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Is lying common for people in mental crisis?

Is lying a part of a mental crisis? Lying is expected in the general population, and people do it for various reasons. Is lying a part of mental illness? NO. We are not aware of any research that shows whether it is more common for people with mental illnesses to lie. But you might find it helpful to keep a record of your relative’s lies or any manipulative behavior. It may be beneficial for the doctor in the future. Remember if someone has delusional beliefs, they will believe what they say, even if they sound unusual. These are not lies. On these occasions, you should seek professional help.

Lying is deliberately saying something that isn’t true. People might lie to:

  • cover up events they are ashamed of,
  • improve their ego,
  • get a job,
  • get more money, sex, power or something else they want,
  • protect other people, or
  • change the behavior of others.

How to help

Your relative may become defensive if you challenge them about a lie. But remember lying is not a part of mental crisis. Therefore you might decide to challenge a lie, and it can be helpful to have evidence to show it is a lie. Try to avoid saying ‘you’re lying’ or ‘that’s a lie. If you don’t have any evidence, you can try questioning them. But your relative could accuse you of not trusting them. You might find it helpful to assure them that you believe them, but that you are interested to know more detail about the situation because you are worried.

Trying to take advantage of you.

You may feel that your relative lies to get money from you. If you are not willing to give them money, explain your reasons. If you are willing to provide cash but want to test a possible lie, ask what they need the money for. You could offer to buy things for them if you think they are lying. Your relative may have money problems, maybe you could try to help them fix their problem by teaching them how to budget or get help from a money charity.

Try to download Minplan here for further help or read more Minplan stories here.

Having a healthy relationship with someone in mental crisis

Gerda: I was introduced to Minplan by my sister