After years of living with my ex I developed a bullshit filter. Now that he is gone I still use it regularly. I listen politely to the story but I stick it in the filter until I get information that confirms it or discredits it. People lie about their age so they can get on the teen computers, they lie about what they had checked out, they lie about what they brought back…I don’t take it personally.

I am by nature a pretty straightforward person. My boss calls me blunt. I don’t lie worth a crap and I used to expect people to treat me the same way. Times have changed. (see above paragraph) I don’t do allegory very well although I usually understand it. Here is my non-allegory story.

Tonight my 11-year-old daughter lied to me about her homework. Then she lied to me several times while I was helping her check her homework. She had no reason to lie, she just told a whopper and sat back to see what I would do. It was like she opened her mouth and her father came out. She used the same obfuscating methods: changing the story then acting like I hadn’t understood the first time, acting offended when I asked for clarification, denial…she even had his facial expressions down.

After watching him lie to me, his mother, his brothers, his customers, his friends, his lawyer, himself, I am pretty good at spotting his lies. And it is really frustrating watching my daughter do the same darn thing!

I don’t want to go visit her at the women’s correctional facility, but I have no idea how to help her not turn into a sociopath. She has a counselor, and last time she went I asked the counselor to address the lying. My daughter came home with, “You need to spend more time with me.” Tonight I spent and hour and a half with her- dealing with her lies and checking her homework and dealing with more lies and trying to think out the best way to deal with her lies. I barely saw one of my sons. Even when she is not in trouble she finds ways to usurp my attention. What she needs is another parent to take some of the heat.

I finally settled on if she lies she goes to her room for the rest of the night. No matter what time it is. If I find out she lied earlier, she can go to bed right after school the next day. I can think of nothing else. She thrives on interactions with her siblings, and I am hoping that removing that activity will provide some time for me to parent them as well instead of letting them drift along in her wake.

Transvestite Rabbit’s post made me think about this. Obviously the behavior is the lie. The antecedent? I wasn’t upset, I was just checking over her homework. She apparently decided to see what my reaction would be to her dishonesty, and I fell for it. The consequence? My attention, I guess, and the understanding that she would be missing meals and human interaction if she keeps it up.

Taking a step back: my behavior? Falling into her trap of provoking me. The antecedent? Her provoking me? The consequence? My blowing my entire evening dealing with her? I guess I need to take my own advice and remember what I tell others… say, “I don’t have a dog in that fight,” and refuse to engage emotionally.

Was that allegorical? I didn’t plan to come to any enlightening conclusion until I finished the next to last paragraph. Thinking out loud I guess. Any ideas on better ways to not raise criminals? My ex’s sister who had a degree in counseling said he had traits of sociopathy and narcissism. He was a jewel. And now I am dealing with his protégée.

 

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