The art of deception

Laura has been sober for 4 and 1/2 years… I think. Honestly, how can I know for sure? She has mastered the ability to manipulate me over the years.

When Laura was in middle School she came home one day with an elaborate tale about police coming to the school and questioning her and some of the other kids about some possible gang activity. Her recall of the incident was quite detailed and her delivery was flawless. I had no reason to question the validity of her story. The more I thought about it though, the more upset I was that I was not notified by the school. I called the school and asked them about it and was told that it was true that some children at the school were questioned but their parents were called first. Laura was not among the children who spoke with police. When I asked her why she would come home and tell me something like that she said “because my life is boring”. I’ve always been a fairly honest person and lying to someone for no real reason just doesn’t make sense to me. That day will always remain in my memory as the day I realized what a good liar Laura is.

Over the years there have been more lies then I could even remember! Often times her lies are just to get attention. I have seen evidence of her multiple alias names in various online activities. She’s made up complete personas in chat rooms and social media. When she was a teenager, I found her online speaking with grown men while telling them that she was 25. I found out that she had told stories at school about being homeless, pregnant, abused by a boyfriend, abused by her parents, etc. While I realize that much of her dishonesty can be attributed to drug use, I wonder how much of it is just her personality.

When I question Laura about things going on in her life she often tells me she doesn’t want to talk about it. If I push the issue she will get angry. It leaves me wondering why. It feels like she has something to hide. I’m so tired of hearing “Can we just talk about it later?” because later never comes and it all just leaves me speculating.

I realize that to some I may sound like just a nagging mother who is trying to stick her nose into her adult daughter’s business. Honestly, that is not what I’m doing. People who know me know that I am a very patient and non-judgmental mother. I just find it very difficult when Laura comes to me asking for help with things that she’s struggling with in life but never seems to want to give me the entire picture. Sometimes I think it’s because she doesn’t want to let me down. She wants me to think that she’s doing great and doesn’t want to share anything with me that she knows I might disapprove of. She’s a 24 year old woman. I know she’s going to live her life her own way and I don’t expect perfection from her. Other times I think maybe I’m just being manipulated. She’s gotten so good at making me question myself and my own instincts. Is my distrust just because it’s impossible to completely trust again after everything we went through with her addiction? Maybe my distrust today is because my gut knows better than my brain. I’ve had years of experience with her lies. Should I listen to my instincts?Now I don’t know if I can trust myself to be able to know the truth from the deception.

I so badly want to tell Laura how I feel but then I’m afraid that I’m wrong and that I will hurt her feelings or offend her by bringing up her past behavior. They say that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, but we’re supposed to be past all that since she went through rehab. Right? I can’t help but wonder how much of the old Laura it’s still inside of her.

It seems to me that if someone has nothing to hide, they should be able to be open in communicating with the people close to them. Maybe I’m just projecting my own personality onto others. I can’t expect everyone else to think and act the way I do. Maybe Laura’s doing nothing wrong at all and I’m just letting fear run away with me. I’m just so afraid of ever going back in time to that point of active addiction! That time is a hell that I don’t wish on any parent. All I know to do is just pray for God to help Laura remain sober and to help me relax and learn to trust my daughter again.

One comment

  1. Update… I decided to have the uncomfortable discussion with Laura about my doubts/fears. She had her feelings hurt. She says I should have more faith in her sobriety. I still believe she’s being dishonest with me about some areas of her life (mainly relationships and finances) but, as of now, she has me convinced that she IS sober. I pray she remains that way!!

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