazy, and I’d call her out on it every single time (this is my mother I’m talking about). She would never admit to lying, but would dig herself into an even deeper hole, cry, make me feel guilty, and then later act like none of it had ever happened. One day I just decided not to do it anymore. There are certain subjects that I told her are off-limits and I will not have conversations about those things with her. When she is telling me something that I suspect isn’t true, I don’t question her but change the subject as soon as I can. I also moved halfway across the country after college, and that helped quite a bit. It took me a while to realize that she will never change and never admit to being dishonest, and all that anger and frustration on my part was wasted energy. She still drives me crazy, and once in a while I slip up and find myself questioning her and getting angry all over again. When that happens, I just end the conversation and move on.

I think you are better off keeping your dishonest family member at a distance. Decide for yourself what boundaries you want, and stick to them. Don’t hesitate to say no in the future, and politely excuse yourself from any situation that would require you to rely on this person.

JLeslie's avatar

Is it a lie or a misunderstanding? Is it possible both sides are right? If you haven’t already I would attemp to have a conversation with the liar and hear the story from their point of view. If they can’t explain themselves and lie constantly I would not trust them with anything that can really affect you. Not with planning, money, or anything that will upset you if they screw it up, because they are likely to screw it up and act selfishly. You don’t have to completely cut yourself off from that person, just lower your expectations now that you have their number.

Jeruba's avatar

Is substance abuse in the picture?

JLeslie's avatar

@Jeruba Good question, it will be interesting to see the answer. On my husbands side we actually have a very untrustworthy family member, and there is no substance abuse, he just rationalizes or tries to rationalize his actions. He is a repeat offender.

susanc's avatar

Can you document the lie? Is there an email trail, for example? Promises made, then broken? Show all of this to the other siblings. Don’t accuse. Demonstrate your own honesty. Tell the truth.
Apologizing to a liar is itself lying.

akmcg's avatar

Thanks for all of the comments everyone. There is no substance abuse involved to my knowledge. I can indeed document the lie via emails and what I was told a year ago by this person. He has now somehow made this about me and how I’m over-reacting about the money involved. Yikes. This has nothing to do with money and everything to do with not being told the truth. I think he feels that if he withheld the truth from me it wasn’t exactly a lie, but I see it differently. In any case, the situation is over, the damage is done but now I definitely see this person differently and it does not feel good.

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