When is it OK to lie?

blsdgalJanuary 24, 2006

DDs apartment was burglarized yesterday while she was at work. Thank heaven she was not home and did not come home when the intruder/intruders were there.

Among the missing items is her great-grandmothers wedding ring. My dd was named after her, so my MIL gave her this ring on Christmas day for her 25th birthday.

My MIL is 83, has lost several good friends this past year, and has had a hard year. Honestly, this would really make her distraught to know that her beloved mother's wedding ring is now in the hands of some thief (who also took a rosary that was a family heirloom).

DH wants to tell his mother the truth. I think she would be better off not knowing. DD lives in another city, so it's not like mom would ever really know.

Am I wrong in wanting to keep this from her?

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Hmmm...I think I too would keep mum, so to speak. I don't see it as lying, which I would NOT do, but why does this need to be mentioned? It was a gift to your dd and no longer belongs to your MIL so its loss is your daughter's, not your MIL's. If you choose not to share that your dd's apartment was burglarized, I don't see that as committing any sin and I actually believe, as you do, that this is information that would do nothing to help and much to hurt.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2006 at 4:06PM
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There's no need to say anything at all, and I would not. It's not a good thing to run to share bad news. You wouldn't be lying -- and what good could come from her hearing this news?

    Bookmark   January 24, 2006 at 5:17PM
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Ditto to the above, but let your DH ultimately decide since it's his mom. Then you can say "I told you so!"

    Bookmark   January 24, 2006 at 5:43PM
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I would not say anything, either. As my Mother got older, I found myself keeping more and more things from her all the time. Either something was too hard to explain, or she would start obsessing about it. If something like this happened to us, Mother would have spent the rest of her life obsessing about DD being away from home, living in a bad neighborhood, never should trust a child with soemthing like that, on and on and on. Seriously, that's when I started keeping things from Mother, because it did not do anything to help her life, day to day. She never knew we had a lawsuit with our contractor, or a thousand other little things, some of which involved her, some not.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2006 at 6:21PM
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Great advice. I enjoyed reading your opinions. Like Fairegolds mom--MIL obsesses to the point that she loses sleep. Much worse as she has gotten older.

Unfortunately, dh brought mom over last night for dinner and told her when he picked her up about the burglary.

So, it's just a matter of time before she ask me if the ring is OK.

So, I guess I really will be in the position where I may be lying to her. But, I still think she is better off not knowing.

DD called this evening and now realizes that her eighth grade graduation ring is missing as well--an inexpensive small sapphire ring with lots of sentimental value. Her laptop is gone which has the draft of her just completed law school application/essay.

Also, my engagement ring from my first fiance (wedding did not happen). Good riddance.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2006 at 7:12PM
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I don't see what was to be accomplished by telling her. Did your dh say why he insisted on telling her something that will only serve to upset her and she has no role in or control of. If she asks about the ring I would lie to her but if you do, make sure your dh is on the same page.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2006 at 7:42PM
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How sad to lose these.

Why would DH tell her anything about the robbery, he needs a good dope smack. If she doesn't ask, don't tell her. As I've always told my kids (and the people who work for me), don't answer any questions that haven't been asked.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2006 at 8:04PM
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Watch out, because that obsessive behavior just intensifies as the person gets older. Seems like traits just get greatly exaggerated, somehow. Time turned my frugal mother into someone who obsessed about every penny, staying up late at night adding the same same column of numbers a hundred times. Finally when she was 93, I took the checkbook away from her, and in another two years I refused to discuss finances with her.... she lived within her income and had a little extra, and had nothing to worry about.

But whatever behavior you see now will just continue to intensify.

But back to your DH. Momj47 expressed my thoughts very well! Have a talk with DH now. Get on the same page. As the years go on, you'll need to be on the same page mroe than ever.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2006 at 8:55PM
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My mom passed just a year ago this week. Her ex (my step-brothers' dad) is still alive but he's in his mid 80s and suffers a bit from dementia. He's also quite depressed because all his friends are gone.

When mom passed my brothers decided not to tell him. They still haven't. When he asks about her they just say she's ok, nothing new (that's true -- we like to joke that she's on a hillside with a view of Nordstrom's).

