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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5809
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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My mother in law passed away last year and I didn't let her

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my mother in law passed away last year and I didn't let her see my son for a very long time. She would do very strange things . She seemed to enjoy scaring him as well as leaving him alone at various places. I found out that she once left him in the supermarket alone when he was 5 yrs old. she went home to put he grocery's away and then came back for him. she would do a lot of bizarre things like that around children. She also would be desperate to babysit anyone's child. I was wondering if there was a mental illness connected with that type of behavior ? oh-one time she witnessed a bank robbery. She just walked away across the street to shop-didn't call police . she seemed to get pleasure out of seeing people in a situation that could turn out very bad

Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.
It sounds like your mother in law possibly had a personality disorder. She does fit some of the criteria for Sadistic personality disorder or maybe narcissistic.
Personality disorders are typically ingrained behaviors that someone develops, usually in response to being raised in a dysfunctional home. The person could not get their needs met (for unconditional love and attention) so they developed other ways to get what they needed which usually involved dysfunctional behaviors. When they grew up, they continued these behaviors even when they were no longer needed. Your mother in law might have been treated so poorly at home (cruelty, torture often causes a person to develop this type of behavior) that she developed a lack of sympathy for others in pain. She may also have learned to enjoy inflicting pain on others.
Another personality disorder that might also describe her behavior is narcissistic. People who are narcissistic also enjoy hurting others.
Here is a guide to personality disorders to help you find which disorder fits her:
And here is a link for sadistic personality disorder:
You did the right thing in keeping your child away from your mother in law. What she did could have caused your child so much distress that he could have been traumatized. Since you acted to protect him, the chances he was harmed in any way are minimal.
I hope this has helped you,
May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or above? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer. Thank you so much!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you -I didn't realize that a narcissistic personality enjoys hurting others. i was just wondering about her obsession with children? she told me this story a few times-when she was a teenager she was babysitting -went shopping and went home without the baby. When she got home she realized she left the baby on the blvd in the carriage ! What is that???

It sounds like she was traumatized in some way that involved children. Maybe she was hurt herself as a child or she witnessed other children being hurt. Without talking to her directly, it is very hard to tell. Focusing on children is not a specific disorder. Instead it is something she went through herself at some point in her life that made her that way.
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