I'm hoping someone who knows a little more about psychiatric disorders than me might be able to help. I'm worried that my cousin's constant lying may
be a symptom of a more serious psychiatric problem. The following post is a bit long, so I ask those of you with a few mins free to take the time to
I have a cousin who can only be described as a pathological liar. I've browsed some websites on "pathological lying" but most of the literature
I've found seems to describe people who are frequently arrested for
swindling money (using lies for personal gain) etc or people with ADD. My cousin does not fit into this category. The lies he tells are 'unnecessary' (that is, he never lies to 'gain' anything) and he truly seems to believe them himself.
My cousin "Tom" is 26 years old and has just moved back to our town after living in another city for 6 years. Throughout his entire childhood and teens he was nicknamed "Tom the Liar" because he made up so many crazy tales for no apparent reason. Then he moved away to another city where he got engaged to a girl and they had a child together. Hearing this news, we (his family) breathed a sigh of relief that he'd finally 'grown up'.
A couple of months ago Tom decided to move back here, taking his girlfriend and child with him. But within 6 weeks they'd broken up and she'd moved
back to her city, taking the child with her. It was all so sudden and bizarre as they'd been together almost 5 years and suddenly, when they move here, it all falls apart.
When I met up with Tom last week for the first time after 6 years, I was really shocked to find him exhibiting the same behaviour now as a grown man. I'd always put his lying down to just part of his childhood personality, but I was unprepared to hear a grown man spewing out ridiculous lies to me. It just isn't acceptable for a grown-up adult and father. What made me concerned that it might be the symptom of something more sinister was that
he made a bizarre accusation against this woman that we barely know. He
said she met him on the street one day and, totally out of the blue, she
said to him "You look evil". I know this is NOT true, and makes me worry that Tom is having delusions. He says that his girlfriend's mother (&
indeed her entire family) have brainwashed his girlfriend into leaving him. He has also been saying some nasty things about his (ex)girlfriend that
don't ring true.
Since I am his cousin and not a sister or anything, I don't want to suggest he might be mentally ill to his parents without good reason. His lying caused us less concern when he was younger, as after all, we all have immature habits as teenagers. But as a grown man it is clearly causing him problems. I have a feeling that the reason his relationship broke down so suddenly when he brought his girlfriend here was because maybe she
discovered that everything he'd told her about his earlier life was a lie - details and stuff that he'd probably forgot he'd said. He also seems completely detached from the fact that his son has just been taken away from him, saying without emotion: "I really don't care" - and then rambling on more lies about unrelated things.
The reason I'm suspecting a 'mild' form of schizophrenia is because some of his habits could be classified as the classic "delusions of grandeur" and "delusions of persecution".
Delusions of grandeur: He told me that a mystery stranger (a girl) had telephoned him on his mobile last week claiming to know about his recent break-up and was saying she had been crazy about him for years and was so happy he was finally available. This was a call made to his newly-acquired mobile phone, whom no-one from his past could possibly have known the number of... He also lies about his career background, pretending that he is some kind of computer expert at job interviews (which the interviewers always see right through)
The 'delusions of persecution' could be his belief that the family of his girlfriend are out to smear his name and take her away from him. He told me that he'd written personal letters to every one of her immediate family, chastising them from taking her away from him!
We used to laugh off Tom's bizarre stories, but now we are actually
concerned for his mental well-being. Does anyone know any information on this condition and whether we should say something to his parents? Could it be a symptom of some less-serious form of Schizophrenia?
Thanks for reading and I hope you can suggest some advice,
|Location:||Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, UK|
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