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Lying and Aspergers

Discussion in 'Help and Support' started by Joopsman, Mar 27, 2020.

  1. Joopsman

    Joopsman New Member

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    Hi! I need help with lying. I am a self diagnosed, 55 year old male in the US. My marriage is in serious trouble. My son thinks that I do not love him. All of this is because of my lying.

    I lie about stupid insignificant things to avoid the most minor of conflicts. "Honey, did you clean the litter boxes?" "Yes, dear!" (Knowing I hadn't, thinking I could get away with it or my wife would not check before I could do it sneakily.)

    I also lie about big, important things. Life plans like changing jobs and moving to another state. I don't follow through with what I promise that I will do (look for work and housing, etc.). I just want to settle into my daily routines and keep doing things like I always have done them. Get up in the morning, do my routine, go to work, do my routine there, come home, do my afternoon/evening routine, then my get ready for bed routine. It doesn't seem to matter to me that others in my family are miserable because of where we are living or their work or school situation. I just put my blinders on, tell my lies to protect my routines and avoid conflicts (which are always FAR worse in the long run), or protect my little secrets.

    Is lying an Aspergers trait? I know NT folks lie too so it certainly could not be considered exclusively Aspie. Does anyone else do this? What did you do to stop lying and make things better in your life? My marriage is a wreck because there is no trust anymore. I have had to come to terms with some ugly truths - like the I am responsible for all of the damage in my marriage and my wife is just reacting. That's hard to accept.

    I have this belief that I am a "nice guy" - I am not. "Nice" people don't do what I have done. I am desperate for answers and to make immediate changes. Thank you in advance...
     
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  2. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Lying is a human trait. Not confined to any particular subgroups.
     
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  3. disconnected

    disconnected Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I do not lie at all.
     
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  4. Aspertastic7

    Aspertastic7 Member

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    In my case, it's reversely: I do not lie in order to avoid trouble.
    But I understand your 'little' lies to avoid needless discussions (in your case, e.g.: "No I didn't clean the litter boxes" -- "So tell me why couldn't you do it?" --etc.), that can be pretty arduous. But as you can see, lying might brought you more trouble than you avoided by doing it.
    If I were you, I'd try to explain yourself and your need for routines to your folks. As I don't know them, I don't know if they're understanding, but I hope so. Try to be honest with them, if you want things getting better. And explain why you did it, that it was not to hurt them but to protect yourself (if that's the case!). I can hear your regret in your text, which is already a big step!
    I hope I could help you a bit. I wish things become better for you. Keep your chin up!
     
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  5. Raggamuffin

    Raggamuffin Well-Known Member

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    I have had prolonged periods in my life when I was lying all the time. They usually coincided with when I wasn't feeling happy inside. So lying felt easier - either to convince myself of these fantasies, or to please other people and have them think I was something I considered better than I truly felt inside.

    Ask yourself what makes the fiction more appealing than the reality. The truth that you hide from when you lie is probably not as severe or unpalatable as you assume it might be. Lying could be a safety behaviour - one that you've become so accustomed to that it becomes almost instinctive at this point.

    Also, it might be worth reading what you've written here to your wife and discuss things in depth. Try and work things through - understand what triggers the lie.

    Another tip - take your time to respond in conversations. Sometimes I found myself lying before I even realised what I was doing. I'm not sure if you're the same, but the longer I'm speaking and indulging in this fiction, the more awkward I feel inside. If you take a pause before responding, it might help you to realise when you want to tell a lie, but actually tell yourself to respond with the truth.

    Now of course, everyone lies - and that could be used as a justification to continue. But the problem is, when a lie is found out, the feeling can be unbearable. Whilst lying might be done so much it feels comforting, in reality, not only are you over-indulging in fiction, but you're forcing yourself to live as a fictional person, or else risk having people see the real you.

    As with lying, routines are comforting too. Similarly, they can also be self-destructive. Recall past relationships that are now over, I think most would say they should have ended the sooner. Of course, you can't lament over the past - but it goes to show that people can drag out harmful routines for longer than they need to. You could be going nowhere with somebody, but simply being in that routine has a comforting way about it, even if overall it's eating away at you inside, because you know it isn't right.

    You've identified that lying is a problem - which shows that you know it's usefulness or comfort is starting to be overshadowed by guilt and other negative feelings. So this is the foundation and initial foothold for change. It won't be a quick or easy fix - but simply realising it's doing more harm than good is genuinely the first step in changing this harmful habit.


    A quick recap - I'd say is look to what routines you aren't finding helpful but are still maintaining.

    Try and talk with your wife about all this and come to some understanding. Simply sharing these issues and worries could help.

    Finally, take time when responding in conversations, see if it helps with easing back on the lying.

    Ed
     
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  6. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

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    OP you are right, this is death to a relationship because a successful relationship is built on trust. So, just stop it. When you are about to tell a social lie ("did clean the litter box") stop and ask yourself, is this something that will backfire and harm family life? Merely asking that question will make it easier to diplomatically turn the situation around, "Sorry dear, I haven't gotten to it yet, how about if I do that now?"
     
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  7. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    You won't find it on any list of symptoms but many actually believe the opposite. That is it is a commonly held misconception that people on the spectrum do not lie.

    I think it may come from misidentiying other characteristics such as blunt comments or black and white thinking, etc.

    But as any teacher of autistic kids can tell you ASD folks can lie, and some do so frequently, and in this way do not differ much from the NT population, though the thought process behind it can be different.
     
