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Narcissistic daughter. How do I help her?(33 Posts)
She is only 13 and always been an unaffectionate child even as a baby. She is bright and articulate but so cruel with her words. She doesn't really have friends although people like her at first, she is too outspoken and genuinely doesn't seem to care about anyone. She has always been incredibly unkind to her younger sister. Being around her is like having the joy sucked out of life. She is dominating, cross and manipulative. Having said all this, animals love her and I love her more than life itself. I'm just so terribly afraid she is going to have a miserable lonely life. Is there anything I can do to help her care about people? Are narcissist people born or created? Have I let her down in some way? She totally believes I love her sister more than her but I truly don't.
Has she been assessed for asd? Not saying people with asd are narcissistic just that you maybe confusing the two.
Andnow is right. In children some of the behaviours are similar in both.
Narcissists are actually quite rare (although there are a lot of posts about them) I think it's between 5-8% of a general population but that is probably conjecture depending on which articles you read.
I would also get her assessed.
I think that too many people bandy the term around on here... without really being equipped to assess someone properly. It could be she had narcissistic traits but that doesn't automatically mean she should be labelled a narcissist. Surely some of those traits could be labelled under " teenager"?
I was also thinking of the possibility that she has ASD
Are narcissist people born or created?
Depends whether this is the right question - but narcissism is very much a created personality disorder -typically from either over praise/worship from parents or disfunctional rejection from parents.
Her problem may not be narcissistic personality disorder but as PP has said something else like - being a teenager or asbergers or other stuff.
She could just be mean. Sorry if that is not helpful.
I would say yes, you can coach her on self awareness, and the effect her behavior has on others. Have private conferences with her about it. She may not listen now, but some of the message may sink in to be of use or - however slight - influence in the future.
I agree with pp, think there are a lot more selfish, self-absorbed, opinionated kids than there are narcissistic adults. Keep loving her, keep expectations high for manners and consideration shown towards others. Talk to her about how her behaviour is making others feel, and encourage empathy. Try not to label her even in your head at this stage, I reckon it could be counterproductive.
Yes much more likely to be AS, or BPD if she also has temper tantrums.
As for how to help - I don;'t think you can, but a therapist for teenagers may do!
I'm shocked that you're so quick to label her... Sounds like your family dynamic might be way off...
From your description I don't get the impression that your DD is a narcissist, but there is definitely something else going on. I'm no expect on ASD but her behaviour sounds enough like the little I do know to make me wonder. There's a lot more going on here than just the teenage years, atrocious as they can be. Her constant detachment and unkindness must be hurtful. I really feel for you, OP.
I'd go to your GP, perhaps alone the first time as you will need to say things about your DD that might be very hurtful to her if she were present. Tell the GP what you've told us, perhaps write down some very typical examples. Then you can ask for a referral. At least that's what I would do.
Don't delay. From my experience services for this sort of thing are thin on the ground and you may face a wait.
I have a professional background in child psychology. I understand this must be very distressing for you. As others have mentioned here, it is easy to apply labels for behaviour that does not seem appropriate. However, the best way to resolve this would be to go down one of the following routes to establish if there is a potential diagnosis:
Ask for a psychology assessment from your GP. It could be this is organised through paediatric medicine as there is regional variation in the delivery of child-adolescent mental health services.
Ask for an educational psychology assessment via the school. This may involve approaching the local education authority.
Finance an assessment privately. If there are diagnosed/ determined emotional-behaviour difficulties, then it can be easier to open doors of support or counselling if you have evidence from a specialist. Your GP may help to find a suitable person to conduct an assessment.
Best of luck!
Thank you all. I've always thought she may be on the Autistic scale. She hates change and social occasions but I've tried not to label her. When she was younger she used to have terrible rages and destroy her room, tipping up the bed and throwing everything around. I did have to take her to CAMS at one point as she started banging her head on the wall and scratching her arms. The therapist was helpful and we got through it and she's not done anything like it for years.