I totally agree with them. Yes, I guess it's a lie technically but sometimes it's just easier not to get into it all and avoid hurting someone at a time when they are most vulnerable.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2006 at 8:30AM
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I had a friend that had her custom made engagement ring stolen. She had a picture of it and faxed it or dropped it off at every pawn shop within a 100 mile radius offering a substantial reward for its return. She actually got a call from one of the pawn shops and got her ring back.

If you have a picture it might be worth trying. We've been robbed before and I don't think the police really even bother looking. And no, I wouldn't tell the MIL--there's nothing to be gained except her pain.


    Bookmark   January 25, 2006 at 9:30AM
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You also should discuss with your DD getting an alarm system in her apartment. The system I have costs about $35 a month and is well worth it.

Also, you should call the computer company with the serial number of the stolen computer to let them know that it has been stolen. And there is a stolen computer registry on the internet (stolencomputer.org).

    Bookmark   January 25, 2006 at 9:49AM
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Knowing how anxious my mother gets after having three strokes, I wouldn't volunteer a single iota. Since it's out about the robbery, I would probably say something like, "I'm so glad all they were after was the lap top." If she asks about the jewelry, I would fudge that one. I would. My mother would be going bonkers about the lap top...and she hates computers. She'd go on an on about an alarm system. I can only imagine how she would react if jewelry was missing. She'd need a hand full of pills for sure.

To answer your question: In Joshua Chapter 2, Rahab, a prostitute, lied to the King of Jericho about some spies she had hidden in her home. She lied to save their lives, then in return, when her city was attacked, the spies spared her life and all of those in her family.

So, yes, sometimes lies or omissions are justifiable, I fearfully tread.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2006 at 11:27PM
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Telling an aging grandmother that her mother's wedding ring, recently given with love to a granddaughter, was now stolen would not be truthful, it would be cruel.

Would you go out of your way to tell her she looks a tad wrinkly? That you don't care to hear her stories again? Would you ring her up to say you were tired of the knick knacks she passed along so you finally packed them up for goodwill? Hope not! Kindness is more about looking for occasions to share good thoughts and good experiences.

Imagine how all would feel later if the ring was recovered but grandmother was no longer around for the update.

I've had stolen things returned, and I know others who have as well. Some things can be stolen but never returned -- like peace of mind, trust, a loving heart. Sometimes love isn't simple. I'd talk with her about other things and celebrate what you still have.

I adored my husband's grandmother, now gone, and I can't imagine offering her unnecessary information that might break her heart.

Maybe you can share this thread with your DH & family.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2006 at 8:09PM
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Not telling is different from lying. If you MIL asks directly about the ring or rosary, then you have to make the decision to lie. But not bringing up a topic that you know your MIL will find extremely distressing is a kindness. Even if she brings it up, IÂd simply say how much it means to you daughter that your MIL passed these heirlooms on to her and gently change the subject. While my mother fought her long battle with terminal cancer, there were a few things that I never told her. Although it would have made me feel better to have everything out in the open, it would have made her unhappy. Your husband doubtless feels that heÂs outright lying to his mother by not telling her about the theft. Honestly, she may find the fact that her granddaughterÂs home was burglarized extremely distressing. If sheÂs obsessing, information like that might actually harm her.

Also, point out to your DH that his mother certainly didnÂt tell him awful things that he didnÂt have to know when he was a child. Now that the roles have reversed, he has an obligation to protect his mother just as she once protected him.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 9:38AM
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Just a little update since I noticed this thread had further postings.

MIL did (unfortunately) ask me straight out, if the ring was taken--and although it was really hard for me to lie to her face, I did just that. I told her that the ring was hidden well and the thieves did not find it.

DDs landlord put some type of device on the back door (the one busted in) which makes it harder to break into. She has bars on the lower windows, so they are pretty secure.

I would love to see her get an alarm system, but this is a rental apartment. Does anyone know of something that would work that is not hard wired?

She still has not gotten renters insurance. She is a responsible money making adult now--and I am not going to lead her by the nose on this one. I just told her, don't come crying to me if you are burglarized again and do not have renters insurance.

Thanks for all of the great words of wisdom!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2006 at 3:56PM
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