Brain Injury and Lying: Has anyone else come across... - Headway

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Brain Injury and Lying


Has anyone else come across this.

My daughter had - still has a brain tumour but it stopped growing.

I know she is a different person to the young girl she was prior to this.

She now has many problems but the one I struggle with is her lying.

This isn't all the time but it's still a concern.

15 Replies

Hi Headchild, I don't have a brain tumour but have communication problems and wonder if what she is saying is coming out differently to how she wants it to. Just a thought.K

headchild in reply to aqua4

Hello and thanks for that. Yes she does have some communication problems but I don't think it is all down to those. She just seems to 'make things up' sometimes about others.


Hi Headchild

It would be interesting to know how old your daughter is as some children go through stages of lying. Also a child lying can be a way of getting attention, it can be connected to jealousy - esp of other siblings.

I haven't personally come across anyone who has begun lying since BI, but I have come across children/adults with Asperger's syndrome who lie. They appear to have difficulty differentiating between truth and fantasy.

I knew a teenager who admitted when she 'imagines' things, as in thinks of possible scenarios, she then finds it difficult to tell what actually happened from what she 'imagined' could happen. Lying is also common among elderly dementia sufferers, which does suggest a brain based problem.

My advice would be to try and understand what your daughter lies about, look for a pattern, which then may help you discuss it with her as to the reason. Lying is a protective measure usually, so if the person lying is challenged they may become very angry - which you may have already discovered!

Good luck


Yes, Headchild, Hedgehog/all: I have said 'yes' and 'no' to people when asked a simple question but they weren't the right answers or what I wanted to answer or the truth. Not a choice, sometimes I'm not concentrating, sometimes to say no is too tiring because must then try explain why not and I'm often too exhausted/scrambled to do that so (I think, still trying to learn about me/this) 'yes' slips out without me thinking or noticing (sieve for thinking before I speak and reason not present this moment on this day, varies: scary) and may realise later or might not and then too late to fixe even if do realise. Truly AWFUL, for me and for others.

And once a person came to my door, we talked (I was standing and hurting/getting tired talking) and I blurted out something (this time actually quite clever/funny) in response to something she'd said/done and I had no inkling before it came out of my mouth that it would, no thought at all and NO idea where it came from and SO fast. OK when it's that but so awful if I say something bad without thinking or something not true (whole truth too complicated, me tired, so somehow it gets condensed into something not whole truth, the facts = which I know occasionally I do, NOT by choice.

I find this SO scary in myself, NO intention and after 9 years still don't really understand, though trying to. I do know how tired I am makes a BIG difference and my understanding, thinking and speaking are all affected - but to anyone talking to me that is 'invisible' = they wouldn't see or know this. I can NEVER really say exactly what I want, HATE it, knackering and so unpredictable.

When my son was young (about 7 or 8? Long before my ABI) he had a friend who told 'lies' but it was that this kid's imagination was mixed up with his reality and often he WANTED the things he imagined and (I think) he was trying them out by saying them to see how it felt, what if that was the reality, what if what he'd dreamed, imagined or thought of WAS true? That was my take on it anyway, others slammed him as a big liar and wrote him off, I found him creative, delightful and a refreshing different take on the world.

Hello. Another lady, next door to where I used to live, had a bad fall off her horse. She is now in a wheelchair, and her TBI is very serious. When I saw her back in September she did recognize me, and she started telling me all about the horses she had.

I know it was utter nonsense, as she had never been in that league, and her husband told me she makes up the stories all the time.

Shame, I won't call it 'lying' as she has suffered too much, but what she tells, is far from the truth!

Hi Headchild,

I grew up with my brother who has been brain damaged since birth due to lack of oxygen to his brain, I never noticed him telling little lies when we was younger but I got older and I think part of me noticing is due to my own bi and the fact that I get slightly annoyed more easily because I had tons of patience with my brother growing up,

My mum just I suppose humours him, but I sit there and sometimes have to walk out of the room before I say something and upset my brother and get my mum annoyed with me, he lies about things that have happened on the bus mainly, e.g. the amount of times the police have come on the bus when he is on them I think they must live on the buses or just follow my brother around, or other times he says he kicks people off the bus because people are being too noisy,