You could be describing my friend's DD. She used to be just like that, but over time (she is now 17) she has become much more sympathetic and aware of others. Your DD could potentially be on the autistic spectrum, but equally some people just seem to have to learn people skills that others take for granted. I would keep reinforcing positive behaviours and see if that makes any small differences over time.
My exH is a narc. He was worshipped as a
golden entitled perfect child and this is revalidated by his DPs even now. Your DD doesn't sound as though she's experienced this and you sound very level-headed.
Scoobys advice sounds very good.
Why are you labelling your 13 as a narc? That could be very damaging for her and she already sounds like an unhappy girl.
I don't think your dd is a narcissist and animals are good judges of character ! My dd has ADHD and suspected asd but true to form won't have any assessment]. Dd has very volatile relationships/ friendships and can be utterly selfish , 0 empathy , gets angry with me if I'm ill, doesn't do pleasantries or chit chat, blackmails me, is very destructive and no respect for authority or rules she loves to break them. My only advice (sorry) is pick your battles very wisely and just keep on politely educating/reiterating the need for manners and respect, I advise a lot on friendships and don't rose tint things "if your friend did that to you would you want to be their friend" etc most of the time she can't see it but she takes in maybe 1% which is better than none and makes it worthwhile. What's your dd like at school? My dd doesn't cope at all and is at a specialist behaviour school. Oh my only other advice is over praise anything good she does.
I have never been formally diagnosed, but I think I may have some ASD traits. Some of us have trouble picking up the nonverbal cues that supposedly tell the rest of you how you're coming off to each other. When I was a kid, I didn't look at people when they talked to me. I wasn't getting any additional information from how they looked, and hey, there might be something else interesting to look at. I later learned that people expect you to look at them when they talk to you, and started doing that. I still don't get much out of it, but other people do. My point here is, I had to have a lot of the social rules that some people just pick up explicitly explained to me. I'm sure some people have thought I was an asshole because I wasn't following those rules, rules that didn't make sense to me.
Imagine that you're learning a language, such as French, that has two different forms of the word for "you" that are used in different contexts. Imagine you grew up only speaking English, which doesn't have a rule like that. You're going to make mistakes on which form to use. Some of those mistakes might make you look like a jerk, especially if the person you're talking to doesn't know about your background. But you're really not TRYING to be disrespectful, you just haven't internalized the nuances of that rule.
There are some people on the autism spectrum who don't get why someone could be offended by telling them something that is true. Is that the kind of thing you're seeing when you say she's outspoken? You might need to explain how something can be true but it's still not nice to point it out.
It does sound like it'd be worth getting to the root of what's going on. I'd not think about asd or other diagnoses as 'labels'; they're really useful tools to help us understand ourselves and our children. 'Mean' and 'nasty' are labels that won't help your daughter and she's likely to get labelled with them or worse based on what you've written, but if she does meet criteria for something like asd then that knowledge can help. My ds has ASD (aspergers end of the spectrum). He's six and was diagnosed at 4 and the knowledge of how asd affects him has helped us and him so much. Your daughter may not have asd but it's worth investigating.
I love her very much and cannot imagine life without her billyjoe. She is an amazing girl and I adore her and life is certainly not dull with her around.
Thank you again for your replies which I have found very helpful. I don't label her (only in my head) but I used the term in the title to try and explain succinctly what I was fearing. (Does that make sense?). I'm going to follow up some of the suggestions. Actually she is slightly easier and I do emphasise the positives (of which there are many of course. She has a strong sense of fairness and has stood up to bullies at school when they were picking on other children. No one dares to pick on her!) God I do love her so. Just writing this has brought tears to my eyes. I found MN a wonderful place. Harsh but truthful and often very kind. A place you can expose your inner fears which could never happen in RL.
I have absolutely no knowledge or experience to offer but, OP, the way in which you write about your daughter, and describe both positive and negative things, is wonderful.
Thank you Ethylred that means a lot to me.
She sounds just like my daughter. Big hugs. It is so hard isn't it? We got a diagnosis of ASD a few weeks ago which has made sense of all her behaviours but her behaviour obviously remains the same. We are just trying to handle her differently and lower our expectations. Good luck with whatever you decide to do. Xx
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