dealing with a thief and compulsive liar

topic posted Sat, November 24, 2007 - 10:29 PM by  Unsubscribed
i'm seeking some suggestions, hoping there is some input still out there that i haven' t applied to this situation.

situation is:
i'm living with someone who steals and then lies about it when confronted.
yes, we are sure it is this person, yes, they have been confronted more then once. each time they play the ' it's not me' card' and the evidence is right there, either on them, near them or very obviously points to them. no one else did it.
i am very certain that this is happening, i'm not losing my mind and we have no little elves around the home.
the cat doesn't use these objects or hide them either.

my greatest disbelief turns to hurt more and more, that this person lies to my face. i'm in a sad state of what i'd call shock when this happens, i wish they would grow a spine and at least admit to it for some power, or simply asking would be even more empowering. i want to react out of anger..oh i do, i do, i've been at this for too long, but i try to be diplomatic about this issue.

things here are in the open, shared, yet everyone has their private and personal belongings too. we've made it clear more then once that trust and respect reside in this home.

yet this person keeps on doing this kind of behavioural loop and denying. they are a bad liar too.
please do not tell me to boot them out, legally i can't yet, nor is it financially possible at this point for them to live on their own.
this has been goin on for some time and nothing i do works in the long run.
any ideas how this can be resolved consciously?
can it be if the other is maybe unconscious of their actions and keeps forgetting the rules of respect of other people here and the home we share?
we've been dealing with this for years and i'm almost at the point that i've given up hope on this person.

posted by:
  • Re: dealing with a thief and compulsive liar

    Sat, November 24, 2007 - 11:00 PM
    These are my questions: Is this person an adult? Do they understand what it means to leave a person's personal things alone?

    If the answer is yes to both, then something has to change. Is the financial situation that you can't live without them or they can't live without you? If they can't live without you, it's obvious by their actions that they think they can ... otherwise they wouldn't steal your stuff. Maybe you can't legally kick them out but you can ask them to leave (I would imagine). If they ask why, it's because you are tired of them taking your stuff. Just remind them that they are an adult. You don't understand why they steal as they can ask for pretty much whatever they want (they have a voice and it works). If the answer is no, then they either do without or they find another way. Stealing is not ever the answer (unless you're playing baseball ... and even then, getting caught has consequences).

    In your case, it seems that this person stealing has no real consequence except that you, personally, feel hurt and angry ... but rather than letting them have what they deserve (and asked for), you keep it all bottled up inside you. Well, you've done the right thing by letting it out here. I'd say it's time to let it all out there, too.

    You said you wish this person would grow a spine and admit to their behavior(s). It seems from what you've said that you live with other people, too. I'd say get these people all together (no he said she said this way) and voice your opinion. If someone has something to add, great. If not, then you speak your piece (and peace). You don't have to yell, scream, use foul language or otherwise debase this person, but I think you do need to let your feelings out in a positive and constructive way. It may seem negative and destructive, but in reality, you haven't caused the problem. You are trying to rectify it.

    A parent might let their child go in for surgery knowing they will be in far more pain when they come out than they went in with .. but for the long term good of the child, perhaps the parent feels this pain is necessary. This person, IMO, has a problem and letting it ride isn't helping. It could even be hurting as sometimes not saying anything is viewed as consent. Sometimes kindness is weakness. You get my point. Let it out ... put it out there that this has been going on for a long time and it's obvious who is doing it ... unless they can present evidence that they've been framed. Anything is possible, but having one's things moved, used or otherwise stolen is unacceptable ... especially when it's someone who is supposed to be liked and trusted (like a friend or relative).
    • Unsu...

      Re: dealing with a thief and compulsive liar

      Sun, November 25, 2007 - 9:13 AM
      lovely day,
      >Sometimes kindness is weakness.

      tis true!
      i'm learning to balance tough love and compassion.

      sorry for not providing more info - i've been trying to be discreet about the situation.
      and thank you for taking your time to write.
  • Re: dealing with a thief and compulsive liar

    Sat, November 24, 2007 - 11:32 PM
    catch this person on hidden camera so you have direct evidence...if there is still denial then make arrangements for them to be somewhere else for awhile...relatives or friends. they must understand there are consequences...professional help if you can find a good one! I feel for you...this would make me very frustrated and hurt as well!
  • Re: dealing with a thief and compulsive liar

    Sat, November 24, 2007 - 11:59 PM
    The answer is to have good boundaries. Having good boundaries means being willing to do whatever it takes to remove this person from your life, should you come to realize that your boundaries will never be respected. It means making the consequences for not respecting your boundaries clear, and then following up on those consequences should those boundaries be violated again.

    This person is constantly violating your boundaries, has done so for years, yet you seem unwilling to do the one thing that you KNOW we would suggest that you do, because it's the only thing you can do - remove this person from your life. There is no legal reason why you couldn't either boot them out with 30 days notice, or leave yourself and just pay the penalty. This person's financial situation is their problem, not yours, and if they don't want to have a financial crisis, they shouldn't steal from their own support network.