It's no help I know but I hope you find out why your daughter is lying, with my brother I think it's because he got a lot of attention growing up so hence the lack of lying but then with 5 younger sisters getting attention, well 4 really because I never got that much attention over the years, so hence the increased lying, and now he's moved out so the lying has doubled and I put it down to the fact that he doesn't get as much attention living in shared accommodation with 2 other lads with similar problems that he did when it was me and him which he was 8 and I was 6 by the time our next sister came along,

Take care,

Siobhan x

Hi headchild

Like hedgehog I am wondering how old your child is? All children will resort to lying in varying degrees and for some it is more major and problematic than others. Howerver the reasons they use lying is different depending on their age so that is why it would be helpful to know how old your daughter is now and also how old she was when her brain tumour was discovered. Plus what is going on in her life can have a bearing on her resorting to lying too. In particular, how much she understands and accepts about her tumour and it's prognosis because this could also be issues that she is struggling with and unable to express so resorting to negative attention through lying say for example because she feels she is bad inside is not unusual for a child. I am wondering whether she has had any play therapy if she is a younger child or counselling if she is a teenager to help her process and understand etc all she has been through and the changes it has caused to her and her abilities.

My son resorts to lying a lot but like you I find that hard to accept and comprehend why he has in many situations. However, I do have an awareness as to why - because it has developed in response to some very difficult life experiences. It is hard to accept and tolerate though when we are truthful and honest people and hope that our parenting influences will mean they have those good morals too.

Very best wishes to you and your daughter.

Hi Headchild,

Like others here I wonder how old you're child is because that could have a bearing on it.

The other thing may be that your child is missing the 'gosh' factor that, at the initial tumour diagnoses, comes from all directions but then, as time passes and things, although changed, don't get worse then the initial attention and sympathy from all around tends to disappear and this may be a way of trying to get that 'gosh' factor back.

It might also be worth talking it through with the neuro and ask about a neuropsychology assesment as this may highlight any reall issues.

I have a slow growing tumour that has shown no change on the scans over the last two years, however I've been having worsening speech issues and other physical and emotional problems which now means that they are concidering biopsy and radiotherapy to reduce the size of tumour and reduce seizures and speech issues.

Best wishes and truely hope thing begin to improve soon.


headchild in reply to sporan

Hi Sporan thank you for sharing your condition with us. My daughters B.T is from a condition called neurofibromatosis which are also slow growing tumours, but as I said hers stopped growing years ago and it's thought that it won't begin growth again. Even so she has yearly MRI scans because of the condition she has.

My daughter had a neuropsychology assessment a few years ago at my request, emotionally she is not a strong person and I have wondered if some of her lying is to gain some control of her life ( although it may sound an odd way ).

She like many others is a different person with a complex personality and physical disabilities all due to the tumour and the bleed it initially caused.

I wish you well with your treatment Sporan, please keep us informed how you go on x

Thank you all for your comments, you have given me a lot to think about.

My daughter was 17 when her brain tumour was diagnosed, it's inoperable but stopped growing so saved her life.

She will be 40 this year.

Oh dear I think we have all assumed your daughter is a child when actually she is now a 39 yr old adult which is a totally throws a totally different perspective on her lying. Is lying a problem she has recently started to resort too? Again it could have many different reasons and yes could definately be her way of wanting more independence with her life so keeps things secret and covers them with untruths etc. If you are concerned then maybe suggest to her to consider some counselling where she can speak and offload to someone freely who is neutral.

It's a problem I have noticed for several years, support agency have noticed it as well. It doesn't cause major problems generally and she doesn't do it all the time, but I suppose it's trying to understand why she has a need to do it

Hi Headchild,

Like strawberrycream I'd assumed your daughter was a youngster, although 40 these days is suposed to be young... ish.

As I said in my first reply despite there being no change on my MRI scans the neuro seems to think something IS changing because of the other changes I'm experiencing.

My tumour too is in the wrong place for surgery and they've been two and half years trying to decide to do a biopsy or not (poking sleeping tiger thing).

I'm glad you are still having annual scans but do you get an actual review from the neuro as well? If not it might pay to ask and maybe request a furthe neuro psyc assesment, as I say my changes have been slow over a two and half year period despit lack of visible changes in MRI scans.

Wishing you both well


Does she have memory issues? If so, she might be *guessing* what happened, as opposed to knowing what happened and meaning to lie about it.

since my brain injury 61/2 years ago as far as im aware ive never lied to my wife.

are you the worrying type? maybe shes lied to protect you.

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