Procrastinators Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from chronic procrastination.

New member - former(?) procrastinator turned chronic liar needs help (LONG)

Hi there,

here's my story. I'm 30, and currently still in college and living with my family. I spended 7 or 8 of the last 10 years in a weird state, basically paralyzed, wasting my days doing abolutely nothing and periodically lying about the state of my life, my studies, and my relationships to anybody who dared to ask. My academic life was struggling terribly: in 8 years I attended approximately 12 exams out of 26 I was supposed to pass (in 5 years, btw).
Last year in februray, I got a phone call from the university office. I discovered - with horror - that several of the exams I had completed were going to be canceled since I never sent in a paper I was supposed to send in at the beginning of each academic year telling which courses and which exams I was going to take during the year (gotta love burocracy).
I also discovered that, since I took so long, I was basically forced to change my "study course", going from our old national system (26 exams, 5 years) to the "new" (and improved?) european-style system, composed of 24 exams for a basic, 3 years, degree and another 12 exams for the "specialistic" degree.
I was destroyed. My delusions of being able to work my a** off and magically be able to fix things were shattered.
I really though several times about suicide and/or running away (even if I never did it seriously).

This triggered two different reactions in me: the first one is that I immediately broke free of the procrastination cycle and started to work as hard as I ever did. In the last 11 months, I took a lot of courses and attended (and passed) 13 exams, which is basically twice as much than the "standard" course load, while also often working part time. This was the positive side. The negative one was that I also started to lie a lot more, creating a ridicolous web of lies in which I was the poor victim of a system that just didn't work, and that I couldn't get the degree just because of burocratic/administrative issues, even If I already had all the exams done. I lied, lied some more and lied to cover my lies. I went as far as making up full time job while going to the uni just to get a break from my family. Things went from bad to ridicolous. I even tried to get therapy, but quit when I realized that I was lying to my therapist as well!!
But somehow, and against all odds, the web of lies held up.

I should complete my final 3 exams in april and have my degree wrapped in june (finger crossed).
But I've still got 2 huge issues I need to deal with right now: the first one is my lying. I keep on telling myself that once I'll close the distance between the person I've been pretending to be (my "ideal" self, or just my "acceptable" self) and the person I really am I'll be able to stop this circle. But the more I think about it, the more I'm not so sure about it. Because I just know I'll never be my "ideal self", and that there's something bigger, since I just cant stand telling people who I really am.
The second problem - the bigger one at the moment! - is that my web of lies is about to collapse: my father, sick of the situation, asked a highly influencial friend of his to pressure the university because "...he already passed all the exams and needs to get his degree, damn it!". Now I should be getting a phone call by the university about this issue shortly (oh lord).

I seriously don't know what to do. I tried to come clean with my family a couple of times but I just cant face them. Admitting that I've been lying for god know how many years is just too much, and I know it would just destroy them. Also, I'd feel like s**t having to admit being such a letdown, and I know I would lose their trust forever.
At the same time, the stress is killing me: not just feeling guilty, I have developed some serious stomach issues due to the awful situation I've put myself in.

Thanks for reading, I'm looking forward to some answers.
I'll also try to help out others while I'm on this forum, sharing what I've learned about procrastination in my long and difficult road.


ps: english is not exactly my first language, so please bear with me

TheDuke - I'm with you!

You'll find help here! Keep coming back!

We somehow share the same story, although I'm worse: I've spent 10 years in college now, but finally getting to my final exams in March (I've been postponing them since 2006 now). I'm even worse when it comes to lying to my family, since I've got a child (2 years) and a husband - wouldn't feel so bad about lying to my parents, but thank god, they don't care so much about my university-procrastination.

 Oh, and far worse than this all together: I'm 35! And female! And got a kid which equals in my homecountry: Not a chance of getting a slightly adequate job at all.

(Sorry for my English btw, not a native speaker as well)

"Study how to use the symptoms of procrastination to trigger the cure!" Neil Fiore

Welcoming The Duke

Wow, your share really helped me already this morning. The great thing about this site is knowing we are not alone.  My past also included a lot of cover-up lying and blaming. These are still my first impulses when I face any consequences of my addiction.  My theory is that my procrastination addiction has a physical component of adrenaline addiction, which is also well-fed by the blaming-lying cycle.

But thanks to these great PA-pals, working the 12 Steps and applying the Tools, I rarely follow through on those impulses anymore. This is not to say I don't procrastinate anymore!  But I'm much improved, and rarely act on the lie/blame impulse. Now I usually own up to my mess, clean it up, and move forward in this odd realm of Reality.  Hope you'll keep coming back to share with us.

Hi Duke

Jump in and start recovery here. Great group of individuals here to cheer. You have taken the first step. I am learning myself that every step (small or large) is a part of the path that moves me forward.


Good Luck and Welcome



Welcome Duke

Someone posted here recently with a very similar problem: Blueberry in a post entitled "I Need Help ASAP!!!" had a similar problem. In her case she spilled her guts to her parents and it worked out ok.

I'm guessing that the people you lie to might have a sense that everything is not quite how you say it is. Ie they might not be 100% surprised to learn the truth. In fact, they might be relieved. Most people view a "coming clean" as a positive step in the right direction that a person takes. Maybe in your case your people will view it this way too.

It is so good to hear that you're working hard on your degree. I noticed the ? in your description. Do you wonder if you're still a procrastinator?

In this fellowship many people view themselves as addicts. And time-binging behavior--working on one thing to the exclusion of all others--and procrastination seem to me to be two sides of the same addictive coin. I dont know if that's what you might sense in yourself even with your recent success at getting things done. I know i sense it in myself often. In fact, these days, I'm trying to take a break at work every hour to step back and remember who i am apart from this current task.

In any event, i hope you do post again. I'm working on a theory that it's the 2nd post that the most important, because a lot of procrastinators have a problem with follow thru.

I've grown very fond of the folks here as we slog out our recovery together daily, even hourly, with each other, mainly in the daily checkin thread and today's is in the right nav box, eg Wednesday February 3 2008 and in the chatbox which is in top and left nav bars, or here: chat .

the touch of the master's hand:

"fall down seven times, get up eight" - japanese proverb

procrastinating by studying procrastination:

Thanks A LOT

Thanks A LOT everyone.

 Yeah, i'm still unsure about not being  a procrastinator anymore - because my new addiction, lying, is just another way to avoid judgement, and it's likely due to my very low self esteem, just as procrastination was before.

Really, just telling my story here and getting such positive feedback - in such a short amount of time - made me feel a lot better. I summoned all my courage and called my therapist again, and I hope I'll be able to analyze my problems in detail with the guy, hopefully avoiding to screw everything up by minimizing my problems again.

 Thanks again and I'll let you know what happens, while trying to stay involved in the forum life in the process.


yeah, duke

"...another way to avoid judgement, and it's likely due to my very low self esteem..."

yeah i see that a lot in my life. avoiding my own critical judgment is the constant. the 'drug' varies.

the touch of the master's hand:

"fall down seven times, get up eight" - japanese proverb

procrastinating by studying procrastination:

Welcome TheDuke

 You will find support here.   Think how great it will be to stop lying to yourself and others.  The tricky part is that you must face the truth about yourself WITH LOVE AND COMPASSION and not self-condemnation.  

Keep posting, and your English is awesome!  I only speak one language and I have immense respect for people who are multi-lingual. 



"It is never too late to be what you might have been."
- George Eliot