    It's time to do what you know is the right course of action, and stop trying to find a way out of it. Nobody here can suggest anything better than what you have already suggested. Kick 'em out, and maybe then the impact of the consequences of their actions will finally force them to get the help they need to stop stealing and lying about it.
    • Re: dealing with a thief and compulsive liar

      Sun, November 25, 2007 - 1:00 AM
      what if the person is yr child?
      • Re: dealing with a thief and compulsive liar

        Sun, November 25, 2007 - 3:53 AM
        Then you take them out to the woodshed and you tell them that this is going to hurt you more than it is them .... and you explain all the things about why your personal things are yours and you don't touch theirs without their permission so they shouldn't touch yours, etc etc ... and the next time you find out that they stole your stuff, you are calling the police to have them arrested. Sometimes that scares the life out of them and they never do it again .. sometimes one has to actually call the police.

        If it's a child and especially a young child, there is time for them to understand that this is wrong and they shouldn't do it anymore.
        • Re: dealing with a thief and compulsive liar

          Sun, November 25, 2007 - 3:54 AM
          I should probably add that when you take them out to the wood shed, one needs to have a stick of significant size ... not that one plans to hit their child with it but it raises their consciousness to the point where they can feel the pain before it happens. Once their consciousness is at a peak, then one can get through to them on deeper levels. This has been my experience, anyway.
      • Re: dealing with a thief and compulsive liar

        Tue, January 22, 2008 - 6:49 AM
        If your child. Remove the door to the room.

        Show them where the path leads. Do not trust. Do trust yourself.

        Lock valuables. Small hidden camera. Make it clear that it's unacceptable on every possible front.

        If a child, go deeper. They learned it somewhere. Where. For what reason?
        The rush...taught manipulation....attention....etc. There are many. If it's stealing to sell or give away to "friends". Find out. Act on that.

        Much better than doing the whole "I didn't do it" bs conversations that just keep ya spinning.

    • Unsu...

      Re: dealing with a thief and compulsive liar

      Sun, November 25, 2007 - 9:06 AM
      nathan, i was very close to this recently. chosing to deal with this situation in a way as if this person is like all other people on this planet, because they in a way are, other then being my child, they are their own being...

      but i could not do this humanely. i wanted to teach this lesson, one i've had to learn early in life and managed to survive and make it at that age...but this person is not me and i do not want to teach tough love...even tho at times i want to sooo badly.
      the rent is incredibly high here, and there would be absolutey no time in their lives to finish high school and work at same time. already keeping a part time job is time consuming for this person and hard to juggle. dropping out of last yr of school after working so hard for so many yrs to complete it would be a waste.
      i had to look at it from a more compassionate pov then just doing what i'd naturally want to do, which is either remove myself from situation or remove the other.
      • Re: dealing with a thief and compulsive liar

        Sun, November 25, 2007 - 2:52 PM
        I'm confused - is this person your child, or are you their legal guardian? Just so I understand the situation.

        I understand what you're saying, but I have to say that it is always in everyone's best interest for each of us to do what we know in our hearts is the right thing to do. You are not responsible for this person, and if you believe in a loving God/Creator/Divine Force, then you should know that this person is God's responsibility, not yours, and you will be doing everyone a great service by letting the Divine care for this person instead of letting them play on your sympathies, which only keeps them stuck in their old, painful patterns. For me, this isn't tough love, it is true love.

        But if it feels okay to you to give this person moral and financial support while they live under your roof and steal from you, then I guess that's what's right for you, and that's okay too. I wouldn't choose that, but I'm not you. I wish you the best in all of this.
      • Re: dealing with a thief and compulsive liar

        Mon, November 26, 2007 - 9:05 PM
        mmmstar, now I am caught up on thi sthread.
        I hav ebeen suibstituting in middle schools lately adn havign mor eexperience with a group of very changeable kids. I never thought I woudl be back to sub especially in a middle school, but I am.

        This age group and high school also hasmany lessons to learn. they push buttons of adults in very 'devious' ways.

        You are very sensitive, loving and so your buttons will be challenged.

        I would suggest putting away many things in response to the fact that generally possessions are beign stolen. Kids sometimes really bereak boundaries of ownership. I also suggest makign sure your chil dhas his/her own things and space.
        When lies and 'not-me's" happen.. be calm.. and state you are sorry to hear tyhat X has broken boundaries again. Then soem consequence... less allowance, no dessert, less useof car..... whatever the consequence is.. it may be hard to enforce.

        Letting it go on with no consequenc eor change in tactics will only let it go on.



