Parents who lie habitually are called pathological liars and they may exhibit compulsive and excessive lying daily. Practicing these behavioral traits in front of children could have extreme long-term negative ramifications. Often, therapy or keeping everything documented could be needed if you have to co-parent with a liar.
Co-parenting with a former spouse or partner could hold immense challenges, especially for the parent on the receiving side of being asked for a divorce. Co-parenting with a liar could affect both the other parent and the child or children. How do you co-parent with a liar?
Many parents have no choice but to co-parent with a former partner when the relationship has ended badly. If you’re looking for some help on this subject, you are in the right place! Continue reading with us on everything you can do when co-parenting with a liar.
Related Reading: How to Make Co-Parenting After Infidelity Work
Putting Your Child First When Co-Parenting with a Liar
Lies affect the ability of a person to continue being a consistent parent. A parent who lies habitually will change their story on events or sequence of events, which ultimately reduces the effectiveness of household rules and a young child’s sense of stability.
Research has revealed that inconsistent parenting could cause children to develop behavioral issues, as they cannot learn consequences or proper limits from a lying parent.
Along with creating household instability, a parent that compulsively lies to another parent or their child(ren) is modeling very wrong behavior.
Not many parents are aware of the impact their lying could have on their children, and often, the children are the center of their lies. Parental lying could also very quickly become a learned behavior for younger children.
Young children and teenagers will mirror their parents’ behavior traits and learn they can get away with it. By looking up to a lying parent as a role model or an example, the parent becomes aware that the child or teenager permits them to act this way. Pathological lying could become part of a dysfunctional family dynamic and be passed down to younger generations.
When a parent is identified with the issue of compulsive lying, it is recommended that the child or children get counseling about the negativity and consequences of this behavior before they adopt it.
Children in preschool may already be fully aware that their one parent has trouble telling the truth. This small child may develop the mentality that they cannot trust this parent and become overwhelmed by the mixed messages and stories they receive.
Preschool teachers or child care providers may try to reinforce the values of honesty in class, yet the child will still observe their parent engaging in lying behavior at home. Thus, the other parent should always try to put their children first by separating their child from this harmful behavior, as much as possible, and reinforcing the importance of the truth often.
Co-Parenting – Accept That You Can’t Change the Liar
Since pathological liars have no conscience, they will have no remorse for dragging a child into the hurt, and it becomes the easiest way they can hurt you. As they know your child(ren) means the whole world to you, they may not represent the same.
They will use every excuse and trick they can get hold of to intrude on your new life or a fresh start. At some point, you may even get threats where they say they will call child protective services and tell them lies to try to take your child(ren) away from you.
If this is the case, you mustn’t feed into the massive amount of lies and threats. You can simply not feed into it, say nothing, and allow the liar to continue with their behavior. At the end of the day, the liar will dig their own grave, and they will simply not be able to stop themselves.
Your children will grow up one day and see the lying co-parent for who they really are, and you will come out as the winner.
Children are intelligent, strong, and resilient, and it’s only a matter of time before they will see what behavioral patterns are right and which ones are wrong.
Related Reading: How to Divorce a Narcissist
How to Deal with a Lying Co-Parent Appropriately
When you’re dealing with a co-parent who consistently lies and tries to make you the bad guy, you will need to develop strategies to ensure your well-being and mental health won’t take a turn for the worse.
Below are some key points on building resilience and taking care of yourself when dealing with the liar:
Suggest Professional Help
It would benefit you to offer to go for a couple of therapy sessions, even if you and your partner or significant other have decided to end things.
Going for counseling might help you to be able to communicate and speak to each other more clearly and directly. This way, you will take a little weight off your shoulders, and the liar won’t feel as if they have been “called out” (by you, anyways).
If the person is unwilling to accept the suggestion, you will have no other choice but to accept it. Do not fight about it, as it won’t help.
Never Lose Your Temper
As frustrating as it may be, it is crucial not to let your anger get the best of you or the situation. When confronting a pathological liar, you need to remember that it’s not about you and expect all sorts of denial.
Try to Be Supportive
It could be challenging to remain supportive and co-parent with somebody who does not consider your feelings. It would be best to pull together a few examples of their compulsive lying and ask them if they need help to figure out why they act this way.
Never be accusing or aggressive. It would be best if you reminded them that you are willing to co-parent, but you will need the peace of mind of being able to trust the things they say and do.
Practice The Art of Acceptance
You need to understand that everyone lies for different reasons. Some people may find the truth to be much more distressing than the consequences that come along with lying.
In other words, a parent may lie instead of telling the truth when the truth has surpassed their comfort zone. Discomfort with telling the truth could lead to a series of lies in an attempt to control a situation or change an outcome.
Becoming comfortable with the truth could be a path of admitting their mistakes, accepting the painful reality, or accepting a challenging situation.
It is important for you to keep all these things in mind, and instead of fighting them, merely accept them, as you may learn some valuable lessons as a result.
This will not only prevent a situation from becoming aggressive or heated, but you will learn to stay calm and accept something for what it is.
Know When to Not Engage
It could be challenging to remove yourself from a co-parent that simply has no remorse or consideration. You will not only get frustrated but your child or children will also have to carry the burden. It is of utmost importance that you know when to engage in a situation and when you need to stay out of it.
Continue Reading: Co-Parenting as a Step-Mom
Honesty goes a long way; it is one of the critical fundamentals of any relationship, including two parents who need to learn to co-parent their kids, despite their differences.
Always keep a calm and open mind when trying to co-parent with a liar, know when it is time for more drastic measures, and seek help when things get out of hand.