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To suspect my colleague is lying about cancer

(136 Posts)
Houseofmirth66 Sat 09-Jan-16 23:45:23

My colleague, who is lovely in most respects, has a history of fibbing. She does it a lot and as we've worked together for a number of years I've noted many occasions when a story she tells about her family, a relationship or a holiday clearly turns out to be untrue. I really don't want to think she'd make up something like this but the contradictions in what she says with regard to her treatment and its side effects are becoming increasingly extreme - bordering on outlandish - and I'm wondering if it is a lie that's become so difficult to pull back from that she actually wants to be caught out. Not sure whether I'm being unreasonable in thinking that she could be lying. Or what, if anything, I would do if she were.

Clobbered Sat 09-Jan-16 23:47:57

Well she has form for lying, apparently, so no YANBU for thinking it, but don't say anything IRL for goodness sake!
The truth will out...

Leeds2 Sat 09-Jan-16 23:50:50

Is she having time off work for treatment?

TheCrimsonPleb Sat 09-Jan-16 23:52:29

My question is ... How does her behaviour impact on you? Are her 'fibs' having a negative impact on your life to the point that you are being harmed. If so then maybe you tackle it. If not then just smile and nod and get on with your life. No hope that doesn't sound short or rude.

TheCrimsonPleb Sat 09-Jan-16 23:53:14

I hope not No hope.

GreatFuckability Sat 09-Jan-16 23:56:48

i agree with crimson if its not impacting your life, i'd stay out of it.

patterkiller Sat 09-Jan-16 23:58:56

In my very shelterd existence I have come across two very odd but outwardly convincing Cancer fibbers. And one fake death. Work colleague and distsnt relative. The truth always outs but I wouldn't be the one to do the outing.

bumbleymummy Sat 09-Jan-16 23:59:37

Well YANBU to suspect that she's lying given her history but I agree with others - it's not something you can call her on (without looking like a horrible person).

rosewithoutthorns Sat 09-Jan-16 23:59:49

You said yourself that she's lovely apart from the lying.

You don't know what her home life is like or why she feels the need to lie.

Just go along with it but if it gets too much, change the subject.

CakeNinja Sun 10-Jan-16 00:05:48

Good god, you hear about people stooping so low to do this for all sorts of reasons, I like to think they are very few and far between.

I really hope this isn't the case for your colleague (although the alternative is that I hope she does have cancer which is also a pretty terrible thought), just keep out of it as much as possible. Although she has a track record of lying which doesn't sound great.

Hard to say, impossible really, we don't know her, but hunches are often right (and yours may be wrong, we really can't tell!).

redexpat Sun 10-Jan-16 00:22:22

I think just make sympathetic non commital noises. Hmm, yes. Dont ask questions.

trashcanjunkie Sun 10-Jan-16 00:27:29

Oh god please be careful. I have had cancer (six years ago, and I'm fine now) but it cervical cancer caught at a very early stage. There was a lot of discussion with my doctors about treatment plans, and after a couple of loop excisions I had a hysterectomy, but left behind ovaries. No other treatment was necessary.

After my surgery I stayed with a lovely friend for a week to recover, and I later found out her husband had had to defend me when someone sidled up to him at a kids footie match to tell him I was lying about having cancer (the someone was a sort of friend of my dad, who I'd recently gone nc with - whole other story)

My friends husband put him straight there and then, but on the off chance you've got it wrong, the consequences could be awful for your friend. Hopefully, if she is fibbing, she'll 'recover' - just don't start funding any experimental treatment grin

Foslady Sun 10-Jan-16 00:27:42

I had a colleague who did this, they'll trip themselves up - she did spectacularly

IWasHereBeforeTheHack Sun 10-Jan-16 00:30:13

I knew a compulsive liar. It was a form of attention seeking. The person concerned gave a very good impression of being full of confidence, and was a bit of a drama queen (excellent acting skills), but clearly wasn't as confident as she was trying to appear. Could there be an issue like this with your colleague?

If you are really convinced she's lying, then just nod and smile, make sympathetic noises and don't engage any more than you need to.

If she really is suffering from cancer then I'm sure you will be supportive.

Houseofmirth66 Sun 10-Jan-16 00:30:59

I definitely wasn't thinking of challenging her about it as it certainly isn't my place. She isn't trying to raise money or even to particularly call on the sympathy of other colleagues. She does have some time off for treatments but is very diligent about making sure all her work is completed. The thing is, I was wondering if she is looking for me to help her get out of this situation in some way. It's hard to explain but she told me a couple of weeks ago that her treatment meant she was now 100% infertile. We talked about it at length. This week she told me that her and her partner were excited to be trying for a baby. I feel as if she is hoping I'll say something so she can come clean. Obviously I could be completely misreading the situation. Or, the worst option, she does have cancer.

trashcanjunkie Sun 10-Jan-16 01:00:31

I'm intrigued - what type of cancer has she said, and what are the treatments and contradictions? (apart from that big one right there)

trashcanjunkie Sun 10-Jan-16 01:01:38

And is English her first language? Could she have made a balls up with the understanding of infertile/100% bit.....

KoalaDownUnder Sun 10-Jan-16 01:06:13


I have a close friend who did this, years ago. I am 100% sure that she never had cancer (as she has since let the cat out of the bag, when she got caught in her own lies). Yet she told me several long, involved (but bizarrely contradictory) stories about her cancer treatment, when dhr Wass supposedly going through it.

To this day, I don't know what to make of it. Part of me thinks it was just a sick kind of attention-seeking, which makes me angry, and the other part thinks she must have some serious mental health issues. And then I feel sorry for her.

It's tainted our friendship, either way. sad

trashcanjunkie Sun 10-Jan-16 01:14:26

Is there such a thing as munchausens syndrome without the proxy? How very bloody odd.

Fabellini Sun 10-Jan-16 01:20:43

Grasping at straws here, but could she have meant they were going to try ivf or something?

KoalaDownUnder Sun 10-Jan-16 01:24:08

Yes, trashcan, I believe there is. I tend to think this is what my friend suffers from.

knobblyknee Sun 10-Jan-16 01:26:09

My mother appears to be totally sane until you find out she writes poison letters and lies about the strangest things. Such as volunteering to defuse a bomb that was sent to her office. And you realise she is batshit crazy.

Make a large distance between you until you have proof she is telling the truth.

GarlicBake Sun 10-Jan-16 01:28:14

I've known two people with fake cancer. One of them definitely has a personality disorder, the psychiatric kind, and I don't need to be a professional to 'diagnose' it. The other's just ... weird. Very fragile and special, ykwim.

Were you not tempted to convey your deep concern at how she was hoping to ttc, with her tragic infertility and all? I know there'd be some half-logical reply, but I don't think I could've resisted the temptation!

Mmmmcake123 Sun 10-Jan-16 01:29:31

I know of one friend who was absolutely convinced her dp's sister was making it up (complicated as dps mum was being treated at the time so it was seen as attention seeking); it turned out to be true so following hunches and experience of lying doesn't really sit well with me.

Another family member told me she had been told she couldn't have children and then a year later told me she was pregnant. I think she had been told the likelihood of getting pregnant was low. I didn't pull her up on this, who would?

When people are faced with something like this they don't always provide the details which leads to confusion for others, but why should they? If it was me I wouldn't want to be chatting about it, so I would probably be vague and sketchy also.

MiscellaneousAssortment Sun 10-Jan-16 01:30:59

I think she probably is ill if she making up a cancer story, just a different kind of illness.

I'd not give it much attention to see if she quietens down about it if she's not getting what she wants out of it. And/or back away if it's getting too much for you.

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