  • Re: dealing with a thief and compulsive liar

    Sun, November 25, 2007 - 8:33 AM
    yea not enough info as tot he relationship, i'e is this a child, roomate, friend, although in the end even that really matters little... accountability for ones actions is universal law...
    and, it occurs to me that, again depending on the situation, you might be able to turn it on it's ear by shifting the way you hold and react to these actions... it would be a pretty radical aproach, but... before i even present the idea, is that what youre looking for? a totally different way of being with the situation? because here's the thing; bounderies abviously are healthy and indicated, AND i have learned that to expect another to change is a set-up emotionally to be dissapointed... someone once told me that expectation is premeditated resentment... so if we accept that as so, the only one you can really change is you...
    and i'm reminded that our biggest challenges can also be our biggest teachers... IF we are big enough to be able to hold it that way...
    anyway, i have an idea, but again, not real clear on what youre looking for...
    • Unsu...

      Re: dealing with a thief and compulsive liar

      Sun, November 25, 2007 - 8:51 AM
      sorry i did not provide 'specific' info.
      i did not want to say it's a young adult family member. i was hoping to be discrete in posting
      specifics for the respect of this person and for my own as this is all spidered by google, unlike
      a private blog.

      i guess this is not a subject one can approach from a generalization.
      no, i can't show them the door and that has already been talked about and established.

      thanks for all your replies.
      • Re: dealing with a thief and compulsive liar

        Sun, November 25, 2007 - 10:33 AM
        While I understand wanting to be respectful of others feelings and privacy ... if your privacy had not been disrespected, we wouldn't be having this discussion. If your privacy weren't on display for all who live with you and choose to steal your stuff we wouldn't be having this discussion. Besides ... we aren't talking about them. We are talking about you, your feelings, what actions you should or shouldn't take, etc. Yes, we don't have all the information we need ... not that you want to or have to give it to us ... but I still say if you can't show them the door, you can show them a police officer.
    • Unsu...

      Re: dealing with a thief and compulsive liar

      Sun, November 25, 2007 - 9:00 AM
      > is that what youre looking for? a totally different way of being with the situation?

      yes. i have exhausted all other ways. i've tried many over the yrs.

      >someone once told me that expectation is premeditated resentment

      yes, BUT in a household ther are rules. (these rules can be called healhy boundries)
      and they are exptected for all to respect. i don't think an expectation in this case is a 'bad' thing.
      it is necessary for a healthy home environment. this is something we all have agreed on.
      i'm not asking this person to change, i'm asking them to respect the home and occupants of it.

      > our biggest challenge is our biggest teacher.
      yes. i think this person needs to start learning other then how to manipulate and shift the blame.
      this is not my repsonsibility to take on. i'm not the one stealing and lying. i just dont' know how to motivate,
      or tell this person what they need to learn. i've ran out of ways of pointing it out as a friend, parent, teacher, observer...???
      what else is there?

      • Re: dealing with a thief and compulsive liar

        Tue, January 22, 2008 - 6:53 AM
        this is not my repsonsibility to take on. i'm not the one stealing and lying. i just dont' know how to motivate,
        or tell this person what they need to learn. i've ran out of ways of pointing it out as a friend, parent, teacher, observer...???

        Note that it becomes your responsibility to deal with when your stuff is gone. When you are the adult. Expectation isn't a bad thing. Expecting someone to change.....well, that's unlikely without a whole lotta other influences :-)
        • Re: dealing with a thief and compulsive liar

          Wed, January 23, 2008 - 6:21 PM
          You say this is not your responsibilty to take on. That is great on one level - you have no control over another and their behaviors, and on another the other hand you do have the responsibilty for your own life and what you will or will not accept into it. If it is a child, then you may need to outside help if your efforts have not been fruitful and you feel stuck. Otherwise, you must do, say as you feel appropriate at the time and do what you can to get this situation or person who is draining you energy, money? and things from your life.

          I have known closely someone who is a compulsive liar - and good one at that. Since going through an intense situation, I actually believe they may be a sociopath. I had to kick this person out and over time realized the only way to alleviate this person's continual drain on my lifes' energy was to discontinue all communication. This person stilll contacts me and attempts to get back into my better graces - delete.

          Good luck, and know that you are not alone in dealing with someone like this. The question you have to ask yourself is how much longer am I going to? You may feel like you hve few choices to cut this person off, and I don't know the whole story, but remember that you ALWAYS have choices when it comes to what YOU can do and do about things - for yourself and sanity. Hope that helps a bit.
          • Re: dealing with a thief and compulsive liar

            Thu, January 24, 2008 - 7:51 AM
            Please look back.. th eoriginal poster has now unsubscribed.

            She was a friend. I listened to this problem and others for a couple years. I am sorry she was not finding from us the solutions and support which she sought.

            If you have a teen with a collections of symptoms like this please consider the Handle Institute. Their free workshops may help you and your child.
  • Re: dealing with a thief and compulsive liar

    Tue, January 22, 2008 - 6:26 AM
    The only way to deal with the compulsive thief/liar is to stop enabling them to carry out the behavior.

    Don't need to give up on the person to stand up for yourself.

    You know the truth. Respect it within yourself. Changing the person sure as hell isn't going to do it.
    That's got to come from them.

    Best's a long road:-)

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