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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10547
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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My daughter broke up with fiance. He was very much a yes

Customer Question

My daughter broke up with fiance. He was very much a yes kind of guy & she is quite dominating & organised their social life. They moved in together 9 months ago & she was pushing fir engagement which happened in oct. by christmas the relationship was in trouble . Now its off & she is in a desperate state but cant or wont talk about it or what went wrong . She is kind of bullying & causing fights at home with me since she moved in. Its only two weeks since engagement off & valentines day today & no word from him. He has goneno contact & she is distraught. I wonder ifs she is narcissist but my husband says its rubbish. I am very upset myself
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 9 months ago.

*This website DOES NOT constitute treatment and only provides information and advice in a Q&A format. For treatment (therapy and/or medications) you must go to a licensed professional in your area. Please note that anything said here is not private or confidential, as this is a public forum.

Hello and thank you for using JustAnswer. I am very sorry that you are having this issue with your daughter, I can understand why you may be concerned. It sounds like you are wondering if your daughter has a Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). May I ask, has her behavior dramatically changed just in the last couple weeks or has she always behaved in this manner? Also does she have a characteristics like a lack of empathy, prone to manipulate and control others, grandiose, lies frequently, and never takes responsibility for her actions?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Well she can say things like she is sorry for people & go & try to help them if they have a problem but i she doesnt seem to understand when i say what are u feeling. She will take responsibility but only after arguments. She is very sure of herself usually but is very quiet & upset at present not like her usual self. She does well at work & has got herself a good job. She seems well liked by her friends & gets on well with her dad & brithers but not so well with me. She doesnt talk about her feelings at all. Her fiance was from a wealthy background bit his family were very hard on him. She is bossy & does like to tell everyone what tp do
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Her fiance used to say she was always right. I hesitate to say too much about her from this point of view becos i have read up about codependency & am aftaid i am putting her in a box because of what i have read
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I am do upset & dont know how to help or deal with her. She is so difficult at present i am on eggshells bit maybe the whole thing is a normal response
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 9 months ago.

Thank you for your response. While I cannot diagnose your daughter without a face to face evaluation, it seems unlikely that she would meet the whole criteria for NPD, but she may have traits of NPD. This is actually not necessarily a problem as many successful individuals (both male and female) have some traits of NPD, but it does not represent a major focus on their identity and personality. So while your representation of her may be accurate, it does not seem as severe enough to warrant a diagnosis of NPD, which is very serious and also considerably uncommon. She still appears to be social, well liked, does not appear to have an issue with pathological lying, may have some emotional numbness, but still has some qualities of empathy...overall her stubbornness, drive, and ambition are probably making you believe she may be NPD because she can appear bossy and inflexible, which are character flaws, but not enough to warrant a diagnosis of NPD. Also her behavior may be a lot worse right now given the emotional magnitude of what happened with her engagement and she may be lashing out at you as a form of displaced anger and frustration. I would recommend that you give her space and if she continues to behave negatively towards you than you can be assertive and tell her that you are not her "punching bag" and that she cannot take out this frustration on you. You can tell her that you understand she is upset, but she has to find a better way to release it so that she does not hurt those that she loves.

Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns as I would be happy to continue assisting you regarding this issue.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Certainly her behaviour is different from normal. She is usually upbeat & a can do sort of person not usually down
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 9 months ago.

So if her behavior changed only recently than this is definitely not a personality disorder and most likely a reaction to the broken off engagement

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Well her bad behaviour is manipulative & she seems to enjoy causing arguments . She has been like this before causing problems but i tjought it was growing up issues but that was years ago as she has been living away for past 5-6 ys.
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 9 months ago.

She may be argumentative in this manner and I agree that is a character flaw, but because there is no serious lack of empathy, pathologically lying, and is well liked, I do not think she would meet the full criteria of NPD, but would have traits of NPD.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I hated the way her relationship ended up with neither talking & her out socialising leaving him at home. She was constantly on holidays with him but ordinary everyday stuff didnt seem to suit them. It seemed so superficial from the outside. She kind of pushed him to get engaged. He was evasive & lied to her about wedding dates & seemed to be very mean about money. But she really seemed to like being with him. I wondered was she unfaithful & did ask her but she said no. I may be overanxuous becos my family have mental health issues & i am really worried about this problem emerging in my family. So what can i do to help my daughter & dampen down any of these npd characteristics ?
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 9 months ago.

I understand your sensitivity and it definitely is not a crime to worried about one's own child especially given the situation she is in right now. Your daughter is the only one that can learn to moderate her possible NPD characteristics and she should do that through individual therapy so that she can gain better control. You can encourage her to go to therapy to help her vent and process this tragedy regarding her engagement and then by doing so she may inadvertently start to work on these NPD characteristics. You as an individual must also be assertive and not let her get away with this problematic behavior or that will only enable her. So any help and treatment has to come from her and through the therapeutic process with a psychologist.

Expert:  Dr. Z replied 9 months ago.

*I hope this helps to provide you some guidance on this issue. Please do not forget to leave a positive rating at the top of the page so that I can get credit for helping you. Thank you, ***** ***** appreciate it.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your reassurance. I dont think they were well suited & i think she took him for granted. After it ended she said she felt inretrospect she had driven him away with her behaviour. She wont let us say anything bad about him. She felt his family were unkind & unsupportive of her. He has asked her not to contact him again. It seems very cruel & i wondered about the npd thing as on line forums about npd seem to advocate this when trying to finish a relationship with npd people. Maybe i should avoid those forums as they are so frightening about npd issues.
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 9 months ago.

Many people advocate for no contact after a relationship ends for a variety of reasons, not just NPD or any thing concerning mental health. I would recommend avoiding those online forums as they tend to focus too much on NPD or other mental health issues where they have "tunnel vision" and only NPD and other personality disorders. Your daughter sounds like a good person overall, but is going through a difficult time and is not quite opening up about what happened and that can fester and cause frustration, anger, and irritability.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thanks again for this reassurance..NPD seems like a really scary diagnosis. I was just worried if she had it or not & then what to do if she had.
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 9 months ago.

I doubt she does have it from what you described and also typically the disorder would start to manifest when someone is 18-20 years old and more often occurs in males. At the most she may have traits of NPD, but like I said most successful people in the world have some narcissistic traits and that is not necessarily a bad thing. Try to get your daughter into therapy to help her open up more and process what happened with her fiance as that can help her overall.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
She is doing that. I suppose its hard to have young adult back living with us after so many years and in difficult & humiliating circumstances especially as she has been so independent & driven to date. All her hopes & plans for the future are now gone in just a few weeks after 2 & 1/2 yrs. its so hard for her but also for us. And hard for us to start laying down boundaries for how we like to live & even tv programs we like to watch. We want to help & support but also to set boundaries how we all live together for the present & she pribably finds this also very difficult especially in her present state of mind
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 9 months ago.

I know it is difficult and it will take time, but continue to put boundaries down and also try to provide her with compromises so that she can think she is making the choice when in fact you are just offering a reasonable compromise.

Expert:  Dr. Z replied 9 months ago.

I am going to have to sign off shortly as I have been on this question for over an hour. I hope that you found what we discussed helpful and if you have any other questions please feel free to ask. If you found my answer satisfactory I would ask that you please leave me a positive rating so that I can get credit for my work. Thank you.

Expert:  Dr. Z replied 9 months ago.

I hope this helps to provide you some guidance on this issue.

*Please do not forget to leave a positive rating at the top of the page so that I can get credit for helping you. Thank you, ***** ***** appreciate it.

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