To decipher the world of Pathology Liar and Pathological Lying (habitual lying), we must first know the root of their formation. Recent research showed that the lying might be from childhood trauma.
In a child’s world, parents are everything. When the parents divorce, their children lost the sense of security they should have during their childhood. Now, the mother comes to talk to him and says you have to hate your father and love your mother. You have to choose one of us.
This is the so-called “loyalty conflict” (or loyalty issue, loyalty problem). In the child’s mind, his answer is to find a way to pretend to be loyal to the person who asked the question. If he was on his mother’s side today, he would try to tell his mother that his father is not good and that he likes his mother more than his father. Wwhen he leaves his mother’s side and comes to his father’s side, he will immediately change sides. He will be saying that his father is a better parent and that he likes his father more than mother. Children may feel torn between their loyalty to their parents and the sense of loyalty they have towards both of their parents. This can result in feelings of guilt, confusion, and emotional turmoil.
Common loyalty conflicts/issues of children in single families
Some common loyalty issues that children may face after their parents divorce include:
Feeling torn between parents:
Children may feel like they have to choose between their parents, or that they are betraying one parent by spending time with the other.
Children may fear that showing loyalty to one parent will result in rejection by the other parent.
Balancing conflicting loyalties:
Children may struggle to balance their loyalty to both parents, especially if the parents are in conflict with each other.
Loyalty to stepparents:
Children may feel loyalty to their stepparents, but also feel a sense of loyalty to their biological parents.
Divorced parents are usually supportive of their children during this difficult time. However, the root problem which causes loyalty issues in children is the parents’ failure to be supportive to EACH OTHER. In fact, we often see that the wisdom of children is higher than that of adults! The adults (parents) only want to force the children to say what they want to hear, but the children have already seen through this. So what they say can always satisfy the two conflicting adults in exchange for a safe environment. He can also let go of his worries about his parents, at least knowing that his parents are happy because of his answer at this moment.
Parents, don’t worry too much about your children being Pathology Liars
Now you see how children have learned to be a habitual liar (or Pathology Liar) and the art of Pathological Lying. When they see someone, they would only say what the other person likes, not what the other person hates. For the Pathology Liars, it is not important to tell the “truth” to this person. What is more important is to say what he wants to hear, and to maximize his own interests.
It sounds serious, doesn’t it? Many parents are worried that their children are already habitually lying, and try to correct this. However, we often advice the parents not to worry too much about the consequences of loyalty issues which might be making the children Pathology Liars?
After seeing many children in divorcing/divorced families, our advice is to see its good side. Habitual lying can also be regarded as a person’s strength. They can change their superficial rhetoric like a chameleon. If they use it for their own benefit, they can become excellent communicators with high sense of empathy and so-called “EQ”. Moreover, the marriage relationship in future is likely more complicated than it is now. The strong will survive. If you want your children to have a happy life without suffering from terrible divorce like you, perhaps, Pathological Lying is not a bad tool to have for life.
However, Pathological Lying also represents a tendency to hid one’s feelings from others. This will become a habit to bury their actual and true emotions deep in their heart, and no one can detect them. Even if they have confessed to pouring out to someone, and the tears are streaming down truthfully, it may still be a lie. In reality, such a characteristic might prevent the grown children from talking out. So they will not have a chance to be echoed and healed. It might cause them to go to a dead end under extreme pressure. This is something that the parents have to watch out for.
Ways to deal with loyalty issues to avoid Pathological Lying
Divorce can be a complex and emotional process, and it can be especially difficult for children. Children may feel a sense of loyalty to both parents, which can create conflicting emotions and challenges.
To help children navigate the complexities of loyalty after divorce (and avoid turning into a Pathology Liar), it’s important for parents to:
Communicate openly and honestly:
Children need clear, open, and honest communication from their parents to help them understand what is happening and what to expect in the future.
Avoid negative talk about the other parent:
Children should not be put in the position of having to choose sides or defend one parent over the other. Parents should avoid negative talk about the other parent in front of the children.
Establish clear boundaries:
Children need clear rules and boundaries to help them feel secure and supported. Parents should work together to establish a shared understanding of what is appropriate behavior for the children, and what the consequences will be if those boundaries are not respected.
Encourage relationships with both parents:
Children should feel free to love and spend time with both parents, and parents should encourage this relationship. Children should not feel like they have to choose between their parents.
Consider counseling or therapy:
Children may benefit from counseling or therapy to work through their emotions and develop healthy coping strategies. A trained therapist can help children process their feelings, learn to express themselves, and develop a healthy sense of self.