OCD and Honesty

by kittisak freedigitalphotos.net

This post first appeared on my blog in July 2013…

As a child, my son Dan never lied to me. Okay, I guess I can’t be 100% sure about that, but he was usually an upfront, truthful boy. Teachers and relatives would comment on his honesty as well, saying things like, “If we want to know what really happened, we ask Dan.”

Enter OCD. Now he’s telling us he didn’t realize there were fingerprints all over the walls, or he was too tired to go here or there, or he just wasn’t hungry. All lies (which worked) to cover up his obsessive-compulsive disorder. Even after he was diagnosed and I’d ask how he was doing, the answer was always “fine,” despite the fact that he was obviously so not fine. He lied about his feelings and about taking his meds. My hunch is he lied to the first few doctors he saw, or at the very least, wasn’t completely honest with them regarding his symptoms.

OCD can turn those with the disorder into liars. Whether it’s the fear of being found out, the fear of what others will think, or a host of other reasons, those with OCD often do whatever they can to cover their tracks. They become sneaky, courtesy of  OCD.

What I find ironic is that many of these same people deal with honesty issues as part of their disorder. For example, some with OCD are so afraid of lying they might have to review their entire day in their minds to make sure everything they said was true. Others might even confess to “bad things” they never did, but how do they know for sure they didn’t do them, so the right thing to do is to own up to the wrongdoing. Concerns that revolve around hyper-responsibility often involve being honest and doing the right thing to keep loved ones, or maybe even the whole world, safe. And of course, scrupulosity is all about upstanding moral behavior, which involves telling the truth.

So once again we see the disconnect between what those with OCD strive for and what OCD delivers. People with OCD who value truth and honesty become deceitful. This is just one example of how those with OCD struggle to be certain all is well, but then this insidious disorder goes ahead and makes sure the opposite happens – lives are destroyed.

It is true that OCD can steal what is most important to us all, but only if we let it. Please don’t let it. If you have obsessive-compulsive disorder, you can fight back with ERP Therapy and regain control of your life. Honestly.

 

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6 Responses to OCD and Honesty

  1. nspalmquist says:

    I remember writing in a journal about how OCD made my child lie. It was a terrible moment. I was so angry at it all. Fortunately we have gotten beyond that (she is grown and married!). We can discuss it all more honestly, but it has taken therapy, maturing (for all of us) and time.

  2. Lorre Mendelson says:

    I don’t think we become liars. There are many reasons, as you indicated we may not be forthcoming. I have scrupulosity and to combat this try not to be “scrupulously honest”, a very difficult task. Just saying’ best, Lorre

    • Thanks for sharing, Lorre, and you bring up a good point. Some “therapy” for those with OCD might include not being so honest. OCD is such a complex disorder – there are so many aspects that need to be taken in to consideration – thanks again for your insight.

  3. E says:

    I generally use humor alongside honesty about my rituals or needs unless with total strangers in which case I’ve learned how to manage without having to lie but can understand why people might feel they have to make excuses.

    • Thanks for sharing, E, and I agree, a good sense of humor is helpful when you have OCD. And I understand the need for excuses as well and don’t fault anyone for it. Just one of the ways OCD interferes with our lives!

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