15 y.o. daughter involved with pathological liar
Dear Dr. Bradley,
My daughter is a constant challenge! We managed to get her away from the 18 y.o. boy who was giving her marijuana and alcohol, and we thought things were improving. However, in the past week another 18 y.o. boy has become involved in her life. He doesn't use drugs, but he seems to lie almost constantly and is extremely manipulative. He has been emailing and texting my daughter with a constant barrage of flattering comments and telling her how much he cares about her and misses her when they are apart. She has completely fallen under his spell. The problem is that he has a reputation as a constant liar and someone who takes advantage of younger girls on a regular basis. I have read some of their chat logs, and it is so obvious to me that nearly everything he tells her is a lie, and yet she believes it all. Although they are not officially dating, this week he told all his friends that he and my daughter had sex at a party. When she heard this and confronted him, he became tearful and told her that it only happened because he was drunk, he apologized and promised to never drink again, all of which is more lies. Not only did she accept his apology, she apologized to him for doubting him! Several of his friends have tried to warn her that he is not sincere and that he treats his girlfriends badly, but she won't listen. SHe insists she has to make her own decisions and learn her own lessons and wants everyone to stay out of it. Is she right? I want so badly to intervene and tell her she can't see this jerk. It is painfully obvious that he will continue to lie to her and probably even cheat on her, and she does not seem to be able to see the truth. I want to do something to prevent this relationship from going any further, but I don't know if it's the right thing to do. PLease help!
I hate to tell you this but your daughter took the words right out of my mouth when she said that she needs to learn these things, as painful as that might be for you both. The gift here is that she can do this tough learning while she's still in your home with your support waiting right there for her when she falls. As you've seen, speaking out against a guy your daughter likes only turns him into Brad Pitt. Your best bet is to stay dispassionately involved, just asking her questions to help her to think this thing through and to learn critical lessons to help her make better choices in the future. It's great to say that you love her and worry about her, but avoid the criticisms so that she's able to come to you when she's hurting or confused.
Please keep us posted.
Dr. Mike Bradley