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  8. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Why not bring it up alongside useful suggestions for improving things, like, that you will fit some tasks into your routine, but that you are unlikely to easily fit in other spontaneous non expected tasks.

    Personally I don't like the morally rigid positioning that often can be the other side of the situation around automatic lying. If the other persons were secure in themselves they'd be able to help better with this very familiar situation you get into, it's predictable and whilst irritating and difficult, the habit can be managed and helped with.

    Unfortunately a lot of us do have faults, and failings, and you require support with this, which it may be possible for your partner or others to give if they properly understand the situation and some of the reasons it's happening.
     
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  9. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

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    Start by trying to tell the truth about a few small things.

    I used to hide a lot of my behaviors. I would spend so much time thinking up excuses to justify my behavior, or anticipating how to avoid conflict if something came up. I felt like I always had to be perfect, or appear perfect.

    Then I got into counseling for other issues and started working on being more honest. I started with the dumbest, smallest thing - I used to get up earlier than the rest of my family on Saturdays so I could watch some of the cartoons that came on early. But I felt like I shouldn't be watching kids cartoons, so as soon as I heard anyone else get up, I'd turn the T.V. off and act like I was working on something. One Saturday, I thought, "I should try to be honest about this." So when my wife came down, I said, "I'm just watch this cartoon." She said, "Yeah, that's fine." And I realized I had been hiding my behavior for no reason.

    Since then, I've found that when I take the direct, open approach, people are very accepting. Most of the time, when I need to make a decision that I worry about people accepting, I talk to them directly and tell them that I'm trying to find the right solution and don't want to offend or hurt them. Instead of me working it out on my own and then trying to defend my decision, I make them a partner in the decision.

    Yes, there are some inconsiderate and selfish people out there that the direct approach won't work on, but the majority of people are good. If I have to deal with a difficult person, I will find someone else I trust and talk it through with them.
     
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  10. Juliettaa

    Juliettaa Black Sheep. Society of One. V.I.P Member

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    Lying isn't specific to Asperger's/Autism and it certainly isn't one of my autistic traits.

    In fact, I am completely opposite. I cannot lie and absolutely loathe lies and people who lie in the manner that you have described.

    I now understand why some people 'lie' to be kind - for example, lies as responses to questions such as 'does my bum look big in this' OR 'is my hair a mess'

    But lying as you are - I cannot comprehend that at all and it would be grounds for divorce. I would have absolutely zero trust in someone who lied like that and I would not respect them either.

    You may benefit from therapy.
     
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  11. Alexej

    Alexej Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the Forums
     
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  12. Bolletje

    Bolletje Overly complicated potato V.I.P Member

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    I can lie, but I rarely do so.
     
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  13. Aspertastic7

    Aspertastic7 Member

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    Thank you!
     
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  14. Joopsman

    Joopsman New Member

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    Thank you. That is all very helpful. For me, yes, slowing down is so important. My wife says she can see me responding in my head before she is even done talking or asking me something. Talking about it right now would not be a good idea. I hope in a few days that she will calm down, not be so angry and we can talk. Right now, it is just her telling me what a horrible husband I have been and listing all of the things I have done that are causing her pain and me responding defensively. I have at least stopped responding. There isn't anything that I can say at this point. She is too hurt and I have hurt our relationship too much.
     
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  15. Joopsman

    Joopsman New Member

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    Thank you for the response. This is the sad thing. My wife is actually very accepting of me and my eccentricities and interests. I am very insecure about things that I am interested in and think that she will criticize me or want an explanation (the truth is that I don't think she ever has other than to show an interest). So, I keep things secret. It is very destructive and leads to lying to cover the "secrets" - most of which are just pointless to keep anyway.
     
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  16. onlything

    onlything Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Lying can become a habit as much as anything else, hence why it's difficult to stop. You may want to try to stop it gradually - ask yourself before lying 'Do I have to?' and then try to say the truth once per day. Then, after a few days, bring it up to two. Etc. Small but regular steps are the best way of curbing down a negative or building up a positive habit.
     
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  17. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    It sounds to me as if lying is not the problem. Your fear of conflict and change is the problem. Lying is the coping mechanism.
     
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  18. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

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    It's hard. It's very hard. But you have to allow yourself to be vulnerable.

    @Juliettaa wasn't being snarky or insulting when she suggested therapy. It's been very helpful for me.
     
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  19. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

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    I totally get the routine part of what you are saying. We love our routines and we have a hard time coping with change. Are you afraid of everything you promised and now you are feeling like a failure? Tell your wife that you promised too much and you are feeling overwhelmed that you can't accomplish any of it. Just pick one thing only to work on, instead of a bunch of life changes.
    Just a suggestion; but l was thinking how overwhelmed l would be with saying all that and working full time. Why don't you enlist your wife to help with the move to a different place, and mostly importantly - talk to her about your feelings.☺
     
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  20. Juliettaa

    Juliettaa Black Sheep. Society of One. V.I.P Member

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    Thank you @Nervous Rex

    As you've experienced (and countless other members, myself included), therapy is helpful for a whole range of issues.

    I had a 'friend' who was a pathological liar. Just like the OP, the lies were about big and small issues. She had extensive therapy and was later diagnosed with a personality disorder.

    @Fino - the fear of conflict with lying as a coping mechanism is a really good point. It didn't apply to my 'friend' though; she thrived on conflict and loved drama. Cutting her out of my life was very cathartic.

    Pathological Liar: How to Cope with Someone’s Compulsive Lies
     
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