All Lies

Drama Files Title TileEdward  and  Natalie met through a mutual friend while attending a graduation celebration. They dated for two years and have been married for 13 years. During that time they traveled and built a wonderful life together, so it seemed.

Edward works as an executive for a major company and Natalie is a dentist in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Together they worked very hard to  save their finances for their agreed-upon future endeavors.

woman disgusted at monthly statement on white background
Beginning of lies: Edward secreted $10,000 from the family’s bank account, but where he spent the money caused even more alarm.

One day as Natalie reviewed the transactions in one of their accounts she noted expenditures that were not clearly justified. She decided that before calling Edward, she would go to the bank herself.  The banker told her $10,000 had been withdrawn from their joint account. When he showed her a printout of the debit card usage she thought there had to be an error. The card number belonged to Edward, but they could not determine where the money had gone.  

That evening Natalie waited up  for Edward to come home, but decided to go to bed when he didn’t show.  When he tried to leave the house early the next morning, Natalie was already awake. She asked him what he had been doing and what happened to the $10,000 from the joint bank account. Edward, furious with her for questioning him, walked out slamming the door.

After a few days of avoiding Natalie, Edward told  her that he had been gambling for a long time and was taking  money out of the account over the  months, just a  little at time. She trusted his version of events and told him that she would go to counseling with him to work through his problem. Although he was very reluctant to attend he agreed.

Unfortunately, the storm lurked just ahead, threatening to sink and destroy their entire relationship because Edward was still lying regarding his true addiction.  After three months in counseling and all appeared to be mending between Edward and Natalie the real truth came to light.

Open Up, In the Name of the Law

One afternoon a probation officer came to meet with Edward for his monthly visit. Usually, Edward visited his probation officer in his office in downtown Detroit. On this day, however, the PO visited and Natalie happened to have take the day off from work. 

It turned out that Edward was serving three years probation for soliciting an undercover female police officer for sex. He had been going to strip clubs and soliciting prostitutes for five years and in addition to probation, he had to pay fines and lawyer fees.

While she was meeting with the probation officer Edward walked in on their meeting and was stunned. He finally admitted that he had an addiction to pornography for more than twenty years, managed to stop after they were married, but went off the rails at his new job. His colleagues there routinely patronized strip clubs during lunch and after work.

At first, Edward said, no one missed a few dollars from the account, but one day he noticed that almost all the money was gone. He got comfortable in his lies when no one detected that the money was gone, and Natalie didn’t know. He convinced himself that there would be no consequences.  His lies covered his whereabouts when she tried to reach him at his office or on his cell phone. Edward convinced himself that as a habitual liar, he was pretty good.

Help For the Habitual Liar

Edward and Natalie attend counseling with Arthur and me to work through and understand the consequences of his lies. Compulsive  lying disorder affects the sufferer and those that care about them tremendously. She has forgiven her husband and he has worked diligently to repay the money to their account. He also attends sex addiction therapy, meets regularly with his probation officer and attends church services with Natalie.

Treatment options for this disorder can only be effective if the person with the compulsive lying disorder agrees to treatment. In most cases, friends and family have to learn to adapt in order to maintain the relationship. Therapy addresses the addictive aspect of the disorder and helps the individual understand his or her behavior and how it impacts others. Later, we introduce measures to help change the way of thinking. Some psychiatrists prescribe antidepressants to treat underlying depression and self-esteem. Further, they may prescribe anti-anxiety medications to decrease the feelings of anxiety that may unconsciously prompt the individual to lie.

Hiding and Lying versus Openness and Honesty

A lie that one has told over and over can become one’s  reality, at least in that person’s mind.  We know our clients who have habitual lying disorder carry a heavy burden on a daily basis. They accrue very damaging and long-range effects too. One lie turns into many lies and the well gets deeper and deeper until there is no way out.  When Edward hid from his inner demons, he trapped himself, a factor that reminds us all to meet issues head on rather than running and hiding. Throughout the recovery period, individuals with habitual lying disorder need help setting boundaries and maintaining them. Every part of recovery must be based on not reliving the past but learning from the past. 

One must stop looking  for the happiness in lust and through a sinful nature and find inner peace in Christ and within yourself. During the treatment process Edward  re-dedicated  his life to God, his wife and to himself.

We changed the names to protect the innocent.

Wanting Out Of Your Marriage?

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There May Be Steps You Can Still Take


Marvin and Tina Essex first came to us for counseling in 2012. They have four children and live in a rural area of Michigan. He is employed at a local furniture store and she is a social worker for the State of Michigan. They have been married 17 years. The couple came to counseling because they had stopped being intimate with one another and started sleeping in separate bedrooms two years ago before that because Tina felt her husband was being unfaithful.

She had become distant and wanted out of her marriage. Marvin suggested counseling and mediation to assist them in trying to reconcile their marriage. He had never been unfaithful, Marvin insisted. He thought Tina was just looking for a way out of their marriage.

Tina, however, said Marvin used pornography as a means of stimulation, that she found his magazines and caught him on the computer on several pornography sites. This has added to her mistrust and anger towards him. She constantly revisits the lack of trust in their relationship and her husband admitted that he has lied and had  been using pornography, but never has been with another woman.

There was an all too common backstory to the very real and very now problems facing this couple. What Tina didn’t know is that Marvin was introduced to pornography by his uncle when he was only six years old and he was taught that a real man always did these kind of things. He didn’t know how to stop and he cried out for help many times but nothing ever changed. He broke down during the session and cried and said to his wife “ Tina you thought I was always unfaithful, but in a sad twisted way I was.”

Tina responded by holding him during the session and she asked why he didn’t tell her about the problem.“I was so ashamed and didn’t know how to stop or ask for help. I know I have been wrong, but please Tina stay with me and let’s work through this.”

Since the truth about his introduction into pornography by his uncle came out, the couple has reconciled and Marvin has moved back into their bedroom. Tina is more sensitive to his past and wants to be a support to him and apologizes for her mistrust regarding another female in Marvin’s life.

Today, the Essexes have decided to continue their counseling and Marvin has not visited any pornography sites, or purchased magazines in over a year. Tina is working on letting her guard down and once again learning how to enjoy the benefits of her marriage. Marvin is also taking a personal interest in what Tina needs and being a good father to their three children. Marvin continues to be grateful for the counseling offered to he and his wife and realizes the treasures he has in his family and how he almost lost them all.

cutting marriage certificateIt is important to understand when considering divorce that you exhaust every option available. Many couples have lost their interest in their ability to be loving and compassionate towards one another. However, it is never too late to continue trying!

When you want out, consider the last-moment understanding that helped the Essexes:

  1. When all else fails try forgiveness. Tina needed to forgive Marvin so she could receive her own breakthrough and find her own inner peace.
  2. Tina also needed to understand Marvin’s past in order to move out of the past into a brighter, happier future.
  3. Marvin kept an awful secret from his wife that was destroying him every day of his life. The first step is admitting that there is a problem, recognizing that you need help, then take a personal inventory of what is really important in your life and is it worth preserving.
  4. Never be afraid to ask for help or to take the necessary steps to resolve your situation for the proactive outcomes you deserve in your life.