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Narcisistic Behaviour in 7 yo(5 Posts)
Hello and thank you for reading this. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated:
The Background: My partner and I sometimes look after my partner's 2 Grandchildren, 5 and 7. Two lovely kids, a boy and a girl respectively. The kid's parents are not together, mainly due to the mother having full on Narcissistic Personality Disorder. They live with their mum but their home life is unstable, they are pushed from pillar to post. The mum uses the kids as a weapon against their Dad, we've had instances where the children have told us they are not allowed to speak about certain things (mainly the older girl telling her brother to be quiet, this was corrected by us at the time) and they have been told that their Dad doesn't want to see them when in fact it is the mother. For example, last year there was domestic violence between the mum and her new boyfriend in front of the children and the kids were not allowed to be looked after by the father for a month, I suspect in case they talked about the violence. The Dad tries to manage the relationship with the Mum (he actually got her to sign an agreement once which lasted a week) by giving her pick up and drop off times which she consistently misses even when it's a school night, for example when it's agreed for her to pick the kids up at 6pm she doesn't answer her phone and turns up when she wants often 2-4hours later. Also If the Dad is to pick the kids up she has him chasing her for the children, literally. The person she is currently shacked up with is what I can best describe as a thug and purveyor of non-legal plants and pharmaceuticals.
The Problem: Unfortunately the little girl is, and pretty much always has been, an emotional extension of the mother. She has been showered with pink things, princess costumes and constantly told she's 'girly-girl' like her mum. She even appeared on facebook in full facial make-up recently. Which the Dad got her the Mum to take down, but it really illustrates the level of emotional neglect. We had them both this weekend and the little girl's behaviour was almost ADD+OCD, she was showing a very poor attention span, inability to play on her own, constantly "performing", incessant negative back-chat, obsessively attempting to dominate in almost every situation where she felt comfortable, including using here younger brother as an audience when we would not play. She turned up at ours with a full sized blingy hand back and her own full-sized perfume which she insisted on spraying herself with when we went out, this was not a kid playing this was a kid trying to mimic and affect. We played with them, drawing, cooking and toys and it was obvious that the little girl has no imagination, specifically no emotional imagination (if that makes sense). For example, a few minutes after our little Easter Egg hunt the little boy realised my partner and I had no Eggs (of course) he asked us if he wanted any of his, the little girl did nothing for about 3 minutes, then mimicked her brother. The same was true with Happy Easter cards, her brother made one each for us and the girl did the same and they were almost exactly the same. Fortunately for the little boy the mother claimed that she never bonder with him. He is able to play on his own or in company and is very comfortable within himself. My partner has 3 lovely sons all in their mid to late 20s, so the little man has quite a number of positive, emotionally stable, men around. Unfortunately as well as the mother having NPD the mother's mother is madder than a bag of cats, I believe she's been on sickness benefit for many years due to mental illness, specifically depression. One final thing the little girl does get very panicky when she is out of her comfort zone, but I guess this is down to trust issues and her unstable home-life.
We try to be quite proactive with them, lots of love, hugs, boundaries and space to have an emotional life. My partner has really high EQ as such she is very empathic and I am a bit of a nerd, so between us we can sort most thing out but we are stumped, maybe because we love both the kids and the problem is too close to home. I can see that if these problems continue they will stop her developing emotionally and will cause mental health problem down the line.
It might be that we could take one or both of them on holiday for a long weekend. When my partner had problems with her sons she took them away, individually, for a week, and that seemed to do the trick.
To be honest the 7yo doesnt sound Like NPD to me she sounds more like ASD which two of my dc have one is severly autistic but the 7yo is mildly and has aspergers she sounds exactly like the one with aspergers particularly the learning about good social graces from her younger sibling. Look up aspergers.
Plus personality disorders cant be diagnosed before age 16.
I would be very wary of going straight for a diagnosis of ASD in a child who has had a disrupted, neglectful or possibly abusive upbringing- attachment disorders can and do present with very similar symptoms/ behaviours to ASD. It is important that she receives specialist help if the need is identified.
As I said on your other thread, you need to stop thinking of NPD and mental health issues and (re)involve social services due to your significant concerns. Please remember that 7 yos are supposed to be narcissists, so if you have concerns, avoid this term, as some of what you describe sounds like normal 7yo behaviour.
It sounds as if you really don't like this child!
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