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To think that selfishness can be inherited?

(19 Posts)
WhereIsMyFreeGoat Fri 26-Aug-11 22:02:51

My DD aged 11 is displaying terrible signs of selfishness our home life is lovely and goes swimmingly while everything is going her way. If I have to say no to anything she wants to do then the nastiness she shows me is unbelievable. I am hoping that it is just the pre teen hormones playing their part as she is 12 next week.However she has for years seemed to display characteristics that imply she has a big problem with empathy. Her Father is a diagnosed narcissist and no longer in our lives but I worry that I am looking into her behavior too deeply.

Garcia10 Fri 26-Aug-11 22:14:44

I think not - it is likely to be learnt behaviour. As far as I am aware no genetic markers for behavioural traits such as selfishness have been identified.

WhereIsMyFreeGoat Fri 26-Aug-11 22:19:21

I realise that it is probably just me looking too deeply into her behavior but her Father was such a control freak/bully and was around till she was 7 it just made me wonder. Thank you for your reply I am hoping it is just normal for a tweenage girl.

TrillianAstra Fri 26-Aug-11 22:20:50

Inherited as in passed down from parent to child yes, but by learning behaviour not by genes.

Sarsaparilllla Fri 26-Aug-11 22:23:20

I agree TrillianAstra, it's a learned behaviour that can be copied by kids but it not an inherant trait

OneOfTheBoys Fri 26-Aug-11 22:23:28

Just selfishness would be a learned behaviour or a developmental stage, whilst exhibiting a lack of empathy and actually being diagnosed a narcissist would be far more complicated than just mere selfishness, although selfishness could be a characteristic.

It's a big generalisation, but teens and pre teens can be terribly selfish and self absorbed (as well as lovely and all the other behaviours in between)

Have school or other family members have every voiced concerns? if not, then try not to worry as often dcs save their most heinous behaviour for their nearest and dearest.

exoticfruits Fri 26-Aug-11 22:27:00

Learned behaviour.

WhereIsMyFreeGoat Fri 26-Aug-11 22:28:03

Thank you for the replies. School have never expressed concerns but several family members have there was one occasion where her younger cousin was seriously ill and she threw a tantrum aged 10 because we were all spending too much time with him. I want it to be just normal teenage stuff I really do.

AgentZigzag Fri 26-Aug-11 22:43:20

My 10 YO seems to have the behaviour of a 5 YOs at times, mixed with that of a wannabe 18 YO.

I don't take either as things that are going to define her the rest of her life.

Are you the same person as you were at 11?

I'm glad I'm bloody not!

You learn and get through it, she'll be fine in time smile

WhereIsMyFreeGoat Fri 26-Aug-11 23:07:19

Thank you smile

MittzyTheVixen Fri 26-Aug-11 23:38:30

Agree with Trills that it is inherited through being learned/t(?) (tired sorry)

My DS is similar and my Ex has not been diagnosed as having NPD but after extensive counselling myself, My counsellor has said it is highly likely he would be he were to be assessed.

It is taking time but DS is unlearning the behaviour he picked up, we deal with the situation that occurs, and then sit and talk quietly when all is calm and I ask how he feels about, and sees his own behaviour, and he himself sees that it mirrors how his Dad is.
The 6 weeks holiday has been a mix of pure hell and also some (hopefully) key steps forward. Especially in how he treats his 8 yr old sister, as very often it mirrored the crap his Dad put him through.
When DS gets upset about something not going his way, all the emotions and issues from the past bubble up and we will often get anger about his Dad as well. Like the initial incident catches and knocks off a scab and then al the gunk behind it comes to the surface.

I try, (but sometimes fail through frustration) to nurture his positive qualities. Sometimes through threats to remove privileges if he doesn't try harder to self moderate, through rewards, praise and thanks when he really 'gets it' and also massively by appealing to his sense of self and who he wants to be. Telling him that it is a process he is going through but that I believe in him.

As it is liberally sprinkled with teen angst, it is, quite frankly, exhausting, but as we make progress and I look back to different stages in the past, it is brilliant to see that overall, he is becoming a fine young man.

My DS lacked empathy, but I think a part of that was that his Dad had done so much damage, and blamed him for so much, that in a way DS had switched off many emotions, and could only express himself through anger, and he seemed unable to process feelings like disappointment, hurt, fear, without it triggering all the rage and his own hurt inside . I have talked a lot to him about how other people (his sister) feels the same emotions as him and he seems to be connecting with that.

My heart goes out to you, I am so sorry to ramble, but if anything helps.....

squeakytoy Fri 26-Aug-11 23:51:28

I dont know actually...

My husband always said he would never be like his Dad, who was very unreasonable.. never happy, hard work to get on with at times, grumpy as hell, and many other character traits, yet as he gets older he really is becoming exactly like his Dad, even though he denies it, but my MIL says it is quite clear to see, and my stepson is very much his "fathers son" too.

In a similar way, my stepdaughters are very much like their mum in their attitudes and behaviour.

Inherited or genetic, I am not sure, but it certainly does seem to pass down through the generations.

I am (apparently) so like my dad in character and behaviour according to those who knew him for many years.. yet I am adopted. So that throws the genetic theory out of the window for me..

ThePosieParker Fri 26-Aug-11 23:53:20

My oldest seems like this more the the others, but then he's never like this outsdei of the family, he's the opposite.

Againagainagain Sat 27-Aug-11 00:30:56

It's the whole nature / nurture debate. While it is believed that personality traits have both biological and environmental bases, it's widely believed that personality disorder are due to early trauma and negative life experiences.

My exh is a narcissist and ds is very selfish as is his dad/ grandad but I do think alot of this is learnt behaviour, he is much better now he's older so some of it could have been usual teenage self centred behaviour. Like me you are probably looking to deeply at it

BagofHolly Sat 27-Aug-11 08:55:27

Hmm. My initial reaction was to say "learned" but then thought of a family member who has a severe mental illness which makes her utterly self centred, in the purest sense of the phrase. At her worst there is no room for anyone else in her head, it's all about her. When she's on the right meds she's totally different. I see odd flashes of this peculiar "pure" self centred behaviour in her son and daughter sometimes, neither of whom have her disease, although the disease has a strong hereditary factor.

exoticfruits Sat 27-Aug-11 09:16:12

Children are naturally self centred-it is a survival technique. They have to be taught to share, think of others, have empathy etc. Some find it easy and some find it difficult so there is some nature in it-but I think a bigger percentage is nurture.

girlywhirly Sat 27-Aug-11 15:39:36

Well, sometimes you just have to say 'life doesn't revolve around you, DD, and what you want' and then you completely ignore the evils and refuse to give in. As exotic says, a lot has to be taught, and this starts from toddlerhood with taking turns and sharing, and how others feel if you are mean to them etc and so some of her behaviour may have been learned from her father and the outcomes of how he got his own way. The best way to teach is by example, which can backfire if the example is bad!

Is she an only child, I am and my parents were very careful to try not to spoil me and let me have my own way. I think having siblings means you learn to cope with others needs better.

Preteens can be particularly self centred though.

scrambedeggs Sat 27-Aug-11 15:50:36

just give her a good slap on the arse and tell her to grow up!

works a treat

AgentZigzag Sat 27-Aug-11 16:08:17

'just give her a good slap on the arse and tell her to grow up!

works a treat'

<<takes detailed notes>>

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